That’s right, things are (hopefully) back to normal now as far as MMA-related content production on this website is concerned. I plan on giving every fight on Saturday’s UFC 140 card a proper preview, with the preliminary fights on Facebook being previewed today, the preliminary fights on ION being previewed tomorrow, and the main card fights being previewed later in the week.
SILVA scores have also finally been updated, including UFC 139, TUF 14 Finale, Eddie Alvarez’s Bellator loss to Michael Chandler (I do not have Chandler’s SILVA score yet, just Alvarez’s), and Fedor Emelianenko’s win over Jeff Monson.
As for last Saturday’s TUF 14 Finale… I cautioned against putting any faith in SILVA, but SILVA was 7-3 picking fights anyway, including 3-2 picking underdogs. Maybe I shouldn’t be so afraid to be a little confident in what SILVA has to say.
155 lbs: John Cholish vs. Mitch Clarke
Believe it or not, I’m not an expert on every fighter that ever competes in MMA. In fact, there are a LOT of fighters I know absolutely nothing about. John Cholish and Mitch Clarke happen to be two of those fighters. Clarke enters with a perfect 9-0 professional MMA record, so he has that going for him. Unfortunately, only five of those nine opponents are experienced enough for Clarke to earn a Victory Score by beating them, and of those five, only two had a Victory Score that was above-average. The result is a low Fight Level of 4.04 for Clarke.
John Cholish lost his professional MMA debut to Jason Patino, but has won seven fights in a row since. Unlike Clarke, Cholish has two wins that are rated somewhat well by Victory Score: a February submission win over TUF veteran Marc Stevens, and a June submission win over Jameel Massouh.
SILVA PREDICTION: JOHN CHOLISH (57.96) OVER MITCH CLARKE (38.59)
Clarke’s SILVA score isn’t far above what I call the “attrition zone,” which is the level of fighting that makes a fighter unlikely to survive in the UFC. Cholish, on the other hand, is identified as an above-average UFC fighter by SILVA, and it helps that SILVA does not consider Cholish’s only loss in its calculation. Still, a lot of great fighters have lost their professional debut, so I’m willing to give SILVA the benefit of the doubt. Watch for John Cholish to make a real impact in the UFC lightweight division.
170 lbs: Rich Attonito vs. Jake Hecht
TUF 11 veteran Rich Attonito is a fighter that, quite frankly, it’s difficult to get very excited about. His striking is decent/good… his wrestling is decent/good… but there’s not much of anything in Attonito’s skill set that suggests he’s capable of rising through the ranks to become one of the UFC’s better welterweight fighters. Attonito is 3-1 in the UFC right now, but consider his UFC wins: Jamie Yager, Rafael Natal, and Daniel Roberts are not the most impressive welterweights the UFC has to offer. At this point, I’d like to see Attonito getting fights against tougher opponents to see whether or not he really belongs.
That won’t be happening in this fight, with Jake Hecht making his UFC debut against Attonito. Hecht is a fighter who wins consistently against average MMA opponents. Among his victories are TUF 13 participant Charlie Rader, Michele Verginelli, and Craig White, all of whom yielded a Victory Score of between 50 (average) and 60 (low-level UFC talent). On the two occasions Hecht stepped up in competition, he fell short of victory, losing in his pro debut to Manuel Garcia, and more recently losing a decision to current UFC fighter Che Mills. At least it can be said that Hecht hasn’t been finished in a professional MMA fight before.
SILVA PREDICTION: RICH ATTONITO (39.70) OVER JAKE HECHT (37.09)
Let me be fair to Attonito and the UFC. Attonito’s original opponent for this fight card was the much tougher Claude Patrick, who was upgraded to the main card to replace Rory MacDonald against Brian Ebersole. Hopefully Attonito will take this opportunity to show some special talent we haven’t seen yet, but if SILVA is right, it’s most likely that Attonito will end up winning by close decision.
155 lbs: Mark Bocek vs. Nik Lentz
Almost a year ago, when Mark Bocek competed at UFC 124 in Montreal, he defeated Dustin Hazelett by submission. Afterwards, he told Joe Rogan and the audience that he wanted to take on George Sotiropoulos to prove he was the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter in the lightweight division. Instead, Bocek got Ben Henderson, and while Bocek attempted multiple submissions against Henderson, he wasn’t able to finish with any, and received a pretty good beating in the process.
Now, Bocek will be taking on Nik Lentz, a fighter who makes SILVA wince when it tries to analyze his ability to fight. Because SILVA evaluates fighters by wins and losses only, and takes a fighter’s most recent ten fights, it sees Lentz only as a fighter who is 9-0-1 in his recent career, and many of those fights in the UFC. Any system that could reliably measure the underlying performances of a fighter would be much more pessimistic about Lentz. This is because Lentz was on his way to losing to Charles Oliveira but ended up fouled and getting away with a No Contest, and in most of his other fights, was only very slightly better than his opponents.
SILVA PREDICTION: NIK LENTZ (70.94) OVER MARK BOCEK (42.45)
So while I’ll go along with SILVA and pick Lentz to beat Bocek, mostly due to being a better striker, I don’t think the gap between these fighters is nearly as large as SILVA would suggest. It’s absolutely possible for Bocek to win a decision in this fight, or even submit Lentz. Still, Lentz is the better striker, and has the better record, so he has to be the pick.