This was a very solid fight card. Betting-wise, I got absolutely hosed, with a net result of -4.5 that wiped out my previous gains. Some of this must simply be chalked up to the unpredictability of MMA (which is why one should never bet so much that a loss would wipe you out, keeping you from making it up when luck swings back your way). However, some of it was due to poor handicapping, as I’ll explain.
Satoru Kitaoka def. Takanori Gomi via submission (Achilles lock) — Round 1, 1:41
In retrospect, this was a fight I should not have bet on – not only because I lost money. While I did underestimate Kitaoka’s skills, that sort of thing is going to happen in handicapping all the time. Rather, with what I knew about Gomi and his recent unpredictability, I shouldn’t have bet on either fighter. Gomi really belongs in the same class as Crocop, where he is not to be bet on outside of the most extraordinary circumstances, because he is in a very weird phase of his career.
Following the bout, Gomi (again in Crocop like fashion) announced he needed to take some more time off to get himself together and get his head straight, but promised to return and be amazing again. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Kitaoka is a very impressive fighter and this was a legitimate win, but as a title-holder with flashy, quick finishes, he will most likely be over-valued in his next couple of fights, which could mean value in betting against him.
Aside from Santiago’s conditioning, I don’t think I made an error in breaking down this fight. The chips just didn’t fall my way here. Misaki was well on his way to a decision or finishing the fight (if Santiago got more aggressive), managed to escape several good submission attempts, and was generally doing what I expected. If Jorge had gas problems as I’d expected, he would have faded under the pressure and been dispatched.
I think at this point it’s safe to say Jorge has overcome his previous problems with conditioning. He showed good endurance and excellent defensive guardwork. Misaki won every round, so impressive that Jorge stuck around and had enough left to score the stoppage he needed. Jorge probably still has a weak chin, but Misaki didn’t test it much and isn’t a heavy hitter. Still, that means if Jorge is heavily favored over a big slugger, there may be a tempting play to be made.
Misaki is still Misaki – a strange counter-fighter that can frustrate many opponents and has a good enough chin that it’s unlikely someone can sneak a single shot through his guard and finish him off. This is only the second time, in a career full of bouts under grappler-friendly rules against top-level grapplers, that Misaki has ever been submitted, so Jorge’s finishing ability is as impressive as promised.
Yoshida is shot and will likely be set up to lose in a couple more pointless fights before he hangs up the gloves for good. If Kikuta gets a fight against a good opponent, he’ll most likely get hosed.
Mo’s striking was a bit looping and relied on his speed, but he wasn’t just brawling out there, which is good and as I expected. He’s still coming along, but he’s not going to be happy to just continue to rely on speed and power. Mo did nothing to block or avoid low kicks against Wiuff or his last fight, so that’s a worry. Unless he hurt his hand smashing his opponent’s face, Mo is likely in perfectly fine condition to fight again very soon.
I just hope the dearth of talent at the heavier weight classes in japan doesn’t mean he gets matched up against a monster like Antonio Silva. Hopefully Sengoku can recruit an EliteXC veteran or something similar, because Mo could be a superstar in terms of charisma and raw talent. Japanese promotions usually don’t ‘develop’ foreign fighters very well, however, matching them up in ways that can hurt their careers and developments as fighters, so I am worried.
Not the most exciting ending, but from what little of the fight we did get to see, Silva was simply too much for Nakao in every respect, as expected. Nakao would be best served by laying off the lunch box and fighting at 205, but there are actually more fights for him at heavyweight than 205, when it comes down to it. Hopefully Nakao gets matched up with King Mo before Bigfoot does, for Mo’s sake.
Not really a lot to say about this fight that I didn’t say in my predictions for it. Good to be right about at least one fight on a card.
Aside from the Gomi fight, this was another major error in my analysis. Choi Mu Bae is just too ridiculous to take seriously, I guess, and I bought into the Herman hype, violating one of my usual rules of thumb. When a prospect has almost nothing but early stoppages on his record, I usually assume he will gas in his first fight that goes long, as was the case here. Further, it’s an open secret that Herman doesn’t train seriously and hates doing cardio. That, combined with Choi’s chin, would not have been enough for me to predict such a surprising Choi victory, but it would have been enough for me to make the smarter play and keep my money on the sidelines for this fight.