After months of anticipation, the biggest mixed martial arts event ever is finally upon us. Don Rowe attempts to prophesise the event on EA Sports UFC 2 for the Playstation 4, but finds his efforts hindered by the notoriously chaotic landscape of the UFC.
Like a truck in the side mirror, UFC 200 is all of a sudden upon us. And boy is it…different than it was supposed to be.
The long months of promotion, the millions of dollars in advertising, all screwed up by the inability of one Jonathan ‘Bones’ Jones to, as opponent Daniel Cormier put it, get his shit together.
Generally acknowledged as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, Jones came to power in a terrifying blitzkrieg of the sports first generation of superstars, beating down Shogun Rua, assaulting Rampage Jackson (of The A Team fame), and even strangling karate master Lyoto Machida all before his 25th birthday.
Then he crashed his car with two women inside who definitely weren’t his fiancee. Then he popped for cocaine in an out-of-competition drug test. Then he crashed his car into a pregnant woman while drunk, stoned and possibly high on cocaine and was stripped of his belt.
Then, three days out from the biggest fight on the biggest card ever put together, Jones pinged for steroids and left both UFC 200 and my simulated preview in tatters.
The card is now headlined by one Miesha Tate, who sacrificed her arm twice so that Ronda Rousey could ascend to worldwide fame. That all came crashing down with Ronda’s body when she got headkicked by Holly Holm, a badass former world champion kickboxer and the first woman to look borderline competitive with the blonde judoka. It was a blessing in disguise for Tate, however, as she secured a title shot and proceeded to choke out Holm in the final round of their bout in March this year.
From McGregor vs Diaz II, to Jones vs Cormier II, to Tate vs some Brazilian girl who nobody is even pretending to be excited about, it’s been a stressful few weeks for the UFC brass, particularly considering a potential $4b sale of the UFC is rumored to hinge on a successful event on Sunday. It’s been a stressful week for me, too, watching digital approximations of MMA’s finest scrap it out for hours and hours and hours for naught. But the show must go on, and with that, here are your UFC 200 picks, as generated by the latest UFC video game.
True to form, I made breakfast while the prelims were on and proceeded to miss most of a fifteen minute scrap between ‘Alpha’ Cat Zingano and ‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ Juliana Pena. Judging from the pre-recorded shrieking of commentator Mike Goldberg, however, it sounded like an absolute slobberknocker – one which is likely to be repeated in person this afternoon. Digi-Cat had too much in the tank and took a unanimous points decision.
Jim Miller arm-barred Takanori Gomi before I could finish my eggs.
Raphael Assuncao has been sidelined since October, 2014, and in that time I completely forgot he likes to walk to the cage to some weird porn-jazz track. Former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw kept it more traditional with Can’t Stop by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The disparity in music taste was not reflected in martial arts skill, however, as both fighters slugged it out to a point that would leave real athletes permanently brain damaged and eating through a straw.
At the end of the first round, Dillashaw got a hair up his ass over something and the ref was forced to step in and separate the fighters. I’m not sure what he was worried about, particularly considering the blonde hair textures look much better than the black hair, which looks like tar. Dillashaw eventually lost the fight, but remains undefeated when it comes to his beautiful golden locks.
Speaking of textures, it appears the ring girls (which are redundant anyway) have had theirs recycled. There’s a metaphor in here about plasticity and objectification, but suffice to say digital ring girls are even more ridiculous than real ones. They need to head the same direction as nu-metal and Tapout tshirts.
Concussion is fine though. Johnny Hendricks, a 300kg man competing at welterweight, was beaten senseless by Kelvin Gastelum, baptising the Monster Energy logo in blood and potentially forecasting the actual fight quite accurately. I fell asleep as the decision was announced, and woke up to find Gegard Mousasi wiping the floor with…Gegard Mousasi. Something went wrong with the matchmaking there, but at least Mousasi won.
Cain Velasquez, digitised and injury free, quickly dispatched of Travis Browne and showed some of what makes him so scary in real life. Unfortunately, knees are a thing, and when you’ve abused yours like Velasquez has, real world performance is always going to lag behind what could have been. Still, if karma has any basis in reality, Browne will get what’s coming.
Somehow Frankie Edgar armbarred Jose Aldo in the first round, a sad state of affairs for the guy most recently slept by Conor McGregor, and then Miesha Tate did the same thing to Amanda Nunes. Is that statistically the most likely outcome, or had the machine grown as bored as I had, and decided to throw both title fights to the wind, rolling the algorhythmic dice and coming up with a ‘try again later’? Either way, a first round armbar is highly unlikely in either fight. But UFC 200 isn’t really about Aldo, or Tate, or Edgar.
It’s about Brock Lesnar.
Much like the real UFC up until a few weeks ago, UFC 2 doesn’t feature Brock Lesnar. And if it did, I doubt even general Artificial Intelligence would struggle to predict what happens when an unstoppable, steroid-enhanced force meets an immovable Samoan object. In that case, I’ve made my own prediction. It goes like this: Mark Hunt. Knockout. Round One.
Let the games begin.
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