Friday, December 12, 2008

5 Ounces' Tuf 8 Final Preview and Predictions

Originally posted on

Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns - Burns, a jiu-jitsu blue belt who submitted black belt Roan Carneiro in his UFC debut, won a controversial bout against Johnson at UFC Fight Night 14 in July. The official result was a TKO for Burns over Johnson but that TKO was caused by an illegal eye poke that referee Steve Mazzagatti missed.

Upon seeing the replays, Mazzagatti actually approached Johnson a week later at EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” event in Stockton, California and apologized for missing the poke. Johnson graciously accepted the apology and seemed pretty poised for someone forced to the sidelines after undergoing surgery as a result of the injury sustained.

Burns has been professional through the ordeal as well, apologizing and taking the blame for the illegal strike. However, he attributed to his frequent eye poking during the course of the bout to having a broken hand that hasn’t healed properly. It begs the question that if Burns couldn’t throw a close handed jab in July, will he be able to do so on Saturday? Mazzagatti may have missed a few calls during their first encounter, but based on all the controversy, there will likely be zero tolerance for poking this time around.

Johnson is a tremendous athlete with a ton of upside, and as such, I was surprised that Burns was able to hang with him for much of the fight. Athletically, these two are on two completely different levels and Burns is the kind of opponent that Johnson needs to put away in order to realize his potential.

Look for Johnson to not only be more aggressive in this fight, but to also be more effective since he will be able to fight without impaired vision.

Prediction: As long as Johnson can see clearly, I expect him to enact a measure of revenge and knock Burns out in the first round.

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