By Kevin Broughton & Jeremy Pinnell
Let's do the fight stuff first, with a look back before we look ahead. UFC 274 featured the worst title fight of all time, where my gal Thug Rose lost the belt in five rounds of bizarre inactivity. What's worse, her boyfriend/coach/groomer, Pat Barry, told her after every round she was doing just fine. What in the heck can we make of this?
Was she protecting her belt? People hate her boyfriend. It’s really just a bummer. Bad coaching? Probably. I believe I was traveling and I heard how bad the fight was so I didn’t even go back and watch.
Moving on, the company is taking its show to Singapore for UFC 275, which will feature a couple of title fights. Jiri Prochazka -- from the Czech Republic -- is one of the two or three scariest guys in all of MMA. He faces 40-year-old (brand new champ) Glover Teixeira for the light heavyweight belt. My prediction: lots of blood and an early stoppage. Jiri is a 2-1 favorite for a reason; what say you?
I’m not predicting anyone anymore; my picks are terrible! I like Glover because his Jiu Jitsu is strong, but yeah, Jiri is a scary dude. I believe I have a pull with the universe. I lose at gambling, so may the best man win, Kevin.
The co-main event is a battle for the women's flyweight strap. No one has seriously challenged Valentina Shevchenko in her title reign, and she's a nearly 6-1 favorite here. Taila Santos has an impressive 19-1 record, but as Daniel Cormier once said, "There are levels to this game." Any chance for an upset?
There’s always a chance for an upset. It’s a fucking war. But Shevchenko is such a killer. This might be a solid challenge.
Finally, there's an enticing rematch of 115-pound ladies. Weili Zhang and Joanna (I'm too lazy to try & spell her last name -- it's the Polish lady) had one of the most epic UFC fights ever. Joanna got her head temporarily reshaped. Vegas has these odds the closest. Each of these ladies, interestingly, has lost to Thug Rose twice. Who gets her hand raised?
Joanna might be past it? I’ve always like Weili, so I’ll say her -- and we’ll see what the universe does -- and then I’ll know if I have a say or not. Also, don’t be lazy, Kevin.
Fine. It’s Jędrzejczyk. Neither of us can pronounce it, though.
As we pivot to music, it turns out you and I are both big Lyle Lovett fans -- though you more than I if body art is any indication. He recently released his first album in a decade, The Twelfth Of June. I was going to love this album unconditionally, and the jazz/big (or, "Large") band vibes remind me a lot of my favorite record of his, Joshua Judges Ruth. Have you broken your recent musical celibacy long enough to give a listen? Your thoughts?
I am a huge Lyle fan and I obviously listened to his new record the day it came out. But we were in a tour van, and it was drowned out by highway noise so I didn’t get a good read. And no, I haven’t broken my music celibacy. I’m just bored. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
Closing things out, for this edition: A good writer I know recently did a review of Blackberry Smoke's EP of Rolling Stones covers. Assume you have a week of free studio time and any set of players you could ask for. What five songs -- regardless of artist or genre -- would you most like to put on a J.P. EP?
That’s a tough one. Maybe I’d go with… George Jones, “The Grand Tour”; Merle Haggard, “Misery and Gin”; Billy Joe Shaver, “Ragged Old Truck”; Mel Street, “Lovin’ on Backstreets”; and Bob Wills, “Faded Love.”
How’s that? You wanna pay for it? I’ll give you a co-producer credit.
Hmm. Maybe we can crowd-fund, but I still get a credit for the awesome idea. And geez, a Mel Street reference! What a great way to end this edition.
Kev’s barely over .500 on UFC bets here lately, but his value plays for UFC 275:
Jiri Prochazka, -200;
Jiri by second round stoppage, +450