When it comes to making MMA picks, I'm bad. Notoriously bad. Epically bad.
The problem, I think, comes from my background as an amateur historian. Too often, I live in the past, a place that's very dangerous for anyone looking to accurately project the results of sporting events.
In the fight game, yesterday's hero can find himself relegated to the fringes of the sport in just a matter of months. What you think you know? That's the most dangerous information of all.
Honestly, I was happy with this paradigm. I would blissfully write about things that had happened, leaving the tricky business of predicting the future to others. To the suckers. People who didn't understand that four-ounce gloves leave no margin of error, that the slightest malady or injury could change a fight dramatically without you being any wiser.
And then, Kountermove came along. Maybe it was the more traditional fantasy format, the accumulation of points and the salary cap especially, that made it more intriguing than your basic "pick 'em" contest? Maybe it was the fact that other industry pros were there (and picking fights successfully) that awakened the competitive bones lurking beneath the surface?
Whatever the reason, I was in. I contacted creator Aaron Ard to find out a little bit more about the game and was soon off and rolling:
"Our game is fairly simple on its face: Our games are played over a single night during one event. Prior to the event, players get a total of $25,000 fantasy dollars and you get to pick five fighters for your team," Ard said. "Each fighter is given a specific price by Kountermove. We assign a value for each fighter based on how we believe the fight will go.
"Points are scored if your fighters scores a finish, wins a round, lands significant strikes, knocks an opponent down, scores takedowns, secures dominant positions or attempts submissions. The more dominant your fighters' performance, the more points you're going to score. If you score more points than your opponents, then you win the money."
Sound easy? It's not. But I'll let you discover that for yourself. Kountermove has kindly provided a free tournament, with a cash prize to the winners, for my readers here and on Twitter. Sign up and give it a shot.
And don't worry—I won't leave you to pick blind. Here are some of my suggestions for UFC 155. Remember, my past success is no indication that these won't be awful picks. After all, that's the lesson of Kountermove. Never live in the past.
Underdog pick for UFC 155: I like Constantinos Philippou (Salary $4,600) thanks to his knockout power and ability to get back to his feet. I think Boestch can take him down, but can he keep him there for three rounds? Added bonus? If he wins, he's likely to get the KO. That means extra points, and I like extra points.
The MMA Encyclopedia Lock for UFC 155: Jim Miller. Jim is simply better at every phase of MMA than Joe Lauzon. Most critically, his wrestling is better, meaning he can dictate where this fight goes. Lauzon's recent hot run has overvalued him in some circles. I think Miller sends him crashing back to earth and hard.
My Main Event Pick: While Kountermove games are won on the undercard, the main event always attracts the most interest and is the most frequently played fight in any Kountermove tournament. This one is particularly tough. In a recent internal email, Bleacher Report staffers were fiercely split between Velasquez and dos Santos. I like Cain.
I picked him in the first fight, one dos Santos won easily, but that bout should hardly even count thanks to Cain's significant injuries going into the cage. In many ways, assuming both are healthy, this is the first bout between both men at full strength. Cain's wrestling and overall ability at full power will prove too much for the champion.
I encourage you to take a look at their site and give the game a shot. It's free, and you can win some cash in my tournament. There is no financial relationship between Kountermove and Bleacher Report or Kountermove and me. I simply believe in their product and think it is a game worth playing.
I've read the comments—many Bleacher Report readers believe themselves experts. Now's your chance to go out and prove it. See you there.