In 2020, I made an effort to be more socially active and find people who shared similar interests to me. This was essential to my mental health following years of self-isolation. A series of unfortunate events took a toll on me and I had cut off the world to prevent further injury. Little did I know, as I would be coming out of isolation, the rest of the world would be going into it.
Twitter became the perfect space to rejoin society but from the comfort of my own bubble. I didn’t have a purpose or any content to offer, so I just resorted to ridiculous dad jokes and the occasional internet argument. Life was good.
I spent the rest of the season joining any Twitter contest that I could. Stepping outside of my comfort zone to sing and dance in front of complete strangers. I opened up about my personal struggles and found a lot of people to who I could relate to.
I never would have imagined that people would ever take an interest in what I had to say or that I would find so many like-minded individuals. I still had this lingering feeling that I needed something to offer to the fantasy sports community. In one of my fantasy football leagues, I had spent a lot of time making hype videos or week-to-week trash talk videos and it was something I enjoyed doing. I used Microsoft Paint to do any edits I needed at the time and it was never a serious hobby, but something I enjoyed doing.
So I set out to learn more and downloaded no less than 15 applications to find a process and style I was happy with. I’m not sure what compelled me to start making graphics, as well, but I had suddenly found a hobby that was productive and almost meditative.
In less than a year, I had gone from unproductive, closed off from the world and severely depressed to not only finding a community I could be myself with but contributing to it. I had always felt a sense of purpose as a husband and father, but it was a struggle to find purpose outside of that.
The most valuable lesson I learned after my first marriage was to have a sense of purpose and an identity outside of being a husband and father. Once that identity was taken from me it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in life to recover from it. Not to say you need to neglect those roles when you are a husband, wife, father or mother. You just need to have a sense of self-worth and purpose for yourself.
2021: From Community Contributor to Content Creator
I’ve spent the entirety of the 2021-2022 season building on that idea, while also attempting to balance those other roles. At times, it seems impossible and I’ve had to adjust every step of the way. I’m still not entirely sure just how much I contribute to this community. I’m constantly evolving my visions and coming up with grand plans that I fail to follow through with. I spent 3 months planning a show to record, only to recycle a lot of those ideas into smaller recordings for my current YouTube series “Thirdhand News.”
It’s easy to chalk that up as a failure, but I’ve had a lot of fun recording my current series and that has to be seen as a win somewhere. I’ve given up on the idea that I will ever be a fantasy football analyst and shifted towards something that comes a little more natural to me and that is Mixed Martial-Arts (MMA). I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs in that area as well.
It would be easy to get discouraged by the things I have done wrong in this space. It would be even easier to throw in the towel and save myself a little humility and embarrassment. But for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am on the right path and heading in the right direction. Even if my purpose is just to feel like I have a purpose.
UFC 270: Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane
UFC 270: Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane is the next big event, and I have analyzed the main event a few times now. As we inch closer to the event, I haven’t swayed from my opinion at all that Gane will leave victorious. He is simply the better striker who has already survived one of the most powerful strikers in the division in Derrick Lewis.
Gane is very familiar with Ngannou seeing as how they used to be sparring partners. You can downplay the leaked sparring footage where Gane is out striking Ngannou, but it is undisputed that Gane is clearly the more technical striker. He competes with a rare level of confidence and although Ngannou can end any fighter with just one strike, there is no one in the division more equipped to neutralize his striking than Gane.
Ngannou may have the MMA experience edge over Gane, but Gane was a successful Muay Thai fighter before MMA at 13 wins and zero losses. This is an effective style to strike outside the range of someone like Ngannou.
Gane is currently the favorite at (-144), but sitting at (+230) to win by Knock Out (KO)/ TechnicalKnock Out (TKO). With Ngannou’s tendency of standing upright, Gane’s familiarity with Ngannou and Gane’s ability to strike from outside of Ngannou’s range, I would be comfortable taking those odds.
Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo 3
This is the third consecutive fight between these two in the Flyweight Division with Brandon Moreno winning the last fight by submission and their first ending in a draw. It should be noted in the first fight a point was deducted from Deiveson Figueiredo for illegal strikes. So these two are fairly evenly matched and Moreno is the current favorite at (-188).
Figueiredo has had several issues in the past cutting weight. He missed weight altogether in his first title fight and despite winning, was ineligible for the title. In his last fight, it was reported that he experienced a tough weight cut yet again and it showed. He was outclassed and out-struck by a lesser striker before being submitted in the third round. With more than nine days to spare, it was reported from his camp that Figueiredo was only nine pounds away from his target weight.
This is a good sign and I’m going to go against the betting odds here and go with Figueiredo for the win here. He is the better striker of the two and if he shows up in shape, I believe he is the better overall fighter of the two.
Sleeper Pick: Andre Fialho (+230)
Andre Fialho is set to make his UFC debut against Michael Pereira, who is the clear favorite at (-280). Making your UFC debut is no easy task. Especially when you become a last-minute replacement in a fight, then have the fight date moved due to COVID-19 protocols.
I believe this will affect Pereira, as well, considering he has missed weight twice in his career and has now had to cut weight multiple times in just a few weeks. He is one of the biggest fighters in the division and making that weight is no easy task to begin with.
Pereira’s entire style relies on his energy and unpredictability. If he is at all affected by these weight cuts, Fialho is not the fighter you want to make a mistake with, coming off of four KOs/TKOs in 2021 alone. Pereira is the more experienced, fighter since he has fought in the UFC and is on a three-fight win streak. But -those wins come against fighters who have not found success in the UFC.
Fialho has fought in many organizations and against UFC veterans. I think this fight will be closer than the odds suggest.
“Now the night is coming to an end … The sun will rise and we will try again.” – Twenty One Pilots
Thank you for allowing me to share this. @3rdandShortt