Monday, February 26, 2007

UFC 68 The Uprising

UFC comes out with... well they come out with a card. I am having trouble finding anything exciting on this one. None of the fights give me that "holy crap this is going to be a FIGHT!" feeling. I understand the UFC needs to build its talent pool and bring in new fighters, but I just am having trouble getting going for this one. There is no stellar match up for the main event, and the under cards really don't excite me...

Card and My Picks:

Jason Gilliam Vs. Jamie Varner (Lightweight)
Jason makes his debut in the UFC after dispatching 15 previous opponents. He does not yet know defeat. Jason favors the G&P KO as his favorite way of finishing. Of said 15 wins only one is a decision, three are from chokes, and the rest are KOs. He knows how to stop guys.
Varner returns to the Octagon after taping to a Hermies Franca armbar. Jamie put up a great fight dominating Hermies, until the fateful crazy armbar submission. Jamie is a good submission guy, going 11-2, 7 submissions, before getting caught by Hermies.
Jason will want to get this fight to the ground, and I don't think that Jamie will care that it goes there. Neither one of these guys has won a fight that featured above "B" level opposition. The biggest difference here is that Jamie has been to the big show and Jason has not. Jason has not had a fight go in to the third round since 2004, and while I normally see that as a plus, I don't here. Jamie as very good gas, a good chin, and I think that will decide this fight. Jamie by decision.

Gleison Tibau Vs. Jason Dent (Lightweight)
Last time we saw Gleison, he got his lights put out by Nick Diaz. Before that Gleison was 9-2, mostly fighting in Brazil. Gleison has been training with the guys at ATT, and picking up all he can. Being from Brazil, and now training at a primarily BJJ school, it is no surprise that Gleison mostly wins by submission. He likes the RNC best finishing three of his opponents that way.
Jason Dent came out on the bad side of a decision after his fight with Roger Huerta last time we saw him. Jason is mainly a submission guy, using the ground to win 10 of his 15 wins. His losses, 7, are mainly from decisions. Jason likes the bottom submissions best, favoring the triangle chokes.
This should be an interesting ground battle, both guys like to fight on the ground, and both are well versed in submissions. Gleison will be the bigger man in the fight, he is cutting down from 170 to fight the always lightweight Jason. I think that the weight will be the deciding factor as the fight goes on. Gleison by decision.

Jon Fitch Vs. Luigi Fioravanti (Welterweight)
Fitch is now 4-0 in the UFC, beating Brock Larson (Decision), Josh Burkman (RNC), Thiago Alves (KO), and Kuniyoshi Hironaka (Decision). Jon trains at the excellent AKA, and shows it by winning in all sorts of ways.
Luigi scored a KO win in the closing seconds of round one over Dave Menne in his last UFC fight. Before that Luigi knocked out Salomon Hutchenson, and lost a decision to Chris Leben. The Leben fight was perhaps the most boring fight in UFC history. Yes I did conceder Gracie v Shamrock 2. It was a snoozer. Anyway, Luigi is a submission guy who can punch, winning 6 by KO, three coming in his last three fights. Overall Luigi is 11-1.
Who comes out on top here? The kickboxer who can grapple or the grappler who can punch? I think the kickboxer comes out on top. Jon by decision.

Rex Holman Vs. Matt Hamill (Light Heavyweight)
Rex is 4-1... against less than stellar opposition.
Matt Hamill is the deaf wrestler from season 3 of TUF. Matt is a good wrestler and likes to yell "Wooooo."
This is a fight so that the UFC can showcase its stance on equal opportunity employment. Matt is a good story, and the UFC would hate to throw him to the wolves just yet, they can make much more bank feeding him cream puffs and padding his record first. Matt by G&P KO second round.

Jason Lambert Vs. Renato Sobral (Light Heavyweight)
Jason returns to the UFC after getting knocked out by Rashad Evans in September of 2006. Before meeting up with Rashad Jason was 2-0 in the UFC, 22-5 overall. Jason is a dynamic fighter winning mostly by KO, but throwing in some very slick submissions (Jason McDonald) in the mix as well.
Babalu just lost his rematch to Chuck by KO. Sad because Babalu is such a good, well rounded fighter. His BJJ has gone to the next level training with Gracie-Barra, and his striking has always been top notch. Babalu was on a 10 fight win streak before loosing to Chuck, and not against bad opposition too. Babalu has been in with the best, and beat most of them. Only the elite get past him (Fedor, Dan Henderson, Chuck)
Both of these guys are looking to come back big. Jason wants to get back on track for title contention, and Babalu needs to cement his status as the gatekeeper for the Light Heavyweight elite. I don't think that Jason has the experience or the talent to get through Babalu. Sobral by triangle choke first round.

Rich Franklin Vs. Jason MacDonald (Middleweight)
Rich came out with the worst game plan in history in his last fight. Trying to beat Anderson Silva is like trying to beat Luke to the last hamburger. It just ain't going to happen. Rich is an all around great fighter, with his strongest points being his boxing and his head movement. It is very difficult to hit Rich, and his 22-3 record shows it.
Jason is the new up and comer in the Middleweight division. He is 2-0 in the UFC taking out Chris Leben by Guillotine, and Ed Herman by triangle. Jason finishes by submission more often than not, scoring the tap 13 times out of his 16 wins. He can strike though, but chooses to use strikes to set up the sub.
I think that the UFC hates Jason MacDonald and wants to see him fail. First they fed him to Chris Leben, then to Ed Herman, both times wanting him to loose to their poster children. Now they feed him to the recovering Rich Franklin. I don't see Jason getting out of this one with the W. Rich by KO second round.

Drew McFedries Vs. Martin Kampmann (Light Heavyweight)
Drew won his last fight, knocking out the very tough Alessio Sakara in the last minute of the first round of their fight. Drew is 10-1 and a bit of an enigma. He likes the stand up game, and showed it Sakara. Drew trains at MFS, and is well versed in the MMA game.
Martin beat Thales Leites by decision on the final of TUF 4. Martin is primarily a Muay Thai guy, and it shows winning 7 of his 18 by KO. He has a ground game however, winning six, including his UFC debut over Crofton Wallace, by submission.
This should be a stand up war, which is why the UFC put this fight on the PPV. Both guys are well versed in the stand up game, and both guys like to throw. I give the edge to Martin, he just looked lethal against the very tough Leites. Martin by KO third round.

Chris Lytle Vs. Matt Hughes (Welterweight)
Chris was the runner up in TUF season 4, loosing a very close decision to Matt Serra. Chris is a well rounded fighter, with good stand up and a good ground game. Chris really isn't outstanding in anything, just good. His record is 22-13-5.
Matt Hughes lost his last fight by KO to GSP. Matt looked way over matched in that fight. Matt was the most dominate Welterweight fighter of UFC history, winning with a combination of powerful wrestling and slick submissions. Matt's stand up is improving, but is the obvious weak part in his game.
This is a warm up fight for the rubber match with GSP. Matt will walk through Chris. Matt by Kimura first round.

Tim Sylvia Vs. Randy Couture (Heavyweight)
Tim won his last fight over Jeff Monson by decision where we saw new skill from the "Maniac." At one time Tim actually was threatening Jeff with a triangle choke. In the end Tim managed to stay on his feet and take the win. Tim relies on his big right hand to win fights for him, he really has no ground game to speak of. Tim is on a six fight win streak, boosting his record to 25-3.
Randy retired after he lost his last fight by KO to Chuck Liddell. When it was all said and done, Randy's record was 14-8. Randy was known for his dirty boxing, Greco Roman takedowns, and G&P.
This is a tough fight to call. The Randy of old could certainly take down Tim Sylvia, and win the fight on the ground. I don't know if Randy can do it now. Tim has Randy by almost 40lbs and 7 inches. Tim's main weakness seemed to be the single leg takedown, but submission wrestler Jeff Monson could not get Tim down with it. Can Randy? Check that can the 44 year old Randy? Randy looked like he lost a step in the fight with Mike Van Arsdale, and he looked downright geriatric vs Chuck. Tim can hit as hard as Chuck, and looked plenty athletic against Monson. I don't like picking against Randy, because he always proves me wrong. If anybody has the skills to beat Tim it is Randy, but is his 44 year old body up to the task? I think so!!! Randy did just hold ace submission wrestler Jacare to a draw in a sub match, and looked better than most 20 year olds doing it. I think that Randy has one more left in him. Randy will win the belt and then retire for good, on top where he belongs. Randy by decision!!!!

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