Friday, July 6, 2007

UFC 72 Stacked

The UFC presents the best PPV card since before TUF with Stacked. Unforturnately, the old school fans used to have this kind of card all of the time, and most long for the good old days. Despite this, we will tune in and watch what is sure to be a great night.

The UFC is continuing with its policy of matching up brand new prospects with top names coming off of a loss. I can understand where the UFC is coming from when doing this, they essentially turn their recently lost fighter in to a "gatekeeper" of sorts. If the new guy looses, the name is touted as being back from defeat, if the new guy wins, he is lauded as the next great thing. This is great for the UFC, but hard on the new guys. It is a very harsh welcome, and really does not give the new fighter a chance to cut his teeth in the big show.

Card and my picks

Mark Bocek Vs. Frank Edgar (Lightweight)

Mark is a BJJ black belt out of Canada with a 4-0 record one stoppage due to injury and three submissions. Mark is a very good submission wrestler with wins over Kurt Pellegreino and Mark Fowler. This is his first fight in the UFC.

Frank Edgar won his last trip to the Octagon beating Tyson Griffin by decision. I honestly thought that Griffin lost this fight because he refused to break Edgar's knee. Anyway, Edgar got the win extending his record to 7-0, with his last three fights coming by decision. Edgar has good stand up, but his ground is suspect.

Mark is a solid ground guy, and Edgar is not. Edgar's chance is to prevent the take down and win the stand up game. I don't thing that will happen. Mark by armbar first round.

Chris Lytle Vs. Jason Gilliam (Welterweight)

Chris comes back after his devastating loss to Matt Hughes, after his devastating loss to Matt Serra. Chris is looking to turn his luck around. Chris is a good ground guy with good stand up. His record is peppered with wins in all ways, as well as losses in all ways, combining for an overall record of 22-14-5.

Jason lost his first fight in the UFC by a Jamie Varner RNC. That was his first loss. Before that he amassed a 15 win portfolio, winning most by KO.

Jason really does not have much of a chance here. Chris by RNC first round.

Diego Saraiva Vs. Jorge Gurgel (Lightweight)

Diego is a Nova Uniao BJJ black belt and is very well known for his submission wresting, excelling in the no-gi game. His MMA record shows this with 8 of his 10 wins by submission, the other two were by KO. He has lost five times, most recently to Dustin Hazelet in his UFC debut.

The perpetually injured Jorge Gurgel is back in the UFC after getting his knee repaired (not the one that was injured during TUF 2, the other one). Jorge is a BJJ black belt with a plethora of schools in several states. He was a very popular character in TUF 2, though he was eliminated by Jason VonFlue. He dropped a decision to Mark Hominick in the finals, then beat the hapless Danny Abbadi by decision. After the fight we learned that Jorge beat Danny with a blown knee. Before all of his injuries Jorge was a fighter whose motto was "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA KILL KILL KILL" Jorge used to attack constantly until the someone made him stop. His record stands at 10-3.

This is a very interesting fight. Both are BJJ black belts so the ground game should be top notch. I give the edge on the ground to Diego, as he is much better known as a competitor. I don't think much of either guy's standup game, perhaps Jorge has a slight lead there. As both guys want the fight to be on the ground, that is what will decide the fight. Diego by decision.

Mike Nickels Vs. Stephan Bonnar (Light Heavyweight)

Mike knocked out Wes Combs in the TUF 3 finals and was promptly forgotten by the UFC. He went back to Ring Of Fire and knocked out Carpaccio Owens there, and now has been asked back to the UFC.

Stephan dropped his last two by decision to Rashad Evans and Forrest Griffin. We haven't seen him for a while, because he was caught doing the Vitamin "S."

Stephan has a vast stand up advantage here. Mike got taken out by the sloppy punching of Matt Hammil. Stephan has tapped out James Irvan and Mike Swick. Mike got tapped by Craig Zellnar. Stephan by KO first round. Hopefully all of the steroids have left his blood stream.

Heath Herring Vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Heavyweight)

Heath lost his debut in the UFC by decision to Jake O'Brien then won a decision over Brad Imes. Two guys he was supposed to steam roll. Heath has become a husk of his former greatness. I honestly think that Fedor stole his soul. He has not been the same since that fight.

NOG!!!! Nog is awesome. He is perhaps the greatest submission fighter in MMA. He defeated Josh Barnett by decision in his last fight, avenging the split decision "loss" in the last PRIDE Open Weight GP.

These guys have fought before. Twice. Nog won the first one by decision, and the second by Anaconda Choke. No reason to suspect anything different. Nog by RNC second round.

Hermes Franca Vs. Sean Sherk (Lightweight Title Match)

Hermes is on a tear winning eight in a row, all by KO or submission. Hermes has a very awkward style throwing wild haymakers, off balance head kicks, and crazy submissions. BUT it works for him. He gets the KO, or the sub every time.

Sean is a little Matt Hughes. He is very strong, uses the position game to pound his opponents out or grab the submission. His stand up game is crisp, but lacking in any real power. He mostly uses it to set up the shot.

Sean has cardio for days, where Hermes seems to gas almost immediately. Seems to gas, because in his last eight fights, he always has the power, stamina, and strength to pull out the win. He just looks tired. Kenny Florian nearly caught Sean in several submissions. Hermes is better than Kenny with submissions, so he may have the advantage there. Sean is nearly unmovable when he is on top. Can Hermes get the sweep? I don't think so. If Hermes is to win he will have to do it from his back. I really like Hermes, but I don't think that he can do it here. Sean by decision.

Rashad Evans Vs. Tito Ortiz (Light Heavyweight)

Rashad has shown new power and technique ever since training at Greg Jackson's gym in New Mexico. He has had KOs in his last two fights, nearly killing Sean Salmon with a head kick. Rashad has very good wrestling, but not a lot of submissions. He has very solid stand up, and now KO power.

Tito is a wrestler. He is one of the chief evangelists of the church of G&P. His game plan is takedown, push him up against the fence, pound pound pound to a decision or a ref stoppage.

Tito has not finished anybody under the age of 40 since 2001. Rashad has been fighting good fighters, but not great fighters. This is the first real test for Rashad, and Tito's big chance to return to the Light Heavyweight title discussion. Both are good wrestlers, but I don't think that this fight will be decided on the ground. The way to defeat Tito is to keep the fight standing. Rashad is a good enough wrestler to do that. I think that Rashad will pepper a frustrated Tito for three rounds. Rashad by decision.

Alvin Robinson Vs. Kenny Florian (Lightweight)

Alvin is a submission fighter out of Denver with a solid record of 8-1. All of his wins are by some sort of choke, but he favors the RNC.

Kenny is coming off a side choke win over Mishima, and is looking to avenge is loss to Sean Sherk. He sees Alvin as merely a stepping stone. Kenny is a BJJ black belt and has many wins in the UFC at different weight classes.

This should be an interesting fight with a lot of ground fireworks. In the end, Alvin who has only fought local and up and coming fighters (some we know Alonso Martinez win RNC and Luke Caudillo RNC) will be out classed by the more experienced and savvy Ken-flo. Kenny by KO second round.

Nate Marquardt Vs. Anderson Silva (Middleweight Title Match)

Nate, who likes steroids, is on 6 a win streak, beating an array of very strong opposition. He is known for his methodical, suffocating ground game and sharp stand up. Nate has not lost since 2003, and has never been knocked out.

Silva has lit up the UFC Middleweight division first knocking out Chris Leben, then knocking out Rich Franklin, then tapping out Travis Luter. Silva likes to crush you then dance as the doctors try to pick up the pieces that once was your face. He is known for crippling stand up and a passable ground attack.

This is a very interesting fight. Nate has no chance against Anderson's stand up attack. None at all. His goal must be to secure the takedown and work his position game to grind out a decision or catch the submission. For sure Nate could do the lay and pray decision game plan. It served him well in Pancrase and in his fight with my close personal friend Ivan Salaverry who has tapped me out and punched me in the face and remembered me when I came back to his school. Silva is not known for his takedown defense and that could be his undoing in this fight. However, Silva is very good in the clinch and in the long range fight. He could keep Nate away with strikes as he did with Ryo Chonan. I think that Silva will be able to keep the fight up and take Nate out. Silva by KO third round.

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