This shouldn't be called "Knockout." It should be called, "No Middleweights." Where the hell are the 185 pounders? Are they all fighting in October? WTF??
This PPV culminates in the main event that no one wants to see, and that has no berring on the Light Heavyweight scene. Liddell won't get another title shot after this, and Jardine certainly won't get a tilte shot afterwards. Houston Alexander will get a title shot before Chuck and Keith will. Anyway here are my picks: the Middleweights loose! Oh all right my fight picks:
Michihiro Omigawa Vs. Matt Wiman (Lightweight)
Omigawa is a Judo guy fighting out of Yoshida's dojo. He got destroyed by Aaron Riley in Pride Bushido, but has comeback and made a name for himself in the DEEP organization, even beating Eddie Bravo student, and History Channel star Jason Chambers by split decision. Omigawa's evolution has come just as the other Judo fighters have come, first throws, then ground work, then striking. He has come a long way, winning his last two both by KO.
Handsome Matt Wiman knocked out Brian Geraghty on the TUF 5 final show. That was his first win in a big show against a decent opponent. Matt fights out of Tul$a Top Team. Yes the dollar sign is how they spell their name...
Omigawa has more experience in bigger shows, but I don't think that he has faced someone with Matt's explosive power since Aaron Riley knocked him out. I don't see a different outcome here, especially since Omigawa considers himself to be a "striker" now... Wiman by KO second round.
Scott Junk Vs. Christian Wellisch (Heavyweight)
Scott Junk makes his debut in the UFC, with a 6-1 record. His only loss was to a bloated and out of shape Ricco Rodriguez by guillotine choke back in 2005. Since then he has gone 6-0 knocking out nearly everyone else in his way.
Wellisch comes back to the UFC after winning a decision over Anthony Perosh back in December 2006. He trains with AKA.
This should be a quick fight. Junk really has no experience and has not really fought any top opposition. Wellisch has been in the UFC with Kongo and Perosh. I think this will be Wellisch by KO first round.
Diego Saraiva Vs. Jeremy Stephens (Lightweight)
Diego Saraiva has dropped his last two in the UFC, first a decision to Dustin Hazelett then a decision to Jorge Gurgel. Diego trains with Velocity Kickboxing in Atalanta, but is a Nova Uniao Black Belt. His record shows it with all of his wins coming by decision or submission.
Stephens lost the last time we saw him in the UFC by armbar to Din Thomas. Stephens is a committed striker, winning most of his 13 wins by KO.
I think that the telling part of this fight is that the two losses on Stephen's record all come from submissions. He lost his last fight to Din Thomas 15 seconds before the bell in the first round by armbar. Diego has a black belt from one of the most prestigious schools of BJJ in the universe. Diego by armbar first round.
Anthony Johnson Vs. Rich Clementi (Welterweight)
Johnson is best known in the UFC for knocking the ever loving crap out of Omaha native, and my training partner Chad Reiner. His record is 4-0, and he trains with Chute Boxe Los Angles.
Rich Clementi has had very little luck in his UFC career both before and after TUF. His only win there post TUF was a gimme RNC of Ross Pointon. He was also choked out (RNC) by Din Thomas, then lost a decision to Roan Carneiro.
Is this a comeback fight for Clementi or a coming out fight for Johnson? I think it is a coming out fight. Rich showed that he has a suspect chin. He seems to deflate and loose his will after getting hit, and he will get hit in this match. Johnson by KO first round.
Thiago Tavares Vs. Tyson Griffin (Lightweight)
Thiago triangled the crap out of Jason Black in his last fight, and has shown with his 8-0 record he is for real in the lightweight division. He is a BJJ black belt like so many of the guys at ATT, and shows it with all but one of his 8 by submission.
Tyson Griffin "won" a split decision over Clay Guida. I thought that Guida won that fight, but what do I know? Anyway, Griffin is a dynamic fighter who is well rounded on the ground and on his feet. He has several knock outs, and submissions. His only weakness I can honestly see is that he is too nice. His one loss in 10 fights comes by decision to Frank Edgar. At then end of that fight Tyson had a knee bar locked on, and Edgar refused to tap. Tyson chose to take the fight in a different direction rather than break the knee.
This is a very good fight that could go in any direction. Tyson will definitely want to keep the fight standing to avoid Thiago's submissions. Thiago will definitely want to take the fight to the ground to avoid Tyson's stand up. No one has been able to finish Tyson yet, and I don't think that Thiago will here. Tyson by decision.
Kazuhiro Nakamura Vs. Lyoto Machida (Light Heavyweight)
Nakamura makes his UFC debut after proclaiming "No PRIDE, No Life!" after loosing his last fight to Mauricio Rua in the now defunct PRIDE organization. I guess there is life after PRIDE after all...
Nakamura is a Judo fighter out of Yoshida's dojo. He has really become more than just a Judo fighter as of late. He has very solid ground skills, and while not perfect, his stand up is good as well.
Machida has made a good name for himself with his unorthodox and dangerous stand up. A kajikenpo karate fighter, his stand up utilizes front stances and awkward kicks. With two decision wins in the UFC, he has not lived up to the knockout artist he was billed as, he knocked out Stephan Bonnar and Rich Franklin in other shows, but has proven to be a very tough guy indeed. He has a perfect 10-0 record.
Nakamura has shown that the fight needs to be on the ground for him to be competitive. He has a very bad record against strikers, (Rua decision, Henderson KO, Silva almost killed him). Lyoto will come right at Kazuhiro. If Nakamura wants to go to the ground the UFC veteran will certainly make him pay by dropping elbows on Nakamura's noggin. Lyoto by KO second round.
Jon Fitch Vs. Diego Sanchez (Welterweight)
Jon Fitch is riding a 13 fight win streak, the last 6 being in the UFC. With a nasty 17-2 record, Jon is a certified bad man. He wins by any way he can, KOs, decisions, and submissions dot his record.
Diego lost his last fight to Josh Koscheck, in a rather boring but technical fight. Diego seemed tentative in that fight, not his normal aggressive self. Koscheck managed to threaten with the takedown enough taking Diego out of his game, and denying him the rhythm necessary to mount a decent offence. Outside of that one loss, Digo is an aggressive fighter with very good stand up skills, and very solid ground skills.
I think that this will be a tough fight, but I don't think that Fitch will be able to make Diego worry too much about the take down. Even though Fitch trains at AKA, Koscheck's gym, I don't think that Diego will have as much respect for Fitch as he did for Koscheck. Diego will find his rhythm, and ride Fitch down. Diego by decision.
Mauricio Rua Vs. Forrest Griffin (Light Heavyweight)
Shogun did not really look like himself in his decision win over Nakamura, in Japan. Then did look like himself in his last fight a KO over Alistair Overeem in the US. I don't think that the rules change would be such a big deal to him. Anyway, Shogun is the next generation of ass kickers out of Chute Boxe. He is hyper aggressive, strong, and has not one care about the well being of his opponent.
Forrest Griffin won his last fight out a decision victory over the unknown Hector Ramirez, a guy who should not have been able to last a round with Griffin. Forrest was visibly shaken mentally after his knockout loss to Kieth Jardine. It is still questionable if he has recovered.
I really don't think that Griffin has any sort of chance if Shogun shows up to fight like he did in PRIDE. Shogun is very good on the ground, and very solid on his takedown defense. I don't think that Forrest can get him to the ground, especially if he could not get Stephan Bonnar to the ground. Shogun by KO first round.
Chuck Liddell Vs. Keith Jardine (Light Heavyweight)
Chuck lost to Rampage.
Keith lost to Houston.
Chuck knocks out Keith in the first round.