The UFC puts together a decent card for its first time in Canada featuring the welterweight championship... but they have mostly middleweight fights on the card. Makes little sense to me, but hey, I am not Joe Silva. If I was I would fill cards with Sakuraba vs Kevin Randleman 9 times.
Kuniyoshi Hironaka Vs. Jonathan Goulet (Welterweight)
Hironaka is a Shooto stand out, but has struggled in the UFC, going 1-2. He has fought good opposition, beating both Nick Diaz and Renato Varisimo by split decision and KO respectively. Primarially, like most Japanese fighters, Hironaka is a ground fighter and will look to take the fight there to win by submission or decision.
Goulet has been all over the place in the UFC, knocked out Jay Hieron in his UFC debut, then was dropped, lost almost immediately to Duane Ludwig by KO in his return, then won a majority decision over Luke Cummo, lost by KO to Josh Koscheck, then was dropped, was brought back after going 3-1 in other shows to loose by armbar to Justin Hazelet, then was dropped, and now he is back to fight in his native country. Wow.
This will be a ground battle, and even though Goulet calls himself a BJJ guy, BJJ is really his weakest area. Hironaka by decision.
Brad Morris Vs. Cain Velasquez (Heavyweight)
Morris is a 6-2 fighter from down under. His last win was a TKO in BodogFight where Kristof Midoux did not answer the bell for the second round.
Cain hasn't had a fight in two years... He last fought in BodogFight in St. Petersburg, a KO win over Jeremiah Constant.
I don't know these guys, and so I will give the win to the guy who has been the most active with the most experience... Morris by KO first round.
Rich Clementi Vs. Sam Stout (Lightweight)
Clementi comes in after a very impressive submission win over Melvin Guillard. Rich seems to have found his stride lately winning his last four all by submission.
Sam Stout beat Per Eklund by decision in his last visit to the UFC. Sam is known as a very strong Muay Thai fighter.
Sam has struggled with good ground guys, he lost to Kenny Florian by RNC, just barely beat a gassed Spencer Fisher by decision, then lost an obvious decision to Fisher in their next bout. Rich showed great athleticism and poise when taking on the explosive Guillard. I think that Rich will not fair well in the stand up game, and will be forced to take Stout down. That is not very easy, Stout has shown he has a good clinch and wrestling game. In the end I think that Stout will dominate on the feet and prevent any extended ground work. Stout by decision.
Ed Herman Vs. Demian Maia (Middleweight)
Ed has been on and off after loosing to Kendal Grove at the TUF final way back in June 2006. He has looked like he is coming back on, though winning his last three by submission. Granted the UFC has been feeding him less than stellar opponents, but a win is a win.
Demian Maia beat my friend and training partner Ryan Jensen by RNC in his last fight... While I don't like that very much it is hard not to like this BJJ Black Belt. He is a humble guy who now has a 4-0 record, all by submission. Maia seems to favor the quick single leg takedown then work his ground game.
For sure Herman will walk in to this fight very confident that he will win. He sees in Maia what we saw when we were training for him. Stuff the single leg and you can G&P him out... The problem is that it is not that simple. Ryan, admittedly, did not do a good job is stuffing the takedown. Ryan wanted to trade a little and was surprised when Maia shot in. I think the same will happen to Herman. Ed has kind of a loose approach to the sprawl, and has not really shown that he is all that great in stopping takedowns. Maia by RNC second round.
Jason Day Vs. Alan Belcher (Middleweight)
Day is hot right now winning his last four fights over opponents that include Ron Faircloth (KO) and David Loiseau (Split Decision). His record stands at 18-7, mixing his wins up with KOs and submissions. This will be his first fight in the UFC.
Alan Belcher is an old hand at the UFC now amassing a record of 3-2 in the big show. His biggest win has be the third round KO of Jorge Santiago, but the D'Arce choke loss to Kendal Grove is the one that everybody remembers. Alan is a typical American MMA fighter good wrestling and G&P, OK boxing style stand up.
The ony reason Day is on the card is because he is from Canada, and this UFC is in Montreal. That said he looks like a decent competitor and he should do well in front of his countrymen. Alan is dangerous, but not as dangerous as say a David Loiseau. Day by decision.
Joe Doerksen Vs. Jason MacDonald (Middleweight)
Joe is in kind of a slump loosing his last fight by KO to Ed Herman, and before that loosing by KO to Paulo Filho in the UFC. Doerkersen is a ground fighter. Of his 39 wins, only 5 have been by KO, and only 3 have been by decision. The rest have been submission after submission. You name the submission Joe has caught somebody with it (except the gogo plata, that is the sole domain of Brad Imes).
Jason MacDonald is looking to comeback after dropping a decision to Yushin Okami at UFC 77. Jason has been hot and cold in the UFC, winning a couple of fights (Ed Herman, triangle; Chris Leben, guillotine; Rory Singer, KO), then loosing to the higher caliber fighters (Rich Franklin, KO; Okami, decision). Jason is a ground guy, and very athletic.
Look for this one to go to the ground where both guys will have their ups and downs. I think that Joe is the better one on the ground though, Joe by decision.
Mark Bocek Vs. Mac Danzig (Lightweight)
The UFC is feeding Danzing somebody to chew up. Danzing by KO first round.
Charles McCarthy Vs. Michael Bisping (Middleweight)
Chansaw McCarthy has not fought in a while, concentrating on running American Top Team. He won his last fight with an armbar over the limited ground skilled Gideon Ray. Chainsaw is a ground guy and has surely sharpened his skills with ATT.
Bisping lost to Rashad Evans by split decision in his last fight, before that he "
won" a controversial split decision over Matt Hamill. He has decided that he is too small for 205 and is cutting weight to 185. Will we see a transformation like we saw when Rashad Evans moved from heavyweight to light heavy??
This is a tough fight for me to call, because I think that the time off probably did Chainsaw a lot of good. He has been working out with a good team, so I don't think that he will be a push over. Bisping is cutting weight for the first time, and I think that will definitely affect his performance, especially if the fight goes in to the middle second and third rounds. Bisping has not shown good endurance in his previous fights, so the weight cut may be too much for his gas tank to take. In the end I think that Bisping wins, though... The Count by KO second round.
Nate Quarry Vs. Kalib Starnes (Middleweight)
Nate has been easing back in to MMA after a devastating KO loss to Rich Franklin. After that loss Nate has had several surgeries on his back, and has difficulty training and performing at the level he was at before the Franklin fight. He won his last outing beating Pete Sell by KO in the third round. That fight was a little over seven months ago now, and says that he is in good shape. Nate is a versatile fighter with good ground skill... I would like to say that his stand up game is good, which it is, but it shouldn't be... Nate looks like an old school fighting video game guy. Punch, block, punch, punch. Very wooden, BUT extremely effective.
Kalib got cut against Alan Belcher in his last fight and that ended it early for him. Kalib is a BJJ guy, and very skilled from what his teammates say. However, we really have yet to see any real strong ground skill from him. The only submission he has gotten in the UFC was over hapless "I am a real Ultimate Fighter" TKD moron Dany Abbadi...
Nate has a way of proving he is the better man, and I don't see any reason to doubt him now. Nate by KO second round.
Travis Lutter Vs. Rich Franklin (Middleweight)
Travis Lutter couln't make weight, looked like a zombie, and lost by triangle choke to Anderson Silva in his last appearance in the UFC. Lutter is well known for his ground skill, and showed it off by easily tapping Patric Cote by inverted armbar, BUT that was nearly 17 months ago now...
Rich Franklin lost his last fight by KO at the able hands of Champion Anderson Silva. Rich seems able to beat everybody BUT Silva... Rich has very strong stand up, and a balanced G&P/submission game.
This should be a good fight. I don't think that Lutter has anything that Rich has not seen already, BUT he could bring a ground game that Rich has yet to deal with. I don't think that it will get off of the feet though, Rich by KO first round.
Matt Serra Vs. Georges St-Pierre (Welterweight Championship)
Matt Serra ushered in the era of the BJJ guy with flowing submissions. That's about it.
GSP is a head case that has some of the most talent we have ever seen. He destroyed Matt Hughes. Destroyed him. Beat him up, stuffed his takedowns, and then tapped him out. It was embarasing for Hughes.
This fight needs to take place, but I don't think that the UFC needed to bring it to GSP's hometown to give him the edge. Matt Serra does not have GSP's number. He never did, and he never will. GSP by KO very quickly first round.