The UFC puts together a show that features the Light Heavyweight division, capping off with the Lightweight championship. Wait... What?? We watch the big guys fight then two little guys match up? I will never understand the UFC...
Here we go Card and My Picks:
Christian Wellisch Vs. Shane Carwin (Heavyweight)
Wellisch was one of the first guys to build the short lived mythology of Cheick Kongo's MMA career loosing by KO early in the first round. Since then Christian has done well in the UFC winning his last two fights one by decision over Anthony Perosh and the other by heel hook over Scott Junk. Christian fights out of AKA, so he has been in good hands for his training.
Carwin is new to the UFC, but sports an 8-0 record outside the Octagon, his latest a KO win over UFC vet Sherman "The Tank" Pendergarst.
Wellisch is now an old hand at the UFC and most of Carwin's wins at small shows come from guys with nonexistent or 0-5 records. This should be a rude awakening for Carwin. Wellisch by KO first round.
Jason Tan Vs. Dong Hyun Kim (Welterweight)
Jason Tan is a 1-2 fighter who has had one fight in the UFC, back in 07. He lost via KO to Marcus Davis.
Kim is the second Korean fighter to ever walk in to the UFC. Who was the first? Come on... You know this... Think life sized cross. JOE SON was first!! Jesus loves him more than you 'cause he carries a life sized cross in to the ring. Anyway, Kim trains at the outstanding Wajyutsu Keisyukai gym in Japan. He trains with UFC fighter Yushin Okami, and other guys like Carol Uno, and the hated "My skin was dry that is why I greased up to fight Sakuraba" Akiyama.
Kim is 3-1, with only one fight not going the distance... That sucks.
Obviously the UFC is throwing Kim a cupcake. Tan no more deserves to be in the UFC than Butterbean after hitting the Chinese Buffet. The UFC knows that MMA has a HUGE following in Korea, and hope to see favorable PPV numbers there. With a Kim win, that is sure to happen. Kim by submission, armbar first round.
Jon Koppenhaver Vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida (Welterweight)
War Machine from TUF is in his first UFC PPV after knocking out Jared Rollins in December. Jon likes to throw bombs... That is his game.
Yoshida is from the Shooto and GCM orgs in Japan. GCM, unlike Shooto uses a cage so, Yoshida should not have the typical issues that former ring fighters typically do when coming in to the UFC. Yoshida is 7-2, but has not really fought anybody we know yet.
Yoshida is a guy known for his KO power, but can work on the ground... you have to if you fight in Japan. Jon is known for heavy hands and big heart. I think this one goes to the more skilled guy. Yoshida by RNC second round.
Rich Clementi Vs. Terry Etim (Lightweight)
Clementi just barely beat Sam Stout in his last fight in the UFC, but showed that he could stand up with the heavy strikers. This is a new Rich Clementi that we are seeing now a days!
Terry Etim lost to Gleison Tibau his last time in the UFC. Etim is known as a ground guy, he has won 10 fights, and 9 of them were by submission. Nice record.
Terry is used to submitting guys with limited skills in England. Clementi is used to submitting guys in the biggest fight promotion in the world. Clementi certainly has the experience edge and the opponent edge. Clementi by decision.
Rameau Sokoudjou Vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura (Light Heavyweight)
Sokoudjou is another PRIDE import with heavy heavy heavy hands. Ryoto Machida managed to expose his weak ground game by easily submitting the South African via an arm triangle choke. Sokoudjou works out with Team Quest.
Nakamura also lost to Ryoto Machida in his first UFC fight out of PRIDE. He then promptly tested positive for Pot. Nakamura is a Judo guy with good takedowns, but a very slow ground game.
This should end very quickly. Sokoudjou by KO first round.
Ivan Salaverry Vs. Rousimar Palhares (Middleweight)
Ivan got slammed and lost his last fight to Terry Martin nearly a year ago. He has been idle since then, but training guys like Mo' Smith to fight in the IFL. Ivan is primarily a ground guy with good stand up, and very smart situational awareness.
Palhares makes his debut in the UFC. Palhares fights out of BTT and has won all but one of his fights by submission. Toquinho has very strong takedowns, but is very tentative in the stand up game. He likes leg locks, and likes breaking the knees of people he gets in to leg locks... This will be his first fight out of Brazil.
This is a tough fight. Both guys are very good on the ground, but I think that Palhares will want to go there more than Ivan will. Hopefully Ivan has been working on his takedown defense, because Toquinho has a very strong shot. The clinch is where Toquinho seems to do his best work, often going for rolling and sliding knee bars and heel hooks. I think that Ivan will be able to pin Toquinho up against the fence and stay just out of clinch range. Ivan by KO second round.
Thiago Silva Vs. Antonio Mendes (Light Heavyweight)
Thiago Silva is doing well in the UFC going 3-0 beating Houston Alexander, Tomas Drwal, and James Irvin all by KO. Silva is a BJJ black belt, but prefers to end things with his heavy hands. Over all Silva is 13-0.
Mendes makes his UFC debut with a record of 14-2. He fights out of *cough* Europe Top Team *cough*.
This should be a cake walk for Silva. Mendes really has a lot stacked against him, first fight in the UFC, and fighting against a guy on a 13 fight win streak. Silva KO from the mount first round.
Tito Ortiz Vs. Lyoto Machida (Light Heavyweight)
We know who Tito is. He drew Rashad Evans his last fight out, and didn't show to fight aginst Dana White. His style is slam pound pound pound.
Machida is on a 4 fight win streak in the UFC, most recently beating Sokoudjou by arm triangle. Machida fights with a very slow calculating style.
This fight is a tough one to call. On the one hand you have the positionaly superior Machida. The guy makes no mistakes. Opposite him is a guy who makes his living by aggressively taking you down and pounding on you.
Machida really has the advantage standing up. Tito's stand up really is not that good, he mainly uses it to setup the big takedown.
I do think that one way or another this fight goes to the ground. From there this fight really depends on who gets on top. If Tito gets on top he will win the round. If Tito is swept or put on his back, Machida wins the round. I don't see Machida or Tito getting a submission from the bottom. I think that Tito has the most experience in getting people on their back, and I don't think that Machida will be able to sweep him. Tito by decision.
Wilson Gouveia Vs. Goran Reljic (Light Heavyweight)
Wilson Gouveia is on a hot streak winning his last four fights in the UFC, against strong opposition. Wilson is from ATT and a BJJ Black Belt so you can be sure that he wants the fight on the ground.
Goran Reljic is a fighter out of London's Rodger Gracie Academy. He is a purple belt there. He is 5-0 with 4 by sub and one by KO.
This should be a relatively easy fight for Wilson. Wilson has good stand up, and he works with the best team in the USA. Wilson by KO first round.
Wanderlei Silva Vs. Keith Jardine (Light Heavyweight)
Silva has hit a rough patch in his career. He has not won a fight since knocking out TK way back in July of 2006. The Silva of the UFC is not the same Silva as PRIDE, and the aggressive homicidal maniac that we saw in Japan has not shown his face for some time. Silva's old style was to come right at you and pound you in to dust. His new style seems to be to pot shot you, back up and do nothing.
Jardine is riding high after winning the biggest fight of his career, beating Chuck Liddel. Lately Jardine's style has been one of the old school Muay Thai fighter. Brutal leg and body kicks with pin point punches. He could not miss with his kicks in the Liddel fight, and all indications are that he would continue to do the same.
Silva is up against a wall here... If he wins, his contract will be renewed and his career goes on. If he looses he is done. Not just in the UFC, but in any big name promotion. He needs this bad. Jardine is already stoked after beating a legend, a win over Silva may just earn him a shot at Rampage. On paper the fight looks to be a stand up battle, but Jardine has decent wrestling and an OK ground game. Silva's ground game is largely untested, but he does have a BJJ black belt. I think that we will get more of the same from Jardine. Jardine retires Silva with a decision.
Lightweight Title Bout
BJ Penn Vs. Sean Sherk (Lightweight)
Penn is a crazy flexible freak, submission wizard, with heavy hands, who is damn near unbeatable when he is in shape.
Sean Sherk is a cardo machine with some of the best wrestling in MMA. He has never been submitted in his career.
Wow. Tough fight. On the one hand you have BJ Penn who can submit anybody when he is in shape and focused. On the other hand you have Sean Sherk who is seemingly immune to submissions. The way you beat Sherk is you sprawl and pot shot. The way you beat Penn is to stay away from his submissions, get him in to the later rounds where he gasses out, or just gives up. I don't think that Penn has it in him to sprawl and pot shot Sherk. I think that he will allow Sherk to take him down and then work from his guard, ala his last fight with Matt Hughes and GSP. Penn is always dangerous, but I don't think that he can outlast Sean Sherk. Sherk by decision.