Wednesday, July 8, 2009

UFC 100

Well... Art Davie said that we would get here. It was in doubt for a while, the dark years were tough. Only Dish Network carried the fights, and venues had to be changed sometimes on just a few hours notice. But we made it through. 100 UFCs. It is more like 130, with UFC 37.5 Ultimate Ultimates, UFC Japans, and Ultimate Fight Nights, but really who cares?
Of the 8 men who participated in the very first UFC, opened by a belch, literally, from Bill "Superfoot" Wallace only three are still active: Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, and Pat Smith. None of those men are on the card for UFC 100. Kind of sad. Maybe I am a glutton for punishment, but I would have liked to see Shamrock v Gracie III, or Smith vs Shamrock II. It would have been fun.

Matt Grice Vs. Shannon Gugerty (Lightweight)
Grice has struggled in the UFC going 1-2, loosing to Matt Veach by KO most recently. Matt trains out of Norman, Oklahoma where he was a state wrestling champion.
Gugerty is 1-1 in the UFC losing his last fight to Spencer Fisher by triangle. Gugerty seemed to be a babe lost in the woods fighting Fisher. Spencer has that effect on most people.
Matt surely has the wrestling advantage, but Shannon seems to have an edge in the ground game. Neither of these guys really likes to stay on their feet so I expect that Matt will secure a takedown work some ground and pound before Shannon catches him with a triangle. Shannon by triangle second round.

CB Dollaway Vs. Tom Lawlor (Middleweight)
CB is 2-0 since losing to the STILL injured Amir Sadollah. What is with Amir? Frak Mir came back from a broken femur faster. Anyway, CB beat Mike Massenzio by KO back in December. DB is a good stand up guy with an ok ground game.
Tom Lawlor beat Kyle Kingsbury by decision in his first and only UFC appearance.
It is difficult to match these two up because in his seven fights Lawlor has one no contest and one DQ. He has very little experience otherwise. CB is a well known TUF finalist that has three UFC level fights winning two of them.
I have to go with the experience here. CB by RNC second round.

Dong Hyun Kim Vs. TJ Grant (Welterweight)
Kim "lost" his last fight to a Karo Parisyan high on pain killers. The fight, he should have been named the winner, was ruled a no contest. Kim is a Judo guy with some decent kickboxing.
TJ Grant steps on for the injured Jonathan Goulet, to take on Kim. TJ won his last fight, and UFC debut, by split decision over Ryo Chonan.
Grant trains out of FitPlus in Canada. He seems to be a very strong ground guy with all but two of his wins coming by submission. He likes the armbars with 8 of his 14 wins using that submission.
I think this is a bad match up for Kim. I don't think that Grant will come at him like anybody else he has faced before. Parisyan have Kim a hard time, but Karo still came at him like a Judo fighter. I think that Grant's submission wrestling style will be difficult for Kim to deal with.
Grant by KO first round.

Jon Jones Vs. Jake O'Brien (Light Heavyweight)
Jon "Bones" Jones walks in to the ring once again. For all of his talk you would expect Jones to have as many KOs in the UFC as Chuck Liddell. He does not. He actually has only won by decision in the UFC. Most of his 8 wins are by KO (5), so look for him to throw leather.
Jake spoiled Heath Herring's first walk in to the UFC, but has not done much since. He dropped the next two of his fights, and managed to eek out a split decision over Christian Wellisch in his last fight. Again, most of Jake's 11 wins end by KO (8). So he will throw leather as well.
Both of these guys will want to land the big punch. Jon shows a lot of technique and poise in his striking. Jake looks like a drunken monkey. Jake will undoubtedly go for the takedown. He needs to get the fight on the ground in order to win. Jon will be ready for this. In this kind of a contest, look for the best athlete to win. That is Jon "Bones" Jones. Jones by KO late second early third.

Mac Danzig Vs. Jim Miller (Lightweight)
Mac has struggled in the UFC. He has lost two in a row first dropping a decision to Clay Guida, then getting triangled by Josh Neer. Mac is an all around fighter winning on the ground and standing up.
Jim Miller lost his last outing by decision to the Juggernaut that is Gray Maynard. Jim is a ground fighter, and simply was over powered on top by Maynard.
This fight should bring Danzig back to his winning ways. Jim will want the fight to go to the ground and will be looking for the takedown the whole time. Mac will stuff the takedowns, dominate the stand up, and eventually use Miller's takedown, or Miller will allow Mac, to take the top position. It will be all over from there. Mac will G&P his way to a decision victory.

Mark Coleman Vs. Stephan Bonnar (Light Heavyweight)
Coleman is a wrestler who looked awful against Shogun. He has no gas (left vague on purpose)
Stephan Bonnar has struggled in the UFC. He seems to win a fight he shouldn't then lose a fight he should win immediately after. He beat Eric Schafer by KO, then lost a decision to Jon Jones. You would think the reverse would have been true.
Here we are again. Coleman has no business being in the UFC. Bonnar should win this fight. All he has to do is stuff takedowns for 1.5 rounds. Coleman gasses after that and then Stephan can win by whatever he wants. Will Stephan do that? The only way Coleman wins is if he can secure an early takedown and land some good shots early in the first round. However Bonnar is notoriously durable, I don't see it happening. Bonnar by decision.

Yoshihiro Akiyama Vs. Alan Belcher (Middleweight)
Akiyama is a cheater who greased against Sakuraba. I hope he dies... No I don't hope that... I hope Belcher smashes his face until he looks like Takayama!! Post Frye Takayama!!


Akiyama makes his debut in the UFC. He is a Korean born in Japan. He uses a mix of Judo and karate. He has heavy hands and has fought, and beat some tough western fighters knocking out Dennis Kang, and making Melvin Manhoef tap to an armbar.
Alan Belcher, any time I hear that I think of the guy who Kendal Grove caught with a Brabo Choke. Belcher has improved greatly though, most recently choking out Dennis Kang with a Guillotine. Belcher is a somewhat reckless striker and a hot/cold ground fighter. Sometimes, like against Kang, he is a superman, other times, like against Grove, it looks like he does not train on the ground. Who will show up?
Akiyama has already dealt with all of the problems that Japanese fighters face when fighting in the UFC, bigger fighters due to cutting weight, overly aggressive first rounds, elbows on the ground. The only thing he has to learn about is the cage, and I don't think that will be much of a problem. Belcher has the ability to win this fight, but I don't think it is in the cards. Despite my dislike for him, Akiyama by KO frist round.

Dan Henderson Vs. Michael Bisping (Middleweight)
Hendo "won" his fight against Rich Franklin by split decision to take the coach spot on TUF. Henderson is known for his wrestling and his big right hand.
Bisping is the UFC's golden boy in England. He coached the Brits to a devastating win over team USA in TUF, and deservedly so. The leader of the Lion's Den is a good striker and a good ground guy. He won his last fight over Chris Leben by decision.
The only guys to have submitted Dan Henderson are the Nogueira brothers and Anderson Silva, a Nogueira black belt. Is Bisping at that level on the ground? No freaking way. No one has ever knocked out Dan Henderson. He has been in there with Rich Franklin, Quinton Jackson, Anderson Silva, Yuki Kondo, Shungo Oyama, Wanderlei Silva, and Gilbert Yvel. Bisping think that he is going to knock out Hendo? No freaking way. Henderson by decision.

Jon Fitch Vs. Paulo Thiago (Welterweight)
Fitch beat Akihiro Gono by decision in his last time in the UFC, and is looking to extend his winning ways. Jon is a great ground fighter, and has very solid stand up skills. He looked to be the one who could unseat GSP from the 170lb throne, but Georges' wrestling proved to be too much for Jon.
Thiago destroyed Josh Koscheck in his debut in the UFC. No one gave Paulo a chance after Kos has been so dominate, but Thiago went in there like a man on a mission and put Kos to sleep. Here we have the prototypical next generation Brazilian fighter. Paulo has the Muay Thai of old school Chute Boxe with the BJJ skill of BTT. I look for great things from this fighter.
All of that said... Putting Paulo in with Fitch as his second fight is a lot like the out of the frying pan in to the fire analogy. Kos was bad ass, but still not at Fitch's level. I think the UFC is making a big mistake in moving Paulo along too quickly. The man who beats Fitch is arguably going to be next in line for a shot at Alves or GSP depending on the outcome of their fight, and I don't think that Thiago is nearly ready for that. The UFC should feed Paulo with some new up and comers to showcase his growing talent, and round him out as a fighter. Instead they are throwing him to Fitch.
This is a tough fight to call. I think that Paulo is very very good, but I don't think he as the kind of experience it will take to beat a savvy guy like Fitch. I think that Jon will frustrate Paulo by not engaging and irritating him with quick punches and kicks. Fitch will stuff any takedown and cause Paulo to make a mistake by rushing in on him. That is where disaster will strike. Fitch by KO late third round.

Georges St-Pierre Vs. Thiago Alves (Welterweight Championship Fight)
GSP is the greatest MMA fighter since Sakuraba. GSP is the complete fighter. Increasable standup. Razor sharp ground skill, and a world class wrestling game. He is everything you want in a fighter. BUT he has a fatal flaw. Opponents get in to his head. Matt Hughes did it in their first fight. Matt Sera did it in their first fight. GSP has a bit of a confidence issue and for some reason believes that some opponents are better than him. Believe me ALL fighters entertain these thoughts before a fight. It usually happens the first week or so of hard training. You are tired from working out hard, they fight is a ways away so you see nothing but more hard training ahead. The other guys are fresh and you start to get your ass kicked. You feel that if these guys are doing this to me, what the hell is this guy going to do to me??? You normally shake this feeling just as you peak when you are destroying all of your training partners because you have the gas to out physical them and your technique is sharp from the training. Some fighters don't lose those thoughts. And when looking at that other guy across the ring the fear gets the better of them.
The way Alves has been destroying people, he might be in GSP's head.
Alves is on a 9 fight winning streak. He beat Josh Koscheck by decision his last fight out. Before the decision win with Koscheck he had been knocking guys out left and right. His Muay Thai has been unstoppable.

Who wins... Depends on GSP's game plan. Fitch and Koscheck were able to nullify Alves with their wrestling. GSP is a better wrestler than both of them, so he should be looking to take Alves down and keep the fight there. If GSP does that, Alves does not have a chance. BUT if GSP decides to dance a bit with Alves, GSP goes down, and down hard. I don't think that GSP can match Alves punch for punch or Alves' intensity in the stand up game. I don't think that GSP is a stupid fighter, so...
GSP by decision.

Brock Lesnar Vs. Frank Mir (Heavyweight Championship Fight)
Lesnar is a beast. He is a man/bear. He is the stuff of nightmares for all martial artists. A big aggressive, athletic man. When a martial artist says that size doesn't matter, ask them about Brock Lesnar.
Brock is a wrestler. He will take you down and pound on you.
Mir has never looked so sharp as he did in his last fight against Nog. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira hangs his hat on three things: BJJ, boxing, and his chin. Mir out boxed Nog, then knocked him out. The legendary chin of Nog, simply could not stand the multiple straight right hands that Mir threw. Frank looked composed and comfortable in the ring.

The last time these guys fought Mir was barely able to lock on a kneebar. Lesnar was able to smash Frank up, and if it weren't for a questionable stand up, Lesnar would have won that fight. The simple fact is that the only way Frank wins this fight is if he can keep it standing, stuff Brock's takedowns, and pull the fight in to the fourth or fifth round. Brock's endurance has never been tested and I am reasonably sure that he will make a mistake in the later rounds due to fatuge.
Can Mir do it? No. I don't know if anyone on Earth can stop a fresh Lesnar takedown for very long. Stuff one yes. Stuff two maybe. Stuff three? No freaking way. Mir is going to be put on his back and smashed to pieces.
Lesnar by G&P KO first round.

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