This time we have another exciting match-up. It’s Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral for this Saturday’s UFC 62. Anyone who has even a slight interest in MMA knows the Iceman, the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Babalu, on the other hand, is not well-known as the Champ. Babalu is a top contender of the division and has recently beaten some notable good fighters. Unfortunately, he has been under the radar and many of the MMA fans are unaware of his talent.
Coming into this fight Chuck has the mental edge of knowing that he has already beaten Babalu back in UFC 40. Chuck is known as a fighter who likes keeping the fight on his feet and knocking out his opponents. What makes Chuck so dangerous is that he is capable to do exactly that to any opponent. He has faced world class wrestlers, who tend to take fights to the ground, and manage to keep the fight standing which is an accomplishment in itself. To win this fight, Chuck will need to stick to his game plan and keep the fight standing. Babalu is no chump-fighter from a typical McDojo. Babalu is currently the top jiu-jitsu fighter in UFC’s 205 lbs division and getting into Babalu’s guard should be the last thing on Chuck’s mind. If Chuck can manage to keep his distance and throws his kicks and patented looping-punches he can knockout Babalu.
Babalu is currently on a 10-fight winning streak, and there’s currently no one else in the UFC who deserves this title shot more than him. His last loss was to Chuck back in 2002 and Babalu has come a long way and has beaten some top competition during his journey. To win this fight Babalu will need to take Chuck down and slip in a submission. That’s easier said than done. Chuck’s sprawl is infamous for stopping world class takedown-artists dead in their tracks. So Babalu will need to use every trick in his bag to take him down, and at the same time avoid Chuck’s heavy hands.
What’s my opinion? Well, I have a feeling that this fight will be much different from their last encounter. Chuck is coming off recovery from a broken toe, and it may or may not have affected his training. Rumors have been floating around that Babalu has been working intensively on his boxing. He might not want to stand toe-to-toe (no pun intended) with Chuck, but may use the boxing to setup a takedown. Many will disagree and some will out-loud call me an idiot, but I have Babalu causing an upset. How? If Babalu can take Chuck pass the 3rd round Chuck will be tired enough to make a mistake or two and get caught with a submission (Rear-Naked Choke). Chuck isn’t known for his stamina and it’s something Babalu can exploit.