For the first time UFC will be bringing their event to my hometown of San Jose, Ca and it’s going to be a crazy weekend. Believe it or not San Jose has a large MMA community. There are martial arts dojos and classes at almost every major plaza or shopping centers here, so I’m planning on a large crowd of MMA fans and Affliction and Tapout shirt wearing ‘wannabes’ flooding downtown this evening. This event doesn’t have the major star-studded fighters like GSP, Anderson Silva, or Jon ‘Bones’ Jones but there are a few very interesting matches I can’t wait to see.
Wanderlei Silva vs Cung Le
I’ve always been a fan of Wanderlei Silva. his violent style of fighting makes him so much fun to watch. In his prime, Wanderlei was a ferocious champion. His ability to dish out damage was unmatched by any of his opponents. In the last few years age and wear and tear has caught up with him. Wanderlei hasn’t quite have the same speed, power, and aggression. But his fights are still exciting. Cung Le’s fighting style is totally opposite from the “Axe Murderer”. Le likes to use angles and lots of movement to set up his strikes. Wanderlei has an in-your-face style that puts a lot of pressure on his opponent. For Wanderlei to win he’ll need to constantly put the pressure on Le. He needs cut off Le’s angles and force him to back pedal throughout the fight. Le isn’t good at taking damage, so if Wanderlei makes this a close-quarter brawl he’ll get his hand raise at the end of the night.
On the other side of the cage we have Cung Le. He’s a very cerebral fighter. Le has a solid stand up game and wrestling base. Le’s has an arsenal of flashy strikes which are very powerful and can catch his opponents off guard. Throwing those flashy kicks requires lots of distance from his opponents, but Wanderlei is not going to sit there and let Le throw spinning back kicks all night. Le will need to use lots of lateral movement as Wanderlei will come straight at him and stepping backwards will only put him in the way of a barrage of punches.
Mauricio Rua vs Dan Henderson
Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua is coming off a big win over Forrest Griffin. Shogun hasn’t been consistent with all the injuries and surgeries he’s had in the past few years. But with all that behind him now he’s poised to made another return to get his title back. And standing in his way tonight is the hard-hitting Dan Henderson. Shogun is as well-rounded of a fighter one can get. He can KO or submit anyone so weaknesses for Shogun are very few. But Henderson doesn’t need to find and exploit a weakness. He just needs to connect once with an over hand right to put Shogun to sleep. To take out Henderson Shogun will need to avoid those heavy bombs of Henderson and take the fight to the ground. Making it a grappling match will tire Henderson’s arms and will diminish his KO power. Shogun has great submission skills and Henderson has been submitted before. Taking it to the ground is Shogun’s best route. Keeping the fight on the feet is a little too risky.
Dan Henderson is coming off three big wins and the last one being Fedor Emelianenko is one not many have on their win column. We all know Henderson has crazy KO power and anyone who faces him has a good chance of going to sleep inside the cage. Henderson likes to swing for the fences and this is where he’ll run into trouble some times. Those big haymakers will tire anyone down. So Henderson will need to approach and set up those big punches with a clean boxing style. He’ll need to use a lot of jabs, straights and hooks. And if Rua is willing to stand toe to toe Henderson can throw that big right hand of his when the time is right. Henderson is also a great greco-roman wrestler. He can use that experience to pin Rua up against the fence and utilize some dirty boxing. He’ll need to avoid taking the fight completely to the ground.
Dan Henderson beats Mauricio Rua
Wanderlei Silva beats Cung Le
Urijah Faber beats Brian Bowles
Martin Kampmann beats Rick Story
Kyle KingsBury beats Stephan Bonnar
Ryan Bader beats Jason Brilz
Gleison Tibau beats Rafael dos Anjos
Miguel Torres beats Nick Pace
Matt Brown beats Seth Baczynski