UFC 144

This UFC’s first event in Japan in a very long time (since UFC 29). This event is stacked with great fights. Check out my picks below. Sorry, no time for a main event analysis.

The event is actually taking place on Sunday in Japan, but because of the time difference we (here in the US) will be able to view it live on PPV today.

My Picks:

Frankie Edgar beats Benson Henderson
Quinton Jackson beats Ryan Bader
Cheick Kongo beats Mark Hunt
Yushin Okami beats Tim Boetsch
Joe Lauzon beats Anthony Pettis
Norifumi Yamamoto beats Vaughan Lee
Takanori Gomi beats Eiji Mitsuoka

UFC 136

Two titles are on the line. Frankie Edgar will be defending his Lightweight title against Gray Maynard in a rematch that ended in a controversial draw in their last bout.  And Jose Aldo will try to retain his title against the veteran Kenny Florian whose been trying to capture a title of his own the past few years.

Edgar vs. Maynard

This will be their third fight against each other with Maynard holding a win over Edgar in their first fight. In their last fight, Maynard was so close to finishing the fight in the first round, but Edgar was able to weather the storm and took control of the fight to even it up on the score card.

Expect Maynard to come into this fight with a controlled game plan. He will use is physical strength and wrestling to control his opponent.  He’ll want to take the fight to the ground and wear the New Jersey native down. But it won’t be easy as Edgar’s foot movement and quick hands will be the deciding factor of this fight.  If Edgar can keep the fight on the feet, he will retain the title. Both are good wrestlers and in the end I see Edgar fending off Maynard’s takedowns and utilize his quickness to keep Maynard at bay and score points with this hands.

Aldo vs. Florian

Aldo has dominated all his opponents since he debuted in the WEC.  Since holding the Featherweight title he looked untouchable.  In his last fight against Mark Hominick, Aldo seemed to exposed a weaknesses. It was his cardio.  Some were saying Aldo had an injury that forced him to make a big weight cut right before the fight, but who knows?

Florian has made an unprecedented move by dropping to a fourth weight class. He was able to prove that he belongs in the division by beating a tough and top contender, Diego Nunes.  Florian will be Aldo’s toughest opponent yet. Well-rounded with tons of experience Florian will force the Champion to bring his A-Game.

I’m excited for this fight as Aldo is one of the most explosive fighters in MMA. His striking is phenomenal and his team mates say his ground game is just as good. We haven’t seen it yet as he has not have the opportunities to use it in the octagon. I believe Florian’s striking is good too, but not at the level that Aldo has displayed.  I expect Florian to use his reach advantage, but when the opportunities are there he will try to stifle Aldo by keeping him up against the cage. Keeping the fight in tight quarters where Florian can use his knees and elbows is key to scoring points and maintain control.  It’s out in the middle of the octagon is where Aldo can blast those big leg kicks and crushing knees.  I see Florian struggling to control the Brazilian phenom. Aldo will be just too fast and powerful in the striking game.

My Picks:

Frankie Edgar beats Gray Maynard
Jose Aldo beats Kenny Florian
Chael Sonnen beats Brian Stann
Nam Phan beats Leonard Garcia
Melvin Guillard beats Joe Lauzon
Demian Maia beats Jorge Santiago
Jeremy Stephens beats Anthony Pettis
Zhang Tiequan beats Darren Elkins
Eric Schafer beats Aaron Simpson

UFC 125

As of tomorrow night it’ll be Frankie Edgar’s 3rd title fight in 9 months and a title defense within 4 months. As a UFC Champion that’s a quick turnaround given that other Champs take 6 or more months in between defenses. After beating BJ Penn twice Edgar is still not getting any respect coming into this fight. Many of the bookies and analysts expect Maynard to take the belt from the New Jersey native. Seeing that Maynard did win against their last bout it’s not unreasonable to believe he will win again.  Both fighters have grown leaps and bounds since their last meeting. Maynard has greatly improved his stand-up and Edgar’s ever-evolving quick hands and feet have helped both fighters rise to the top of the division.

This fight will be their most important fight of their careers. A win for Edgar will truly mark him as the undisputed Champion of the lightweight division and will give him the respect he deserves. For Maynard, it’s obvious, he gets the title. But a loss for either will put them much deeper down the division since UFC / WEC merger will add a boat load of up-and-coming lightweight fighters to the roster.

In their last fight Marynard received the unanimous decision. Maynard utilized his wrestling to control the fight and to keep Edgar off his feet as much as possible. It was a poor game plan on Edgar’s part. Edgar seemed so focused on striking and didn’t use his wrestling to mix up his attack which I think costs him that fight, but that loss doesn’t mean Maynard is a more superior wrestler than Edgar. Edgar’s wrestling credentials are just as impressive as any one in the UFC.  If Edgar mixes up his boxing and wrestling like he did against his last bout with BJ Penn a repeat win for Maynard won’t be as likely. For the past few months I can see Maynard winning this fight again in similar fashion, but after watching their last fight a few times and Edgar’s fights against BJ Penn I now I have change my mind that Frankie Edgar will win in this rematch. The fight will be close and a controversial win won’t be that all surprising.

My Picks:

Jacob Volkmann beats Antonio McKee
Clay Guida beats Takanori Gomi
Dong Hyun Kim beats Nate Diaz
Josh Grispi beats Dustin Poirier
Jeremy Stephens beats Marcus Davis
Thiago Silva beats Brandon Vera
Brian Stann beats Chris Leben
Frankie Edgar beats Gray Maynard

UfC 118

For this UFC I find myself more interest in the non main event fights. The fight I’m looking forward is the Florian vs Maynard bout. These two fighters have very different styles that will make for a very interesting fight. Florian is a tactician on his feet and on the ground. He is very cerebral and he takes the fight where he knows he has the advantage. Maynard is a strong and powerful wrestler that can wear out the most durable fighters. He gets better and better every time he steps in the cage. With a win over the current champ, Frankie Edgar, Marynard is guarantee a title shot if he manages to get pass Florian. In this fight Maynard will need more than his strength and power to win he will need to stifle Florian’s striking and take the fight to the ground and pound away with his top position, and with his strong wrestling background he has the tools to do it. It’s easier said than done. Kenny Florian has phenomenal striking and a slick ground game. If Florian can stay away from the clinch and avoid the takedown Maynard will be in trouble.

I always thought the argument about Boxing vs MMA is stupid, and it still is. These are two different sports and trying to compare them to each other makes no sense. But with James Toney fighting Randy Couture tonight hopefully people will see the difference. Both of these fighters are legends in their respective sports and when these two athletes compete against each other the fighter who fights outside their forte will undoubtedly be in a losing proposition. Randy Couture has 13 years of experience compared to the 7 months of Toney’s the chance of Toney winning this fight is infinitesimally small, but it’s that chance that people find intriguing.

Seeing Penn lose to Edgar in April shocked me. Not because Edgar was a huge underdog, it was the game plan he brought with him. Known for his amazing BJJ Penn never even tried to attempt to utilize such an important skill set that made him feared by so many fighters. That loss has woken the demon inside him and I hope we will see a BJ Penn that wrecked havoc in the lightweight division. As for Edgar his strategy worked for him last time and I don’t think he should change it, but he should expect Penn to take the fight to the ground. And if the fight does go to the ground I don’t see Edgar escaping from the tangles of BJ Penn. But another win against the Hawaiian will surely establish his last win as no fluke.

My Picks:

Randy Couture beats James Toney
BJ Penn beats Frankie Edgar
Kenny Florian beats Gray Maynard
Marcus Davis beats Nate Diaz
Joe Lauzon beats Gabe Reudiger
Mike Pierce beats Amilcar Alves
Dan Miller beats John Salter

UFC 107


BJ Penn will be defending his Lightweight title this Saturday against Diego Sanchez. Diego is no slouch and he always comes in with great intensity. Diego’s career as a welterweight was more than impressive, and now that he’s down to the 155lbs division he has earned his shot at the title. Penn is arguably one of the best MMA fighters in the sport, but the lack of consistency of his fights makes it difficult to place him among other great fighters such as Fedor, Anderson Silva, and GSP which they all have dominated their division. As for Penn this would be his only second title defense.

Penn’s last fight with Kenny Florian showed how versatile and how great of a fighter he actually is. Penn was seen to have poor condition and only relied on his skills and experience to win fights. It took a devastating loss to GSP to make him realize his woes and his win against Florian showed what he learned from it.

Since dropping down to the lightweight division Diego’s ability to finish fights haven’t been prevalent. But with his outstanding cardio and ability to keep the fight at a frantic pace makes him so dangerous. Many think that Diego’s pace will wear Penn out in the later rounds and is the X factor that may give him the win.

There’s something about BJ Penn that makes his opponents change their fight game completely. Kenny Florian is a tactical fighter with devastating striking and good BJJ, but when he fought Penn he looked so timid.  In fact, he look liked a TUF fighter trying to survive his first UFC fight. Diego always pushes the fight, but will he do the same when fighting Penn? It’s something that we have to wait and find out. If we look at Diego’s record his only losses came from the welterweight division against two fighters who are the top 5, and they were decision losses.

For Diego to win he will need to take the fight to Penn. He needs to back Penn up and use his flurries of punch to keep Penn moving back. Diego will also need to take Penn down whenever possible. Penn’s BJJ is world-class and he can be dangerous on his back, but as long as Diego is able to avoid Penn’s rubber guard and dish out some damage he will earn points in the eyes of the judges. Diego should use his proven cardio to keep Penn on defense as much as possible. A countering strategy against Penn is a losing one.

Penn can win the fight easily if he’s able to control and dictate the fight. It’s his stand up that sets up his finishes. Penn’s heavy hands makes his opponents shy and it’s where Penn is able to take them to the ground where he is most dangerous. It is the top position is where Penn will end the fight.

If the same BJ Penn that fought Kenny Florian is back again, then Diego will have his hands full. If Penn comes in better than he did against Florian then Diego is in huge trouble. This fight is a great test for both fighters. A win for Penn places him closer to greatness and questions about his cardio is a thing of the past. A win for Diego Sanchez would prove that the lightweight division is where he belongs and would give him the opportunity to dominate the division and be placed among fighters like GSP and Anderson Silva.

My Picks:

BJ Penn beats Diego Sanchez
Frank Mir beats Cheick Kongo
Jon Fitch beats Mike Pierce
Clay Guida beats Kenny Florian
Paul Buentello beats Stephan Struve

Alan Belcher beats Wilson Gouveia
Matt Wiman beats Shane Nelson
Johny Hendricks beats Ricardo Funch
Lucio Linhares beats Rousimar Palhares
Edgar Garcia beats DaMarquez Johnson
Kevin Burns beats TJ Grant

UFC 101


BJ Penn vs Kenny Florian

With the return of BJ Penn the lightweight title will be on the line as he will be defending it from Kenny Florian. On paper Penn is considered the heavy favorite, but for the last two years Florian has shown tremendous growth and improvement in his standup and ground game.

This will be Florian’s toughest fight to date. Penn is one of the most well-rounded fighters in MMA, but Florian is almost just as dangerous. When it comes to his striking, Florian’s Muay Thai is solid and will surprise Penn if he keeps the fight standing. Kenny will be utilizing his kicks to slow down his opponent, so expect Penn to shoot in for takedowns. It’s on the ground where Penn will have a big advantage. Penn’s slick BJJ is world-class and he is just as dangerous being on his back as he is on the top position. The odds are against Florian, but with the right strategy he can pull off an upset.

What does Florian need to do? Florian needs to keep the fight standing and use his menacing elbows during the clinches. A Machida tactic of hit and run would be best against Penn. Penn has the propensity of engaging his opponents and pushing the action. With good lateral movement it would set plenty of opportunities for countering. With all that said Will Kenny Florian win? I guess we’ll have to wait an find out. I like rooting for the underdog, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Florian grabs the decision or even get a KO.

Anderson Silva vs Forrest Griffin

There is really no worthy opponent for Anderson Silva in the middleweight division so moving up to 205 for competitive fights is very balsy. This is why he’s considered to be the number 1 pound for pound fighter in the world. This bout with Forrest will push Silva to his limit. Forrest is a huge 205-er. What makes Forrest Griffin different from Silva’s previous opponents is that Griffin feeds off the challenge. As the fight goes into the later rounds Griffin seems to get stronger.

Anderson Silva will have his hands full and don’t expect him to engage full force at the beginning. It’s common knowledged that the first half of the round you will see Silva running around throwing some jabs and a few kicks until he finds his range. From there you’ll see Silva picking apart is opponent. Once his opponent is hurt, Silva pounces for the kill. Looking back at at Silva’s previous fights he has trouble being on his back, but that doesn’t necessarily means it’s his weakness. It can mean that his ground game is not as strong as his standup. So Forrest should take the fight to the ground as often as he can but still remain cautious. Forrest needs to put Silva up against the fence and drag him down and get into side control or full mount that way he can avoid Silva’s long legs.

This fight has a ton of potential to be FOTY, I just hope it delivers. If Silva wins it’ll solidify him as an all time greatest fighter of all time. And if Griffin pulls the win he gets to be the first to prove that Silva needs to stay in his own weight class.

My Picks:

BJ Penn beats Kenny Florian
Anderson Silva beats Forrest Griffin
Kendall Grove beats Ricardo Almeida
Kurt Pellegrino beats Josh Neer
Johny Hendricks beats Amir Soddollah

UFC 84: Ill Will


Another UFC event is upon us. UFC 84: Ill Will has BJ Penn defending his Lightweight title against former champ Sean Sherk. For the past few months Penn and Sherk have been vocally attacking each other. Sherk is coming off a steroid accusation suspension which is the fuel for Penn’s harsh words. BJ Penn is considered one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world with an amazing Brazilian Jujitsu background. Sherk is a long time veteran who’s built like a tank and has uncanny conditioning that is unmatched in his division.

BJ Penn is a wizard on the ground, and his stand up is underrated. In fact he has an excellent stand up game. Penn’s in-your-face style makes all his fights exciting. Whether it’s on the ground or standing up he will hurt you. Sherk has equally good stand up, but his forte is his wrestling. Sherk is known to take down his opponents and grinds them into a pulp. It may not be the most exciting fight, but it gets the job done. I think this is a great match up for both fighters. If Sherk is able to get the takedown Penn’s dynamic ground game will force Sherk to be more active and make it less of a lay and pray fight for him. Sherk may not best Penn’s ground game but it’s made up by his ability to go in sixth gear in all 5 rounds. Recently, Penn’s known for his poor condition lasting about two rounds tops before gassing. If Sherk can weather the storm he can pull an upset and beat the Hawaiian sensation.

Other fights on the card includes Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida, Wanderlei Silva vs. Kieth Jardine, Thiago Silva, and Rameau Sokoudjou. It’s been a while since Tito fought and this weekend he’ll be fighting the rising dark horse that is Lyoto Machida. Machida is currently undefeated and has a knack at beating opponents almost on an effortless level. There’s something in Machida’s fighting style that just neutralizes his opponents. A win for Tito will boost him up the rank in the divison and a lost would mean an imminent road to retirement.

My picks:

Penn beats Sherks
W. Silva beats Jardine
Gouveia beats Reljic
Machida beats Tito
T. Silva beats Mendes
Salaverry beats Palhares
Sokoudjou beats Nakamura
Clementi beats Etim
Yoshida beats Koppenhaver
Jason Tan beats Hyun Kim