UFC 153

I’ve talked to some fiends and many of them have already written Bonnar off on this fight. Anderson Silva is the clear favorite, but in MMA everyone has a chance.  Unlike most Anderson’s previous opponents Bonnar has the slight weight and size advantage.  I believe Bonnar’s only chance is to take the fight to the ground.  Bonnar’s BJJ is underrated and he can surprise the Middleweight champ and the world if he can slip in a submission early in the fight.  But that’s easier said than done.  I expect Anderson Silva to keep the fight standing and knocking out the former TUF competitor.

My Picks:

Anderson Silva beats Stephan Bonnar
Dave Herman beats Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Glover Teixeira beats Fabio Maldonado
Erick Silva beats Jon Fitch
Phil Davis beats Wagner Prado
Rick Story beats Demian Maia
Gleison Tibau beats Francisco Trinaldo
Diego Brando beats Joey Gambino
Luis Cane beats Chris Camozzi

UFC 130

My Picks:

Matt Hamill beats Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
Roy Nelson beats Frank Mir
Stephan Struve beats Travis Browne
Demetrious Johnson beats Miguel Torres
Kendall Grove beats Tim Boetsch
Gleison Tibau beats Rafaello Olivera

UFC 112 Review

With the exception of the main event UFC 112 was a great event with great fights. Mark Munoz displayed heart and weathered an early storm to come back and beat Kendall Grove. That’s what makes fighters fun and exciting to watch; to see them come back from the brink of defeat to win the fight. But the fight that was really exciting and shocked me was the BJ Penn vs Frankie Edgar bout. I counted Edgar out before the fight began, and he proved me and many others wrong. Edgar came with the perfect game plan that took the Champion out of his element. Edgar’s quick hands and good lateral movement allowed him to score points on his strikes and evades Penn’s counters. BJ Penn was never on point with his striking, and by the end of the 3rd round you can see the fatigue on his face. One thing that I don’t understand is why didn’t Penn take the fight to the ground where he knows he has the advantage. Even his corner was telling him to take Edgar down. I think it comes down to conditioning, he just didn’t have it this time around. I’m not taking anything away from Frankie, but BJ Penn’s worst enemy is his endurance.

As a big Anderson Silva fan it’s difficult to respond to his performance against Demian Maia. Maybe Silva is jaded from being Champion for so long,  maybe he’s hurt and couldn’t display his destructive striking abilities, or maybe the fighter’s he’s facing aren’t challenging enough.  There really is no worthy challenger for him at 185 lbs. But as an MMA fan I like seeing exciting fights whether it has crazy knock outs, submissions, or a battle of attrition between two skilled fighters, but not when fighters showboat or hold back for some personal or emotional issue. I don’t know what Anderson Silva was really thinking during his fight, but he needs to keep his fighting strictly business and do what he does best and destroy his opponents.  If Silva keeps this up he’ll lose many fans.

UFC 112

The Middleweight and Lightweight kings are back in the octagon defending their titles. For the first time, UFC will be holding their first event in Abu Dhabi in an outdoor arena. Fighters will be fighting in the open environment, so let’s hope it doesn’t rain.

Anderson Silva vs Demian Maia

Anderson Silva was slated to face fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort, but due to a shoulder injury Demian Maia has stepped up to take his place to fight for the title.  I think Maia makes a more dangerous opponent than Belfort. Maia’s BBJ is world-class and is second to none in MMA. Silva’s ground game is underrated and he’ll prove that this Saturday. Maia’s only advantage is taking the fight to the ground, but that’s easier said than done when the Champ is considered the best striker in all of MMA. It’s not to say that it’s an impossible task as other fighters in the past have managed to take Silva down such as Dan Henderson and Travis Lutter. In reality there is no perfect game plan against Anderson Silva. Maia will have to close the distance to even attempt a take down, and even then, that’s where the Champ is the most dangerous with this Thai clinch and knees. I see this fight ending in a boring decision with Maia evading the striking prowess of Silva or a devastating KO by the hands or knees of the Middleweight champ.

BJ Penn vs Frankie Edgar

BJ Penn has truly focused on his career establishing himself as the best Lightweight fighter of all time. Penn has defended his title 3 times with ease. And on Saturday he will be facing a fighter with fast hands and great wrestling, Frankie Edgar. Edgar is one of the few fighters in MMA that mixes this quick crisp boxing with his wrestling very well.  But the same can be said about BJ Penn about his boxing and BJJ. The only thing that Edgar brings to the table on Saturday is his fast hands. As of late, Penn’s stand-up has been giving all his opponents trouble, and it’s where he wears down his foes and finishes them off on the ground. So fast hands won’t be enough to take the belt from the Prodigy. Edgar will need a game plan that forces Penn to pick up the pace in the fight and draw it out into the championship rounds. I haven’t been sold on his “improved cardio”. If Edgar can avoid the ground game and push the pace for the first few rounds he can capitalize on a very tired BJ Penn in rounds 4 and 5.  Unfortunately the only person with the skill-set that can implement that plan is currently holding the Welterweight title. I see this fight ending via TKO or submission with Penn licking his glove and the belt still around his waist.

My Picks:

Anderson Silva beats Demian Maia
BJ Penn beats Frankie Edgar
Renzo Gracie beats Matt Hughes
Terry Etim beats Rafael Dos Anjos
Mark Munoz beats Kendall Grove
Paul Taylor beats John Gunderson
Matt Veach beats Paul Kelly

UFC 110 Review

UFC 110 showed that those Aussies are huge MMA fans. The event broke overseas attendance records, and UFC is planning another show there next year. It just goes to show how popular MMA is wordwide. As good as the event was there were interesting fights that showed which fighters have improved and which ones need to go back to the drawing board.

Mirko Cro Cop vs Anthony Perosh

Cro Cop hasn’t been looking good as of late. His loss to Dos Santos made me think he’s at the end of his career. Last night Cro Cop was able to beat an ill-prepared Perosh, a last minute replacement for Ben Rothwell. This win showed small glimpse of his former self, but the win wasn’t as impressive as his fans would like. The Croatian seemed to have loss his speed and reflexes over time, and he has said it himself that he has loss the motivation to fight. That lack of motivation could stem from his ability to dominate his division like he did in Pride.

Cro Cop’s problem is that he needs to drastically change fight camps. He’s become too predictable and his game has remained stagnant. He should follow in the footsteps of his former Pride colleague, Wanderlei Silva, and drop down a weight class. It can put him in a position to physically dominate his opponents. He still has the tools to easily become a champion, but the only question is he willing to do what it takes to make it happen?

Wanderlei Silva vs Michael Bisping

Wanderlei looks to be getting back into the swing of things and the 185 lbs division is his calling. He physically looks great and beating Bisping was a great statement to the division that he’s a huge threat.  Maybe a fight with Marquardt or a rematch with Vitor Belfort will show where he truly stand in the rankings. Unfortunately for Bisping he’ll have to go back to the drawing board. Bisping loss because he wasn’t able to overwhelm Silva like he did with his previous opponents and reverted to a hit and run tactic that didn’t do much for him. Even with a loss to Wanderlei, Bisping still remains one of the top prospects in the division. One of few areas he needs to work on is his takedowns and clinch work. Spending some time with Greg Jackson or Extreme Couture’s camp would take his game to the next level.

Joe Stevenson vs George Sotiropoulos

I was surprised to see Sotiropoulos handle Stevenson’s ground game. He was able to utilize the rubber guard to minimize Stevenson’s ground and pound and work for sweeps. And when he had the top position he was able to pass to half guard or full mount. Having a solid stand up didn’t hurt either. Stevenson was never able to get a solid position to utilize his elbows or sink in his notorious guillotine. Sotiropoulos had an answer for everything Stevenson threw at him. Along with Keith Jardine and Nate Marquardt, Joe Stevenson is another one of Greg Jackson’s pupils to have loss recently. I’m sure GSP will be bucking the trend next month when he takes on Dan Hardy.

UFC 110

UFC 110 has one of the most stacked cards I’ve seen in a while.  All the fights in the preliminaries and main card are worth watching.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Cain Velasquez

Headlining the event is the Nogueira vs. Velasquez bout.  Both fighters are currently ranked near the top of the heavyweight division and a win for either of them would catapolt them to title contention. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is one of the most dangerous fighters in the division.  He’s not just dangerous because he is one of the best grapplers in the sport, or that he’s fought almost all of the biggest names in the sport. It’s the fact that he can take a Rodney King beating and still come back to win. Nogueira is the Jason Voorhees of MMA you can’t count him out until the credits starts rolling. And on the other side of the cage is Cain Velasquez. He’s a very strong wrestler with a good chin. A product of American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), Velasquez has been crushing his opponents with his superior wrestling. The only hole in his game is his stand up, which Cheick Kongo was able to expose during their fight, but as long as he continue to train with AKA his stand up is only going to get better.

What does Nogueira have?
– Dangerous grappling
– Strong chin
– Tons of experience

What does Velasquez have?
– Superior wrestling
– Strong chin
– Physically strong

My Pick:
Cain Velasquez takes it.  He will take the fight to Nogueira and use his wrestling ability to control the fight. The fight will go to the ground with Cain on top raining down elbows and punches. The only thing he has to worry about is getting sloppy and getting caught in a submission during a flurry or a takedown attempt. The last time Nog submitted anyone was when he fought Tim Sylivia in 2008 and before that it was Zuluzinho in 2006.  Nogueira hasn’t shown he has KO power. With about 40 fights he’s only has 2 KO on his record, the rest were submission and decision wins, so a knock out win for Nogueira is unlikely. Continue reading “UFC 110”

UFC 109 Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done a UFC event review, so I’m doing one now since I was at the event and want to discuss about some of the fights.

Mark Coleman vs Randy Couture

Many fan will know that UFC’s fight cards have been lacking due to injuries. UFC 109 is one of those events that suffered from it. First let’s start off with the main event. Mark Coleman should consider retiring from MMA. Age has caught up with him and his ability to stay competitive have long left him since his PrideFC days. I’m not sure what the UFC brass was thinking when they decided to make this fight happen.

During the fight Mark Coleman looked horrible. He didn’t seem like he wanted to be there. His reaction to Couture’s punches were terribly slow. Coleman didn’t exude any inkling of his former self. Coleman’s glory days are behind him and any chance of him repeating any kind of success in an octagon have withered away. The same can not be said about Randy Couture. It is true that he gets better everytime he enters the octagon. It’s the experience that he has built, the strategies he has developed, and a great camp that he has created that enables him to excel where other athletes fail. Even with his recent wins and resurgence Couture can’t escape father time. You can see it in his fights that he is beginning to slow down. Strategy and experience can only get him so far. Even if his desire to compete is great his physical ability will be his Achilles heel. UFC is a marketing machine that will setup fights that fans want and create buzz for fights. With Couture v. Coleman bout it shows that not all fights are necessary . I hope UFC sees that Coleman is no long a threat in the division (or any) and concentrate on fights that matter and hopefully Couture doesn’t follow the same path.

Nate marquardt vs Chael Sonnen

Marquardt was a big favorite to win against Chael Sonnen. But that didn’t pan out like i had hoped. I’m not taking anything away from sonnen. Sonnen came in with an excellent game plan that stopped marquardt dead in his tracks. Marquardt has everything going for him. He has a great team, plenty of experience, and the skill to beat anyone in his division, yet he failed to get through Sonnen. I think Marquardt eyes was on rematching with Anderson Silva rather than concentrating on Sonnen. It’s easily to over look Sonnen’s ability since he’s not a flashy fighter with highlight reel potential. Sonnen’s style is ‘meat and potatoes’ where he utilizes his wrestling for control and solid ground and pound to crush his opponents. Now with a chance to get the title will his style be effective against the king of the division, Anderson silva?

Damien Maia vs Dan Miller

Dan Miller really impressed me. His ability to hold his own on the ground with Maia says a lot about his BJJ. Even though Miller loss it showed that he is a threat. If he works on his striking and polishes up his ground game he can makes some waves in the top 5 of the division, excluding Anderson Silva of course.

Melvin Guillard vs Ronys Torres

Melvin Guillard has all the physical attributes to be a devastating MMA fighter, but his lack of development to become more well rounded prevented him from escalating up the division. Watching him against Ronys Torres he showed poise and calmness something that was missing from his previous fights. Joining Greg Jackson’s camp have helped him. Let’s hope he continues to improve and move up the ladder.

Paulo Thiago vs Mike Swick

Paulo Thiago’s win against Koscheck didn’t impress me. His win against Volkmann didn’t impress me either, but his loss against Jon Fitch got me interested, and now his win against Swick did impress me. This fight showed that he has knock out power and quick submission skills. Putting Swick in that D’Arce choke immediately after dropping him show me that he’s a fast thinker and putting away Mike Swick says a lot which establishes him easily in the top 5 in my book.

UFC 109 Weigh Ins

In line at Mandalay Bay for the UFC weigh ins. We missed the autograph session. Koshcheck, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, Jose Aldo, and Renzo Gracie were here signing.

In line at Mandalay Bay

In front of the scale at the weigh ins

Vu and his cheezy smile

UFC 109

Two legends of MMA will be battling for the best old-guy-fighter moniker on Febuary 6th at UFC 109. Randy Couture, a 46-year old walking collie flower ear, is putting up his old-man status on the line against another aging pugilist brethren Mark Coleman. In the heydays of UFC Mark Coleman was a devastating beast. He’s considered the grandfather of ground and pound. His ability to take fighters down and turn them into a sack of mash potatoes showed that wrestling was as just as dangerous and necessary as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in mixed-martial arts. Standing in front of Coleman in the cage is the ‘Natural’. Randy Couture has been in crazy battles in the heavyweight and light heavyweight division winning titles in each of them during his career. What makes him such a dangerous fighter is that he is an analytical fighter that comes in with a great game plan that works.

This will be one of the few fights where I think Randy Couture is a favorite. Expect Couture to tire Coleman out by circling around the cage a couple of times and implement his dirty boxing. If history is any indication Mark Coleman should be gasping for air and his arms at his waist by the 3rd minute of the first round. Randy has one of the best cardio not for his age, but in the entire UFC roster. If Coleman is smart he would need to use his strength and wrestling to take down Couture and keep him on the ground as long as he can. And if the UFC is smart they should issue a stipulation for this match that the loser would retire and stays retired. Luckily for me I will be at this event in Las Vegas, thanks to my girlfriend getting me these tickets for my birthday. I should be at the weigh ins and autograph sessions and should be posting pictures on my blog when I can.

My Picks:

Randy Couture beats Mark Coleman
Nate Marquardt beats Chael Sonnen
Mike Swick beats Paulo Thiago
Demian Maia beats Dan Miller
Frank Trigg beats Matt Serra
Mac Danzig beats Justin Buchholz
Melvin Guillard beats Ronnys Torres
Rob Emerson beats Phillipe Nover
Brian Stann beats Phil Davis