UFC News: Gomi, TUF 7, UFC 83

Takanori Gomi Deal Falls Through                                                                                                                                                            It has been reported that a dead between the UFC and Takanori Gomi has fallen through.  Apparently, the deal was close to being signed because Frank Edgar was offered a fight with him.  I think that would have been a great fight, but I think Gomi should have stepped right in for a title shot.  I still think he should get the winner of the Penn/Sherk fight as a unification title bout.  I hope that the deal works out because Gomi is worth the investment.  There are only maybe 20 fighters worldwide that I believe should be catered to when negotiating contracts and Gomi is one of those guys.  I hope this deal works out

TUF 7

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I have compiled a list of the TUF 7 fighters here. It looks like another good season.  I am not sure if any of these guys are run away favorites.  Apparently the Brazillian “Jacare” is not on the show.  We are still awaiting news as to when the finale will be and when Griffin and Jackson will fight.  It is looking like a June event. 

 Also, it seems that one of the new twists to TUF is that the show will feature 32 cast members rather than the typical 16.  Right off the bat there will be 16 fights with the winners earning a spot in the house.  I think there is a good and bad to this move.  The good is that some of the weaker fighters will be off the show right away.  However, they could match to of the best fighters off with each other and one of the top 2 or 3 could not even make the house.  I will be interested to see how they pair off the fights for the first round. 

UFC 83 to be  April 19

It has been reported before that UFC 82 would be March 1 and UFC 83 would be March 8, which never made sense.  It seems that UFC 83 will actually be April 19, 2008 in Montreal Canada.  Headlining the card of course will be the title bout between Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra.  It seems the previously rumored bouts from UFC 83 are being moved.  The Alexander/Irvin fight was moved to UFC Fight Night 13 and Bisping’s middleweight debut may happen at UFC 83 in Montreal, but may be delayed until the June London card.  Also rumored to be on this card is Mac Danzig vs. Mark Bocek, the return of “Shogun”, Rich Franklin vs. Travis Lutter, Jason MacDonald vs. Joe Doerksen and Keith Jardine, possibly to take on Shogun or even a re-match with Liddell.  Stay tuned to my “Upcoming Events” section which I regularly update.

UFC Stacking Cards

UFC is stacking there cards of late full of talents.  There is so many fights on these upcoming cards I don’t know what to do and surely good fights will go untelevised. 

UFC 82 is so stacked that some great fighters will be prelim fighters.  UFC 82 includes a main event match between Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson for the title.  Jon Fitch will take on talented newcomer Chris Wilson.  Yushin Okami who has been fighting well will fight Evan Tanner who is looking to get his life straight and his title back.  The UFC will also welcome back Andrei Arlovski (and maybe say goodbye) who will fight Jake O’Brien.  The card also includes Heath Herring vs. Cheick Kongo, David Bielkheden vs. Diego Sanchez, Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett, Luke Cummo vs. Luigi Fiorvanti and Jorge Gurgel vs. John Halverson.

Ultimate Fight Night 13 may be most stacked of all.  The main events will be Kenny Florian vs. Joe Lauzon and Matt Hamill vs. Stephan Bonnar.  Also featuring a good fight between Karo Parisyan and Thiago Alves.  Houston Alexander and James Irvin were just bumped up to this card.  Also we will see a great fight between Spencer Fisher and Marcus Aurelio.  Din Thomas vs. Josh Neer and Clay Guida vs. Sammy Schiavo will be undercarded along with Tommy Speer’s first fight since TUF Finale.  Not to mention it has been romored that Frank Edgar would fight on this card.  Wow what a card!

There is some confusion on UFC 83.  Some have said it will be March 8, and looks lame.  Whatever the case may be, there will be an event April 19 (either 83 or 84) which will feature Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre.  Also,  Rich Franklin vs. Travis Lutter.  We also suspect both Keith Jardine and Shogun to fight here, but not necessarily each other.  In addition Mac Danzig will fight here. Another good fight here will be Rich Clementi vs. Sam Stout, but will probably be undercard. Wow!!!

The May 24th event will feature the much hyped and anticipated BJ Penn vs. Sean Sherk fight as well as a couple signifcant lightheavyweight bouts between Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva as well as Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida, which could be Tito’s going away party.  MMAJunkie announced that would also include Ivan Salaverry vs. Rousimar Palhares a talented middleweight.

This is just the start, there are more fights to be added, but the first half of the year looks stacked.  You add into that mix TUF 7 and the title fight between Griffin and Jackson and TUF Finale by summer, it’s going to be a stack first half of 2008, keep it up Dana!

Who will hold the UFC Titles at the End of ’08?

Heavyweight

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The UFC’s Heavyweight divison is hurting for contenders.  Coming up Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Tim Sylvia are fighting for what is being called the “interim title”.  Randy Couture will probably be offered to fight the winner and I suspect will turn it down, though beating up on Tim Sylvia again could be a temptation.  I doubt Randy will be the guy unless somehow the Fedor fight works out.  I voted for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, but that vote could be blown in one week from now.  If he beats Sylvia I think he will have the title at year’s end.  Reportedly the winner of the Sylvia/Nogueira fight will get Fabricio Werdum, who would be a tough match up either way.  I just don’t know how many guys will even geta  title shot in 2008.  There are some good fighters, but most still have some work to do to get to number one contender status.  Arlovski may be out of the UFC.  Gonzaga has lost two in a row and just had a title shot which he lost to Randy.  Kongo has won a few, but is fight Herring, which won’t put him next in line.  Cro Cop is yet to do well, but could turn it around, but not by year’s end.  Crop Cop’s career may help him get quickly up the ladder though and his losses overlooked.   Frank Mir or Brock Lesnar won’t be on 2008 best case scenario.  Brandon Vera has to beat a few big names.  The winner of the Sylvia fight may have to defend twice in 2008.  Once to Werdum in the summer I imagine, and one more fight to someone else in the latter part of 2008.

Light Heavyweight

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This divison is the most complicated with the most talented fighters who are top contenders.  I believe there are up to 8-10 guys who are near deserving a shot.  However, they will fight among each other for the shot.  Right now Forrest Griffin will fight Rampage, but I can’t imagine him winning and even if he does I don’t see him holding the title in year’s end.  The question is who will get the title shots.  It seems that Machida and Silva are destined for a shot at the title or maybe will square off some time with the winner getting a title shot.  However, both have fights lined up for this spring.  I would guess Jardine and Liddell could fight with the winner getting a title shot.  Maybe even if Forrest beat Rampage, Jardine could earn a re-match with Griffin.  I would say more likely than that Shogun could earn a re-match with Forrest if he wins, if he can win one fight prior.  I really don’t think Rampage will hold the title at year’s end for some reason.  I have an eerie feeling that we haven’t see all of Shogun.  He is young and good.  He will hold the title some day, the question is will it be in 2008.  I picked Shogun, but it may be a long shot, because a lot has to happen for him to get a shot.

Middleweight

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It sure is hard to pick against Anderson Silva for this, isn’t it?  My prediction is simple, the winner of the Henderson vs. Silva match will have the title at the end of the year.  I have a feeling that the Okami vs. Tanner winner could get a shot at the Silva vs. Henderson winner.  Rich Franklin could get a shot if he beats Lutter and if Henderson wins.  He won’t get a third shot against Anderson.  I picked Dan Henderson because I think he stands a great chance against Silva with his great clinch and strong jaw.  There could be a sleeper in this class as well, someone like Matt Lindland or Paulo Filho who is yet to sign with the UFC, they may get a instant shot.

Welterweight

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The contenders are minimal here.  I was tempted to just put three guys as options (St. Pierre, Serra and Fitch).   I think St. Pierre will beat Serra.  I also think that if Fitch gets by Chris Wilson he will earn a title shot.  However, I would not be totally shocked if regardless of the outcome of the St. Pierre vs. Serra fight if Matt Hughes got Matt Serra.  If Serra somehow beats St. Pierre again, Hughes could get a shot at the title again, but not likely.  I think Fitch has earned it, and supposidly Parisyan is in line for a title shot as well, but I do not know if anyone of those guys will beat St. Pierre.  Marcus Davis is climbing, but he still needs to beat one of the top five in the divison before he can be talked about.  I also put B.J. Penn on the list because he still says he wants to take the welterweight title, but I doubt it will be in 2008. 

Lightweight

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I am sorry with the way B.J. Penn looked I couldn’t vote against him.  He is good.  He destroyed Joe Stevenson.  He looks determined and I do not know who can beat a focused and fit B.J. Penn.  He could become legendary if he wants to.  I believe he is in a league of his own.  Sean Sherk will be a tough fight, but I suspect B.J. to beat Sherk.  In the title mix you really just have Huerta, Florian and Edgar.  I would imagine each has to win one more fight before they earn a title shot and that win has to be over a quality guy.  Florian is lined up with Joe Lauzon already.  Edgar is expected to fight soon.  Huerta may get the next shot if he holds out until the summer.  I wouldn’t underestimate the second tier in this divison either (Tyson Griffin, Joe Lauzon, Clay Guida, and other up and comers like Danzig) but not in 2008.  One possibility is that Takanori Gomi signs with the UFC and will get the winner of B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk.  That is a good possiblity and he could very well hold the UFC title, but I would still pick B.J.

Interested to hear what your votes are, let me know and discuss it below!

My UFC 81 Predictions

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia

UFC 81 presents some of the toughest predictions which I worry about being wrong about a lot of fights.  This is a tough fight.  Overall Nogueira is the better fighter, but Tim Sylvia is a former UFC champ. I am reluctant to pick Big Nog becuase he didn’t look impressive at all against Heath Herring and because Randy Couture picked Tim Sylvia and he has an uncanny ability to pick fights.  However, I have to pick the guy who I feel is better.  My question for Syliva is are his better days behind him?  He lost bad to Randy Couture.  He didn’t look great against Vera, but he did look better than Vera.  Tim will still have about a 5 inch reach advantage, but he won’t have the reach advantage he did against Vera and Couture, and he won’t have the strength advantage either.  If the fight stays in the clinch or on the ground I look for Nogueira to win.  I hope he learned from Randy. 

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir

This is another hard fight to pick because of relative unknowns.  I do know this…Brock Lesnar is a great athelete and world class wrestler. Frank Mir doesn’t seem to have the same passion he once did, but he is great with submissions.  I am so torn with this fight.  Experience goes to Frank Mir.  Strength goes to Brock Lesnar.  I am going to go out on a limb and pick Brock by knockout.  I think if he gets on the ground he can ground and pound Mir and hold his own with submission defense.  If Mir gets Brock in an arm bar Brock can just curl it.  Lesnar is the strongest and bukiest fighter the UFC has seen.  I still do not know if he can cut it in the big time.  The UFC is gambling with him, and seems to want to market him.   I hear he is for real.   My bigger question though would be will Brock Lesnar pass a steroids test?

Nate Marquardt vs. Jeremy Horn

This may be one of the best fights.  Jeremy Horn is maybe the most experienced MMA fighter in the world.  What a good replacement for Leites.  We seem to have forgotten that before Nate’s loss to Anderson Silva many thought he was the best and had a good chance at beating Anderson.  He is still and world class grappler.  I think Jeremy Horn is a tough match up though, especially with striking and experience.  However, I look for Nate to rebound and win by submission.

Tyson Griffin vs. Gleison Tibau

My pick for fight of the night.  Many of us know about Tyson Griffin, but Tibau is a great fighter.  This fight is huge.  The winner moves into the top 10 talk of the lightweight divison, the other takes a step back.  Tibau has only one big win and that was over Terry Etim.  Griffin has wins over Clay Guida and Thiago Tavares, while they were good fights, he didn’t dominate or win by much.  Griffin is tough as nails and he has never been submitted or knocked out.  I will pick Tyson Griffin, just because Tibau is unproven and because Tyson trains with Randy (enough said). 

Alan Belcher vs. Ricardo Almeida

Almeida is for real.  He hasn’t fought since 2004 so that is the real question for him, however he holds wins over Nate Marquardt and Ryo Chonan.  Alan Belcher is a good fights.  He last beat Kalib Starnes by ref stoppage due to a huge cut that went to Starnes’ skull.  The outcome depends on the pace of the fight.  A slow fight favors Almeida, but a stand up battle favors Belcher.  I want Almeida to win and comeback because he is good for the middleweight divison, however it has been four years.  What the heck, I pick Almeida by either submission or unanimous decision.

Terry Martin vs. Marvin Eastman

The question this fight will answer is before Chris Leben was Terry Martin uverrated.  I will grant that he got caught against Leben and almost won that fight.  Eastman is big and can hit hard.  Size won’t be much of a difference.  Terry Martin is younger if that matters.  Marvin Eastman has the experience and has fought a lot of good fighters throughout his career.  I would like to see a rejuvenated Marvin Eastman.  However, I think Terry Martin will pull out a win here.

David Heath vs. Tim Boetsch

On paper this is the fight that I could least care about.  David Heath is okay, but hasn’t done great in the UFC.  I wonder how the late notice with affect Boetsch?  I think this is a gimmer for David Heath who has little chance of making any noise in the light heayweight divison. 

Chris Lytle vs. Kyle Bradley

Chris Lytle has fought well against some good guys.  He lost a split decision to Matt Serra.  He went the distance with Matt Hughes.  I have to pick Chris Lytle over the unknown Kyle Bradley.

Rob Emerson vs. Keita Nakamura

Japanese fighters just haven’t done well in the UFC.  I do not like Rob Emerson.  I believe he got lucky that Gray Maynard knocked himself out because Emerson was done!  Emerson lost more TUF fights than you can shake a stick at.  He is a punk.  He should be locked up in jail for his gang and him beating up on some random guy.  Anyways, I am picking Keita out of pure spite for Emerson.  I hope this seals his exit from the UFC for good.

Best MMA Family

Which family has the best fighters.   

1. The Gracies – Credit them with the UFC and MMA explosion.  They revolutionized all MMA.  If you are a Gracie you can fight.  The depth and legacy of the Gracie family gets them the number one spot

2. The Shamrocks –  Not now, but all around Frank and Ken have done a lot for the sport that is why they are ranked so high. 

3. The Emelianenkos –  What else do I have to say besides Fedor.  Fedor is the best all around in the world, but Aleks is not bad either, again often overlooked by his brother.  He is a top ten heavyweight as well.

4. The Nogueiras – The Nogs are great.  Both are top level fighters.  Both could hold titles.  They are well rounded, this is why they are above the Ruas.  I believe Shogun and Big Nog could cancel each other out, but little Nog is a better fighter than Ninja.

5. The Ruas – Shogun is one of the best and overshadows his brother “Ninja”.  Both are top level fighters.  Shogun alone put this group high on the list

6. The Diazs –  Nick showed great promise and still has great potential.  Nate is in the same boat that is why they are above the Lauzons. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nate climb the lightweight ladder quickly.

7. The Lauzons – Dan and Joe are not bad and have the potential to move up the family rankings.  Both could become contenders.

I guess that seals the deal since Anderson Silva and Wanderlai Silva are not related and Tyson Griffin is not brother to Forrest Griffin.

UFC Fighter I Want to See Fight Soon

The booking of the Arlovski vs. O’Brien fight makes me think about other fighters who havent fought for a while who still aren’t booked for their next fight. 

  • Randy Couture- Fedor, Fedor, Fedor!!!  Dana should be seeing green.
  • Mirko Cro Cop –  I just like watching hiom fight and want to see him do well.
  • Brandon Vera – Disappointing loss to Sylvia.  He should get another big name fighter.
  • Mauricio Shogun Rua –  If Shogun wins his next fight he could be in line to fight Forrest Griffin again after he looses to Rampage.
  • Keith Jardine –  Liddell vs. Jardine II
  • Wanderlai Silva- Is still exciting.  He will geta  top ten type of fighter, maybe Sokoudjou.
  • Chuck Liddell –  I always am waiting for the next Liddell fight.  I want a jardine rematch
  • Martin Kampmann – Recovering from an injury should be almost ready and is an immediate title threat if he is back at 100%
  • Nate Quarry –  He looked real good his last fight.
  • Thales Leites – A broke hand made him withdraw from Nate Marquardt. 
  • Ryo Chonan – Disappointing loss to Karo, but still a good fighter.
  • Matt Hughes – To retire or not to retire?  I am hoping Serra looses and then fights Matt Hughes
  • Jon Fitch – Was Scheduled to fight Gono, but Gono got hurt.  Will it be Marcus Davis?
  • Frank Edgar
  • Hermes Franca

My UFC Fight Night 12 predictions

Corey Hill vs. Joe Veres

Joe Veres lost to Gray Maynard in 9 second.  Now I do not think Corey Hill is as good as Maynard, but I think he will beat Veres.  I would assume after this fight Joe Veres will hate TUF 5.  I think Corey Hill has real potential in the UFC.  Unlike some of the other TUF 5 guys Corey must win this fight to stay in the UFC.

Matt Wiman vs. Justin Buchholtz

I believe Matt Wiman will give Buchholtz a nice welcome to the UFC and should ink another win in the octagon.

Gray Maynard vs. Dennis Siver

I think Gray is an underrated fighter who made a fantastic decision to train with Randy Couture.  His last fight didn’t last long.  I believe he will win another in the first round.

Cole Miller vs. Jeremy Stephens

To be honest this pick is pure guess work, but I believe the math up shows what the UFC thinks of the TUF 5 fighters.  Joe Lauzon although not the winner is going to be the best to come out of there and the most marketed from season 5, but I believe they think a lot of Manny, Gray Maynard and Cole Miller as they are fighting quality opponents. 

Thiago Tavares vs. Michihiro Omigawa

Tavares came near pulling out a win against Tyson Griffin.  I expect this one to go to Tavares who is a good fighter.

Kurt Pellegrino vs. Alberto Crane

Alberto Crane can submit anyone, but I think Pellegrino is too good.  He has fought some of the best and fought them well.  I predict Kurt Pellegrino will win via unanimous decision.

Nate Diaz vs. Alvin Robinson

Robinson posted a good win over Jorge Gurgel.  Nate Diaz is super talented, but I think will be inconsistent.  I still think Nate Diaz will win this fight.  I predict by submission.  Robinson has good submissions, but I doubt he will catch Nate Diaz in a submission. 

Patrick Cote vs. Drew McFedries

Both of these guys have serious knockout power.  A fight like this is tough to pick because one good shot can KO the other guy.  McFedries is far more explosive of a fighter.  Cote has some good wins in the octagon the last coming against the rapidly falling Kendall Grove.  I am going to pick McFedries via KO is round 1.  I expect Drew to come out swining, but he better watch out because Cote can knock you out. 

Mike Swick vs. Josh Burkman

Mike Swick struggled against top level competition in the middleweight divison.  In my opinion the only top quality fighters he fought he lost to (Leben and Okami).  The question is, how will Swick do at welterweight.  He will have a slight size advantage.  I have Swick in my top ten welterweights, but that is being generous.  A win here would make Swick very relevant in this divison.  Burkman is no push over.  His UFC losses are to Karo and Jon Fitch.  That seems to indicate he won’t hang with the top tier guys.  I pick Mike Swick to pull out a win via TKO in round 2.