My UFC 82 Predictions

 John Halverson vs. Jorge Gurgel

Jorge Gurgel is tough.  I think Gurgel is an excellent fighter and is good ont he ground.  I think Gurgel will win by submission in round two. 

Luke Cummo vs. Luigi Fiorvanti 

Luigi Fiorvanti is a hard hitting crowd favorite. I don’t think he is a top tier guy, but I think he is going to KO Luke Cummo in the second round. 

Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden 

Diego has lost two in a row.  He chose not to drop to lightweight, which I think is a good decision for him, however if he looses here he better drop.  I doubt he will loose.  He should win this fight and I think he will win it easily.  He will win via ref stoppage in round one.  Again, sometimes fighters overlook guys, but this seems to be a fight the UFC set up to get Diego back on track. 

Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett 

Josh Koscheck has looked good in every fight he has been in except the St. Pierre fight.  This is a tough fight for him coming off a loss.  Hazelett is no push over.  He has a lot riding on this fight.  If he wins he climbs the ladder.  Hazelett is coming off a win vs. Goulet.  While Dustin is a good fighter I would be hard pressed to pick against Koscheck.  I pick Josh Koscheck by a rear naked choke late in the second round. 

Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake O’Brien 

This fight is main card worthy.  Arlovski has not looked great lately.  Jake O’Brien hasn’t fought for a while.  I think O’Brien is better than people give him credit for an he is a legit top ten heavyweight.  He has a great record.  However, Arlovski is a former champ.  The question for him is whether or not he cares about winning.  Has he trained hard or is he just fighting here to fulfill his contract?  Is he wanting to leave with a bang?  Is he wanting to convince the UFC that he is worth big bucks in a new contract?  Is he trying to market himself to another organization?  Does he want a quick KO so the fight may get on the televised card?  If I knew those answers I could pick this fight better.  Because Arlovski cannot just coast through this fight.  I am tempted to pick O’Brien, however it is tough to pick against Arlovski.  O’Brien beat Heath Herring in his last fight.  I don’t know how he will look with over a year off.  I am still going to pick Arlovski although a O’Brien win would not shock me and would be great for him.  If Arlovski plans on staying in the UFC I hope he wins.  He will get the next title shot.  If he plans on leaving I hope he gets KO’d. 

Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara

This is going to be a war.  I doubt it wil last past one round.  Both guys love to strike. Leben showed a lot in his win against Terry Martin.  He was rocked when he KO’s Martin.  Leben is tough.  This fight is tough to pick because it will come down to who gets rocked first and while there is some skill involved I think there is a lot of luck.  I do not think leben is as good as he or many others think, however he is heavy handed.  Sakara has fought bigger and stronger guys than Leben.  I know that Leben will be the favorite, but there has to be an upset somewhere, so I am going to pick Alessio Sakara via second round KO.

Jon Fitch vs. Chris Wilson

Don’t overlook Chris Wilson in this fight.  I hear rumblings about how good he is.  A win here and Jon Fitch will get a title shot.  Karo Parisyan has to be rooting for Chris Wilson because the only way he gets the nest title shot is a Fitch loss.  It could happen.  I am close to picking Wilson in the upset.  The UFC could use another good welterweight fighter.  However, I cannot pick an unproven fighter over a proven fighter.  I like Jon Fitch and think he will win this fight by split decison.  In loosing I also think Wilson will solidfy himself as a top ten fighter in the UFC’s welterweight divison. 

Yushin Okami vs. Evan Tanner

The bottom line with this fight is that there are too many unknowns.  How will Evan Tanner do after such a long lay off?  I do not know why he is being thrown in against a top 5 middleweight fighter.  Okami is big and strong.  I think you can bet on a slow paced fight that Okami will control.  He could even capitalize on a mistake Tanner makes.  If Evan Tanner comes out liekt he Evan of old he could win, but he better win early.  The longer this match goes the more it favors Okami.  I predict Tanner will look rusty at best and Okami will get on him and control him for three rounds.  I will pick Okami by unanimous decison. 

 Cheick Kongo vs. Heath Herring

Heath Herring looks refocused.  Cheick Kongo beat Cro Cop.  The question I want answered here is whether or not Kongo can consistently beat top tier fighters.  There is much talk that the next title fight will not be Werdum, but Kongo if he wins here.  Regardless I do not think Kongo is ready for a title shot, but because of the way things have happened he is in the mix with a win.  Heath Herring hit Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira hard and nearly beat him.  The ref could have stopped that fight.   Heath Herring may be a top ten UFC Heavyweight, but I do not think he can beat Kongo.  Checik is so huge and strong that will pose a problem.  I look for Checik Kongo to win via strikes in the first round. 

Dan Henderson vs. Anderson Silva 

On paper this match is one of the best fights you could imagine.  Of course how it plays out in the octagon is a different story.  I believe this fight will live up to hype.  Dan Henderson will be the toughest match up for Anderson Silva in the UFC.  Rich Franklin is a great fighter, but his style seemed perfect for Anderson to walk through.  Dan Henderson is a different story.  Dan Henderson is tough, I mean never been knocked out tough.  He has fought the best fighters in the world, so he has the experience.  Dan Henderson is great in the clinch.  He is a good wrestler and a good ground and pound guy.  However, Anderson Silva can kick hard and he can submit a guy.  This is a tough fight to predict.  I really like Anderson Silva.  He is a class act.  He is tough to beat.  This fight is pivotal for the UFC.  If Anderson Silva wins this fight the UFC will be forced to go out and sign someone else like Fliho, Lindland, Lawler or Jason “Mayhem” Miller.  If Dan Henderson wins this fight I look for Wanderlai Silva to drop down and seek revenge for Dan beating him and taking his belt.  Of course the is a  tough fight to pick because you never know how the fight will go.  I will pick Dan Henderson by third round stoppage.   I do not see Anderson knocking Dan out.  His one chance I see is to submit him a la Travis Lutter.  I will pick Dan because I need to pick someone, but I do not know how anyone can really bet against Anderson Silva.  If he wins he is unstoppable. 

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UFC News: Stephan Bonnar and Patrick Cote Hurt

Stephan Bonnar has been forced to bow out of his April fight with Matt Hamill due to an injury.  Bonnar was just practicing his jiu-jitsu and heard a pop.  Initially it was diagnosed a partial tear in the lateral collateral ligament, but an MRI revealed a complete tear.  Bonnar will be out for six months meaning when he returns he will have not fought in one year since he beat Eric Schafer at UFC 77.   No replacement has been named yet, but there is plenty of time to find a quality guy for Hamill. 

Patrick Cote was scheduled to fight Alan Belcher at UFC 83.  This is a bummer to the Canadian fans who would have loved to have seen Cote fight.  I think it is a good thing for Alan Belcher as Patrick Cote is fighting very well lately and climbing the middleweight rankings which are open for the taking.  Cote has been replaced by newcomer Jason Day.  Cote suffered a sprained knee and will just be out four to six weeks.   

UFC News: Fedor’s Open Letter to Dana White

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I found this on mmamania.com

Numerous times have I read mister White’s statements on Internet concerning myself. In my opinion, allowing yourself to say those things is not a sign of a gentleman or a grown man at all! If he candidly wants to prove himself right then let my fight with Randy happen or let me face the reigning UFC champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. In the future I wouldn’t want to hear those statements in my address ever again and I won’t tolerate that. My last fight in Japan proved that I’m ready to fight anybody with any height advantage, skillset or experience. I have fought and still wish to fight the best athletes. The Randy fight is my goal number one right now, he’s a great fighter and this is a very unfortunate situation when too strict and one-sided UFC contracts don’t let this fight happen. The whole world is eager to see me fight your champions, people don’t want to listen to your press-conferences. I’m signed with M-1 Global and this promotion is ready to organize such fights under our banner or in co-promoted events.”

The Collapse of the UFC’s Heavyweight Divison

It all began after Randy Couture beat Gabriel Gonzaga.  Everything was looking promising for the UFC’s heavyweight divison.  The divison has the most popular of the title holders and had many contenders lined up.  Then out of nowhere Randy Couture left the UFC and the feud began with Dana White.  Randy didn’t care to fight anyone the UFC had, he wanted Fedor.  When Fedor decided to sign with M1 over the UFC it lead to a collapse that is still making ripples.  The UFC was once strong, but now guys like Brandon Vera, Frank Mir, Cheick Kongo and Eddie Sanchez are becoming the top contenders.  Why?  It is because of the collapse. 

          The UFC lost its star and champ in Randy Couture.  They missed out on the best in all MMA in Fedor Emelianenko.  Andrei Arlovski, the former champ and who many consider to be a top 3 heavyweight is disgruntled and seems to be on his way out of the UFC following his fight with Jake O’Brien.   Mirko Cro Cop, who at one time was the most feared fighter in MMA has lost two in a row and Dana is giving him an ultimatum.  He may fight once more in the UFC and finish his contract, but after that I can’t imagine Cro Cop in the UFC.   It is now reported that Tim Sylvia may be looking elsewhere after he finishes his contract.  He wants more money.  He is frustrated that an unproven guy like Brock Lesnar would make more than he does.  I can’t blame him.  All the problems that have come hinge from three things, which I believe are colossal mistakes by the UFC and Dana White. 1. The failure to sign Fedor 2. The rift between Randy Couture and the UFC 3. The failure to pay some fighters what they feel they deserve and the marketing of unamed and unproven guys like Lesnar.  Arguablly the biggest heavyweight names is the UFC are Arlovski, Couture, Sylvia and Cro Cop and they want out, mostly because of pay issues.  It looks like the UFC messed with the wrong guy when the messed with Captain America.  Dana White has never been one to back down, but this time it has bit him in the butt.  They not only failed to work things out with Couture, but they have attempted to hurt him.  They are suing him, forcing commentators to say little about him, and banning Affliction sponsorship.   They messed up when they failed to sign Fedor and even more so messed up when they rejected M1’s offer to work the fight out between Fedor and Randy.  Well, now we see the collapse of the UFC.  Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is a great champ regardless, but who is left.  It looks like Werdum is now the number one contender.  The You have Cheick Kongo and Frak Mir.  Then you have others good fighters like Brandon Vera, Jake O’Brien and Heath Herring.  You have a potential star in Lesnar, but when Eddie Sanchez makes it into the top ten of the heavyweight divison you know the divison has gotten weak.  The UFC better do a few things.  First, it better reconcole with Randy Couture.  Second, they better pay proven fighters better.  Third, they better get another couple good heavyweights, because with the departure of Arlovski, Cro Cop and maybe Sylvia M1 could become deep at Heavyweight and UFC weak.  I would go get a big name guy if I was Dana, like Josh Barnett or even Kimbo Slice, but he keeps burning those bridges.  The ball is in your court Dana!

When Will Brock Lesnar Fight Next?

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In short he will fight at UFC 85 in June, which will be held in London, England.  I do not know how many events will take place in June, I do not there will be one UFC and the Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale.  On the June UFC 85 card we should look to see Shogun vs. Liddell, possibly this is where Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will fight Forrest Griffin unless they fight at the finale (unlikely) or there are two pay per view events in June sandwiching the TUF Finale.  Also, we can be sure that Marcus Davis will fight on this card.  He will get a good opponent, maybe Mike Swick.  Then it seems that Brandon Vera has announced he will fight in June.  My guess is he fights Brock Lesnar.  The one reason this may not happen is because the heavyweight divison needs stars and both Lesnar and Vera could be those stars and pitting them against one another would hurt one of them.  Perhaps they could both fight different opponent.

Brock Lesnar is for real.  I think he could be most heavyweights.  I’d like to see him fight Cro Cop or Tim Sylvia.  Time will only tell

UFC News: Andrei Arlovski on the UFC 82 Preliminary Card

UFC 82 is shaping up to be a good card.  It is so full that last week it was announced that the Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett fight would be on the undercard.  A stacked card is not easy to work through.  I imagine it is difficult to determine who will be a main card and who will be an undecard fight for a stacked card.  There is the maine ven of Anderson Silva vs. Dan Henderson.  I agree with the decision to put the Okami vs. Evan Tanner fight on the televised card as both are contenders and there is a good story line behind the return of a former champ.   You cannot put Jon Fitch on an undercard.  So the Jon Fitch vs. Chris Wilson fight will air, and will be a good fight.  Wilson is a good fighter.  Heath Herring vs. Checik Kongo has two big name guys which merita the main card.  Therefore you come down to a choice between three fights for the final spot on the main card: Josh Koscheck vs. Dustin Hazelett, Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden and Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake O’Brien.

My first choice would be Arlovski vs. O’Brien.  They are both top ten UFC heavyweight fighters.  However, Arlovski won a boring fight over Werdum his last fight.  More than that he is not on the card because the UFC is punishing him for not signing with them before this fight.  He plans to test the market and get big time offers from other organizations.  I suspect this indicates this will be his last UFC fight.  The UFC doesn’t want to air this fight because it doesn’t want to market Arlovski.  Too late!  Bad decison.

Andrei Arlovski placed on the undercard.

The second choice would the Koscheck vs. Hazelett.  Why not this fight?  Koscheck is exciting, but perhaps his unpopularity hurts him.  Why did they pick Diego Sanchez vs. David Bielkheden.  The answer:  I cannot give you one.  Now, the UFC has proven to have mde some good choices in the past, but this doesn’y make sense.  I would rather see the Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara fight then the Diego Sanchez fight.  The bottom line is Sanchex in one of those guys they are trying to market and sell. 

Will Randy Couture Fight Minatauro Nogueira?

In most sports I find a team I like and stick by them through think and thin.  My teams do not always win, afterall I am a Redskins fand in football and an Orioles fan in baseball.  Mixed Martial Arts is a bit different, it is harder to have one particular guys you like the most.  I have to admit there are 4 or 5 guys I really like and 4 or 5 guys I really don’t like.  When I first got into MMA one guy stood out to me as the guy I wanted to root for and that was “The Natural” Randy Couture, Captain America.  Even more so when he came back and fought Tim Sylvia, who is one of those guys I just don’t like I jumped on the Randy bandwagon.  Then came the Gonzaga fight and people were ruling him out, I cheered for Randy unlike I have any other fighter.  I like Randy.  I think he is classy.  I think he is a good fighter.  I think he is intelligent and articulate.  You cannot help but root for him.  I have thought a lot about this situation with Randy and the UFC.  His main gripes are he feels he is owed more money and he wants Fedor.  I am sure Dana is not perfect, in fact Dana White can be quite stubborn.  However, it seems Randy Couture can too.  I always saw Randy as a great ambassador for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.  However, i am starting to think he is wrong.  I can’t blame him for wanting more money, but goodness gracious he made as much as anyone in the UFC.  I can’t blame him in this stage of his career for wanting the Fedor fight, but goodness gracious it didn’t happen.  I think you could make a case that Dana messed up the Fedor situation. 

    The UFC is still calling Randy Couture the Heavyweight champion.  The intermim title was fought for by Nogueira and Sylvia with Nogueira winning the fight.  My understanding is Randy Couture will be offered a fight with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the undisputed UFC Heavyweight title.  What is he going to do?  I think he will do nothing.  He won’t take the fight.  He won’t back down.  I think he is wrong for that.  So he wants to fight the best fighters in the world and Fedor is considered the best.  The UFC couldn’t ink Fedor so who is the second best heavyweight in the world besides Randy?  Nogueira.  What a good fight that would be.  You know why I don’t think Randy will fight, because he may loose!  I seriously doubt Randy Couture givesa  rip about my blog posts or my opinions, but if for some reason he reads this, as a huge fan of MMA, UFC and Randy Couture, take the fight.  Make things right with the UFC and leave on top of your game in good standing.  Fight Nogueira.  Take out the other guys people rank ahead of you.  If you loose to Nogueira you won’t be able to beat Fedor.  The Fedor fight is an MMA dream match.  I wish it would have worked out, but Nogueira would be a good match.  Tons of questions would swirl.  Could Randy knockout Nogueira for the first time?  Can Nogueira submit Randy?  Can Randy ground and pound Nogueira while avoiding submissions?  Their strengths are so different and the fight could be so good.  Own up Randy!  After you beat Nogueira then go and fight Fedor.  If you take this fight I will root for you all the way against anmyone you fight, but if you don’t you will prove that you are greedy, selfish, stubborn, and scared!  I don’t think he will take the fight, but I can hope can’t I?  If Randy doesn’t take it, the belt will be Nogueira’s and Werdum will get the shot at the title.  Randy has already done some damage to the UFC and the UFC heavyweight divison is in trouble.  Within a month the UFC could loose 3 top ten fighters officially (Randy, Arlovski, and Cro Cop). Those three guys in another organization like M1 with Fedor could hurt the UFC.  That could make for a long reign for Nogueira as the UFC Heavyweight champ.