Poll Questions In Wake of UFC 91

Cast your vote below in some questions that arose following UFC 91. 

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UFC 91 Preview and Predictions

Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar

Perhaps this is not the biggest fight in UFC history, but it is a big one that is sure to attract a record crowd.  The hype surrounding this card speaks volumes about this particular fight seeing as how the rest of the card is mediocre at best.  This is also a hard fight to pick.  Here is what we know.  Brock Lesnar has looked impressive in his two UFC fights although he lost his debut against Frank Mir (or as he says it “Murr”).  Quite honestly, if Steve Mazagatti hadn’t pulled Lesnar off and stood them up for a hit to the back of the head the fight may have ended with Lesnar being victorious.  Against Heath Herring Lesnar showed incredible ability to control another fighter and he showed that he hits stinkin’ hard.  There are a lot of unknowns about Brock Lesnar.  However, Randy Couture is not an unknown at all.  We know what he will bring to the cage.  He comes in as an underdog despite his experience.  Let me break down this fight. I broke down different skills sets and picked who had tha advantage in each realm that may be a factor in this fight.  Myabe it will help in picking a winner.

Age: Brock Lesnar

Randy is 45.  Brock Lesnar is 31.  Age could be a factor.  It hasn’t been for Randy yet, but it is bound to be eventually.  Everyone thought it was an issue against Tim Sylvia and against Gabriel Gonzaga and it wasn’t, a little over a year later, we expect it could be a factor.  I do not believe it will be the sole factor or even the deciding factor, but it will be a factor. Unfortunately, if Couture loses everyone will blame it on Randy’s age and not Lesnar’s skill.  I believe everyone would agree that Lesnar wins the age battle.

Experience: Randy Couture

There is no question that Randy’s experience is a huge factor.  Lesnar is 2-1 in his MMA career.  Granted he has fought elite fighters in Mir and Herring, he doesn’t nearly have the résumé that Couture has.  Couture has an impressive 16-8 record.  Randy has been in the ring against guys like Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Tim Sylvia, Gabriel Gonzaga, Vitor Belfort, Josh Barnett, Ricco Rodriguez, Maurice Smith, Pedro Rizzo, Jeremy Horn, and Kevin Randleman.  Couture has fought 5 round fights.  He has headlines big events.  He has been in every imaginable situation in a fight.  That is a huge advantage.  The limelight will not be a decided advantage for Randy because Lesnar has been there.  He experienced that in WWE and even in his college wrestling days.  When it comes down to instincts in the ring though Randy has the advantage.  The one who loses this fight could very well be the one who makes the first mistake.  That bodes very well for Couture.

Strength: Brock Lesnar

Is there any real question here?  Look at Lesnar.  He dwarfs everyone.  He is strong as an ox.  By the way, never question whether Lesnar’s build and strength were gained by natural means because he does not like being accused of steroids.  Strength could be an issue.  Lesnar’s strength could give Lesnar the ability to hold Couture down and avoid reversals.  It could help in the clinch, where Randy is very good.  It could help to avoid submissions and to get off his back.  In this match-ups strength will be an issue.  We give the strength advantage to Lesnar.

Athleticism: Brock Lesnar

This is a tough one to call.  I just give the athletic advantage to Lesnar because he is younger and he is a physical specimen.  He is a elite wrestler.  He played some pro football.  He is doing well in MMA.  He has shown great athletic prowess.  I think Lesnar may be the most athletic heavyweight.  He is quick and moved well for a guy nearing 300 lbs. I know WWE is fake and say what you want about pro wrasslin’, but it does take great athleticism do fair well in the WWE. I give the athleticism advantage to Lesnar, but not by a lot.

Wrestling: Brock Lesnar

I know that Randy Couture is a top tier wrestler.  I know of his background at Oklahoma State.  I know that he was an Olympic alternate like 3 times.  There is no one with the wrestling pedigree of Brock Lesnar.   He is a national champ out of Minnesota.  He could have done whatever he wanted wrestling wise.  Where does this come into play?  On the ground.  It will be very hard to keep Brock on his back.  However, he is not in there against some tomato can wrestler.  Randy Couture is a good, very good wrestler.  I give the advantage to Brock here though mainly because Randy is further removed from his wrestling career than Brock Lesnar.  The skill set difference may not be enough to make much difference and I highly doubt this fight will unfold like the Herring fight did. 

Grappling: Randy Couture

Brock Lesnar showed a lot of skill against Herring, but he showed very little grappling or jiu jitsu skills.  He should have submitted him numerous times following the many times he mounted the Texas Crazy Horse or the times he took his back.  If he gives Randy his back he will be choked out.  That may be a good place for Randy to look to win and it may be an area that Brock is vulnerable.  With that said the brute strength of Lesnar makes up for some of his lack of grappling skill and also, Lesnar is showing improvement constantly.  Certainly he has worked on grappling.  The question is how much did he improve since Herring?

Clinch: Randy Couture

Randy is a master at the clinch and dirty boxing.  He is not afraid to clinch with bigger stronger guys.  Just ask Gonzaga and Sylvia.  The clinch could be a good place to be for Randy.  He has a decided clinch advantage.

Size: Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar has to cut weight to make 265 lbs.  Randy Couture will come in barely over 205 lbs.  Lesnar wears those XXXXL MMA gloves.  He will be a tough dude to wrap up and to hold onto.  Enough said. 

Striking Technique: Randy Couture

Randy never fails to impress.  He has more technique because he has been at it longer.  He may utilize his technique and boxing skills to keep Lesnar away and he may want to test Brock’s chin.  Randy hit Sylvia so hard in round 1 of their fight that Tim says he didn’t come to until round 5. 

Striking Power: Brock Lesnar

Ask Heath Herring.  Brock can hit hard.  He doesn’t seem to have the technique that Randy does, but I have a feeling that Brock hits harder.  He packs a lot of weight behind a punch.  If Brock hits Randy like he did Herring it could be a bad night for Captain America.

Training: Randy Couture

I do not doubt Lesnar’s work ethic or how good his training will be.  The bottom line is that Xtreme Couture is becoming one of the elite training facilities in the world.  Randy will as always have a superior game plan and will have trained and prepared for everything in this fight.

Fans/Popularity: Randy Couture

He is Captain America.  He is the Natural.  Randy Couture is beloved by fans.  I do not know if his recent stint outside the octagon will hurt him, but I think it will help him.  I imagine that when Randy walks out Saturday night that the cheers will be deafening.  The fans will be behind Randy.  Brock is not unpopular, it is just he is fighting the most popular or at least one of the most popular mixed martial artists.  His popularity will translate into money and pay per view buys.  I think Randy will have the crowd seeing as how he is fighting out of his hometown of Las Vegas.  This is a factor in this fight.  Brock will receive some love too, but not the love of Captain America.

Cardio:  Randy Couture

I almost labeled this a tossup.  It really could be, but I gave it to Randy for a few reasons.  First, Randy is and always has been known as a cardio machine.  Second, he has gone five round before.  After round 3 it is a new place for Brock.  I would imagine that Brock’s cardio is very good and that he is prepared to go 5, but he is more likely to gas than Randy and Randy could keep a fast paced or in your face style that could wear down Lesnar.  I do not think it is a huge advantage, but it could be a slight advantage.

The only other question I would have is will Randy show some ring rust?  I doubt it.  I am so tempted to pick Lesnar to win this fight.  However, I have learned my lesson about betting against Randy Couture.  Therefore I pick Randy Couture to win by submission in round 3. 

Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson

A great fight in the lightweight divison which should determine the number 1 contender.  If Florian wins he has to get a title shot.  If Florian can avoid the Stevenson guillotine choke he will win this fight.  I am excited about this one.  However, I pick Florian by decision.

Demian Maia vs. Nate Quarry

This is a great fight.  Quarry is a good striker and Maia is a great grappler and jiu jitsu practioner.  The winner of this fight moved far up the ladder at 185 lbs.  I think if it stays standing Quarry wins.  If it goes to the ground Maia wins.  With that said, I think it will go to the ground.  Maia will then make quick work of Quarry.  If I am wrong Quarry will have won by KO or TKO.  Nevertheless, I pick Maia by submission in round 1.

Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone

I know nothing about Catone, but do you really think they will give the Ultimate Fighter winner a guy they thought would beat Amir?  Amir by submission in round 2.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Josh Hendricks

Quick Picks:

Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamdan McCrory

Jorge Gurgel vs. Aaron Riley

Jeremy Stephens vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Mark Bocek vs. Alvin Robinson

Matt Brown vs. Ryan Thomas

Fight of the Night Pick: Gurgel vs. Riley

Submission of the Night Pick: Demian Maian or Dustin Hazelett

KO of the Night Pick: Jeremy Stephens

Upset to Wtach: Brock Lesnar over Randy Couture and Nate Quarry over Demian Maia

This Week (November 9-15) In MMA

  • UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar This is being billed as “the biggest fight in UFC history”.  From a money standpoint that may be true.  From a talent standpoint I don’t think so.  The card is solid, but not as good as some of the upcoming UFC cards.  MMAblog will cover more of this event as the week goes on.  get ready to order the pay per view event Saturday…The fight card looks like this:

Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar

Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson

Nate Quarry vs. Demian Maia

Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Josh Hendricks

Dustin Hazelett vs. Tamadan McCrory

Jorge Gurgel vs. Aaron Riley

Jeremy Stephens vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Mark Bocek vs. Alvin Robinson

Matt Brown vs. Ryan Thomas

  • The Ultimate Fighter 8 Episode 9 will air Wednesday, November 12th.  The show is expected to feature a light heavyweight bout between Team Mir number 1 pick and one of the favorites to win the show, Krzysztof Soszynski who will be taking on Kyle Kingsbury.
  • Cagefest Xtreme: Evolution will take place Saturday, November 15th.  The Ultimate Fighter 6 runner- up Tommy Speer will be headlining the card against Beau Baker.  Also, on the card is Antwain Britt, who many may remember for being a cast member of the Ultimate Fighter 8.  Britt won his first bout to make it into the house, but he sustained a hand injury which forced him out of the show.  Apparently the UFC declined to pick him up.  A win here could get Britt into the UFC.  Britt will take on CT Turner. Also, UFC veteran Chad Reiner will be fighting against Kyle Baker.
  • Destiny MMA will have a show in Hawaii on November 15th which will be headlined by UFC veteran and our favorite afraid to engage fighter, Kalib Starnes who will be taking on the talented and dangerous Hawaiian fighter Kala Kolohe Hose.  In addition, Po’ai Suganuma will be in action as wil Kaelo Kwan.
  • Also do not forget the Countdown to UFC 91, which will first air on SPIKE on Monday Night (Tonight)!

MMABlog’s Lightweight MMA Rankings

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

B.J. Penn

UFC

St. Pierre (#1 WW) 1/31

2

Takanori Gomi

World Victory Road

Golyaev (NR), 11/1

3

Shinya Aoki

DREAM

 

4

Eddie Alvarez

EliteXC?

 

5

Sean Sherk

UFC

T. Griffin (#15), 9/25

6

Mitsuhiro Ishida

DREAM/Strikeforce

 

7

Tatsuya Kawajiri

DREAM

 

8

Kenny Florian

UFC

Stevenson (#10), 11/15

9

Josh Thomson

Strikeforce

Edwards (NR), 11/21

10

Joe Stevenson

UFC

Florian (#8), 11/15

11

Gesias Calvancante

DREAM

 

12

Joachim Hansen

DREAM

 

13

Gilbert Melendez

Strikeforce

 

14

Jamie Varner

WEC

 

15

Tyson Griffin

UFC

Sherk (#5), 9/25

16

Roger Huerta

UFC

 

17

Gray Maynard

UFC

Clementi (NR), 9/25

18

Frank Edgar

UFC

Wiman (NR), 12/10

19

Vitor Ribeiro

 

 

20

Nate Diaz

UFC

 

21

K.J. Noons

EliteXC?

 

22

Joe Lauzon

UFC

 

23

Nick Diaz

EliteXC

 

24

Spencer Fisher

UFC

Gugerty (NR), 9/25

25

Caol Uno

DREAM

 

 

Others Considered: Clay Guida, Hermes Franca, Marcus Aurelio, Jim Miller, Jorge Masvidal , Rich Clementi, Matt Wiman, and Mac Danzig.

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. 

What to expect in MMA in ’08

  • I expect to see new title holders in every division but one and that is the middleweight.  All though Anderson could be challenged by Dan Henderson.  My picks for the title holders: Nogueira, Not sure about lightheavyweight, Anderson Silva, St. Pierre, and B.J. Penn.
  • I expect to see a few more fighters signed to UFC contracts.  Highlighting the list: Matt Lindland, Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields, and some other big name surprise
  • I expect TUF to be a disappointment with Rampage Jackson getting a lot of camera time saying his crazy off the wall things
  • I expect the middleweight division to get tougher
  • I expect a few UFC stars to retire (Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin)
  • I expect Sean Sherk to get another title shot, but B.J. Penn to beat him badly
  • I expect the light heavyweight division to get crazier with guys like Machdia, Thiago Silva, Rashad Evans, and Shogun in the title mix.
  • I expect Chuck Liddell to avenge his loss to Keith Jardine by summer
  • I expect that Shogun is still only one fight away from a title shot, I think that my top ten in the lightheavyweight at the top ten at light heavyweight, perhaps not in that order.
  • I expect Dan Henderson to try Anderson Silva like he hasn’t been tried in a while
  • I expect Jon Fitch, Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk, Roger Huerta, Matt Lindland, and either Arlovski or Cro Cop to get a title shot. 
  • I expect the former PRIDE guys to turn it around in the octagon
  • I expect another solid fight from Wanderlai Silva, can you say rematch?
  • I expect the Fedor vs. Randy fight to happen
  • I expect other organizations to become more of a competition to the UFC
  • I expect Dana White to say many more expletives on national television
  • I expect TUF alums to suceed this year even more
  • I expect Diego Sanchez to drop to lightweight
  • I expect Brock Lesnar to be a middle of the road fighter
  • I expect Brandon Vera to drop to lightheavyweight
  • I expect Bisping to cry when he gets beat in middleweight
  • I expect Tito to loose in the Apprentice

UFC Fighter Rankings

Where do fighters rank in the UFC?  I’ve seen all sorts of thoughts on rankings, so I will chime in and give my rankings, which of course are the best and most accurate.  I am using a few guidelines.

  • This is strictly UFC, not including fighters not yet signed in UFC from Pride.  For example, Fedor would be on or near the top of the Heavyweight rankings, but he is yet to sign so he is not included
  • This is based not on popularity or even record, but purely on who I perceive to be the best fighters
  • I am putting the title holders at number one in each weight class, even though they might not be the best in that class, for example, I would not have Matt Serra as the best fighter in his class, but he is the belt holder.
  • Some fighters are rising quickly and others are falling quickly (i.e. Tito and Cro Cop)

HEAVYWEIGHTS

1. Randy “The Natural” Couture

2. Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski

3. Gabriel Gonzaga

4. Cheick Kongo

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

6. Tim Sylvia

7. Mirko “Cro Cop”

8. Brandon Vera

9. Frank Mir

10. Jeff Monson 

11. Heath Herring

12. Fabricio Werdum

13. Assuerio Silva

(Note: Fedor, Josh Barnett, and even Aleksander Emelianko may have made the list had they signed. )

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS

1. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

2. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

3. Dan Henderson

4. Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell

5. Wandelai Silva

6. Rashad Evans

7. Houston Alexander

8. Tito Ortiz

9. Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine

10. Forrest Griffin

11. Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira

12. Matt “The Hammer” Hamill

13. Micael Bisping

14. Ryoto Machida

15. Jason Lambert

16. Stephan Bonnar

17. Renato “Babalu” Sorbal

18. Wilson Gouveia

19. Marvin Eastman

(Note: I put Hamill above Bisping because I believe he beat Bisping in their fight.  Even though Bisping got the win, Hammil looked better.)

MIDDLEWEIGHT:

1. Anderson Silva

2. Rich Franklin

3. Yushim Okami

4. Terry Martin

5. Nate Marquardt

6. Dan Henderson

7. Jason MacDonald

8. Patrick Cote 

9. Kalib Starnes

10. Chris Leben

11. Martin Kampmann

12. Thales Leites

13. Ivan Salaverry

14. Nate “Rock” Quarry

15. Evan Tanner

16. Kendall Grove

17. Ed Herman

18. Travis Lutter

19. Dean Lister

20. Alessio Sakara

WELTERWEIGHT:

1. Matt Serra

2. Georges St. Pierre

3. Matt Hughes

4. Diego Sanchez

5. Karo Parisyan

6. Josh Koschek

7. Jon Fitch

8. B.J. Penn

9. Marcus Davis

10. Mike Swick

11. Thiago Alves

12. Josh Burkman

13. Luigi Fioravanti

14. Nick Diaz

15. Chris Lytle

16. Edilberto “Crocota” de Oliveira

17. Jonathan Goulet

LIGHTWEIGHT:

1.  Sean Sherk

2. B.J. Penn

3. Joe “Daddy” Stevenson

4. Roger Huerta

5. Kenny Florian

6. Hermes Franca

7. Nick Diaz

8. Joe Lauzon

9.  Din Thomas

10. Marcus Davis

11. Clay Guida

12. Spencer Fisher

13. Frank Edgar

14. Melvin Guillard

15. Drew Fickett

16. Kurt Pellegrino

17. Terry Etim

18. Tyson Griffin

19. Marcus Aurelio

20. Sam Stout

21. Tiago Tavares

22. Nate Diaz

(Note: I listed to 22 because there are so many quality fighters and the last 12-15 of these guys are not far from one another in ranking,  Some rankings have my number 19 Marcus Aurelio much higher, but come on, whose he gonna bump down?)

 Let the disputing begin.  I’d love to hear comments.  Perhaps I left someone off included someone I shouldn’t have.  Perhaps I have someone overrated or another underrated.  Let me know what you think.