My UFC 86 Thoughts and Recap

Quick Results:

Forrest Griffin def. Quinton Rampage Jackson

Patrick Cote def. Ricardo Almeida by split decision

Joe Stevenson def. Gleison Tibau by Gulliotine Choke

Josh Koscheck def. Chris Lytle by Unanimous Decision

Tyson Griffin def. Marcus Aurelio by Unanimous Decision

Gabriel Gonzaga def. Justin McCully by Submission (Kimura)

Melvin Guillard def. Denis Siver by TKO

Cole Miller def. Jorge Gurgel by Submission

Justin Buchholtz def. Corey Hill by Submission

My Thoughts:

  • Let me first say that UFC 86 was disappointing to me.  I understand the main event was a great fight in many people’s minds, but it disappointed me.  Furthermore, I was highly disappointed with the other fight that was so hyped in Patrick Cote vs. Ricardo Almeida
  • Congratulations to the new Light Heavyweight Champion, Forrest Griffin.  I slammed him the whole time.  I said constantly he was not the number one contender over and over again. He fought well against Jackson.  I do not know how long he can retain the belt, but I give him credit.
  • I do not like to see someone’s belt taken over a very close decision fight.  That decision could have easily gone the other way.  To be honest I thought it was a draw or slightly to Rampage.  Here is how I scored it: Round 1 (10-9 Jackson) Round 2 (10-8 Griffin) Round 3 (10-9 Jackson) Round 4 (10-9 Jackson) Round 5 (10-9 Griffin) Total: 47-47 Draw
  • Rampage showed he has no ground game and that will be a problem against some guys.  Although the majority of the light heavyweights would rather stand and bang anyways. 
  • Forrest had great heart and a great game plan, utilizing those leg kicks which won the fight in the judge’s minds
  • While Forrest was the underdog he was the crowd favorite and the announcer favorite.  That biased commentary made me mad.  My impression of Joe Rogan, “Oh man, did you see how Forrest hit Rampage’s fist with his head, he must have learned that from Randy.”
  • I will be ticked if they give Cote a title shot.  He didn’t deserve to win.  I also had that fight going differently than the judges. 
  • I was not overly impressed with Almeida outside of round 1 and was never impressed with Patrick Cote
  • Find a different contender, you still have Okami, but also you have the likes of Bisping, Kampmann, etc. 
  • Joe Stevenson looked strong against a very game Gleison Tibau.  Tibau had Stevenson locked up in round 1 and was winning the fight when Joe submitted him.  That’s part of the game.  Joe is a class act and I am glad “Daddy” won.   He showed he is a top level lightweight
  • Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle was my fight of the night.  Koscheck looked great.   I know everyone is down on Koscheck and I am not a fan, but he is talented.  Why boo the dude after he put on a great fight?  Lytle is a warrior as that cut was huge.  Koscheck is a top 5 welterweight and solidified that at UFC 86.
  • Tyson Griffin keeps getting better.  He still needs to finish, but he looked very, very good.  Griffin may be near the top of the lightweight ranks.
  • Melvin Guillard destroyed Dennis Siver and that KO was vicious.   siver needs to be dropped by the UFC.

 

 

 

My Fight Of the Night: Jush Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle

UFC Fight Of The Night: Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin

My Knockout Of The Night: Melvin Guillard

UFC Knockout Of The Night: Melvin Guillard

My Submission Of The Night: Cole Miller

UFC Submission Of The Night: Cole Miller

UFC 86 Weigh In Video

Watch the official UFC 86 weigh ins here. Beware of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s scratch n’ sniff underwear.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “UFC 86 Weigh In Video“, posted with vodpod

 

My UFC 86 Predictions

Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin 

This match has been a long time in the waiting.  Jackson is clearly the favorite going into this fight.  I believe that Jackson is a better all around fighter than Forrest is, however on any given night a guy like Forrest can beat a better guy (as he did against Shogun).  I think the countdown to UFC 86 got it right when the compared Forrest to Rocky Balboa, a guy who has done very well and has exceeded his skill set.  Forrest is tough as nails and he trains harder than anyone in the sport.  Rampage has knockout power and he is not afraid to slam someone.  There are several story lines going into this fight.  Many people will talk about the rivalry being developed through season 7 of the Ultimate Fighter.  Many will talk about how Forrest beat Shogun and Shogun beat Rampage.  Many will talk about Wanderlei Silva helping Forrest prepare for Rampage since Wanderlei has two wins over Jackson.  There wil be a ton of people rooting for Forrest in this fight.  When all is said and done though I do not think that Forrest is as good of a fighter as Ramapge.  He could win, I am not counting him out, but the odds on favorite has to be Rampage and to pick against him in this fight as far as I am concerned would be silly.  I do not know how this fight will go.  It could end quickly with a KO or it could go the distance.  Nevertheless I am picking Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to win via TKO in round 3. 

Ricardo Almeida vs. Patrick Cote

Patrick Cote is a solid fighter who has impressed as of late.  He looks renewed and he has shown some skills since The Ultimate Fighter 4.  This fight as being billed as the winner gets a title shot.  Of course I believe they need to move in line behind Yushin Okami, but I would agree that the winner here could be justified as a top 5 middleweight.  There is no secret to these fighter’s strengths.  Cote excells standing up and can knock anyone out with one punch.  Ricardo Almeida is a ground wiz.  He is one of the best ji jitsu guys in MMA.  He has beaten great ground fighters like Nate Marquardt.  My question for Almeida is going to be in regards to how he will continue to do since coming out of retirement.  Alemida just quit MMA at his prime.  He was doing great and then quit.  He then returned at UFC 81 with a win over Rob Yundt.  Almeida moved from the undecard to co-main event after one fight.  I have no problem with that as I feel Almeida is great.  Since losing to Travis Lutter at the TUF 4 Finale, Patrick Cote has reeled off impressive wins over Scott Smith, Jason Day, Kendall Grove, and Drew McFedries.  That isn’t too bad, and it shows why Cote is in title contention.  Although separated by several yeats Almeida comes into this fight with a 7 fight win streak.  Including wins over Nate Marquardt, Ryo Chonan, and Kazuo Misaki.  Misaki and Marquardt are considered by many to be top ten mdidleweights and Chonan isn’t too shabby either.  This is a classic ground fighter versus stand up fighter fight.  If Almeida gets this to the ground Cote may be in trouble.  I have a feeling Almeida has worked hard on take downs and I am sure Cote has worked hard on take down defense.  I think this fight will not last past round 1.  It will either end with a Cote KO or Almeida submission.  I think Almeida’a experience will pay off and he will be able to take Cote down and submit him.  I pick Ricardo Almeida by submission in round 1. 

Joe Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau

Following Joe Stevenson’s fight with B.J. Penn many people forgot about Joe Stevenson as a contender in the lightweight divison.  Let’s not forget that Stevenson is a top notch fighter.  He is a tough dude, who didn’t do too badly against B.J. Penn. Tibau is 3-2 in the UFC with his losses coming to Nick Diaz and Tyson Griffin.  Tibau is a good fighter, but I do not know if he is on Joe “Daddy” level.  Joe has some quality wins in the UFC.  In the end I think Joe Stevenson’s wrestling will prove too much and he will beat Tibau via unanimous decision. 

Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle

Koscheck is 8-2 in the UFC.  Like Joe Stevenson, he has been forgotten since his loss to Georges St. Pierre.  Don’t forget folks that Josh Koscheck (love him or hate him) is a contender in the UFC middleweight divison and is clearly a top 5 guy in the divison.  He has wins over good fighters in Diego Sanchez and Dustin Hazelett.  Chris Lytle is no push over.  Lytle has been around the UFC for a while, debuting at UFC 28. I believe Lytle is 4-8 in the UFC.  He has lost to some good fighters in Matt Serra, Matt Hughes, Karo Parisyan, Thiago Alves, Robbie Lawler, Joe Riggs, and Nick Diaz.  He has fought some top notch fighters.  He just hasn’t beaten the top tier guys.  I though Lytle was done prior to his highlight reel KO of Kyle Bradley.  Is Lytle going to be a sacrificial lamb to get Koscheck back into contention talk?  I believe so.  Lytle could stun everyone and KO Koscheck, but Koscheck is a good fighter who is improving.  He needs a win here.  A win here will set him up for a fight against another top contender.  I look for Koscheck to shoot, get the takedown, take the mount and pound out Lytle.  I pick Josh Koscheck by TKO in round 2. 

Marcus Aurelio vs. Tyson Griffin

Tyson Griffin is always a part of great fights.  This could be a great match, which quite honestly I have a hard time picking.  Aurelio has a 16-5 record in MMA, however 4 of those 5 losses are split decision losses.  He lost a controversial split decision to Clay Guida in his UFC debut and a split decision loss to Takanori Gomi.  Aurelio has big wins over top tier fighters including a win over Takanori Gomi.  Aurelio trains out of the American Top team with guys like Thiago Alves.  Aurelio is a top tier lightweight.  The winner of this fight is no doubt in serious contention (behind Huerta and Florian).  This has the makings of a great fight, but I look for it to go the distance.  Quite honestly this is a toss up in my mind.  Both Griffin and Aurelio have top training.  Both can hold their own striking and on the ground.  I do not know who has the advantages anywhere.  Interestingly, both have recently fought a common opponent in Clay Guida.  Tyson Griffin won a split decision with Guida and Aurelio lost a split decision to Guida.  In other words, that doesn’t tell us much.  Both can hang with the big dogs.  I will pick Tyson Griffin by split decision.  (That sure would stink for Aurelio to have 5 of his 6 losses by split decision, perhaps he knows the danger of leaving it for the judges). 

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Justin McCully

Gonzaga has gone from main event to under card quickly.  He las lost to Couture and Werdum and is now trying to climb back into contention.  This fight may make it onto the pay per view card.  This fight will tell us a lot about Gonzaga.  He gained a lot of attention for his incredible knock out of Mirko Cro Cop.  Since then he has lost to Couture and Werdum and hasn’t looked great.  This fight will tell us if Gonzaga is a fluke.  McCully is a good fighter, so it will be interesting.  I still think Gonzaga is a top level fighter and I think that he will pull out a win here.  I pick Gonzaga by TKO in round 1. 

Jorge Gurgel vs. Cole Miller

Gurgel is a great trainer and he is 3-2 in the UFC, but he hasn’t beaten anyone notable yet.  Cole Miller is 2-1 in the UFC and looked good on the Ultimate Fighter season 5.  I think that this fight is evenly matched and I think that in the end Cole Miller will get the win by unanimous decision.

Melvin Guillard vs. Dennis Siver

Melvin Guillard is super talented. This may be his last chance in the UFC.  If he loses he is done.  He is already on record saying he’d like to move over to the WEC.  He would do well there.  I don’t think he is done yet though.  I think Guillard will win this one by TKO in round 3. 

Justin Bucholz vs. Corey Hill  

Rumor has is that Corey Hill is improving greatly.  He looked great in his last fight against Joe veres, but Buchholz is  astep up in talent.  I still think Hill will prevail.  Hill’s height will prove too much and he will utilize his reach and the muay thai clinch.  Hill is a 6;4” lightweight! I pick Corey Hill by a barage of knees and TKO in round 1. 

Upset Watch*: Marcus Aurelio over Tyson Griffin; Chris Lytle over Josh Koscheck

Fight of the Night Prediction: Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus Aurelio

Knockout of the Night Prediction: Quinton Jackson

Submission of the Night Prediction: Ricardo Almeida

* Upset watch denotes my picks which I feel could turn into upsets, in other words, these are my picks I would least be shocked if they were wrong.

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.