Mid Year MMA Awards

Best Knockout

Honorable Mention: Luis Arthur Cane KO Jason Lambert, Shane Carwin KO Christian Wellish, Murilio Rua TKO Tony Bonello, Matt Wiman KO Thiago Tavares

5. Anthony Johnson KO Tommy Speer

4. Wilson Gouveia KO Jason Lambert

3. Brian Stann KO Doug Marshall

2. James Irvin KO Houston Alexander

1. Wanderlei Silva KO Keith Jardine

Best Submission

Honorable Mention: Antonio Nogueira submits Tim Sylvia by Guillotine, Yoshiyuki Yoshida submits Jon Koppenhaver by Anaconda choke, Nate Diaz submits Kurt Pellegrino, Cole Miller Submits Jorge Gurgel by Triangle Choke

5. Demian Mia Submits Ed Herman by Triangle Choke

4. Frank Mir Submits Brock Lesnar by Kneebar

3. Rousimar Palhares Submits Ivan Salaverry by Armbar

2. Dustin Hazelett Submits Josh Burkman by Armbar

1. Shinya Aoki Submits Katsuhiko Nagata by Aokiplata

Best Fight

Honorable Mention: Shinya Aoki vs. Gesias Calvancante, Cung Le vs. Frank Shamrock

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia

4. Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver

3. Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith

2. Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin

1. Miguel Torres vs. Yoshiro Maeda

Best Fight Card

5. WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver

4. UFC 80: Rapid Fire

3. UFC 81: Breaking Point

2. DREAM 4

1. UFC 84: Ill Will

Upset of The Year:

Honorable Mention: Jason Day over Alan Belcher,

5. Thiago Alves over Karo Parisyan

4. Kevin Burns over Roan Carneiro

3. Fabricio Werdum over Gabriel Gonzaga

2. Josh Thomson over Gilbert Melendez

1. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson

Fighter Of The Year:

Honorable Mention: Anderson Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Michael Bisping, Georges St. Pierre, Diego Sanchez

5. Miguel Torres

4. Forrest Griffin

3. Thiago Alves

2. Shinya Aoki

1. B.J. Penn (2 Impressive wins over Sean Sherk and Joe Stevenson)

Best UFC Newcomer:

Honorable Mention: Shane Carwin, Brock Lesnar

5. Rousimar Palhares

4. Dong Hyun Kim

3. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

2. Goran Reljic

1. Cain Velasquez

Worst Calls By A Ref. or Judges

5. Forrest Griffin over Quinton Jackson –  Not just that Forrest got the win, but that it was unanimous.  Many, including me scored the fight either a draw or to Jackson

4. Brandon Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum- Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in round 1 when Werdum was mounted on Vera throwing down punches.  There was just 10 seconds remaining and Vera seemed to be defending himself well. 

3. Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites — Leites got the win, but lost the fight.  He lost the fight due to two points taken away from Marquardt.  One point was justified, but the other was due to elbow to the back of the ehad that wasn’t to the back of the head.  I will confess, that another point could have fairly been deducted for an illegal slam, but I hated to see Marquardt get a loss on his record that I feel he won

2. Phantom split decisions — How was Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove a split deicsion?  How was Heath Herring vs Cheick Kongo a split decision?  The right person got the decision, but how was it split?

1. Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson – Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight in the 3rd round while Thompson was still standing and failed to stop it when Thompson was mounted on Kimbo raining down elbows

New Talent in the UFC

One of the things that most excited me about UFC 84 was the display of new talent.  What a job by Dana White and the UFC finding new talent.  UFC 84 was a great display of hopefuls. I am stoked about it. Not only did 5 newcomers win their fights, but 2 guys who hadn’t won yet in the UFC won (Wanderlei and Sokoudjou). These newcomers won me over and I became fans of theirs.  The UFC has some top level new talent.  I liked rooting for these new guys and like seeing new talent coming in.  While we can be critical of the UFC losing some talent (Couture, Arlovski, Sylvia, and Ortiz), there are some new guys to replace them.  Let’s face it while the UFC has lost 4 or 5 stars in the past year, they have gained some future ones.  The guys they lost were past their prime anways.  Whata  job replacing lost talent.  The UFC needs to market these guys.  Put them on Spike’s UFC unleashed and put them on a fight night for people to see.  They all got good exposure at UFC 84 except Dong Hyun-Kim.  Let me say a word about the new guys in the UFC.

Shane Carwin: Out of the newcomers on the UFC 84 card Carwin was the most hyped.  I now know why.  He very well could hold a belt in the UFC one day.  I guess his back health is the one worry.  He is said to have great ground and pound and weaker striking.  He had one of the sickest KO’s I have seen with the mouthpiece flying out.  Shane Carwin is going to be super talented.  Can’t wait for his next fight.  Perhaps against the loser of the Vera vs. Werdum fight or a guy like Justin McCully or Collin Robinson.  Wuth an all around game like he has, the wrestling background, the athletic ability and the KO power he could be a glimmer of hope in a weak, weak divison.  The UFC has three bright stars up and coming in the heavyweight divison (Carwin, Lesnar and Velasquez) and somehow they have to delay them fighting each other and fighting top 3 talent as was learned in the Lesnar vs. Mir experiement. 

Yoshiyuki Yoshida: He very well could have killed Jon Koppenhaver in that fight.  That judo throw and the gator roll anaconda choke was awesome.  Usually your Japanese fighters have proven to be less than exciting and have not faired well in the UFC with the exception of Okami.  Yoshida will do fine and he is exciting.  I want to see him against slighly better competition because Koppenhaver was no match for him. Yoshida looked far superior in every way.  I wish he’s learn a little English though.  The post fight interview with Rogan was slightly awkward and a little English could help his marketability.  Perhpas he could fight a Burkman, Hazelett or maybe the Chonan vs. Carneiro winner is a good idea.  Yoshida will do fine in the UFC, great addidition and he and Kim could make UFC big bucks in the Asian market a la Bisping in England.

Dong Hyun-Kim:  Okay, so I watch Kim fight Jason Tan and all I can say is wow!  He is exciting, strong, and has vicious elbows.  He will be a serious force in the UFC.  He very well could be pitted against a guy like Karo next and I would consider picking Kim to win.  The UFC needs to decide if they think Kim can be something great in the welterweight divison, if they think he can they need to give him two more fights that he can win handily.  The flip side of that is beating a top 10 guy gives you instant credibility.  I know Jason Tan isn’t top level UFC talent, but man Kim looked amazing.  Why aren’t more people talking about that fight?  In my opinion, Kim could very well be the best of the newcomer bunch.  UFC 84 showcased some serious new talent and I am excited about Kim.  I liked him and am disappointed he wasn’t on the televised card.  I still hurt from watching his elbows.

Goran Reljic: Is the guy going to be mini-Cro Cop?  His kicks made me cringe.  Of course my knock on him would be all he showed was striking with the left side, but ouch those kids were hard.  Did you see how red Gouveia’s shoulder was?  I had Wilson Gouveia as ranked 12th in a stacked, stacked divison.  Reljic beat a top tier guy.  I don’t know how he would do against a guy like Thiago Silva or Machida, but he can strike with anyone.  He can take a hit too!!  Relijic has serious promise is this divison and does remind me of a slightly smaller and younger Cro Cop.  The Croatian can improve.  If I was him I would get with some different trainer for a bit to diversify.  I would think Xtreme Couture would be a great idea for him.  However, he is a contender right now!  My question will be how can he handle a aggresive striker or a wrestler like Matt Hammil?  Time will tell.  His future is bright.  I think a Sokoudjou match would be interesting, but I reckon he won’t get that highly ranked of a guy next.  Perhaps the Cane vs. Lambert winner. 

Rousimar Palhares: I know Ivan Salaverry isn’t what he once was, but that arm bar may well have been the best submission I have seen in a while.  He controlled Salaverry from start to finish.   He may be one of the best jiu jitsu guys in the UFC.  I wonder how he would do against another jiu jitsu guy like Demian Maia?  My question will be striking for Palhares.  I wondered why he didn’t soften Ivan up with strikes to the face while he was trying to sink in that choke.  He seemed pretty one-dimensional.  That dimension is top level and then some though.  He was a bright spot on the great card.  Can’t wait to see him in action again.

Antonio Mendes: He is the lone newcomer that lost at UFC 84.  Let me say just two things though.  First, he lost to in my opinion the most underrated light heavyweight and a guy that may well hold the title one day.  Second, he did very, very well.  He rocked Thiago.  His striking looks great.  I hope the UFC saw that and gives him another chance against a slighly less talented guy.  Give Mendes a chance to win against some poor sacrifical lamb in the light heavyweight divison.

Other New Talent:

Cain Velasquez: Many people say the UFC Hevayweight divison has collapsed.  I have said that.  The UFC has lost its champ in Couture and two of it’s top 5 talents in Tim Sylvia and probably Andrei Arlovski.  Mir isn’t what he used to be.  Cro Cop just didn’t work out well.  However, Carwin, Velasquez and Lesnar I believe are a step up in the long run.  Couture was great and I am a fan, but he in 44.  Sylvia is past his prime and Arlovski hadn’t shown consistency.  Cain Velasquez is going to be a star in this divison and it is prime for the taking.

Brock Lesnar: Lesnar is the one of those three new guys in the heavyweight divison to lose, but he lost to Mir and in that loss he showed he can fight.  He is the one of the three guys also that can draw a crowd more than anyone.  He could be UFC’s next biggest star.  We will see how he does against Herring. 

Chris Wilson: Wilson looked good in his loss to Fitch and I believe can do very well in the UFC.  I think he can be a top level guy.  Time will tell with Wilson.

UFC 84: Ill Will Thoughts

I have several thoughts about UFC 84: Ill Will.  Here they go…

  • I was stoked to see the UFC show so many cards on pay-per view.  I believe 9 fights were aired.  I liked it a lot.  Of course it was because there were notmany drawn out decision fights.  I was gald to see Sokoudjou and Carwin’s fights.  It helps the UFC and their careers to get the attention.
  • B.J. Penn looked amazing.  We didn’t even see his jiu-jit su.  He looked crisp in striking.  He was quick and he wore out Sherk with striking.  His cardio looked great too.  B.J. called for the G.S.P. fight and that could be interesting.  Could B.J. hold two belts at the same time?
  • I don’t know what Sherk was doing.  After the fight he said he stayed standing because he was doing well striking.  What fight was he watching?  He could’t reach B.J.  He should have used his wrestling more.
  • How about the show of class between Penn and Sherk.  After many heated words B.J. hugged Sherk and invited him to train in Hawaii
  • Wanderlei is back.  He rocked Jardine.  Jardine was out cold.  And what a classy individual is Wandy.  He is what makes MMA special.  You cannot help but to like him.  He was really concerned for his opponent.  He is humble.  I am a Wanderlei fan.  I will root for a Wanderlei vs. Rampage fight in UFC.  It could happen and the UFC could market it as Rampage’s revenge.  That opens up many scenarios.  If Wandy wins he could get Chuck again for the title.  Still possible he drops down for the Silva vs. Silva match.
  • Lyoto Machida was great against Tito.  Some accuse him of running, but he was elusive.  He was smart.  Tito couldn’t hit him.  He was fast.  He picked his shots well against Tito.  Lyoto is the real deal and will get a big fight next.  He beat Tito bad and I am glad.
  • Who knows what all realyl went on in the UFC after fight press conference with Tito.  Tito is a loud mouthed jerk. 
  • Thiago Silva has a tough chin.  Mendes may be for real, but Thiago is really for real.  He is a top 10 light heavyweight and is in the mix for a title.  He will get a top tier guy next. 
  • Goran Reljic looked great.  He can kick hard.  He has KO power.  If he can learn to vary his kicks more he is a contender.  I moved him into my top 15 from that fight.  I’d like to see him vs. Hammil.
  • Palhares is a force at middleweight.  What an amazing arm bar!  He better improve his striking though. He should have thrown some punches while trying to sink in that choke.  Nevertheless, oen of the best jiu-jitsu guys in the UFC
  • Shane Carwin’s KO of Wellish was sick.  His bread and butter is ground and pound and he didn’t even show it.  He will be a heavyweight force.
  • Yoshida looked great against Koppenhaver.  That choke was textbook.  We will see how he does against more serious competition.
  • Kim will also be a force at welterweight
  • Sokoudjou won…yay!  He didn’t look great, but he won, apparently with a hurt knee.  He called for Shogun, but I hope he doesn’t get him.  I want both those guys to do well in the UFC.  One of them losing would hurt their UFC careers bad.  I’d give Shogun someone like Wilson Gouveia or Stephan Bonnar to get a win under his belt.  And Shogun wants Liddell.
  • This may have helped the UFC roster cuts.  Look for Salaverry, Koppenhaver, and Tan to be canned.  Also, Nakamura may be done as could Etim. 

UFC 84 Predictions

Christian Wellish vs. Shane Carwin

Shane Carwin has never left the first round of a fight.  Nate Marquardt touts him highly.  He is rumored to be a great striker and a great grappler and jiu jitsu guy.  He is being hailed as the next big thing in the UFC heavyweight divison.  A win would ruin that for him.  I am not going to bet against Carwin in fact this is one of the fights I feel most comfortable with.  Don’t be shocked to see this one creep onto the pay-per view showing.  My final pick is Shane Carwin by TKO in round 1.

Terry Etim vs. Rich Clementi

Terry Etim is a great submission guy with 9 of his 10 wins coming by submissions. 5 of Rich Clementi’s 12 losses have come via submissions.  The experience would go to Clementi.  Terry Etim hasn’t fought since September.  Rich Clementi just fought in April at UFC 83 when he beat Sam Stout in a split decision.  This is a hard fight to pick because you have to assume that the fight will go on the ground and if it does Etim can submit Clementi quickly.  However, I am going to pick Clementi by ref stoppage in round 2. 

Ivan Salavarry vs. Rousimar Palhares

Ivan Salaverry is very talented, but for some reason hasn’t show all he can do.  He is very well rounded.  Palhares is a relative unkown, but apparently he can submit people because that is how he wins.  I struggled picking this fight because Salaverry may be done.  This is one of those win or go home fights.  I amy regret it but I am going to pick Palhares by submission is round 1. 

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Jason Tan

I have no idea what to say here.  The loser is going to be cut.  Japanese fighters seem to struggle over in the UFC with the exception of Okami.  Maybe Kim is Korean and he will win.  Jason Tan hasn’t beat quality people yet.  However, I am going to pick Jason Tan by unanimous decision.

Jon Koppenhaver vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

It comes down to heart and Koppenhaver has heart, but his head is messed up.  I pick Yoshida to win by unanimous decision.

Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes

Mendes has a good record, but Thiago Silva has looked amazing.  I think he is a guy to watch in the UFC.  Silva is 12-0 with 10 wins coming by TKO.  I think Silva is going to KO Mendes in round 2. 

Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic

Gouveia is 4-1 in the UFC, with his only loss coming in the TUF 3 Finale to Keith Jardine.  Now, Gouveia in his last fight was nearly KO’d by Jason Lambert, but he camback and won the fight.  Gouveia may want to keep the fight standing and may want to watch for Reljic’s armbar.  Reljic is a Croatian who has trained with Cro Cop.  I don’t know how good he will be, but we will see.  This may be a good fight.  I think Gouveia could easily win this fight, but I am going to pick Reljic by upset win and submission in round 1.

Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

Sokoujou is still a top ten talent most places.  He is doing some training with Extreme Couture and his guys tend to do very well.  Nakamura has an average record of 11-7, but to his credit his losses have come to Machida, Shogun, Barnett, Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.  In other words he has some good wins and some good fights, but struggles against the top tier.  This may be a win or go home fight as well.  I look for Sokoudjou to win this fight by unanimous decison.

Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida

Perhpas this is the fight will all the drama.  Tito is most likely gone from the UFC win or lose.  We know of his bitterness with Dana White.  Tito wants nothing more than to go out with a win as a sign to the UFC that he is still a good fighter.  Dana wants nothing more than Tito to lose badly in this fight.  In fact he has probably given Machida all sorts of incentives if he wins.  Tito claims to be in tip top shape.  However, I have a feeling he has been distracted by talks of where he will fight next, the Apprentice, clothing lines, Jenna, other busisness ventures, did I mention Jenna?  I think in the end Machida is too good.  I wouldn’t want to go to decision against Tito, no fighter has been given more questionable decisions than Tito.  Machida is 12-0 and that against top notch guys.  He holds wins over B.J. Penn, Rich Franklin, Sokoudjou, Nakamura, and David Heath.  I am going to pick Lyoto Machida to win by TKO in round 2. 

Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva

This is set up to be a great fight.  Both these guys are good guys with great records.  The question for me is Wanderlei’s best days behind him?  Jardine in my opinion should be the one coaching TUF and should be the one getting the next title shot.  Jardine beat Liddell and Wanderlei lost to Chuck recently.  So I guess many people with figure that Jardine should easily beat Silva.  Not so fast.  I think Wanderlei’s training and hard word will pay off.  I like Keith Jardine, but I like Wanderlei Silva.  He is a class act and a MMA legend.  I am rooting for him all the way.  A win for Jardine ought to mean title shot.  A loss for Silva and some people are talking he is out of the UFC.  I doubt that yet.  With that said I will pick Wanderlei Silva to win by TKO in round 1.

B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk

If B.J. Penn looks like he did against Joe Stevenson it is good bye Sean Sherk.  I am rooting for B.J.  Sean Sherk is no puch over though.  Sherk has one many fights by ground and pound.  That may be dangerous against the jiu-jitsu of Penn.  Cardio will be a huge factor to me.  Sherk has an awesome record.  Sherk could win this one, but I am going to pick B.J. Penn by submission in round 2. 

Upsets to watch for: Terry Etim over Rich Clementi.  Keith Jardine over Wanderlei Silva.  Wilson Gouveia over Goran Reljic. 

UFC Cutting Fighters

What is taking place?  Who has been cut?  Why have they been cut?  Who should be cut?  Wh shouldn’t be cut? What fighters are on the chopping block? 

The UFC had over 200 fighters under contract.  Just recently the UFC has decided to start cutting fighters to allow the better fighters to fight more often.  In the recent weeks the UFC has cut Jake O’Brien, David Heath, Din Thomas, Kalib Starnes, Travis Lutter, John Halverson, Soa Palelei, Tommy Speer, and Kuniyoshi Hironaka.  They allowed Cro Cop and Tim Sylvia out of their contracts and have not yet re-signed Arlovski.  They are about to loose Tito Ortiz.  The goal of the UFC brass is to get down to the 150-160 range of contracted fighters.  This means there are more cuts to come.  Many fights on upcoming cards are do or die fights.  Let me sound my opinion…

  • I understand what the UFC is trying to do, and I too want to see the best fight more often
  • The options are either to have more events with more fights on the fight cards or release some fighters
  • If the UFC has 200 fighters under contracts and hold 18 fight events annually with 10 fights per card that means there will be 180 fights, with 360 fighters in action annually.  That means some fighters will only fight once per year.  That doesn’t cut it.  They need 3-4 fights a year to susatain their career.

With that in mind…

  • I don’t agree with all the cuts that have been made.  For example, Jake O’Brien was undefeated in the UFC, then he looses to Arlovski and he is cut.  He was a top 10-15 UFC heavyweight.  The heavyweight divison is hurting bad now.  That is the worst move of all.  Hironaka just won fight of the night in a loss to Goulet and he was cut.  Din Thomas was a top 15 lightweight and he was cut.  I think Tommy Speer deserved one more chance to prove himself. 
  • I understand cutting Starnes and kind of understand cutting Lutter and Doerksen. 
  • I don’t understand why Dana White will let Sylvia and Cro Cop out of their contacts, but won’t let Couture
  • There are some fighters would could be cut and the UFC will not miss them

Who is in danger?

The bottom line is the next few UFC events for many guys will be do or die.  This will make for some exciting fights as no one wants to be fired, but it cannot be a constant issue as we do not want fighters to look over their shoulders because they are bound to lose eventually. So who is in danger?

UFC 84

  • Christian Wellisch
  • Jason Tan
  • Dong Hyun Kim
  • Jon Koppenhaver
  • Yoshiyuki Yoshida
  • Rousimar Palhares
  • Ivan Salaverry
  • Kazuhiro Nakamura
  • Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
  • Antonio Mendes

UFC 85

  • Jess Liaudin
  • Paul Taylor
  • Paul Kelly
  • Roan Carneiro
  • Jason Lambert

TUF 7 Finale

  • Jeremy Horn
  • Drew McFedries
  • Dustin Hazelett
  • Evan Tanner
  • Kendall Grove

Nearly half those guys will be cut

What standard should be used to decide to gets cut.  The problem is some guys are going to lose, should they be cut for one loss?  Here would be my standard…

  • Exciting fighter.  This earned Koppenhaver and Rollins a chance and may give them one more fight.  You can lose well.  The UFC wants exciting fighters.  The lack of excitment got Starnes cut.  Dana has always said he would reward exciting fights.  This could keep a guy like Terry Etim or Paul Taylor around even if they loose.  I would can boring fighters who refuse to engage.
  • Popular fighter.  I would not cut a more popular fighter because they could be a draw.  They need to look at the fan base before cutting.  That could save a guy like Kendall Grove or Jeremy Horn.
  • Ranked fighter.  I would not cut a top 20 fighter in the world.  That should save Sokodjou and Nakamura. 
  • Experienced figher.  You give the MMA vets an extra shot.  That again would spare Jeremy Horn even with a loss
  • Classy Figher.  MMA needs good ambassadors.  I would keep around classy guys and emphasize character if I was looking to sign people.  That has worked in other sports.  Many teams won’t trade for, sign or draft a troubled athelete even if they are talented because they are a liability.  MMA needs to target young people and if they want credibility they need to have class act guys in a controversial sport.  Punk fighters should be booted before classy guys. 
  • Potential fighter.  Shane Carwin is highly touted it he loses he needs to stay.  Brock Lesnar was in the same boat as was Velasquez.  If they are highly touted you give them a chance and let them prove themselves. 
  • Not All Losses Are Equal.  You cannot fault a guy for fighting good competition.  Imagine if Sokoudjou losses to Nakamura, there is chatter that he would be cut.  He would have lost to two quality guys in Machida and Nakamura.  I don’t expect him to lose, but he is universally ranked in the top ten in the world.  Dan Henderson has lost 2 in a row in the UFC.  Some say Wanderlai could even be in trouble, but you cannot can him for losses to Liddell and Jardine.  My opinion you keep some guys no matter what.  If Henderson fights Rich Franklin next he could easily lose that making him 0-3 in the UFC.  My tohughts would be give him a second tier guy to prove he is worth it.  If he loses then cut him, the same with Wanderlai and Sokodjou.  They did that with Cro Cop. 
  • Adequate opportunity.  I think if the UFC signs someone and gives them a fight you give them a chance to win.  Guys like Carwin, Wain, Palhares, Carneiro may lose their first fight.  Give them one more chance.  You want to develop talent and not ruin it.
  • Winability.  Like my new word?  It means do they have the skills to win?  I think UFC fighters need to be able to have a winning record.  There is no need for guys that will just get beat

The bottom line is cuts need to be made, but only cut those who have no heart and cannot compete at that level.  That is why using the Zuffa owned WEC as a farm system is a great idea.  Send the guys that need to improve down to WEC and bring the best of the WEC into the big leagues.

 

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!

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