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 Discussion

Hey this is MMAblog’s official UFC 86 discussion.  Please post comments and predictions.  Let me give my picks and you can debate me or rub it in my face if I am wrong…

My Quick Picks:

  • Jackson
  • Almeida
  • Koscheck
  • Griffin
  • Stevenson
  • Gonzaga
  • Guillard
  • Miller
  • Hill

Also, you can sign up and make predictions at www.mmapredictions.com or fantasy picks at www.ufc.com

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.

Tournaments in the UFC

What if UFC had a 16 man tournament.  In other words a little bigegr version of what DREAM is doing with lightweights and middleweights.  A tournament would doa  lot of good things.  It would give an underdog the chance to win and fight the top dog.  You would have to have some type of ranking to do it and seed the guys like with the NCAA basketball tournament.  It would ease match making.  It would give exciting fights and intriguing possibilites.  Can you imagine all the possible scenarios of what could happen and who could fight one another?  I bet guys would fight passionatley.  There would be upsets.  So…I played around and came up with this…I took my 16 top guys in each class and made a bracket.  The fight one winner will fight the fight 2 winner and so on…

Lightweight:

Round One Match ups:

B.J. Penn vs. Rich Clementi

Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard

Marcus Aurelio vs. Frank Edgar

Kenny Florian vs. Manny Gamburyan

Sean Sherk vs. Spencer Fisher

Nate Diaz vs. Joe Stevenson

Joe Lauzon vs. Tyson Griffin

Roger Huerta vs. Mac Danzig

Welterweight:

Georges St. Pierre vs. Chris Lytle

Thiago Alves vs. Mike Swick

Karo Parisyan vs. Matt Serra

Josh Koscheck vs. Ryo Chonan

Jon Fitch vs. Roan Carneiro

Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fiorvanti

Marcus Davis vs. Akihiro Gono

Matt Hughes vs. Chris Wilson

Middleweight:

Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites

Martin Kampmann vs. Nate Quarry

Patrick Cote vs. Ricardo Almeida

Yushin Okami vs. Demian Maia

Rich Franklin vs. Evan Tanner

Nate Marquardt vs. Jason MacDonald

Chris Leben vs. Michael Bisping

Dan Henderson vs. Jorge Rivera

Light Heavyweight:

Quinton Jackson vs. Goran Reljic

Mauricio Shogun Rua vs. Matt Hammil

Wanderlei Silva vs. Sokoudjou

Chuck Liddell vs. Houston Alexander

Keith Jardine vs. Jame Irvin

Forrest Griffin vs. Wilson Gouveia

Thiago Silva vs. Rashad Evans

Lyoto Machida vs. Stephan Bonnar

Heavyweight:

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Dan Evenson

Cheick Kongo vs. Eddie Sanchez

Heath Herring vs. Cain Velasquez

Frank Mir vs. Christian Wellish

Fabricio Werdum vs. Antoni Hardonk

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shane Carwin

Brock Lesnar vs. Justin McCully

Brandon Vera vs. Neil Wain

 

This all could make some interesting match-ups.  What you would do would be take all five divisons and make 5 fight cards with 8 fights each.  You could split them up or have a “lightweight card”.  5 cards would finish round one.  Then you could have two 10 fight card and that would finish round two.  Then you could have another card that would do the semi-final match ups and another card for the championships.  Try making an un-televised undercard out of any of these fights.  That would be awesome.  Of course you could put more thought into match ups and potential second and third round “dream match up” in where you placed fighters, but it is a great idea.  The one flaw is that if the UFC had one card a month this tournament would take 9 months to finish and that would keep a lot of fighters from fighting in that time.  I guess you could break it up and have non-tournament fights mixed in there too.  Just food for thought…

Who Benefited Most From PRIDE’s Collapse?

When PRIDE fell they were clearly the biggest competitors with the UFC, having many of MMA’s top guys.  They had some big time stars. Then PRIDE got into trouble and was bought by Zuffa.  So who benefited the most from PRIDE’s deminse?  There was a mad scramble to sign those guys who were now unemployed. I have been critical of the UFC’s ability to sign top PRIDE guys like Fedor, Gomi, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Arona, Kang, Mousasi, Melendez, etc. However, it looks like the UFC has done great due to PRIDE’s fall.  I ranked the PRIDE guys at the time of their collapse in order of who I would want to sign and the UFC benefited from it.  Now, the guys they have signed haven;t had huge success, but they are popular and will win eventually.  Can you imagine the UFC heavyweight divison without the influx of Nogueira, Werdum, and Herring???  The light heavyweight divison also was greatly boosted with the signings of Shogun, Wanderlei, Dan Henderson, Nakamura, and Sokoudjou.  UFC just struggles to get the lightweights. UFC signed 13 of those guys I listed and they have faired well, this doesn’t even include other guys who came in before the fall of PRIDE like “Rampage” Jackson.  Out of those guys you have some stars now in the UFC, some guys that can draw a crowd and one of them owns the belt (Nogueira).  DREAM and Affliction seemed to clean up what UFC couldn’t sign.  DREAM picked up the ligtweights, signing 8 of those PRIDE guys.  Affliction has a few signings.  So while I am critical of the UFC, let us give Dana and the UFC brass some credit for signing many of the top PRIDE guys.  I still would like to see the best of the best in one place, but it won’t happen, so this puts things into perspective and the UFC did good and benefited the most from PRIDE’s fall.

 

Name

Fight Organization Signed With

Fedor Emelianenko

Affliction

Wanderlei Silva

UFC

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

UFC

Mirko Cro Cop

UFC (DREAM)

Takanori Gomi

World Victory Road

Dan Henderson

UFC

Josh Barnett

Affliction

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

UFC

Paulo Filho

WEC

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

HCF

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

UFC

Ricardo Arona

 

Gilbert Melendez

Strikeforce

Fabricio Werdum

UFC

Gegard Mousasi

DREAM

Denis Kang

DREAM

Aleksander Emelianenko

Affliction

Marcus Aurelio

UFC

Akihiro Gono

UFC

Kauo Misaki

DREAM

Ricardo Almeida

UFC

Heath Herring

UFC

Joachim Hansen

DREAM

Ryo Chonan

UFC

Kazuhiro Nakamura

UFC

Tatsuya Kawajiri

DREAM

Mitsuhiro Ishida

DREAM

Alistair Overeem

Strikeforce

Kevin Randleman

 

Phil Baroni

EliteXC

Hayato “Mach” Sakurai

DREAM

Murilio Bustamante

 

Murilo “Ninja” Rua

EliteXC

UFC’s Best Divison

I went to HDnet’s fighter rankings and based this on which UFC weight divisons had the most top 20 fighters.  I know there are other ways to judge the best, but this is interesting…

1. Light Heavyweights –  They are stacked in the UFC.  This is where the light heavyweight competition lies.  They have the top 11 (Jackson, Henderson, Griffin, Liddell, Jardine, Machida, Wanderlei, Evans, Thiago Silva, and Sokodjou) guys in the world and 20 of the top 25 guys.  This is a great divison, full of star power.

2. Welterweights – They have 10 of the top 20 (St. Pierre, Fitch, Hughes, Serra, Koscheck, Sanchez, Alves, Parisyan, Davis and Gono), but 8 of the world’s top ten.  They have a near top ten monopoly only missing out on Shields and Condit.  I feel that there are other UFC guys to mention in top 20 talk (Chris Wilson and Chris Lytle), but the divison is strong and has the top tier welterweights in the world.

3. Lightweights – In most rankings the UFC gets cheated in the lightweight divison.  The system I used ranked 8 of their guys as top 20 in the world (Penn, Sherk, Huerta, Stevenson, Florian, Guida, Tyson Griffin, and Gray Maynard).  I know some of those other guys are good, but they are overrated.  Gomi can’t beat UFC guys.  Nick Diaz, B.J. Penn and Marcus Aurelo all beat him.  Aoki, Melendez, Calvancanti and bunch are unproven in my opinion against top guys.  Plus I feel some guys unfairly got left out of rankings.  Where is Marcu Aurelio?  FranK Edgar?  or Joe Lauzon?  or even Nate Diaz?  You mean to tell me Edgar is not a top 20?  This divison is stacked and has more contenders than any UFC divison.  DREAM does have some great lightweights.  I’d love to see a fight card of UFC’s top lightweights against DREAM’s top lightweights.  I think UFC would win easily.

4. Middleweights – They have 7 of the top 20 fighters in the world at this divison (Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Dan Hemderson, Marquardt, Okami, Bisping and Leites.  I put this above heavyweights first of all because I believe there are some guys that could be in the top 20 mix (Quarry, MacDonald, Leben, Cote, Kampmann and Almeida). It still is weak, not because it isn’t deep, but because they can’t find anyone to compete with Anderson Silva.  Anderson Silva is the second reason I put this divison above Heavyweights…enough said.

5. Heavyweights –  They also have 7 of the top 20 fighters in the world at Heavyweight  (Nogueira, Werdum, Gonzaga, Kongo, Vera, Mir and Herring).  Only 3 of those guys are top ten in the world.  All this assumed Arlovski signs with Affiction.  If that happens Affliction will have 6 of the top ten (Fedor, Sylvia, Barnett, Rothwell, Arlovski and Aleksander Emelianenko) plus Pedro Rizzo.  This is a weak divison for the UFC, but they do have some good prospects in Carwin, Lesnar and Velasquez.  This divison was once strong, but since has lost Couture, Cro Cop, Sylvia, Arlovski, and O’Brien.