Rashad Evans defeats Forrest Griffin via TKO in Round 3
Frank Mir defeats Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via TKO in round 2
Quinton Jackson defeats Wanderlei Silva via KO in Round 1
Cheick Kongo defeats Mustafa Al-Turk via TKO (Strikes) Round 1
CB Dollaway defeats Mike Massenzio via TKO (Strikes) Round 1
Yushin Okami defeats Dean Lister via unanimous decision
Antoni Hardonk defeats Mike Wessel via TKO in round two
Matt Hamill defeats Reese Andy via TKO in round two
Brad Blackburn defeats Ryo Chonan via unanimous decision
Pat Barry defeats Dan Evensen via TKO in round one
Fight of the Night: Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans
Knockout of the Night: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
Rashad Evans in underrated. He is a great striker with great wrestling skills. He is a force to be reckoned with in the UFC. He is now the UFC light heavyweight champ and maybe the best light heavyweight in the world. He boasts wins over Michael Bisping, Chuck Liddell, and Forrest Griffin.
Forrest Griffin will be back, but I do not know who he will face. If Shogun beats Mark Coleman there could be a re-match.
I never expected Nogueira to get beat so badly. Mir tore him a new one. Nog didn’t show up. Maybe he is past his prime. Mir looke dreally good though. Now we get the Mir vs. Lesnar re-match.
I didn’t expect Rampage to KO Wanderlei either. It looks like Rampage could get a title shot.
C.B. Dolloway looked impressive in his win over a very good Mike Massenzio. He showed good wrestling, good striking and good submission defense.
Cheick Kongo really impressed in his vicious TKO over Al-Turk
You say Yushin, I say Okami. Yushin… (Okami). Okami is deserving number one contender now that he walked through Dean Lister
Pat Barry has really good kicks and is a force in the heavyweight division
Antoni Hardonk keeps winning. He may move up some rankings
Matt Hamill really impressed and probably knocked Reese Andy out of the UFC along with Dan Evensen, Ryo Chonan and Mike Wessel
UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008 is one of the best cards of the year on paper. This card features what many consider to be 3 super fights. This card is sure to draw a good crowd and good pay per view numbers. Also, this will end 2008 with a bang and the outcomes of these fights will dictate many key match-ups in 2009, including Brock Lesnar’s next opponent, possibly Anderson Silva’s next opponent at 205 lbs, and possibly the next contender at 205 lbs.
Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans
MMA Blog Rank
16-4 (7-2 UFC)
12-0-1 (7-0 UFC)
This fight will be Forrest Griffin’s first title defense and a bout between the winner of the Ultimate Fighter 1 and the winner of the Ultimate Fighter 2. Rashad is sort of a surprise number one contender here. He earned the title shot with his highlight reel KO of Chuck Liddell. Evans is an undefeated fighter with a solid wrestling pedigree and very impressive striking. Forrest Griffin is already a future UFC hall of famer and one of the biggest stars. He relishes being the undersog. He was the underdog against Shogun. He was the underdog against Rampage. Forrest works as hard as anyone in the sport. Forrest is also known for his incredible heart. This is a very interesting match up style wise for me. Forrest will stand and trade, but Rashad probably has the striking advantage (just ask Chuck Liddell and Sean Salmon). The heart and toughness advantage would go to Forrest. The wrestling advantage would go to Rashad, but the submissions advantage would go to Forrest. Forrest will also have a slight size and reach advantage over Rashad. Quite honestly I think this is a bad match up for Forrest. I look for Rashad to use his wrestling to keep the fight standing or to scramble to his feet. I also think that he may clip Forrest with a good shot. However, he better watch for those leg kicks which devastated Ramapge. Forrest would have to have the conditioning advantage. If he is smart he will want to take Rashad past round 3. Forrest is a proverbial “cardio machine”. We saw Forrest win against Shogun due to his cardio. This could be the achilles heel for Evans. I think it is highly possible he will gas and that is Forrest’s best chance at winning. Some people speculate that Rashad could be distracted due to the recent birth of a child. However, I think that Rashad’s training with the legendary Greg Jackson will more than cover that possible distraction. I expect Rashad to have a great game plan. Hidden within this fight is a match up between two great camps Evans and Team Jackson and Griffin and Xtreme Couture. Whoever has the better game plan will win. It may be scary to say, but I do not know if we have seen the best of either of these guys yet. I think rashad has more raw talent, but Forrest has the heart of a champion. With that said, I pick Rashad to win by TKO in round 3 to become the new UFC light heavyweight champion.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
MMA Blog Rank
31-4-1 (2-0 UFC)
11-3 (9-3 UFC)
I am just gonna call this one the way I see it. Nogueira is a legend in the sport. He is a near consensus number 2 heavyweight in the world. He has fought the best in the world. He is nearly impossible to knockout or submit. He has the best heart in MMA. Frank Mir has had good days. He is a former UFC heavyweight champ. He has solid all around skills and good ground skills. However, I do not think Mir is near the calibur of Nogueira. The two Ultimate fighter coaches will pair off for the interim heavyweight title and a chance to fight Brock Lesnar sometime in 2009. Nogueira holds the interim title and is the first person to be PRIDE and UFC champ. This fight gained exposure through season 8 of the Ultimate Fighter. Nogueira was the clear fan favorite of the coaches. In fact, Mir may have entered the reality show as the fan favorite, but the season ended with Nogueira being by far the favorite coach and becoming endeared by fans. At the end of the season of TUF, I posted a poll on MMABlog asking about the favorite coach and 88% of the 200 people polled said Nogueira was their favorite coach over Mir. I say that to say that Nogueira will be a fan favorite in Mir’s hometown. In fact I cannot think of one area where Mir will have an advantage. I think the key is mental. Mir has not been the same since his bike wreck. I also get the sense that he is intimidated by Nogueira. Many interviews Mir speaks of Nog as his hero, as a “Frankenstein”, and as nearly impossible to beat. I think Nogueira wins by submission in round 2…maybe even round 1.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton Jackson
The Axe Murderer
MMA Blog Rank
32-8-1 (2-2 UFC)
28-7 (3-1 UFC)
This is the third installment of this particular fight. Two times Wanderlei Silva has destroyed Jackson. For those that have not see the previous two fights they are must sees, check them out here and here. Jackson claims to be in better shape and better prepared than he has ever been. Jackson also claims that Wanderlei is not the same guy he was in his days of dominance in PRIDE. Jackson is coming off of a defeat to Forrest Griffin, a bizzare string of events and eventual arrest, and a change in camps which saw him move to England to train at Wolfslair. Wanderlei is coming off of an impressive win over Keith Jardine at UFC 84. He looks to build on that. The winner of this fight could very well be in line for a title shot.
I do not know what makes this fight different than the previous two. I have to wonder if Wanderlei does not just have Rampage’s number. This fight will answer many questions such as: Is the difference in rules between PRIDE and UFC a big factor? Is Wanderlei past his prime? Is Rampage really better now than he was against Forrest? All I know is that Rampage better avoid the clinch and the knee of Silva. I do not see this fight going the distance. I think that we will see this also be fight of the night. I look for Wanderlei to win by TKO in round 2.
C.B. Dolloway vs. Mike Massenzio
MMA Blog Rank
7-1 (1-1 UFC)
11-2 (1-0 UFC)
I am not going to defend the placement of this fight on the main card over Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister, but I will tell you this will be a good fight. These guys may not be as high up the middleweight ladder as Okami and Lister and they may not have the same name recognition, but both of these guys are solid prospects.
C.B. Dolloway burst onto the scene in the Ultimate Fighter 7. He was the heavy favorite throughout the whole season, but was upset in the semi-finals by Amir Sadollah. However, he was given a second chance following the booting of Jesse Taylor. C.B. beta Tim Credeur handily to earn a second crack at Sadollah for the TUF title. C.B. lost int he same way to Amir int he finale. However, he bounced back with a highlight reel submission of Jesse Taylor by way of peruvian necktie a submission that many consider a submission of the year candidate. C.B. is an accomplished wrestler out of Arizona State University who trains at Arizona Combat Sports with other MMA stars like TUF 8 winner Ryan Bader, WEC lightweight champ Jamie Varner, and WEC welterweight champ Carlos Condit.
Mike Massenzio is 1-0 in the UFC. He won is his UFC debut quickly over UFC vet Drew McFedries. He sunk in a kimura forcing McFedries to tap. Massenzio is a very good prospect who is very good on the ground. Massenzio is one of the fighters the UFC picked up from the now defunct IFL.
The question for me on this one is can C.B. avoid Massenzio’s submissions. He couldn’t avoid Amir’s. C.B. may elect to keep the fight standing if he can. He also may want to work some ground and pound. A lot of people like Mike Massenzio in this fight. However, I think C.B. is going to prove too good standing and too strong on the ground. I pick C.B. to win by unanimous decision.
Cheick Kongo vs. Mustapha Al Turk
MMA Blog Rank
12-4-1 (5-2 UFC)
6-3 (0-0 UFC)
This fight will be the first fight to air on the main card. Cheick Kongo may be one the most inconsistent fighters in the UFC. He beats Cro Cop, but eats a loss to Heath Herring. I do think Kongo is one of the top 10-15 heavyweights out there, but he needs a big win. Kongo wants a title shot. He makes no bones about it. A win here may inch him closer, but it won’t put him next in line. He still has guys like Carwin, Gonzaga, and Couture ahead of him. However, rumor has it that a win here could garner him a fight between former UFC fighter Jeff Monson.
Al Turk is the former Cage Rage hevayweight champion. I am sure Al Turk would like to get out of here unscathed. Either way we could see Al Turk return at UFC 95 in England against new heavyweight signee Neil Grove. Al Turk seems to be a decent striker, but I do not know if he can hang with Kongo.
I pick Kongo by unanimous decision.
Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister
Lister is a world calss grappler and jiu jitsu player. Okami is a top 3 middleweight in the world. Many people (including me) think Okami is deserving of a title shot. If Okami beats Lister it will be hard to withhold a title shot from him. There are two reasons Okami has not gotten that shot. First, he is not very marketable. Second, he is coming off of an injury. He would have gotten the shot over Cote, but an injury slowed Okami. Tehre are tons of people in line at 185 lbs. including Thales Leites, Nate Marquardt, Michael Bisping, and Demian Maia. I believe Lister could submit Okami, but I have to pick Okami to win this by decision.
Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy – Hamill by Unanimous Decision
Brad Blackburn vs. Ryo Chonan – Blackburn by Unanimous Decision
·Steve Cantwell vs. Razak Al-Hussan at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10
·Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans @ UFC 92 on December 28 (For Title)
·Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva @ UFC 92 on December 28
·Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy @ UFC 92 on December 28
·Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson @ UFC 93 on January
·Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Mark Coleman @ UFC 93 on January 17
·Andre Gusmao vs. Antonio Mendes @ UFC 93 on January 17
·Ivan Serati vs. Tomasz Drwal @ UFC 93 on January 17
·Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar @ UFC 93 on January 17
·Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva @ UFC 94 on January 31
Match Ups I’d Like to See:
·Luis Cane vs. Keith Jardine
·Brandon Vera vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
·There are rumors of a Anderson Silva vs. Chuck Liddell match up at UFC 95
·There are a lot of light heavyweight contenders and the match ups are being set.The winner of Wanderlei vs. Rampage should get the next title shot, although the winner of Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva should be considered as well.
·We are waiting for the debut of rumored UFC signee Glover Teixeira who has been having visa troubles in Brazil.
·The UFC could sign former EliteXC light heavyweight Rafael Feijao, which would be a big time contender.
·The UFC has a clear monopoly on the light heavyweight division.There are only a few fighters worth adime in this division not in the UFC (Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Vladimir Matyushenko, Ricardo Arona, Tito Ortiz, and Renato “Babalu” Sobral)
·I looks like two solid light heavyweights have dropped to middleweight in Goran Reljic and Wilson Gouveia
·The Ultimate Fighter 8 which featured light heavyweights is sure to place a few good fighters in the divison, but it will take time for them to climb the ladder.Watch out for guys like Ryan Bader, Vinny Magalhes, Kryztof Soszynski, and Eliot Marshall.
·It is somewhat possible to see Randy Couture take a few fights at light heavyweight and also to see Anderson Silva fight at 205 more often in 2009
UFC 92 is already a dominant card that will put great fights on the undercard. One of those fights appears to be a light heavyweight cout between Matt Hamill and Reese Andy. Andy and Hamill are both coming off of loses to newcomers to the UFC Light Heavyweight divison in Rich Franklin and Brandon Vera.
Both of these guys are very good wrestlers and are strong guys. Matt Hamill would obvious be the favorite going into the fight, but one shouldn’t sleep on Andy. Looks to be a solid fight, but I doubt it makes the main card, which has a trio of headliners in bouts between Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir, and Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton Jackson. Wow!