A lightweight fight has been agreed to between Gray Maynard and Jim Miller at UFC 96. The report comes from thegarv.com, but several other venues have confirmed the fight with Miller’s camp.
The fight is a solid add and a solid fight between two of the best lightweights. Both guys are fighters that some think are serious contenders. Miller comes by way of the IFL and is already 2-0 in the UFC. He came in on short notice and destroyed Matt Wiman. He will need a good performance and time to prepare for Gray Maynard. The winner would have to be near the top of the division. Maynard has done great in the UFC since his stint on TUF 5. He has key wins over Frank Edgar and Rich Clementi. A very exciting bout on what looks to be an amazing card which will also feature Chuck Liddell, Brandon Vera, and Keith Jardine as well as a great heavyweight match between Shane Carwin and Gabriel Gonzaga.
I believe several questions arose in wake of UFC 90. I will post the questions in poll form so my readers can voice their opinions.
Personally, I think it is a mix of a few things and none of them involve anything Cote did. I think Anderson Silva was trying to confuse Cote. Part of me feels he was playing around and trying to get in a groove. I really feel that a KO was coming. He showed flashes of it. I was highly disappointed with the fight, but stuff happens. Silva had a game plan and we don’t like it because Cote’s knee blew. Silva didn’t know that would happen. Perhaps he planned on becoming more aggressive. Anyways, as Dana White said, I would hate to be Silva’s next opponent. I have a feeling he will be fighting sooner than later.
Here is my take on it. I think Thiago Alves is for real. I was not on his bandwagon, but I think he is a very good strike, however I see two problems. He is very predictable. He loved the flying knee and superman punch. A good striker could give him problems too. Also, I don’t know how he would do off his back. I do not know if he could beat either GSP or B.J. Penn. I am leaning towards Penn winning the super fight on January 31, and I think if B.J. can get Alves down to the ground he can submit him and pound him. I think style wise both Penn and GSP are tough matchups for anyone. So, I say he is for real, but he cannot beat GSP or Penn right now. GSP was impressed with Alves and thinks he may see Thiago after Penn, but Georges better not overlook B.J.
I am not quite on the bandwagon, but I think he could be a solid fighter. He needs to prove himself more. I do not know if he is that good or if Werdum just underestimated him. He has great training and could be a star, but I’d like to see one more fight before I jump on the bandwagon. I seem to remember a few guys like Houston Alexander and Sokoudjou coming out of nowhere with a couple of big names KO’s and then disappointing. I don’t think Dos Santos fits into that mold because I think he will be a more well rounded fighter and trains with some of the best.
I think several impressed. I guess I would have to say that I was impressed with Thiago Alves the most. He looked very sharp. I also was impressed with Josh Koscheck in his loss. He is tough as nails. I thought Sherk was impressive and showed good stand up. Of course Dos Santos was impressive as well. I enjoyed the Miller vs. Horwich fight and think that both are solid fighters.
My answer depends on how literal you take this question. Most disappointing to me was Anderson Silva. I expected a KO. However, it wasn’t all his fault. The Cote injury was disappointing, but that wasn’t his fault either. I really expected more out of Aurelio as well.
I said in my predictions that I nearly did not order UFC 90 and that I changed my mind. Perhaps I shouldn’t have. I thought the card was good, but I was disappointed with the main event. I never thought Cilva vs. Cote was main event worthy. Patrick Cote was overrated and didn’t deserve a title shot. What did he do? He beat Kendall Grove and won a split decision over Ricardo Almeida.
The fight between Silva vs. Cote did not go as expected, but not because Cote was good. He was clearly out of his league, but at times I wondered what Silva was doing. He was dancing around and messing with Cote. Perhaps he thought the octagon was some cool name for a new Chicago nightclub. It looked like Silva vs. Cote was a Dad messing around fighting with his son.
The knee injury disappointed me. I do not question Cote’s heart, but that was a horrible ending and quite frankly I think the UFC should refund part of those pay per view buys. That is the problem when everyone tunes in to watch one guy Anderson Silva and the rest of the card is not great.
Thiago Alves look spectacular. His striking is so good. However, I think his weakness is a agressive striker, because when Koscheck really attacked he was on his heels big time.
All props to Alves, but love him or hate him Josh Koscheck is one tough dude. He took this fight on 10 days notice and hung in there with Alves. He took some vicious shots and kept it up. I gained respect for Koscheck in this one.
By the way, what was with Alves’ takedown after the final bell? Koscheck looked somewhat annoyed.
Gray Maynard again showed dominant wrestling ability. He manhandled and bullied Clementi. I got ticked at the ref for his “come on, let’s go” usage. They guys were fighting and the ref kept telling them to get busy, but they were fighting for positioning. I didn’t think it was the most exciting fight, but I enjoyed it. Maynard is quick on the rise. He is moving quickly up the ladder. Perhaps a Sean Sherk fight could be in the future or the loser of the upcoming Florian vs. Stevenson fight.
How about Junior Dos Santos. He has to be a popular guy with Dana White right now. The UFC was really in a pickle with Werdum. They had a title fight set up for Randy on Novermber 15th against Couture. They had an interim title fight set up between Mir and Nogueira in December. Then we can assume that the winners would fight one another in March or April. Also, Fabricio Werdum had been labeled a number one contender and writen in his contract that a win over dos Santos would guarantee him a title shot. Dos Santos solved that problem real fast.
That was a vicious KO by Dos Santos. He may be the real deal.
Tyson Griffin vs. Sean Sherk was an exciting fight. I do not know who earned the win, but it was fight of the night no doubt.
I at first glance thought this was the weakest card of 2008. I honestly was tempted to not order it. I admit the main event isn’t much, but from top to bottom this has some great fights, especially in the lightweight divison. My point is this: if you are doubting this card, look at fights like Clementi vs. Maynard and Griffin vs. Sherk to remind you why it is a good card. The undercard has a few good bouts like Aurelio vs. Franca and Miller vs. Horwich.
Andreson Silva vs. Patrick Cote
Is anyone really going to pick against Anderson Silva in this fight? I know in a MMA fight anything can happen and I know that with a guy with heavy hands like Cote that Silva can get caught, but seriously very few will be picking Cote in this one. However, for the gamblers out there perhaps it isn’t a bad idea to put some bread on Cote. If he somehow wins it would make a good pay day. Here is the truth about this fight: Cote is not the type of guy that will beat Silva. Style wise it is a bad match up for Cote. The guy who can beat Silva will be good at jiu jitsu and good and wrestling and ground and pound, but yet can strike. Cote is not good on the ground. I will be shocked if this fight goes past round 1. I think James Irvin had a better chance of beating Silva than Cote does. Anyways, I will take the safe bet and pick Silva by TKO in round 1.
Josh Koscheck vs. Thiago Alves
This could be an interesting fight. The fight was supposed to be Alves vs. Diego Sanchez. That fight was well hyped. Many looked forward to the high paced aggressive style of Sanchez vs. the muay thai of Alves. That would have been a good one. Let’s give props to Josh Koscheck for stepping in on about 2 weeks notice to fight a very tough opponent. Say what you want about Koscheck, but he is super talented and always improving and he is always ready to fight. Here are some of the factors that will come into play in this fight. First, what will the short notice do to Koscheck? Will it affect his game plan or his conditioning? Second, will Alves make weight? Either way and it could affect him. He is a huge welterweight and the weight cut could hurt him and drain him. How will Koscheck approach Alves? Will he look for the take down and try to out wrestle him or will he stand and bang with him? I think a combination of the two will work well. The winner of this fight will get a title shot. There is a lot riding on this fight. When it comes down to it I think the size and strength of Alves will be too much for Koscheck and I think that Alves wins in round 2 by TKO, or maybe pulls of a decision. Koscheck may be smart to try to take this to later rounds in hopes that Alves tires. I will pick Alves, but root for Koscheck.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Junior Dos Santos
I don’t know anything about Junior Dos Santos, except that the Brazilian trains with Nogueira and Anderson Silva. With that said, I think Werdum is one of the best heavyweights in the world, and I think he deserves a title shot. I hope he gets it. Quite honestly if Werdum loses here it would clear up a lot of the mess in the UFC Heavyweight divison. We have the Couture/Lesnar bout for the title and the Nogueira/MIr fight for the interim title. We can suppose that the winners of those bouts will fight in February or March. That means Werdum would have to wait until early summer 2009 to get his title shot. I look for Werdum to win this fight by submission in round 1.
Sean Sherk vs. Tyson Griffin
What a fight! I do not know what is in the mind of UFC match maker Joe Silva and Dana White, but it appears that the UFC could be anticipating B.J. Penn to vacate his lightweight title. It would seem logical that the winner of this fight could face the winner of the Florian/Stevenson fight for the title. If not Florian gets the next shot with a win. I’ve thought a lot about this fight and here is my conclusion. Tyson Griffin is a solid contender, but he has trouble finishing fights. Sean Sherk is tough as nails and his conditioning is second to none. Both are great wrestlers and Tyson Griffin will not outwrestle Sean Sherk. Sean Sherk is very underrated. He has only lost to the best of the best in his career (B.J. Penn, Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes). I think Sherk takes this fight. However, if Griffin is smart he will take a page out of B.J. Penn’s booka nd box Sean Sherk and utilize a jab. Griffin has a big advantage in training in one of the best gyms in the nation at Xtreme Couture. He has training partners like Gray Maynard. Nevertheless, I pick Sean Sherk to win this by unaimous decision.
Gray Maynard vs. Rich Clementi
Rich Clementi has looked very good lately. He is so solid of a fighter and is so well roudned that he makes difficult match ups. Gray Maynard is very good. He is coming off of a dominant win over Frank Edgar. Maynard is still underrated, but a win here will catapoult him into the top tier of lightweight contenders and certainly put him into the mix for a title shot. Clementi has good submissions and he could pull off a submission here, but I look for Maynard to use his boxing and then his take downs to work soem ground and pound. Maynard will win this one by unaimous decision in what is a fight of the night and fight of the year candidate.
Dan Miller vs. Matt Horwich
The fight of former IFL middleweights. Dan Miller being the last IFL middleweight champ. Miller won his UFC debut and was tapped as a replacement for the injured Ricardo Almeida. This could be a very good fight. Horwich is a solid fighter, but his ground game will really be tested against Dan Miller. Horwich has solid ground skills with 18 of his 22 wins coming by way of submission. Horwich also will have the experience on his side. They have a common opponent in Ryan McGivern. McGivern beat Horwich, but Miller beat McGivern. That doesn’t necessarily translate into victory for Miller, but here I think it will. I think Horwich will do very well at first, but then Miller will get the take down and submit Horwich in round 2.
Hermes Franca vs. Marcus Aurelio
Hermes Franca is a former number 1 contender who has great amounts of experience. He has great wins over the likes of Nate Diaz, Spencer Fisher, Jamie Varner, Ryan Schultz, and Caol Uno. However, Franca has lost two in a row to Frank Edgar and Sean Sherk. Following his steroid suspension Franca has not looked the same. Aurelio also has a great resume which boasts wins over Rich Clementi and most notably Takanori Gomi. Aurelio has great jiu jit su and he should have the advtage in this fight. I think in the end Aurelio is too much for Franca and he wins by submission in round 3.
Thales Leites vs. Drew McFedries
This fight was supposed to be Leites vs. up and comer Goran Reljic. That fight was highly anticipated, but this should be pretty good as well. Leites comes into this fight having won four fights in a row, including a controversial decision win over Nate Marquardt. McFedries is an exciting fighter who has not lived up to potential. He is 3-3 in the UFC and seems to have a patetrn of winning every other fight. He is a late replacement for Reljic who withdrew due to injury. I think Leites is too good all around and McFedries is not good enough on the ground. Leites is well rounded and has great submissions. I thinm he will submit McFedries in round 2 with a easy submission.
Spencer Fisher vs. Shannon Gugerty
Gugerty made his UFC debut against Dale Hartt and won that match. He has a 8 fight win streak on the line. Spencer Fisher is a solid veteran who has been around. Fisher is 6-3 in the UFC and he looked really good against Jeremy Stephens. I honestly do not know much about Gugerty, but I have to pick Fisher to win this fight by unaimous decision.
Pete Sell vs. Josh Burkman
Pete Sell has yet to prove himself in the UFC, and quite honestly I do not know why he is getting this chance. Nevertheless Josh Burkman has had a solid UFC career and is full of talent. I think this fight could be exciting and we could see these two go at it. In the end I pick Burkman to win by decision.
It looks like the UFC is planning on adding another bout to UFC 90 and this another lightweight bout. The bout is sure to feature Rich Clementi who has been bith busy and impressive in 2008. His likely opponent will be Gray Maynard. This could be a very significant bout as the winner will likely move into the top 10 in the UFC lightweight divison. In my opinion Maynard may already be there following his big win over high ranking contender Frankie Edgar. In that bout Maynard was impresssive but suffered a broken hand. He should be fine and ready to go.
It appears that the UFC has tapped Hermes Franca to fight Frank Edgar at UFC 87. We knew Edgar was going to be on the card, but we didn’t know who he would fight. This should make for an interesting fight. Both guys are coming off of losses. Edgar lost his last UFC bout to Sean Sherk and then was suspended for testing positive for a banned substance. He unlike Sherk didn’t appeal and has been serving his one year suspension. Edgar is coming off of a loss to Gray Maynard. Honestly, I am surprised by the match making. I know Edgar is still considered one of the top guys in the UFC lightweight divison, but I hope Gray Maynard gets a quality next opponent as he has proven to be more than capable. Regardless this should be a good fight.
Also, it was rumored that Mac Danzig would be fighting Clay Guida at UFC 87, however on his website it says,
Forget what you heard! Mac is NOT fighting at UFC 87, or in August at all! Mac will most likely fight in September, and the fight has not yet been signed.
Could this fight be the headliner of UFN 14? That would sound like a serious possibility. Also, it would make more sense than UFC 87 seeing as how there are already two lightweight bouts confirmed for UFC 87, including the super bout between Roger Huerta and Kenny Florian and the newly learned Franca vs Edgar fight.