When Will They Fight Again?

Pretty much the UFC has booked out all the way through UFC 90.  That means that they will have to find fighters to fill in the gaps on November’s UFC 91, December’s UFC 92, and the Ultimate Fighter Finale.  Unless the UFC adds another card somewhere along the way, that means there are about 25 fights to book before year end.  There are slightly more than 30 fighters who are not scheduled for a fight as we speak.  I say that because I assume that some of the guys that fight in UFC 88 will be ready and will in fact fight again before year’s end.  For example, it may not be out of the question to see Chuck Liddell fight again in December if he wins against Rashad Evans and does not get hurt.  With that said, let’s evaluate the guys in queue.

  • Gabriel Gonzaga –  The biggest named heavyweight not scheduled yet.  I say that assuming Lesnar vs. Kongo will take place at UFC 91.  Gonzaga ought to be in action sooner than later, but against who?  Perhaps Heath Herring would be a good match or even Jake O’Brien.
  • Cain Velasquez –  I put him here, but I hear a solid rumor that he will fight Antoni Hardonk at UFC 90.  I have also heard that the UFC is having a hard time finding a willing opponent.
  • Heath Herring –  Honestly, I think he will sit out the rest of the year, but may get on a January or February card.  He took a beating from Lesnar and needs time to heal. 
  • Mark Coleman –  He has been hurt, but has been rumored to be coming back.  For a while there were rumors of him fighting at 205 against Shogun.  He could be back on the December card for his return to the octagon.
  • Forrest Griffin –  I am gonna jump all over Griffin and the UFC until the schedule a title defense.  This belt has been defended scarcely.  I think title holder have an obligation to defend their belt.  Griffin fought in July, he ought to be ready by year’s end.  We could see him fight Liddell if he wins.  We could see him fight Machida if Machida finishes Thiago Silva quickly at UFC 89.  Some have even speculated that he could fight Wanderlei, but I doubt that yet.  I think Machida is the number one cotnender today.  I expect to see Forrest fight in December.
  • Quinton “Rampage” Jackson –  There have been two rumors floating around about Jackson.  Some have recently spoke of a Jackson vs. Wanderlei III fight to take place in November.  I think that is likely.  The fight is in Portland, not far from where Jackson trains.  The fans want it.  The other fight has been a speculated Shogun re-match in December.  I guess Jackson’s next fight will depend on his legal status.
  • Wanderlei Silva –  He has been told to prepare for a December return, but don’t count out the November fight with Jackson.  I expect to see Wanderlei before year’s end, or at least I hope to. 
  • Mauricio “Shogun” Rua –  He is recovering from an injury and says he will be ready by December.  He says he is fighting Rampage, but that doesn’t seem too credible.  I am most certain he will be on the December card though.
  • Stephan Bonnar –  I also think he will be on the December card as he recovers from an injury.  Against who?  I have no idea.   I have a prediction though: Steve Cantwell or Brian Stann from the WEC.  The UFC has talked about the heavier weight classes coming over to the UFC.  Bonnar would make a good match for either of those guys.  Or even a guy like UFC newcomer Jon Jones.
  • Demian Maia –  We could see him as early as November.  I think that he could match up with about anybody, but top middleweight contenders are booked up right now.
  • Nate Quarry –  He broke his orbital bone recently and will be out for a bit. 
  • Kendall Grove –  He just opened a gym and is enjoying fatehrhood, he may be off for a while too, but I’d like to see him fight soon.
  • Amir Sadollah –  Amir will be in the ring before year’s end.  He could possible fight on the TUF finale card.
  • C.B. Dolloway –  I haven’t heard whether he will fight again in 2008, but I don’t see why he couldn’t. 
  • Matthew Riddle –  I would expect to see him back soon as well.  He looked good against Dante at the TUF 7 finale. 
  • Jon Fitch –  He will be back soon against a top contender, but I don’t know who that will be. He could fight on the December card.  He gained tons of respect from the GSP fight.
  • Josh Koscheck –  He should be back in November.  The options are numerous for him.  He is just a win or two away from a title shot, which he could have before the end of 2009.  He must get in line though behind B.J. Penn and then the winner of the Sanchez vs. Alves fight will get the next title shot probably in the summer of 2009. 
  • Mike Swick –  He says he will be ready in December following elbow surgery.
  • Chris Wilson – He looked good at UFC 87.  He could return before year’s end on an undercard.
  • Chris Lytle –  I don’t know how he is doing following his blood bath loss to Koscheck, but I presume he could fight this year.
  • Dustin Hazelett – He has looked good lately.  I suspect he too will fight this year.
  • Luigi Fiorvanti – I hadn’t heard anything on the Luigi front, but he could be back soon too.
  • Anthony Johnson –  He says he will be ready to go by October following the eye poke.
  • Rory Markham – I am really shocked that he won’t be on the UFC 90 card in his hometown of Chicago.  He lobbied for that event, but apparently won’t get it, but I guess he could still be added. 
  • Kevin Burns –  How about Burns vs. Markham at UFC 90?
  • Brad Blackburn – He has a broken hand, so he won’t be ready I don’t think.
  • Roger Huerta – Grease monkey may be back, I’d like to see him get beat by Edgar. 
  • Frank Edgar –  I am pretty sure we will see him by year’s end and probably against one of the guys on this list.
  • Matt Wiman – I am looking forward to seeing him return.  How about Wiman vs. Stephens?
  • Cole Miller –  He looked good against Gurgel and should be back soon.
  • Jeremy Stephens –  See above.
  • Manny Gamburyan – He could drop to 145 in the WEC.
  • Rob Emerson – He had a nice KO over Manny.  He could fight again, but if he fights any better competition and he will get beat
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My UFC 87 Thoughts and Results

  • Georges St. Pierre defeats Jon Fitch via Unanimous Decision
  • Brock Lesnar defeats Heath Herring via Unanimous Decision
  • Kenny Florian defeats Roger Huerta via Unanimous Decision
  • Demian Maia defeats Jason MacDonald via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round Three
  • Rob Emerson defeats Manny Gamburyan via Knockout in Round One
  • Tamdan McCrory defeats Luke Cummo via Unanimous Decision
  • Cheick Kongo defeats Dan Evensen via TKO (Strikes) in Round One
  • Jon Jones defeats Andre Gusmao via Unanimous Decision
  • Chris Wilson defeats Steve Bruno via Unanimous Decision
  • Ben Saunders defeats Ryan Thomas via Submission (Armbar) in Round One
  • * I had a good night as far as predictions go, I predicted 8 of 10 correctly. 

    Submission of the Night: Demian Maia
    Knockout of the Night: Rob Emerson
    Fight of the Night: GSP & Jon Fitch ($60k each)

    My Disappointment of the Night: Manny Gamburyan or Andre Gusmao

    My Thoughts:

    • The Maia McDonald fight was a great battle in round one especially.  Maia is awesome.  I am seriously a believer.  I think he is a top flight middleweight and can contend for the belt.  His submissions are sick, he showed some great ground and pound skills.  He stood toe to toe.  Maia is a real deal fighter and he will get some respect now.
    • The Huerta vs. Florian fight was a good fight, but it wasn’t the fight of the year that it was billed to be.  I scored the fight 30-27 Florian as did the judges.  I believe the score doesn;t show how close the fight was, but Florian was clearly more technical and better all around.  Florian is now officially the number one contender in the UFC lightweight divison
    • Who would have predicted Emerson to KO Manny in 12 seconds?  I was disappointed with that.
    • Cheick Kongo is huge and I am glad his fight made it onto the card.  He looked good againt Evensen.  He is a top ten maybe top 5 heavyweight.  However, why call for the belt after you beat Dan Evensen?  Sorry Cheick get in line behind Werdum and beat someone of note.  You need some type of win streak to get a title shot. 
    • Brock Lesnar silenced any doubters.  He showed he has the skills to fight, and not just fight, but to win.  And not just to win, but to win against top tier fighters.  He has a lot of areas to improve upon.  He need to improve his submission skills.  He had a dominant position countless times and did nothing with it.  That comes from his wrestling background.  He needs to learn something about keeping the mount and dropping elbows.  He is strong as an ox.  He hits hard.  Man was that first punch hard!  I thought it was funny in the countdown Herring said, “I have fought bigger, stronger, better and more accomplished wrestlers.”  He was wrong.  He has not fought a wrestler of Brock’s calibur and strength and Brock dominated him.
    • I was disappointed with Lesnar’s WWE antics and unsportsman like conduct.   He shoved Herring away after round 1.  He acted like Herring at the end of the fight.  He pointed at him and laughed afterwards.  He acted like he was lasoing him.  I don’t have a problem with some of that.  I know adrenaline gets pumping and I know other fighters do things like act like the are burying a guy or the Barnett throat cut, but Lesnar needs to learn respect for his opponent. 
    • Speaking of respect for opponents how about the St. Pierre vs. Fitch fight.  A possible fight of the year candidate.  Fitch was out of his league.  He looked good a few minutes during the fight, but St. Pierre dominated.  The story following this is not as much St. Pierre winning and keeping his belt as it is Fitch’s toughness.  Fitch is one tough dude.  I gained respect for him.  How about the show of class between these two after the fight?  That is why I like St. Pierre. 
    • It looks like Penn vs. St. Pierre will indeed happen, hopefully in December.  Wow!  What a fight that will be. 

    My UFC 87: Seek and Destroy Predictions

    Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch

    As I have said before there are certain guys that it isn’t smart to pick against.  St. Pierre is one of those right now.  There is no doubt that he is the favorite in this fight.  However, do not count out Jon Fitch.  Fitch is no doubt the number 2 welterweight in the world and a loss to St. Pierre may not even change that.  St. Pierre has readily admitted that Fitch is his best opponent to date.  The question with St. Pierre has always been the mental side of things.  Georges seems to be focused and ready.  He has been training hard and will be ready for Fitch.  I think St. Pierre is too well rounded and too strong for Fitch.  I think the fight could go a while and could be very technical.  It is possible that Fitch could catch Georges in some type of submission.  The worry I have in picking St. Pierre is that the UFC has virtually assured us that a St. Pierre win would merit a fight with B.J. Penn and year’s end.  Fitch wants to play spoiler.  I think Georges will be focused and will win by ref stoppage in round 3.

    Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring

    I respect Lesnar and here’s why.  He came into the UFC relativley inexperienced in mixed martial arts and he debuts against one of the world’s best in Frank Mir.  Then he agrees to fight hall of famer Mark Coleman.  That didn’t pan out and then he agrees to fight a veteran in Heath Herring.  I think Lesnar may have been better suited to get a win or two under his belt before fighting the top fighters.  However, he is game.  I know he is 0-1 in the UFC and Herring is a proven fighter, however in his loss Lesnar showed he is for real.  He has awesome wrestling and he can pack a punch.  Herring is a different opponent stylisiticlly than Mir was.  Herring can win by submission, but he is not the jiu jitsu threat that Mir was.  If Lesnar gets this down he will ground and pound Herring.  If it stays up the question will be can Lesnar take a hit and how crisp is his boxing and striking.  Herring has been in there with the best of the best in MMA.  He is no slouch.  Many people may pick Herring.  I am sure the UFC is pulling for Lesnar.  He is a gold mine and he needs a win.  He is in his hometown and he is prepared.  Herring is apparently re-focused and a changed fighter from what he has been.  I still have to pick the stronger, bigger, more athletic Brock Lesnar is this one.  I could be wrong, but I am picking him anyways and say he wins by TKO in round 2. 

    Roger Huerta vs. Kenny Florian 

    Fight of the night right here.  One thing you can count on is that Huerta and Florian always put on a good show.  They are unquestionably the top contenders now in the UFC’s lightweight divison. I do not know if they are Stevenson are Sherk good, but they deserve the shot to fight for the title shot.  I do not know when they will get the title shot, but the winner will get one.  In other words, someone on this card is going to fight B.J. Penn before year’s end.  White would like to see Penn fight the winner of this bout and then admit that B.J. has cleaned out the divison.  Anyways, this fight will be great.  Huerta is no doubt a solid fighter, but I do not know if he is Florian level.  Kenny has beaten some great guys.  Don’t forget Huerta was getting beat up by Guida before he pulled out a come from behind win.  I know a win is a win.  Standing up I give the edge to Florian.  Jiu jitsu I give the edge to Florian.  These two fighters are close in talent, but I think Florian is all around more talented.   I pick Kenny Florian to rain down elbows and open up Huerta and eventually end the fight early in round 3.

    Cheick Kongo vs. Dan Evensen

    This undercard fight features a heavyweight that beat up Mirko Cro Cop.  I looked up Evensen’s fight record and he seemd to be a fair fighter.  His only losses have come to Christian Wellish and Dan Bobbish.  I am sorry to say that Evensen is not the fighter that Kongo is, or seems to be.  Kongo is big and strong.  I think Kongo wins this fight by unanimous decision.

    Demian Maia vs. Jason MacDonald

    Demian Maia has some of the best jiu jitsu in the UFC.  The winner of this fight is looking to climb into contention in the middleweight divison and could be considered a top 5 guy with a solid win.  Jason MacDonald has tons of talent and he could easily KO Maia.  However, I think if this fight gets to the ground it won’t last long.  Maia doesn’t want to mess around.  Demian’s performance against Ed Herman at UFC 83 was impressive.  I forsee something similar here.  I pick Maia to win this by submission in round 1.

    Steven Bruno vs. Chris Wilson

    I believe Chris Wilson is underrated in the welterweight divison.  He looked very good against Jon Fitch.  Wilson has fought against much better guys in his career than Bruno and I would have to think that will help him.  I predict that Wilson wins this fight by decision.

    Andre Gusmao vs. Jon Jones

    I don’t know a think about Jones except that he is a last minute replacement. This is a huge chance for the undefeated Jones.  He is facing a veryy highly touted Andre Gusmao.  Gusmao is also 5-0, but he is highly favored here.  We will see if Gusmao is as agood as some say he is.  I think Gusmao will win by KO in round 1.

    Manny Gamburyan vs. Rob Emerson

    Why in the world this fight is on the main card is beyond me.  There are at least 3 fights better deserving of that than this one.  I’d rather see the Gusmao vs. Jones fight or the Wilson vs. Bruso fight or even the Kongo vs. Evensen fight than this.  I have said before I do not like Emerson.  He is a punk.  I can’t get over his gang and him beating up innocent people.  He is a loser.  I hope Gamburyan hurts him bad.  I think Manny is a very good fighter and will have no problem with Emerson.  I hope Emerson’s ticket is punched out of the UFC.  I pick Manny to win by submission in round 1. 

    Luke Cummo vs. Tamdan McCrory

    McRrory hasn’t fought since his loss to Akihiro Gono in November ’07.  McRrory is very talented and is good on the ground.  Cummo has a sub par record with really struggling against premiere talent.  I think McCrory pulls this one out with a submission in round 2.

    Ben Saunders vs. Ryan Thomas

    I don’t know anything about Thomas, but I think Saunders pulls this one out.  Saunders willbve ready for this.  Thomas is a late replacement for Jared Rollins.  I pick Saunders to win by unanimous deicison

    Fight of the Night Prediction: Roger Huerta vs. Kenny Florian

    Submission of the Night Prediction: Demiam Maia

    KO of the Night Prediction: Andre Gusmao

    Upset Watch: Herring over Lesnar, McDonald over Maia

    The effect of the Ultimate Fighter on the UFC

    ultimate-fighter.jpg

    There is a lot of talk about which UFC divison is the stongest.  I have discussed my opinion before, but I was curious which divison has been best bolstered by TUF. Below I listed each current UFC fighter and their current divison.  Some guys have fought in the UFC and left for other organizations so I did not include them.  Some guys have fought at one weight and dropped down recently like Michael Bisping.  I made my decison based not solely on numer of fighters, but quality fighters and number of contenders in the divison from TUF. Here is my evaluation…

    The least bolstered is the Heavyweight divison, because there are no current UFC TUF alumni in that divison.  Evans and Jardine comepeted in Heavyweight and then dropped to lightheavyweight.

    The fourth most bolstered is the middleweight divison.  There are 11 TUF alums in the middleweight divison currently and none are real contenders right now.  You have a bunch of second tier guys in: Travis Lutter, Ed Herman, Kendall Grove, Nate Quarry and Patrick Cote.  Some of those guys are close to breaking through to contender levels.  I would say your most succesful guy has been Chris Leben and I believe Michael Bisping will be a contender, but contender is a tough word in a divison where Anderson Silva owns the belt.  I don’t think these guys could beat the top 4 or 5 in that divison.

    The third best divison is the lightheavyweight divison.  However, these five guys are all above average guys.  I consider three of them legit contenders in the divison (Griffin, Jardine and Evans) and I consider Bonnar and Hamill the best of the second tier guys.  Bonnar and Hamill are slated to fight in April, the winner will become a serious contender threat and break into the top 12 in that divison.  I put them below the others sheerly because they don’t have as many alums in the divison now.

    To be honest the second and first was a toss up between the welterweight and lightweight divisons who have both benefited from TUF competitors dropping to their weight classes.  Here are my arguments for both.  The welterweight divison has a champ in Matt Serra.  Also one could argue that they have 2 other top five fighters in Koscheck and Sanchez, making TUF alums 3 of the top five in that divison.  If you throw Marcus Davis, who is a serious contender is the mix you have some good fighters, not to mention guys like Mike Swick who have just dropped down.  The jury is still out on the TUF 6 guys.  We will have to wait and see who will stick around the welterweigh divison.  I look for Speer, Sotiropplous, and Arroyo to make a little splash. 

    The lightweight divison has the most TUF alums by far.  Obviously, Joe Stevenson has been the most successful and could get a title shot.  They also have another top five guy in their divison in Kenny Florian.  Joe Lauzon is set to fight Kenny and could move into seriosu contention if he pulls out a win.  I wouldn’t overlook guys like Mac Danzig, Nate Diaz, Cole Miller, Manny Gamburyan or Gray Maynard.  Din Thomas has proven himself well and Rich Clementi and Jorge Gurgel are no scrubs.

    If you made me pick the most benefited from TUF I would say the lightweights, with the welterweights close behind.  It is kind of interesting to note that in 2008 at least 3 guys from TUF will get a title crack (Serra, Stevenson, and Griffin) and possibly more. 

    TUF will continue to have an impact on the UFC for the good.  They hope to help out the middleweight divison, but likely good welterweights will bulk up to get on the show and the best of the next season will help the welterweight divison most.  In my opinion, they need to help out the middleweight, but in order to do so the show has to feature light heavyweights.  I look forward to see the new twists and turns of TUF 7, and to see the impact of the future TUF alumni on the UFC.  Ultimate Fighter has been Dana White’s best move and he admits is helped the UFC greatly.

    Heavyweights:

    None!

    Light Heavyweights

    • Stephan Bonnar
    • Forrest Griffin
    • Keith Jardine*
    • Rashad Evans*
    • Matt Hamill

    Middleweights

    • Chris Leben
    • Nate Quarry
    • Michael Bisping
    • Ed Herman
    • Kalib Starnes
    • Kendall Grove
    • Rory Singer
    • Travis Lutter
    • Charles McCarthy
    • Pete Sell
    • Patrick Cote

    Welterweights

    • Diego Sanchez*
    • Josh Kosheck*
    • Mike Swick*
    • Josh Burkman
    • Luke Cummo
    • Marcus Davis
    • Matt Serra
    • Chris Lytle
    • Tommy Speer
    • George Sotiropolous
    • Matt Arroyo

    Lightweights

    • Kenny Florian**
    • Joe Stevenson*
    • Jorge Gurgel*
    • Melvin Guillard*
    • Rich Clementi*
    • Din Thomas*
    • Gray Maynard
    • Matt Wiman
    • Joe Lauzon
    • Rob Emerson
    • Corey Hill
    • Nate Diaz
    • Manny Gamburyan
    • Cole Miller
    • Mac Danzig*

    *Is now fighting in a different divison than he competed in under TUF