Saturday, August 29, 2009

Going on the record about UFC 102

Kyle and I did it with UFC 100, and it was interesting (at least to me) to see how we fared, so we're doing it again with UFC 102, tonight's PPV event. Here are our predictions, in which we disagree on six different outcomes! I fear I will be bowing to Kyle's fight-guessing superiority tomorrow, but I'm standing my ground nonetheless.

First, the main card:

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Randy Couture

Mark: Couture is 46, an age at which one is supposed to have given up professional fighting many years ago. Nogueira is 33. I'm picking Couture to win by virtue of Nogueira being too beat up. Big Nog has taken so much punishment that I don't think he can stand against Couture for all three rounds. I expect Couture to lean on Nog and neutralize Nog's ground game, which is vastly better than Couture's, and ultimately to finish Nog by TKO.

Kyle: You can't ever count Randy Couture out, but I think the years have finally caught up with him. As of this past Tuesday, it was two years since Randy Couture won a fight. He's only fought once since then, a loss to Brock Lesnar nine months ago, and he looked stiff and slow in that match. I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I expect Nogueira to either submit him or stay busy enough to win a decision.

This is the Randy Couture who beat Tim Sylvia two and a half years ago.

This is Randy Couture today.

Somewhere in between, he got old.

Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva

Mark: This one is very tough to call, because if Silva can get an early jump on Jardine, as Silva has done in some fights, I think he can win. Jardine, though, trains under Greg Jackson, so I expect him to know to hang back. As time wears on, I think Jardine will ultimately pull out the win.

Kyle: Jardine is the most uneven fighter in the light-heavyweight division. Jardine beat Forrest Griffin who beat Stephan Bonnar who beat Jardine. Jardine beat Chuck Liddell who beat Wanderlei Silva who beat Jardine. I'm going to call Jardine the winner in this fight, just because that would give us another cycle: Jardine beat Thiago Silva who beat Houston Alexander who beat Jardine. I think he does it just to screw with us.

Nate Marquardt vs. Demian Maia

Mark: In an earlier conversation, Kyle pointed out to me that on the UFC Countdown show, which I have not seen, people in Marquardt's camp were concerned that he keep his ego in check and not go to the ground with Maia. If that happens, Marquardt wins. If he is dumb enough to think he can roll with Maia, Maia wins. I'm again betting on Greg Jackson's training to carry the day, so I'm picking Marquardt.

Kyle: I'm going with Maia. I think Marquardt is young and cocksure. He's confident in his groundfighting skills and won't be able to resist the temptation to try to beat Maia at his own game. He'll fail.

Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Brandon Vera

Mark: Vera should win this fight. He has superior skills and everything he needs to finish Soszynski--except a clear head. If a focused Vera shows up, he'll prove me wrong, but I'm going with Soszynski via decision.

Kyle: Vera. I think he's worked out his weight-cutting issues and figured out how to perform at 205. I don't see either fighter wanting to go to the ground, and I think Vera's superior technical striking will make the difference.

Jake Rosholt vs. Chris Leben

Mark: I'm no fan of Chris Leben and never have been. I want Rosholt, who's the better wrestler, to lean on Leben and win by decision. I just don't think that will happen. I have to pick Leben simply by virtue of being a more complete MMA fighter.

Kyle: The UFC has dug deep to try to find a tomato can that alcoholic ex-con steroid-user public-urinator Anderson-Silva-punching-bag Chris Leben can beat. In WEC vet Jake Rosholt, I fear they've succeeded.

Now, the preliminary bouts, at least a few of which I'm hoping we get to see.

Ed Herman vs. Aaron Simpson

Mark: Herman's a more complete fighter, but Simpson is stronger and a better wrestler. I'm going against the odds again and picking Simpson.

Kyle: Ed Herman. He's been hit and miss in the UFC, but he's been fighting a much stiffer level of competition than Simpson, who's another WEC refugee.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Chris Tuchscherer

Mark: Gonzaga should win this one. He's the odds-on favorite, he's more skilled, and he's competed against elite fighters. I'm bucking the odds again, though, by going with Tuchscherer in the belief that Gonzaga will take him too lightly and Tuchscherer will end up beating the snot out of Gonzaga on the ground.

Kyle: Tuchscherer by smother and grind. He's a big wrestler who's used to grappling with Brock Lesnar. He shouldn't have any problem getting Gonzaga down onto his back. As long as he can avoid submissions, the fight is his. See this story.

Mike Russow vs. Justin McCully

Mark: Russow by submission. McCully is vulnerable, and Russow is more than good enough to beat him.

Kyle: Russow. I know that McCully's a BJJ black belt. I know that he's won two out of his three fights in the UFC. But his performances in the fights I've seen have been so unimpressive that given a choice between betting on a total unknown and betting on McCully, I'll go for the unknown.

Tim Hague vs. Todd Duffee

Mark: I don't know much about these guys, but based on training camps alone, I'm going with Duffee.

Kyle: Duffee. He's beaten a bigger name (Assuerio Silva) and he comes from a better camp (American Top Team).

Nick Catone vs. Mark Munoz

Mark: Two good wrestlers going at it often yields a stand-up fight, which I predict would give Munoz the victory. Thus, I'm going with Munoz.

Kyle: Catone, because WEC fighters coming up to the UFC, like Munoz, just don't seem to be doing well.

Marcus Aurelio vs. Evan Dunham

Mark: The oddsmakers favor Aurelio, who has vastly better BJJ skills. I'm still going with Dunham, though, because he trains at Xtreme Couture and will be well-coached in and able to follow the same gameplan that others have used to beat Aurelio. Dunham by points after three or by TKO in the third.

Kyle: Aurelio, because I've heard of him.


Kyle said...

It's fortunate that I don't bet money on these things.

Mark said...

Yes, as I will discuss more in tomorrow's post.


Blog Archive