Saturday, December 27, 2008
MMA: UFC 92 Preview
UFC 92 has one of the most stacked cards in MMA history. The show features two title fights as well as the first UFC match between two legends of the sport.
The Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner Forrest Griffin makes his first defense of the Light Heavyweight Championship when he defends his title against the Ultimate Fighter season 2 winner "Sugar" Rashad Evans.
Rashad Evans comes into tonight's fight with an unbeaten record of 12-0-1. He showed in his last fight against Chuck Liddell that he has definite knockout power. That alone makes him a very dangerous fighter.
We last saw Forrest Griffin on July 5th when he defeated then champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson by unanimous decision. Since his last loss, which happened almost 2 years ago, Forrest has turned himself into an excellent all around fighter who can really pick apart an opponent without putting himself in grave danger. In the 2nd round against Rampage he also showed an improved ground game. Forrest does everything extremely well. Some fighters you look at and say, "Oh he's a great stand up fighter," or, "He's a submission expert." Forrest Griffin on the other hand is just a great great fighter.
I expect Forrest to dominate and win this fight fairly easily and give Rashad Evans his first ever MMA loss. I say, Forrest by unanimous decision 50-45.
The Ultimate Fighter theme continues as the two coaches from the 8th season go head to head as Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira defends the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. Mir is a submission specialist, but he's not as good as the Brazilian Noguiera. At this point in time Mir is best known for beating the current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in Lesnar's UFC debut. He won that fight due to a questionable stand up and point deduction by referee Steve Mazagatti. One could argue, and I certainly do, that the fight should have been stopped before then and that Mir was being destroyed and he was not intelligently defending himself.
The winner of this fight will face Brock Lesnar sometime in the Spring in a match to unify the two different versions of the UFC Heavyweight Championship. The best case scenario is for Frank Mir to beat Nogueira tonight in order to set up the rematch with Lesnar. Lesnar vs the one man who has beaten him in his career in a battle to unify the world heavyweight titles! That is a huge money fight right there!
Unfortunately for us Nogueira is so much better than Frank Mir and I expect Noguiera to win via submission in the 2nd round.
Probably the most intriguing fight on UFC 92 is Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs Wanderlei Silva. This is of course the first match for Rampage since he lost his belt to Forrest and went on his well, extended rampage. These two men have fought twice previously in Japan for the former Pride organization. Both of those fights ended with two of the most vicious knockouts you have ever seen and with Wanderlei Silva victorious. After the first fight Rampage flipped out and ended up becoming a born again Christian. Shortly after the second loss Rampage fired his coaches and trainers and hired Juanito Ibarra to train and manage his career. After his loss to Forrest, Rampage went on his rampage and then fired Ibarra.
If Wanderlei wins this fight I am afraid of what Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will do. In all of his UFC fights Rampage has showed a propensity for standing and exchanging punches. That is a very dangerous tactic when your opponent is the man known as The Axe Murderer.
I predict that the Axe Murderer will knockout Rampage in the second round. And if that happens, you should probably lock your door.
The only other match scheduled to air live on the PPV is the Ultimate Fighter 7 runner up CB Dollaway against Mike Massenzio. I have no idea who that guy is.
CB Dollaway will win via submission- Peruvian Necktie- in the first round. The peruvian necktie is his favorite submission hold, and he actually tapped out Rampage with it when Rampage was his coach on the Ultimate Fighter.
Overall this should be an amazing show with three huge matches all of which could headline a UFC pay-per-view event.
As is my preference, I will be watching the show at King Cobra in Seattle again tonight. I highly recommend the sweet potato fries.