UFC 147 and UFC on FX Previews
UFC 147: Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin
After spending a season coaching TUF Brazil opposite Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva was scheduled to rematch his Brazilian nemesis in the main event on Saturday. However when Belfort broke his hand in training, the UFC called their go to guy for situations like this, Rich Franklin. So now Silva will still get the opportunity to avenge a loss, only it will be against Franklin instead of Belfort. The fight will be five rounds and will take place at a catch weight of 190lbs (Franklin negotiated for a catch weight instead of a 185lbs fight due to taking the fight on short notice).
Rich Franklin won the first fight between the two back in 2009 at UFC 99 in Germany. Some felt that Silva should've been given the nod, but either way no one can deny that it was a close fight. Silva was at his best when he was aggressive and Franklin had the advantage when he was sitting back and picking his shots, just like how you would expect a fight between the two to go. The question is how have these fighters changed in the three years since.
The answer is, not very much. Franklin and Silva both have very similar styles as they did in 2009, and you would expect as much since they are both at the tail end of their careers. It's not common for a fighter to all of a sudden start changing his style of fighting so late. The one thing that may have changed however is Silva's chin. While it was already quite worn out in 09, it's even worse now. He was easily put to sleep by Chris Leben, who although he hits hard, shouldn't be able to knock out someone with a few uppercuts from a single collar tie up. Silva was also rocked by part time fighter Cung Le in his last outing, although he came back to win that bout. Franklin was never exactly known for having devastating knock out power, but like we saw when he fought Chuck Liddell, he has enough juice in his punches to KO an aged fighter like Silva. It is going to be crucial for Silva to not get over zealous and leave himself open, because it will most likely result in him hitting the canvas. Franklin has been knocked out before as well, most recently by Vitor Belfort, but I'm not going to compare Vitor who was arguably at the peak of his career to an expired Wanderlei Silva. However this is MMA and as they say, power is the last thing to go, so while I'm not counting out a Silva KO win entirely I think it's very unlikely.
Prediction: Rich Franklin is near the end of his career, but the man can still fight. Last year he was one round away from beating Forrest Griffin, and aside from the Vitor fight he has performed well in every one of his bouts since losing to Anderson Silva. He should be able to pick his shots on Wanderlei and capitalize when Silva gets reckless, which he in all likelihood will at some point. Franklin KO's Silva and probably ends another Hall of Fame Career.
Rich Franklin via KO
UFC on FX: Gray Maynard vs. Clay Guida
Despite being broadcast on free TV, this right here is the fight of the weekend. Maynard is coming off two classic lightweight title fights with Frankie Edgar, and Clay Guida is one of the most aggressive and exciting fighters in the UFC. Add in that this is going to be a five round fight, and you've got yourself one heck of a main event for free.
Both men need a big win to get back in the title hunt. Maynard is coming off a loss to Frankie Edgar, and Guida just lost to Ben Henderson. Edgar and Henderson are set to face off again for the title, so we don't know who will have the title this fall. Maynard wont be getting a title shot if Edgar wins, and the same can be said for Guida if Henderson wins. However a Maynard-Henderson fight or a Edgar-Guida scrap would be fresh matchups, so the winner of this main event could possibly be looking at a title shot with an impressive win.
The big question is whether or not Maynard's cardio will be able to hold up over five rounds with Guida, who is the UFC's answer to the energizer bunny. This is Guida's first time going five rounds, but if his three rounders are any indication, he will not tire. The wrestling and strength advantage goes to Maynard, as does the punching power.
Where Guida edges Maynard is in the speed department. If he stays quick and unpredictable on the feet, he may be able to tire Maynard out by the later rounds. Early on it will be hard for him to get Maynard down, so he will have to work his unorthodox striking game early. Guida has to watch out for the power of Maynard though, who nearly knocked out Frankie Edgar in the first round of both of the two's fights.
Maynard needs to stay sharp and not get frustrated. If he paces himself he should be able to get ahold of Guida and take him down. His top game is some of the best in the division, but it is going to be extremely hard to keep Guida down. I hate to say it but Maynard might just try to get Guida on the mat and control him for the first few rounds to get ahead on the scorecards. If he stays on the feet he will most likely wait for the opportunity to land a big counter shot.
Prediction: There are several ways this fight could play out. It could be a grappling match, or it could take place entirely on the feet. Both scenarios are equally likely, so this is a tough one to call. I think Maynard will have his way with Guida though, and while he won't get the finish, Maynard will do enough damage early on with his boxing to earn a close judges nod.
Gray Maynard via Decision
UFC 147: Fabricio Werdum vs. Mike Russow
Fabricio Werdum returns after dismantling Roy Nelson earlier this year against Mike Russow, who is on an unlikely 11 fight win streak, including a 4-0 record in the UFC. Werdum is 4-1 in his last five, including the historical submission win over then number one ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.
Russow is on a good win streak if you look at it on paper, but the wins haven't been very impressive. He was thoroughly dominated by Todd Duffee before landing a hail marry KO, and the wins over Jon Madsen and Jon Olav Einemo were some of the most lackluster performances in a winning effort I've seen. Werdum looked better in his loss to Alistair Overeem than Russow has looked in his last several wins.
Werdum is a terrible style matchup for Russow. Mike Russow has a strong wrestling background, but I doubt he is going to want to take the fight to the floor because of Werdum's BJJ, which is arguably the best in the world at any weight class. On the feet Russow is so-so, and Werdum's striking has looked very good since getting KO'd by Junior dos Santos four years ago. He thrashed Roy Nelson with punches, knees and kicks, and even landed substantial strikes on K-1 world champion Alistair Overeem. I just don't see a way Russow wins this fight.
Prediction: Werdum's best attack is on the floor, but I don't think he will even need it here. He beats up Russow on the feet and gets the stoppage late in the second round.
Fabricio Werdum via TKO
UFC on FX Prelims: Hatsu Hioki vs. Ricardo Lamas
Somehow the highest ranked fighter of the 46 that are fighting this weekend ended up on the prelims. Hatsu Hioki is the consensus number two featherweight in the world, and at the very lowest the third best 145er on the planet. After winning back to back fights in the UFC, the last coming on a PPV main card, he is for some strange reason relegated to the prelims of a free fight card. Weird. Regardless of where the fight takes place on the card, this fight is one you need to be watching this weekend. Hioki is a win or two away from a title shot against Jose Aldo, and Ricardo Lamas is no joke either. With an 11-2 record in MMA and a 6-2 record in the UFC/WEC, Lamas should not be overlooked. He has a serious ground game and some solid skills on the feet to match it. If Hioki isn't on the top of his game he may be the victim of an upset here.
Both men have a solid ground game, but Hioki should hold the wrestling advantage. On the feet Hioki is a better boxer, but Lamas probably has the more varied attack. Lamas might be worried about throwing kicks though as Hioki would be likely to catch a leg and take him down. Depsite having a brown belt in BJJ the last place Lamas wants to be is on the bottom against someone with as strong a top game as Hioki. I think both men are going to be happy to keep the fight standing to start, but eventually Hioki will get the takedown. Hioki should be able to control Lamas on the ground long enough to steal rounds on the scorecards.
Prediction: In a closely contested fight, Hioki's grappling will win him the day.
Hatsu Hioki via Decision
Published by Jeff Zanatta - Thu, 21 Jun 2012 09:41