Friday, December 11, 2009

UFC 107: Penn vs. Sanchez

Paul Buentello vs.Stefan Struve
(265 lbs/120 kg)

Stefan Struve
The Netherlands

+Excellent Jiu Jitsu (black belt?) and appears to be versatile from top and from guard
+Massive height (6'11") and reach (84")

-Not very mobile or light on his feet
-Little power behind strikes

Paul Buentello

+Good boxing, with a useful jab
+Good cardio

-Poor grappler
-Not explosive striking
-Little kicks


Buentello is a solid, hard hitting boxer and a fight veteran. Struve is a grappler near black belt level, standing at 6'11" and 21 years old—but having fought 21 times in his professional career.

Buentello's great jab will hardly work to keep range when dealing with the giant Struve, and his boxing is not on the level of Junior dos Santos, so I'm not expecting him to close in and TKO Struve suddenly.

One thing I'm quite certain of is that Struve will survive standing a lot easier than Buentello will survive grappling.


Struve by submission, Round 1.

Both fighters enter at 1.87, so I'll bet on Struve.

Kenny Florian vs. Clay Guida
(155 lbs/70 kg)

Kenny Florian

+Good Muay Thai
+Vicious elbows that cut
+Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt

-Not the hardest hitter
-Wrestling could be better

Clay Guida

+Good wrestler
+Great cardio
+Excellent heart
+Great jaw

-Striking is pretty unrefined
-Wrestling is telegraphed
-Not a hard hitter


Florian may lack the sheer heart and cardio of Guida, but he's ahead of the Carpenter for technique and skills. Namely, better grappling and cleaner striking.

I'd expect Florian to try and avoid brawling, and try and work the range with kicks and jabs; I doubt he would be set on KO'ing Guida, who has never been KO'd in thiry-five fights.

Five of Guida's ten losses have been by submission, so Florian would be comfortable on the mat, but will have problems taking it there with Guida's wrestling skills. Florian's most likely gameplan will be to outpoint Clay for the decision.


I'd feel that Florian will get a Unanimous Decision, but Guida can cause people problems, as demonstrated by the Split Decision loss to Sanchez.

For that reason I'd rather back Guida, since he enters at 2.60 as opposed to Florian's 1.50.

Jon Fitch vs. Mike Pierce
(170 lbs/77 kg)

Jon Fitch

+Jiu Jitsu black belt
+Good kickboxer
+Awesome cardio
+Endless heart
+Great chin

-Not the most powerful puncher
-Relies on wearing fighters down over long periods

Mike Pierce

+Very strong wrestler
+Solid cardio
+Decent ground control

-Weak striking skills
-No submission game demonstrated yet


Fitch has a significant advantage striking, and he should have the wrestling to keep it there. His iron jaw and Jiu Jitsu black belt means that he is very unlikely to be either KO'd or submitted by Mike Pierce, who is not famous for possessing either of those skills.

It goes without saying that Pierce's gameplan will be to outwrestle Fitch for the Unanimous Decision, but with Fitch being such a good wrestler himself, he'll have a harder time than he did with Larson.


It's Fitch's fight to lose, so Fitch by Unanimous Decision.

Pierce is massive underdog at 4.00, and Fitch is at 1.20, but I'm confident enough to bet on Fitch as part of a multiplier.

Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo
(265 lbs/120 kg)

Frank Mir


+Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt
+Not afraid to injure opposition
+Decent striking

-Not a great wrestler
-Questionable cardio

Cheick Kongo

+Elite striker, Muay Thai and Savate
+Considerable height (6'4") and reach (82")
+Good ground and pound
+Decent wrestling

-Terrible ground game
-Fouls opposition frequently


If Mir gets it to the ground, Kongo is in severe danger of being subbed, but every second it stays standing, Mir suffers a distinct risk of getting KO'd.

While Mir may have said that he would stand and trade with Kongo, I can't believe he could have become that arrogant, and would expect him to try to bring Kongo to the mat. Kongo, who has in the past had some of the worst wrestling in the heavyweight division, has improved dramatically in that regard. His loss to Velasquez may have lodged itself in people's minds, and caused people to underestimate his wrestling, but Mir is nowhere near the wrestler Velasquez is.

The reverse is true with Mir's striking, which was responsible for TKO'ing Nogueira, who had never been TKO'd before. However, given the fact that Nogueira shouldn't have fought that night, it becomes less astounding. If he truly does believe he can strike with Kongo he'll likely get flattened and pummeled á la his fight with Vera.


Kongo by KO, Round Two.

Kongo enters at 2.70, while Mir is 1.48, so of course, I'm choosing Kongo.

BJ Penn vs. Diego Sanchez
(155 lbs/70 kg)

BJ Penn

+Excellent boxer, maybe the best in MMA
+Great grappler, being a Mundials champion at black belt in 2000
+Awesome takedown defense
+Excellent chin
+Good ground and pound

-Doesn't use Muay Thai to the fullest
-Motivation is iffy

Diego Sanchez

+Great cardio
+Very dangerous Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt
+Very good wrestler
+Dangerous and versatile striker+Elite training partners
+Solid jaw and has never been (T)KO'd

-Aggression can lead to reckless brawls
-Does not have devastating KO power


Sanchez has the cardio and the heart, but Penn has everything else—the striking, the grappling, the chin, the ground and pound...

Sanchez is at most danger when striking, I'd say; his brawling style leads me to have more confidence in Penn's orthodox boxing, and I would expect the Hawaiin's jab to find a home with Diego's jawline.

His best chance, I feel, is to try and wear Penn down by constantly wrestling with him, perhaps even using ground control. But that is extremely hard to see; Sanchez may train with an Olympic wrestler, but an Olympian he is not, and I can't see him preventing Penn from standing back to his feet.

Should Penn wind up on top of Sanchez, I could see the latter eating elbows and punches that could end the fight. I wouldn't expect a submission here.


Penn by TKO, Round 4.

Penn enters as huge favourite at 1.36, while Sanchez is big underdog at 3.15. I still will stand by Penn, and will opt to double him with Fitch.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

UFC 106: Ortiz Vs. Grifin II

Phil Baroni vs. Amir Sadollah
(170 lbs/77 kg)

Phil Baroni

+Aggressive striker
+Hard puncher

-Bad wrestler
-Terrible ground game
-Glass jaw
-Very little cardio

Amir Sadollah

+Good Muay Thai
+Slick ground game
+Powerful striker

-May not have recovered from surgery
-Sub par wrestling


As surprising as I found Sadollah's KO loss to Hendricks, he still has to be considered tremendous favorite over Baroni, who will gas after the first round and who has suffered numerous KO losses to fighters of various quality. Everything Baroni can do, Sadollah can do better, I think.

Sadollah's surgery may haunt him, but I wouldn't expect him to still be suffering.

I'd say Baroni's best chance is just a lucky punch, really.


Sadollah, submission, Round 1.

Sadollah is at 1.45 and Baroni is at 2.80, but I can't justify putting cash on Baroni.

Luiz Cané vs. Antonio Rogério Nogueira
(205 lbs/93 kg)

Luiz Cané

+Great muay thai and boxing combos
+Powerful striker
+Very durable and can take punishment
+Black belt Jiu Jitsu

-Unused submission game
-May fade in later rounds

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

+Elite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt
+High class boxer, having achieved several titles
+Great cardio

-No kicks or knees in his arsenal
-Not the best wrestler


Nogueira is a great technical boxer who won gold in the South American Games in 2006 and bronze at the Pan American games of 2007. Cain wouldn't have the smae titles to his name, but he is still a very dangerous boxer/Thai boxer combination.

Both have solid jaws, so I would expect it to go for a while, and they both have cardio that will take them to Round 3, but Nogueira may have a slight advantage there.

Honestly, it's very difficult to call, as their skills stack up very close to each other.


As already said, tough to call, but I'll choose Cané by Split Decision.

Nogueira is at 1.69 and Cané at 2.15. I'd advise money on Cané here.

Josh Koscheck vs. Anthony Johnson
(170 lbs/77 kg)

Anthony Johnson

+Good striker
+Significant KO power
+Strength, size and athleticism
+Decent wrestler

-Poor grappler
-Striking could be refined

Josh Koscheck

+Great wrestler, former NCAA Division I champion
+Great power behind strikes
+Great cardio
+Very good ground and pound
+Great sub defense—brown belt Jiu Jitsu

-"Wrestler striking," powerful but combos are basic
-No submissions


People have been complaining about Koscheck wanting to stand and abandoning his wrestling roots. That's just stupid; Koscheck never abandoned his wrestling roots.

Yoshiyuki Yoshida was more dangerous on the ground than standing, same with Frank Trigg, and you can't blame him for assuming the same about Paulo Thiago, who was reknowned as a submission magician and not a good striker. Let's take a moment to recall his violent ground and pound over Lytle.

I do not see Johnson's strength and athleticism being a match for Koscheck's wrestling credentials. I think if he ends up on his back he'll be in trouble and will at least end up losing the round.

If it does stay standing, I'd give Johnson the edge, but not by as wide a margin as people might think.


Koscheck by TKO, Round 2, reasserting himself in the welterweight title chase.

Both are at 1.87, so I'll choose Koscheck.

Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz
(205 lbs/93 kg)

Forrest Griffin

+Good technical kickboxing
+Excellent cardio
+Great heart
+Good ground game
+Considerable size and reach

-Feather fists, very little power
-Not much wrestling
-Suffering two defeats prior to the fight

Tito Ortiz

+Good wrestler
+Good ground and pound
+Good grappler

-Poor striker
-Rarely uses submissions aggressively
-Returning after surgery


Ortiz had a close decision win against Griffin last time around, but it was an extremely close call. Tito used his wrestling and ground and pound to win, losing the striking portion of the fight. I wouldn't expect a repeat of that—Griffin isn't the same brawler he was, and Tito just isn't in his prime.

Griffin is a more well rounded striker and has developed a very good ground game should he be taken down. The one issue is how badly his mental shape is after losing to Evans and Silva.

Tito's back surgery will put in jeopardy the cardio that is so often his advantage. It will also damage his entire game, and make his takedowns


Griffin by TKO Round 2, reminding everyone that he is still a good light heavyweight.

Surprisingly, both enter at 1.87, so I'd take Griffin and Sadollah together.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers

Antonio Silva vs Fabricio Werdum
(265 lbs/120 kg)
Antonio Silva


+Good striker, and surprising light on his
feet for such a large man
+Decent ground game
+Good size advantage (6′5″, 265 lbs)

-Not a good wrestler
-Can be inaggressive at times
-Not a one hit KO artist

Fabricio Werdum


+Highly decorated Jiu Jitsu black belt and has won gold in ADCC
+Judo knowledge

-Sub par wrestler
-Very average striker
-Not the best ground and pound

Werdum will pose a severe danger to Silva if he gets it to the ground, but Werdum is not a strong wrestler and does not have explosive shot
s, and he has had trouble putting people on the mat, thinking particularly the Arlovski fight.
Silva isn’t the most aggressive fighter on the planet, but he may find that an advantage, as he can stay outside of Werdum’s range, and pick him apart using his reach.
Despite his impressive TKO percentage, I would be surprised if Silva KO’d Werdum.
Leaning towards Silva by unanimous decision. Werdum is favorite at 1.65, while Silva is at 2.25, so of course I’ll choose Silva.
Jake Shields vs. Jason Miller
(185 lbs/84 kg)

Jake Shields

United States

+Great wrestler
+Excellent grappler, Jiu Jitsu black belt
+Good cardio

-Not a good striker
-Ground and pound could be better

Jason Miller

United States
+Good grappler
+Almost unsubmittable
+Decent striker
+Good cardio

-Questionable wrestling
-Not a KO artist

Shields will very likely outwrestle Miller and keep him on the mat, but when Jacaré couldn’t submit Mayhem, it’s hard to see anyone doing so. Nonetheless, Shields is a very prolific wrestler, moreso than Jacaré, so he will definitely be pleased with how long Miller was kept on the ground in that fight.
Miller may have an advantage standing, but looking at Miller’s low KO rates it’s hard to see him putting Shields away before the shot.
Shields by unanimous decision, a pretty boring fight, I’d guess. Shields is at 1.34, while Miller is at 3.35, but I’ll bet on Shields.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
(205 lbs/93 kg)
Gegard Mousasi


+High quality boxer/kickboxer—former Dutch amateur boxing champ
+Very good ground game with a dangerous guard
+Very good ground and pound
+Very good training partners
+Highly strategic

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou


+Good kickboxer
+Explosive KO power
+Judo background
+Strength and athleticism

-Bad cardio
-Poor heart
-No submissions and never looked good grappling

Thierry has an advantage in sheer power and perhaps a little strength and athleticism, but has severe cardio issues and a poor ground game, while the Armenian has no real weaknesses. I would also say that Mousasi has better striking and of course he has a better ground game.
Sokoudjou could always blast him in the opening bell, but I can’t really see Mousasi falling in that manner, and will likely be patient in looking for openings and exploit Sokoudjou’s cardio, which will probably be worse considering he has fighting at openweight for his last two bouts.
Mousasi by TKO, Round 2. Mousasi is at 1.20 while Sokoudjou is at 4.00, so as sure as Mousasi is to win, I’d rather place something on the African.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers
(265 lbs/ 120 kg)
Brett Rogers

United States

+Extreme KO power, with all of his victories by way of KO, TKO, or submission (strikes)
+Size advantage, at 6′5″ and 265 lbs
+Mentally in good shape

-Brawler, with just hooks
-No proven ground game
-No proven wrestling background
-Uncertain cardio

Fedor Emelianenko

+World class upper body clinchwork—a three time World Combat Sambo champion as well as a national Judo champion
+Explosively powerful striking that sets up clinch well
+Transitions between striking and grappling are perfect
+Very good head movement
+Durable and can take punishment
+Excellent submission skills

-First fight in a cage
-Hasn’t really used Muay Thai since traing with Golden Glory in 2005


Does Rogers do any one thing better than Fedor? I can’t say so.
Rogers has bombs for fists but Fedor has no shortage in that regard either.

Furthermore, Fedor has defeated strikers like Semmy Schilt, Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Andrei Arlovski and Gary Goodridge. Rogers has a win over Arlovski.

Truly, I wouldn’t view Rogers as anything other than a poor man’s version of 2006 Mark Hunt, who had a diamond jaw, an awesome punch and professional kickboxing skills, and a body type that made him difficult to take to the ground.

Fedor has to win on paper. Without a flash KO from a wild haymaker, Rogers’s chances are slim. Fedor by KO, Round 1. Fedor is at 1.17, while Rogers at 5.00. I’m trying Fedor and Shields.