Saturday, July 11, 2009

UFC 100 Preview

Special to HHR from Brook "Heavy Hands" Taylor

If you spent any time in the last week on-line or watching cable television you’ve seen a UFC 100 ad. Or, if you happen to be the purveyor of Sports by Brooks, you did everything in your power to bring down the Pay-Per-View juggernaut, all the while haranguing a Comcast representative to make sure the fights were sure to be broadcast at the residence of one Sour B. Puss because this is the PPV event to end all. As a long time UFC fan, I spent my week watching past fights, debating the importance of skill versus strength and reveling in the notion that a sport that was all but dead 8 years ago has become the most exciting regularly occurring spectacle since MJ left us last week. As UFC 100 approaches, fight fans around the world pontificate on the past, present and future, all the while knowing that the historic card represents significant implications for the hear and now.

Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping

Henderson vs. Bisping carries the weight of the most recent Ultimate Fighter reality show and the familiar battle of the U.S. vs. the U.K. Aside from that, the intrigue wears thin. Hendo is a former PRIDE champion and all around American badass with nothing to prove. The UK golden boy, Bisping, comes in riding a 3-fight win streak against questionable middleweight competition. If the Brit can shock the world, he becomes the next lamb sent to the slaughter against middleweight champion Anderson Silva. If Hendo does what most knows he can and out battles the cocky cockney, he simply disappoints the masses of soccer hooligans that have celebrated Bisping’s arrival since he was declared the face of UK MMA. (If you’ve seen the weathered mugs on the UK MMA circuit, then you know it could have been worse.) Look for Henderson to drop his chin and batter the Brit for three rounds, making a statement that American wrestlers that can brawl are still the toughest SOB’s around. Hendo via Unanimous Decision.

Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves

With all the hype and hysteria focused on the heavyweight match-up, many have overlooked the fact that Georges St. Pierre is facing his 15th top-10 welterweight challenger in 20 career fights. No champion has fought the same level of consistent competition and won. Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves is unquestionably the #1 contender having dismantled Karo Parysian, Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck en route to earning the title shot. The Pitbull is a massive specimen with a stand up game that rivals fighters at light heavyweight and gave the best wrestlers, judokas and strikers in the division serious fits. GSP always enters the octagon with a customized gameplan and expect Saturday to be no different. Alves’ advantages, his size and power, will work in GSP’s favor as he will nullify them both with at least an entire first round of wrestling dominance. In the second round, Alves will be expecting more of the same, but GSP will look to use his range and out strike the younger challenger just long enough to find his take down and put Alves on his back. Once they are on the ground, GSP will look to punish the Brailian while looking for him to make a mistake and capitalize with a slick submission. Georges St. Pierre via 2nd round submission.

Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir

Finally, WWE phenom Brock Lesnar will enter the cage for the his 5th career fight as a significant favorite against Frank Mir, the former UFC champ. Mir showed markedly improved stand up in his last fight, TKO’ing the seemingly invincible legend Antonio Minataruo Nogueira. Since their first fight in early 2008 in which Mir was able to catch Brock in a slow developing knee bar, Mir has been trying to convince anyone who will listen that he is the more well-rounded and more dynamic fighter. However, the odds makers aren’t buying it and have declared that Lesnar will be too much to handle come Saturday night. Lesnar has had two fights to Mir’s one since their last encounter and in that time, Lesnar spent 3 round dismantling the very experienced Heath Herring (a physical doppelganger to Mir) and also bludgeoned the legend Randy Couture during a 2 round drubbing. The Herring fight showed us that Lesnar can easily handle similarly imposing size and the Couture fight showed us that he can best strategy with raw power. Put those two fights together along with Lesnar’s unrelenting work ethic, and you have a seriously overmatched Mir. Expect Lesnar to come out with a similar game plan to the first fight. Having taken a few good shots during the Couture fight, Lesnar will be confident enough in his stand up to trade with Mir until he can land that huge 4 XL fist right and drop Mir to the mat. If Mir is dazed enough for Lesnar’s liking, he’ll drop down into a dominant ground position and stay there until the former champ is finished. Lesnar via 1st round TKO.

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