We’re rapidly approaching what is being billed as the biggest UFC card in history with the promotion’s 100th event. Previews and predictions in my take on the card below:
Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir (UFC Heavyweight Title Bout)
Brock Lesnar is being billed as an unstoppable monster for this fight, even knocking a door off its hinges on Spike’s UFC 100 Preview Show. With that being said, the conclusion of this fight really centers around who is able to impose their will, strategically. It will be a reach to say that Frank Mir can out muscle a 280-pound Lesnar come fight time and knock him out. It would also be damned near impossible to see Brock Lesnar win by a flying triangle, or any submission for that matter. What this fight will come down to is which fighter will be able to capitalize on the others mistakes. In their first meeting, it was Mir who withstood those “lunchboxes” of Lesnar until he was able to grab a hold of his foot and pull off the kneebar.
How I see this fight unfolding: Brock Lesnar will come out and try to push the pace on Mir, weakening his defenses in the process, in hopes of catching him with that powerful straight right hand of his. Mir, taking lessons from Brock’s fight with Couture, will opt not to stand in front of Brock Lesnar, instead cutting at angles to pick off the ex-WWE wrestler. My opinion is that Lesnar has a habit of freezing up when caught with combinations from weird angles. He will then instinctively take Mir down. Mir won’t fight the takedown but rather use it as an opportunity to attack quickly with multiple submissions from the guard.
Prediction: Frank Mir over Brock Lesnar by heelhook or rear-naked choke, 2nd round.
Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves (UFC Welterweight Title Bout)
Everything indicates that Thiago Alves will be the toughest fight yet for Georges St. Pierre. “The Pitbull” is a dominant striker with knockout power and excellent takedown defense. Not only that but sources close to ATT have been quotes as saying that they have watched Thiago roll around with the likes of Marcelo Garcia and even he couldn’t hold Alves down. It spells to be a nightmare waiting to happen indeed for GSP. Except for one fact… We are talking about Georges St. Pierre.
In fights with Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck, the two vaunted wrestlers had trouble trying to take Thiago Alves down. Alves has excellent takedown defense indeed. But so did BJ Penn, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg, and Matt Serra, along with Hughes and Koscheck themselves. All were taken down by the French-Canadian. GSP is a freak athlete, one that trains with some ex-Russian national wrestlers and one of the best trainers in the sport in Greg Jackson. He’s been in HUGE fights and is always at the top in discussions for best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
How I see this fight unfolding: GSP is a smart fighter. He will not try to stand and trade with a larger Thiago Alves. I think GSP will look to frustrate Alves with his speed, jabbing from the outside to set up an eventual takedown. He will then look to pass his guard and GNP. Rinse and repeat that formula at a relentless pace and there’s your fight.
Prediction: Georges St. Pierre via unanimous decision after five rounds of frustrating and controlling Alves.
Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping (#1 Contenders Match for Middleweight Title)
In what is being billed as a #1 contenders match, the two coaches of The Ultimate Fighter 9 square off in what is more and more increasingly seen as a grudge match. Henderson has referred to his British opponent as a “douche bag.” On the other hand, “The Count” has referred to Dan Henderson as a fighter on the downside of his career. What is certain is that both of these fighters can throw down. They are both scrappy fighters with a mutual affinity for putting on exciting fights.
How I see this fight unfolding: Make no doubt about it, this fight will be an exciting barn-burner. Hendo has one of the most powerful left hooks this sport has ever seen. But I just don’t see him catching Bisping with it. At the same time, I see Bisping, at this point of their careers, as a quicker, faster athlete with enough head movement and technique to not get caught or taken down by the former Olympian. Michael Bisping will not finish Henderson, but he will do enough in attacking from the outside and being quicker in the scrambles to pull it out.
Prediction: Michael Bisping by split decision victory.
John Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago (Welterweight Bout)
John Fitch, the former Purdue All-American wrestler out of AKA, was making serious waves with a 15-fight win streak prior to losing to champion Georges St. Pierre in a 208 title bout. With his second win in a row, Fitch looks to make his way back up the ladder for another crack at the title. Meanwhile, the undefeated Paolo Thiago is looking to make waves himself, recently finishing Fitch’s AKA teammate, Josh Koscheck, via punches.
How I see this fight unfolding: Paulo Thiago is a solid prospect for the UFC. However, John Fitch is a top-grade fighter and will learn from his teammate’s mistakes. He has been through wars before against GSP and Alves and I see him as way too scrappy of a fighter for Thiago to put away. Fitch has a distinct advantage in the takedown department I see that as being the difference i this fight.
Prediction: Fitch by unanimous decision.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher (Middleweight Bout)
At 12-1, the hugely popular Japanese fighter and Judo Olympian Yoshihiro Akiyama makes his US debut. “Sexyama” comes in with an impressive resume, having beaten the likes of Denis Kang and Melvis Manhoef. Meanwhile, Alan Belcher is being regarded as an up-and-comer by nearly everyone since amassing a two-fight win streak over Ed Herman and Denis Kang. The difference here will come down to who has a better advantage, Akiyama for having fought tougher competition or Belcher for having more UFC, and cage, experience.
How I see this fight unfolding: Debuting fighters have historically had trouble adjusting to the intricacies of the octagon. With Akiyama used to fighting in a ring, this could post a difficulty for him. However, as an Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo, I don’t see Akiyama gets pushed around much in the clinch, or on the ground for that matter. “Sexyama” prefers to fight on his feet anyway and Belcher has never KO’d a top fighter. That’s a bad combination for Belcher.
Prediction: Yoshihiro Akiyama via submission after hurting Belcher on his feet with punches, 2nd round.
Undercard Fights (May or may not be televised)
- Mark Coleman vs. Stephan Bonnar (Light Heavyweight Bout)
Prediction: If it goes the distance, Coleman takes the decision victory. Otherwise, Bonnar via submission, 3rd round.
- Jim Miller vs. Mac Danzig (Lightweight Bout)
Prediction: Jim Miller via submission (choke) after an exciting up-and-down battle.
- Jon Jones vs. Jake O’Brien (Light Heavyweight Bout)
Prediction: Jones by spectacular knockout in the first round.