Friday, July 10, 2009

Previewing UFC 100


OK. I don't want to get carried away here, but I have not looked forward to a UFC PPV like I am looking forward to Saturday night's card. This is going to be amazing.

Many of the PPV's are not dynamite from top to bottom. But, this card has at least 4 fights that have "I can't wait" status, and I want to make sure they get previewed here now, and then reviewed after the show is over from your favorite MMA wanna-be expert.

The UFC has made it to 100, and therefore, Dana is blowing this thing out with a show that should live up to its hefty price tag ($54.95 in HD). Do they do too many Pay-Per-Views? Yes. Do they water down their own product and continue to throw stuff together every month to get another $55 from the most loyal fans? Yes. Should we plan on them stopping? Not as long as we keep coming back for more.

This sport is blowing up. It might be on the verge of going to the very next level (I have no idea, really, but I love it). But, do you really need 10-11 PPV's a year? Oh well. Let's celebrate when they get one right.

Here are the 4 fights that should be wonderful:

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir, Heavyweight Title Fight

George St Pierre vs. Thiago Alves, Welterweight Title Fight

Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago, Welterweight

Dan Henderson vs Michael Bisping, Light Heavyweight

Each one pits two very capable warriors against eachother. This may be all that makes the telecast, but regardless, there are no tomato cans present.

As opposed to me telling you what I think, now we welcome Greg Garcia, who always prepares 5 questions for me regarding the PPV and the UFC in general. Check out Greg's link below, if you would like to read more of his fine work:

GARCIA: Yo Bob, UFC 100 is only a few days away, two huge title fights on the card. Frank Mir looks to put away Brock Lesnar for the second time. Yes we will see a better Lesnar (which is scary) but we will also see a better Mir. Who do you think has the advantage?

ME: This fight is extremely interesting to me, and I have to fight my instincts. My instincts tell that Lesnar is a monster who nobody has an answer for, and will destroy everything in his path.

My memory reminds me of Mir losing badly twice in 3 fights back in 2006, when I thought he was done in his post-accident run.

But, I think it is more important to look at their form. Mir just got done with "Big Nog", and stopped Nog for the first time in history. His kneebar win over Lesnar seemed like inexperience on Brock's part, so I don't put too much stock in that.

I honestly would not bet this fight, because I can talk myself into either way, but after his dismantling of Nogueria, I can't pick against Mir. He is too crafty and too skilled. Brock is still learning this game.

I will take Mir.

GARCIA: The UFC heavyweight division is full of young or at least young in the sport guys like Junior Dos Santos, Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez. Who do you think is the next big heavyweight star not named Brock Lesnar?

ME: Wow, Greg. I think you over estimate my in depth knowledge of MMA if you think I can rate 3 up and coming prospects against eachother. Velasquez is the most impressive to me, but his win in UFC99 is against the incredibly frustrating Cheick Kongo. Carwin is next, but another small body of work, and Santos is so far a very unknown commodity (to me, at least).

I will say this, though. The Heavyweight division, while improved, is still the least interesting weight class in the UFC. There is very little to get too excited about these days, but at least Tim Sylvia is not the champion anymore. I mean, really. That was almost embarrassing that he had the belt - it was one of those "if this guy is your champion, what does that say about your entire organization" sort of thing. Arlovski was way better, but he obviously wasn't quality. Either Lesnar or Mir are worthy champions, with a win Saturday.

GARCIA: Thiago Alves and GSP are both special fighters. They are billing Alves as 'bigger, younger and stronger,' but I am not sure he is on the same skill level as St. Pierre. What does Alves have to do to get passed one of the top fighters in the world?

ME: I believe his way to win is to test the chin of GSP. St Pierre is my favorite fighter going, but he did prove against the fairly ordinary Matt Serra that everyone is one punch away from being champion in one of these fights. If he doesn't keep it on his feet, then GSP can ground and pound him for 25 minutes. Remember, Alves has never gone past 3 rounds, and many of his fights haven't gone that long.

GSP never has an easy opponent, and always is fighting in 5 round fights. He is great on his feet, and great on the ground. He is an athlete that is amazing in almost all aspects. Alves is obviously great, too, but I am tired of doubting GSP. Much like the Patriots several years ago, I have decided I am never picking against GSP again, until he proves he doesn't have it anymore. He made the great Matt Hughes look silly. He stopped BJ Penn. He is flat-out quality.

I hope that eventually, GSP and Spider Silva can get together for the greatest fight in the history of the UFC. I would love that.

GARCIA: The third big fight on the card is Dan Henderson and Mike Bisping. Now, I do not describe to the Bisping hype machine and I even think he has been handed a few lay up fights to keep his draw in the UK. I mean whatever happened to stars like Elvis Sinosic, Charles McCarthy and Josh Haynes? Anyhow if he does beat Hendo in convincing fashion does he deserve a title shot against Anderson Silva? & Does he even have a shot at beating Silva?

ME: I will readily admit that Bisping is very much enabled and aided by the Dana White hype machine as he attempts to dominate Great Britain. However, I do think he is also pretty skilled, and his last several fights have impressed me after a lackluster string of results earlier.

He is cocky, whereas Henderson seems a lot more likeable and is as popular as they come. But, what Dan Henderson are we looking at anymore? 38 year old Henderson seems ready to rumble, but I cannot tell you there has been one moment where I have been really impressed since he returned from Pride. I sure think that he is a legend and all, but I believe the wear and tear has honestly chipped away at his game.

I expect Bisping to win (likely in a decision) and then might be next to lose to Silva. I just don't see anyone on the radar at 185 that can handle Silva.

GARCIA: UFC 103 in Dallas at the AAC is set. But we have no main event. I expected Rich Franklin to main event and it appears he will. With the chance of him facing Chuck Liddell out of the question who do you think is good opponent for him at 205 that can sell PPV's? Because right now this card up against Floyd Mayweather, well it needs a little work.

ME: Wow. I have no idea. On one hand, I am a bit disappointed that it looks like there will be no true main event on this card, and while we can hope that it will be a strong card top-to-bottom, we have no chance at a title fight and it sure looks like a weaker effort. On the other hand, having never been to a UFC event live, I would go see whatever they bring. I am very fired up to see my first show live.

GARCIA: Thanks for the time Bob. I appreciate it. Greg Garcia

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