Confuseyus: UFC 101 & WEC 42 Preview & Predictions
Posted by representingpuroresu on 08/01/2009
Philadelphia is best known as being the birthplace of America, the home of the authentic Philly cheesesteak, having some of the toughest fans in sports (booing Santa Claus?), and is nicknamed “The city of brotherly love”. That may not be the case on August 8 when UFC makes their first trip to Philly for UFC 101: Declaration. Certainly no love in the main event, where UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn finally defends the title in a long-anticipated matchup with Kenny Florian. Read on for my preview of the event, of course best enjoyed alongside a hot fresh cheesesteak. Extra cheese & mayo, bacon too, hold the onions. Then after that, break out the mullets and stick around for predictions for WEC 42 the next night in Vegas (August 9), headlined by Mark Buehrle’s favorite fighter-Miguel Torres-defending the WEC Bantamweight Championship against Brian Bowles.
Usual disclaimer: As always, these picks are strictly for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as the basis for any real-life betting/wagering. A “NC” in a fighter’s record indicates No Contest. All fighter rankings are based on the latest MMAWeekly World MMA Rankings.
UFC 101 main card airs live on PPV.
WEC 42 main card airs live in the US on Versus, outside North America it will air via online PPV through wec.tv and ufc.com for $9.99. The online PPV will not be available in the US & Canada due to Versus broadcasting rights.
Prelims (may not air on PPV):
Jesse Lennox vs. Danillo Villefort
Records: Lennox 10-1, Villefort 9-2
Both fighters are moving up from the WEC to UFC for this fight thanks to the integration of WEC’s Welterweight division into UFC. They each fought at WEC 38 in their only WEC appearances, and both won-Lennox KO’d Blas Avena, Villefort TKO’d Mike Campbell. Both have winning streaks coming in-Lennox has won 3 straight since his only career loss, Villefort has won 5 straight since back-to-back losses. It’s a balanced fight on paper, Lennox is 50-50 when it comes to finishing methods with 5 KO/TKOs and 5 submissions. Villefort has finished 8 of his 9 wins with 5 subs and 3 KO/TKOs. This is a tough fight to call and thus the lines should be very close on this one, but the deciding factor for me was that both of Villefort’s losses have been TKOs and first round ones at that. Leads me to believe Lennox will make it another quick TKO loss for Villefort.
Prediction: Lennox by 1st round KO/TKO.
George Roop vs. George Sotiropoulos
Records: Roop 9-4, Sotiropoulos 9-2
This was to have been Rob Emerson vs. Sotiropoulos, but Emerson is off due to a cut in training that required stitches. He is expected to return at UFC 103 as, of all things, an injury replacement (stepping in for an injured Matt Wiman to face Rafael dos Anjos). Roop is the short-notice replacement, which adds another interesting wrinkle to this fight featuring TUF alumni: The Georges are teammates. Roop competed on TUF 8, losing at the Finale to Shane Nelson by split decision then took a split decision against David Kaplan. Sotiropoulos competed on TUF 6, he didn’t win but has gone 2-0 since with wins over Billy Miles and Roman Mitchiyan. In fact, his only loss since the start of 2006 is to Shinya Aoki, and only because he got DQ’d. Besides being teammates both guys like to take it to the ground, each has only 1 win by KO/TKO and are almost even in submission and decision wins. The fact that they’re teammates would perhaps make this one tough to call, but so far Sotiropoulos has clearly looked more impressive in UFC and, if you can get past his tough to say (and spell) name you can tell he’s on the rise. Most UFC guys don’t ever want to fight a teammate no matter what so Roop gets props here. He’ll hang tough with Sotiropoulos before finally tapping near the end of a close fight.
Prediction: Sotiropoulos by 3rd round submission/tapout.
Dan Cramer vs. Matt Riddle
Records: Cramer 1-0, Riddle 2-0
Another TUF alum matchup, and on paper this one is kinda dull. Cramer’s first fight was a split decision win over Matt Arroyo while Riddle, the very rare fighter to make his pro debut in UFC, wrestled his way to decisions over Dante Rivera & Steve Bruno. There really isn’t much to say about these guys or the fight, both are still young and just starting their careers so we don’t yet have much to look at beyond TUF and their records. There is one thing to say though about this one-Somebody’s 0 Has Got To Go! As I’ve learned from watching his first 2 fights, don’t sleep on Riddle. Wrestling might be boring but Riddle is looking like a bigger Jon Fitch because he’s been very effective with it. Expect more of the same as Riddle wrestles his way to a dull but dominant decision win.
Prediction: Riddle by unanimous/majority decision.
Thales Leites vs. Alessio Sakara
Records: Leites 14-2, Sakara 13-7, 1 NC
Wow, is this a fall or is this a fall? Last time we saw Leites he was facing Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Title. The most boring loss ever and he’s bumped all the way down to prelim. Damn. But he gets a decent bounceback fight in Sakara, who probably needs a win to stay in UFC. He’s only 4-4 with 1 NC and has alternated wins & losses his last 4 fights…meaning he’s due a loss. Can’t blame him for trying, his last 7 fights have all ended in round 1, with the last 6 ending by KO/TKO (5 TKOs, he won his last one by KO). So it’s striker vs. grappler. And Leites clearly will be looking to bounce back from that disappointing title fight and earn a rematch-as a skilled BJJ fighter this matchup should work well for him. Unless he makes a big mistake and Sakara puts him down & out quickly Leites should rebound from his UFC 97 debacle with an early submission win that gets him back on the road to the top fairly quickly.
Prediction: Leites by 1st round submission/tapout.
John Howard vs. Tamdan McCrory
Records: Howard 11-4, McCrory 11-2
Both guys probably need this one. Howard won his UFC debut at 94 to extend his overall winning streak to 4, but barely-a split decision over Chris Wilson. McCrory, who has gained a cult fan following because he’s basically a geek, has alternated wins & losses in his UFC career and sits at 3-2 in UFC. On paper both are talented fighters and well-balanced, so it’s a tough fight to call. If you go by UFC experience McCrory is probably the favorite as he’s had 5 fights to just 1 for Howard, but while McCrory has been a bit of a submission fighter lately after starting with a lot of KO/TKOs, Howard has the ground game to hang with him. I see McCrory’s experience being the difference, but it’ll be close and this one could go either way. If the odds are Howard are favorable, and on some sites he’s a heavy underdog in picks, consider a flier.
Prediction: McCrory by split decision.
Shane Nelson vs. Aaron Riley
Records: Nelson 12-3, Riley 27-11-1
In terms of UFC experience, this is a rookie vs. veteran fight although both have been in MMA a while. It’s also a rematch-Nelson went 10-3 before getting a shot in UFC via TUF 8-he didn’t win but has since gone 2-0, including a controversial 44-second TKO against Riley last time out, which may have been a premature stoppage. Bad loss for Riley, it also dropped him to 1-3 overall in UFC and putting him in a must-win situation. So it’s basically the last fight all over again, which hopefully won’t end prematurely and should be a drawn-out ground game. I don’t remember who I took before but here I’m taking Riley by late submission, and hopefully it won’t be as controversial as last time.
Prediction: Riley by 3rd round submission/tapout.
Josh Neer vs. Kurt Pellegrino
Records: Neer 25-7-1, Pellegrino 13-4
The winner should move up a notch or two in the Welterweight division, although despite recently inking an extension Neer’s career UFC mark suggests he needs this fight for some job security. Yes, Neer is 2-1 in his latest stint in UFC and is coming off a big win over Mac Danzig, but overall he’s only 4-4 and has to be careful to avoid a letdown. Pellegrino is 5-3 overall in UFC and appears to have put that embarrassing loss to Nate Diaz behind him, winning his last 2 fights since. Pellegrino actually is moving up to Welterweight here, before he primarily fought at Lightweight. It’ll be interesting to see how the extra weight will affect him, especially against a solid fighter like Neer who’s used to it. Neer needs to avoid the aforementiond letdown coming off that win over Danzig, considered a mild upset by some, I think he’ll win but the question is how considering he’s about 50-50 between KO/TKOs and submissions. 3 of Pellegrino’s 4 losses are by tapout, so…
Prediction: Neer by 2nd round submission/tapout.
Ricardo Almeida vs. Kendall Grove
Records: Almeida 10-3, Grove 10-5, 1 NC
Well, now that Almeida’s got that Matt Horwich business out of the way at last, time to move on to the next obstacle to staying in UFC-my boy Grove, the TUF 3 Middleweight winner. Although he’s on an 8-1 run overall Almeida is still only 3-3 overall between 2 UFC stints and a loss here puts him at 2-2 this go-around, so he needs this one. Grove, who was in danger of being cut after losing 2 in a row recently, has since won 2 straight and now has a little breathing room again with a 5-2 UFC mark since his TUF 3 run. He may finally be figuring out how to use his height effectively-at 6’6″ he’s one of the tallest fighters UFC has ever had at any weight class. Almeida is looking at roughly a 7-inch height disadvantage here, but if he can stay in close and neutralize Grove’s reach he should be able to take Grove down and use his BJJ effectively to his advantage. But Grove is a strong submission fighter as well so his range won’t make it easy. There’s a good chance this one goes the distance and could be close, so it likely will come down to who shows more aggression (especially in attempts at submissions) and octagon control. I obviously want Grove to win but for fantasy purposes I have a feeling Almeida will take this one.
Prediction: Almeida by unanimous/majority decision.
Amir Sadollah vs. Johny Hendricks
Records: Sadollah 1-0, Hendricks 5-0
Well, it’s time for something like the 4th try at Sadollah, the TUF 7 winner, finally making his “real” UFC debut. Various assorted injuries and ailments have kept him out for over 13 months since he upset CB Dollaway twice to win the show so if you go by guarantees in the contract, he’s out of guarantee time (the contracts are for 3 years, only year 1 is guaranteed). After trying twice with Nick Catone as an opponent, he’s going to get Hendricks instead, who is being promoted from the WEC Welterweight division (I think this fight is at 170) after 2 wins before the division folded into UFC. Obviously it’s almost impossible to really research Sadollah since TUF is all we’ve seen of him and certainly this long layoff doesn’t help matters much. Either way one thing for sure-Somebody’s 0 Has Got To Go! I admittedly have been anti-Amir as I still think his TUF 7 winning was a fluke and CB got robbed in one of those 2 fights (I don’t think he clearly tapped in the Finale) and this is technically Amir’s debut so expectations should be kept low. Hendricks has finished 4 of his 5 fights and I think he will once he softens Amir up a bit, getting the TKO midway through the fight. Of course, assuming the fight happens. This is Amir Sadollah we’re talking about, so given his history, stay tuned.
Prediction: Hendricks by 2nd round KO/TKO.
UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin in a NON-TITLE match
Records: Silva 24-4, Griffin 16-5
Silva is the #1 Middleweight in the World. Griffin is the #3 Light Heavyweight in the World.
This fight will be at 205. It should also be roughly the halfway point on the Silva countdown to retirement (and boxing against Roy Jones Jr., the deal reportedly is done) so this should be fight 3 of 6 on his likely final contract. Silva will be looking to win his 11th in a row overall and perhaps silence the naysayers who have complained mercilessly about how boring his last 2 MW title defenses have been, the last one even had Dana White apologizing to the fans about how bad it was. That’s bad. As for Forrest, this is his first fight since dropping the LHW title to Rashad Evans, ending a 3-fight win streak including a huge upset win over Mauricio Rua, so he’s looking to do it again. On paper we could go on about how this is a huge mismatch, and it does look that way, but Forrest has shown that he’s very crafty and has a gameplan that can work. Against Silva, you can either out-dance him or try to stay out of his Muay Thai clinch because otherwise you’ll get kneed into submission, but Forrest will actually have a 1 inch height advantage so that could work in his favor. If he can find a way to be aggressive and not let Silva control things in the clinch, he has a chance to again shock the world, especially considering we really haven’t seen much of Silva lately if at all on the ground-Forrest is pretty good down there. It’s a longshot but between Silva’s last couple fights and Forrest’s showing against Rua in a similar situation to this, I’m feeling a huge upset is coming. It’ll be close as I see it being a split decision but an upset’s an upset. Roll the dice.
Prediction: Griffin by split decision.
Main Event: UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian for the title
Records: Penn 13-5-1, Florian 11-3
Penn is the #3 Lightweight in the World. Florian is the #6 Lightweight in the World.
Yes, it’s finally time for Penn to shut up about Vaseline-Gate and quit posting up those strange videos and fight at LW again. This actually will be his first defense since he beat Sean Sherk for the title, his only fight since then was GSP at WW. Didn’t sit well with Florian, who earned his shot by beating Roger Huerta roughly a year ago. He could’ve sat around, waited, and done nothing until he got his fight, but a fighter gotta eat. In KenFlo’s case, he’s also got a gym to run and bills to pay, so he took the huge gamble-a fight that, if he lost, would also cost him his title shot. But he easily disposed of Joe Stevenson to preserve his shot and now he gets it. A lot of people are saying this is a big mismatch but on paper it’s closer to even. And you know how I roll on recent records & streaks: Let’s look at each guy’s last 8 fights…Penn, 4-4…Florian, 7-1. And if there’s currently a Lightweight that can compete with Penn on the ground, it’s probably Florian, who has 7 submission wins and 3 KO/TKOs. And Penn isn’t unbeatable on the ground-I always take a sick sort of pleasure in watching the Matt Hughes fight where Hughes pummeled Penn’s head & face into near-oblivion (it still gets good airtime on UFC Unleashed). The story about Penn recently, besides Vaseline-Gate, has been all these videos he’s posted the last few months showing him doing anything but training. We don’t know how recent they are but it’s led some-like me-to believe he’s not taking training for Florian seriously between these and threatening legal action against GSP & the NSAC over what happened at UFC 94. It’s nothing short of a perfect storm. Maybe it’s a brilliant ruse. Either way it’s going to make us armchair fight predictors look like geniuses or goats big-time. Either way I’ve had enough of Penn’s antics these last few months, but I seriously think he won’t win either. If I fall for the trick of the videos so be it, I feel the need to “Go With The (Ken)Flo”, hoping he outlasts Penn over 5 rounds and takes a decision. But the winner can’t relax for too long-the Nightmare that is Diego Sanchez is waiting for the winner.
Prediction: Florian by unanimous/majority decision.
Live results coming August 8, I probably will resume doing commentary for this event as well. Also, here’s the rest of the current UFC schedule for 2009 and my plans for events with regards to if I’ll watch and do live results here, note that I’m going to take a bit of a break after 101:
UFC 102 (8/29, Main Event: Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira): No
UFN 19 (9/16, Main Event: Nate Diaz vs. Melvin Guillard): Yes
UFC 103 (9/19, Main Event: Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort at 195): TBA, leaning No
UFC 104 (10/24, Main Event: UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Ryoto (Lyoto) Machida vs. Mauricio Rua for the title): Yes
UFC 105 (11/14, Main Event: TBA): If it’s Free on Spike (England event), Yes. If not, No
UFC 106 (11/21, Main Event: TBA): TBA. No rumored fights yet
TUF 10 Finale (12/5): Yes
UFC 107 (12/12, Main Event: TBA): TBA. This could have Rampage vs. Rashad, which would make it a Yes
Note: Due to time constraints and other issues when I got to this part I’ll only be able to do quick predictions for these fights.
Prelims (may not air on TV):
Rafael Dias vs. Diego Nunes
Records: Dias 12-5-1, Nunes 12-0
Prediction: Nunes by unanimous/majority decision.
John Hosman vs. Rani Yahya
Records: Hosman 13-4-1, Yahya 14-4
This was to have been Kenji Osawa vs. Yahya, but Osawa is off due to injury. Hosman is the replacement.
Prediction: Yahya by 1st round submission/tapout.
Phil Cardella vs. Ed Ratcliff
Records: Cardella 8-3, Ratcliff 6-1
Prediction: Ratcliff by 2nd round KO/TKO.
Marcus Hicks vs. Shane Roller
Records: Hicks 8-2, Roller 5-2
Prediction: Hicks by 2nd round KO/TKO
Fredson Paixao vs. Cole Province
Records: Paixao 8-3, Province 5-1
Prediction: Paixao by split decision.
Leonard Garcia vs. Jameel Massouh
Records: Garcia 12-4, Massouh 21-5
Garcia is the #8 Featherweight in the World.
Prediction: Garcia by 1st round submission/tapout.
Javier Vazquez vs. LC Davis
Records: Vazquez 13-2, Davis 13-2
This was a very late addition to the card made after the cancellation of Affliction Trilogy.
Prediction: Vazquez by unanimous/majority decision.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Jeff Curran
Records; Mizugaki 11-3-2, Curran 29-11-1
Mizugaki is the #4 Bantamweight in the World.
Prediction: Mizugaki by split decision.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Danny Castillo
Records: Lamas 6-0, Castillo 7-1
Prediction: Lamas by unanimous/majority decision.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Dominick Cruz
Records: Benavidez 10-0, Cruz 13-1
Prediction: Benavidez by 1st round submission/tapout.
Main Event: WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres vs. Brian Bowles for the title
Records: Torres 37-1, Bowles 7-0
Torres is the #1 Bantamweight in the World. Bowles is the #2 Bantamweight in the World.
Prediction: Torres by 3rd round KO/TKO.
Due to the event airing Sunday night and my recently having lost Versus for now due to my cable provider quietly moving Versus from basic cable to digital (now I have to get a digital adapter) I won’t be able to do live results for the event. Quick results will be posted the morning after.