UFC 122 Predictions
Nate Marquardt (L) and Yushin Okami (photo courtesy of MMA Junkie)
UFC 122 is probably going down as you’re reading this, but won’t air on this side of the Atlantic until Saturday evening. I definitely believe that as a fan, you should be aware of tape delayed events and stay away from the internet (as well as ESPN, apparently) at all costs on the day of the event if you don’t want it spoiled. If you insist on remaining “plugged in,” don’t complain when you find out the results before you’ve seen the fights. That said, I’d really like to see the UFC find a way to air these events live. Here is a quick breakdown of all the action:
Preliminary Card: There are several top prospects to keep an eye on here. Carlos Eduardo Rocha and Pascal Krauss come into the UFC with spotless records, while Alexandre Ferreira and Mark Scanlon also show promise. Hopefully, we’ll get time on the broadcast to see how some of them fare.
Rocha takes on Kris McCray in what should be an interesting fight. I could see McCray winning this on the feet, but I’ll say Rocha comes through with a submission win.
Seth Petruzelli should be able to stay composed and weather the early storm from Karlos Vemola. Once Vemola gasses, Petruzelli will score a TKO victory.
Duane Ludwig caught a bad break with an ankle injury in his last outing, but as long as he’s healthy I’ll take him for a decision win over Nick Osipczak.
Vladimir Matyushenko has never lost via submission, which is how his opponent Alexandre Ferreira tends to win. V-Mat might not be the most exciting fighter to watch, but he is experienced and knows how to win (unless he’s fighting a Jon Jones or Antonio Rogerio Nogueira). Ferreira has yet to prove he’s in the same league as anyone who has handed Matyushenko a loss over the last decade. V-Mat takes this one by decision.
The fight I’m most interested in off of the prelim card has to be Krauss vs. Scanlon. Both are making their Octagon debuts and Krauss comes in undefeated, while Scanlon has only suffered one loss. Both men finish opponents and either could pull off the victory here. I’d like to give the edge to Scanlon, since he’s trained with a higher level camp in Team Kaobon, but Krauss looked very comfortable and confident at the weigh-ins, so I’ll lean his way in this one.
Kyle Noke really let me down on The Ultimate Fighter. I had him pegged as the favorite going into the show’s eleventh season, but he couldn’t come through. His opponent, Rob Kimmons, is another fighter who has a great record, but can’t seem to take that next step. It’s another close fight, but I’ll say Noke finishes Kimmons by way of TKO.
Main Card: Who thought we’d see the day when Yushin Okami managed to headline a show again? It’s not that he isn’t deserving of a main event slot, but the UFC kept finding a way to put him as low on its cards as possible. The rest of the lineup definitely makes it obvious that this is a Spike TV card.
Okami might be headlining, but can he defeat Marquardt and convince the UFC that he should remain on the televised portion of future cards? It’s hard to say. Both fighters picked up their last loss against Chael Sonnen and have seemingly come back much improved. I like Marquardt’s fighting style better, but his performance against Sonnen leaves me with doubts and the fact that Okami is training with Chael for this fight just magnifies those concerns. With that in mind, I’ll say Okami takes a close decision in this one.
Jorge Rivera against Alessio Sakara could be an entertaining stand-up war. Both men have put together decent records in the recent past and can knock opponents out, but don’t exactly have solid chins of their own. Someone’s scoring a knockout here, and I’ll say it’s Rivera.
Dennis Siver’s recent decision loss to Ross Pearson didn’t leave me with the best impression of the German fighter. However, fighting in front of a crowd that will be on his side should be a nice advantage. Siver is also a notch above opponent Andre Winner in the skills department. Siver will use his spinning back kick at least once in this fight (that’s a no-brainer prediction), but he’ll score the TKO via a more conventional method.
Amir Sadollah against Peter Sobotta seems like a fight in which the UFC is killing two birds with one stone. They’re putting a German (with a 0-2 mark in the UFC) against a popular TUF winner looking to bounce back from a loss. It’s a perfect setup to put Sadollah back on the winning track, though nothing is ever guaranteed in MMA. Still, this one should go Sadollah’s way.
Krzysztof Soszynski was on a roll for a while there, but he’s fallen on some hard times with two losses over his last three outings. His opponent, Goran Reljic, didn’t find any luck in the middleweight division and is now returning to 205-pounds. K-Sos is a bit of a stiff test for someone who has just posted back-to-back losses against Kendall Grove and C.B. Dollaway. Reljic is about to pick up his third straight loss.
Strikeforce Challengers Predictions
Strikeforce Challengers 12 will go down next Friday in Jackson, Miss., with the main card airing live on Showtime. I won’t go into as much detail as with UFC 122, but here are my quick picks for the main card: Caros Fodor submits Derek Getzel, Jan Finney hands Liz Carmouche her first pro loss, Marius Zaromskis edges Waachiim Spiritwolf in a stand-up war, Ovince St. Preux stuns Antwain Britt via TKO and Vitor Ribeiro submits Justin Wilcox.
WEC 52 Thoughts
I’m sure WEC 53 will deliver another exciting night of fights – WEC never seems to fail on that front – but this past Thursday’s event really felt like the farewell tour. Afterall, you had Urijah Faber in the main event and just an overall aura of “farewell WEC, hello UFC.” Maybe that will continue through WEC 53, but somehow it just feels like the WEC’s poster boy (Faber) should be the one to turn out the lights.
WEC 52 itself was great. Urijah’s win is a perfect way to end his WEC tenure and assure him a top spot when the little guys enter the Octagon, Cub Swanson and Mackens Semerzier put on a great show and Demetrious Johnson quite possibly set himself up as the leader of a new division, should Zuffa actually go through with plans for a flyweight class.
An Ultimate Idea
Speaking of the flyweights, UFC president Dana White has started talking up the division again. It just seems that every time the potential of adding this class to the Zuffa roster comes up, the talk dies down after a couple of weeks and all is forgotten for another few months.
Now that the UFC has swallowed the WEC, it’s hard to imagine the division making an appearance in the Octagon anytime soon. However, Dana claims we will see it sooner than we think.
If he is truly serious about bringing the 125-pounders in, here’s a thought that benefits the division, its fans and the UFC: why not have a season of The Ultimate Fighter devoted to the flyweights, with the season winner crowned as the division’s champ?
Make it a 32 man field, with fighters from all over the world. The house hijinks have become stale and taken mostly a backseat on the show over the last few season anyway, so language barriers need not be an obstacle.
A portion of the field would likely consist of guys like Demetrious Johnson, Joseph Benavidez and other former WEC bantamweights capable of making the cut. Then, the UFC could bring in guys like Jussier da Silva (when his four-fight deal with Tachi Palace Fights expires), KOTC champ Mamoru Yamaguchi, Shooto champ Yasuhiro Urushitani and every other ranked flyweight they could find. Finally, hold the usual open tryout to fill out the cast, giving undiscovered talent a chance to blossom on national television.
Zuffa already has the table set for a possible Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz coached season of the reality series, why not take the opportunity to use the hype to introduce this new division?
Putting the flyweights on display on The Ultimate Fighter – with a set of established names as coaches – would introduce UFC fans to an exciting new weight class and develop at least a handful of top names to get things started. It might also help breathe new interest into a show that hasn’t exactly been creating many elite fighters in the already established divisions.
Come on, Dana, how about it?
Catch Up on MMA DieHards Features
First, let me welcome the newest addition to our writing staff, Bob Badders. It’s great to have another talented writer among our ranks. Check out his first feature, on UFC 122′s Andre Winner, as well as the rest of the great content from the past week here on MMA DieHards:
Are You Ready Radio: Scott Jorgensen
Ground N Pound Radio: Aaron Simpson, Antwain Britt and Danny Martinez
Rear Naked Choke Radio: BJ Penn
Frankie Edgar & Gregor Gracie Talk About Honoring the Real Heroes on Veteran’s Day
Jorge Rivera looking to bring fans excitement at UFC 122
Out of Obscurity: Looking Ahead (Nov. 8 – Nov. 14)
Joseph Benavidez: A Bright Future for Team Alpha Male
Damacio Page: “It feels good to be back.”
L.C. Davis: Mingling with the A-Listers
Combat Sports Report: College Wrestling, K-1 World MAX recap & 2010 No Gi Worlds
Kyle Noke expecting a great fight at UFC 122
Andre Winner ready for Dennis Siver at UFC 122, eyes big future
Nate Marquardt: Ablaze with Title Aspirations
Out of Obscurity: The Week in Review (Nov. 5 – Nov. 11)