by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
Light Heavyweight Bout:
Former UFC light heavyweight
champion Chuck Liddell faces off with Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Rashad Evans.
Liddell comes off a decision victory over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79, while
Evans won a controversial decision over fellow Ultimate Fighter winner Michael
Bisping at UFC 78.
These two were initially
scheduled to meet back in June, but a severe hamstring injury prevented Liddell
from participating. He is now healthy and ready to go. This is more or less a
No.1 contender fight, as whoever comes out the winner may have a date with UFC
light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin in December.
Liddell has the obvious
advantage on the feet being the more technical striker and having knockout
power, but Evans might use the same strategy that teammate Keith Jardine used
against Liddell, which was to stay on the outside and pick his shots. The one
advantage that Evans has on the feet is being the quicker fighter.
Neither is too well versed
when it comes to submissions, but Evans is a former NCAA wrestler and probably
has the best takedowns in the light heavyweight division. The problem is that
Liddell was also an NCAA wrestler and has some of the best takedown defense in
all of mixed martial arts. It could be a challenge for Evans to take the fight
to the ground.
The only issue that Liddell
has coming into the fight is whether or not he is healthy and able to go all
out. It’s going to be a tough fight for both fighters, but one thing that will
be the difference will be Evans’ aggressiveness. He’ll come out aggressive on
the feet and that will prove to be his downfall, as Liddell will use his
counterpunching to exploit Evans’ aggressiveness, knocking him out.
Light Heavyweight Bout:
Rich Franklin vs. Matt Hamill
Former UFC middleweight
champion Rich Franklin faces off with Ultimate Fighter alumnus Matt Hamill. Franklin
comes off a stoppage victory over Travis Lutter at UFC 83, while Hamill also
won a stoppage victory over Tim Boestch at UFC Fight Night 13.
Franklin will be making his
way back to the light heavyweight division after losing to UFC middleweight
kingpin Anderson Silva on two occasions in convincing fashion. Hamill has
overcome a lot of adversity to be one of the better prospects at 205 pounds.
Franklin was one of the
better light heavyweights before moving down to middleweight and becoming the
champion. He is the more experienced fighter and leaps and bounds better then
Hamill on the feet. Hamill’s one advantage will be his wrestling ability and
tenacity to keep his opponent on his back.
This will be Hamill’s first
real challenge in the UFC to see whether or not he will be able to keep up with
the better fighters in the division. Although he lost to Michael Bisping, at
the time both fighters were prospects unlike Franklin who is a proven veteran.
This will be Hamill’s
greatest challenge on the feet against Franklin and it won’t go the way he
wants it to. He’ll be tagged over and over with hard shots, which will force
him to take the fight to the ground, but Franklin will be able to get back to
his feet and continue the barrage of strikes, stopping Hamill and making a
successful return to light heavyweight.
Dan Henderson vs. Rousimar Palhares
Former Pride 183-pound and
205-pound champion Dan Henderson takes on Brazilian Top Team fighter Rousimar
Palhares. Like many men before him, Henderson comes off a submission loss to
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 82. Palhares submitted
Northwestern fighter Ivan Salaverry at UFC 84.
Henderson has gone 0-2 in
the UFC since returning after the demise of Pride and he’ll look to get his
first win at middleweight in two years. Palhares has been on a tear in the last
year, submitting everyone in his path. A win over Henderson will put him in close
contention for a title shot.
Henderson has the advantage
on the feet, especially that big overhand right that has finished off many opponents,
including Wanderlei Silva, and he’ll be looking to do it once again. If the
fight hit’s the ground then Palhares will seek a good position to lock on a
submission. The key to the fight will be how quick Palhares can get the fight
to the ground and if he can’t, how confident he is in his striking.
Palhares won’t take the
fight down from a traditional shot, but from the clinch, where he can secure a
body lock and use his strength to drag Henderson to the ground. Henderson is
one of the more consistent fighters in mixed martial arts, but time is starting
to catch up to him, as he isn’t adjusting to the times of mixed martial arts
today. Once it hits the ground, look for Palhares to lock on a submission after
some struggling on Henderson’s part.
Karo Parysian vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida
Armenian grappler Karo
Parysian faces off with Japanese import Yoshiyuki Yoshida. Parysian comes off a
disappointing stoppage loss to Thiago Alves at UFC Fight Night 13, while
Yoshida choked out Ultimate Fighter Jon Koppenhaver at UFC 84.
This is an interesting
battle of judokas as both men have been able to successfully adapt judo to the
cage, which has been a hard task for others. Yoshida, although older then Parisyan,
is one of the brighter prospects in the UFC after bursting on the scene by
winning the Cage Force welterweight tournament. Parisyan has sort of hit a
brick wall in his career.
Both fighters are well
versed on the ground with submissions, but the edge goes to Yoshida because he
has been adept at implementing elbows into his arsenal. Neither fighter is
heralded on the feet, so the fight will come down to who can get off first and
control the pace.
This is going to be
Yoshida’s coming out party as everyone got a small taste of him when he easily
disposed of Koppenhaver. Parisyan hasn’t looked impressive at all in the last
year as he has won listless decisions and he was finished his last time out.
Look for Yoshida to control the fight from the top with a barrage of elbows,
which will open up an opportunity for a submission that he will lock on.
Nate Marquardt vs. Martin Kampmann
Former Middleweight King of
Pancrase Nate Marquardt takes on Xtreme Couture fighter Martin Kampmann. Marquardt
comes off a disheartening decision loss to Thales Leites at UFC 85, while
Kampmann submitted Jorge Rivera earlier in the night.
Whoever wins the fight will be
in position for a possible title shot sometime in the next year as the division
is quickly running out of solid contenders for Anderson Silva. Kampmann was
held back because of a knee injury, but it looks like he has picked up where he
left off. Marquardt needs to forget his last fight and continue to perform in
impressive fashion to gain a return engagement with Silva.
On the feet, Kampmann is the
more technical striker, but Marquardt has the power advantage and that could
prove to be the difference if Kampmann is unable to hurt Marquardt. If the
fight goes to the ground, Marquardt, a black belt in jiu-jitsu, has a slight
advantage. Kampmann, however, is no slouch on the ground, having three
submission victories in the UFC.
Both fighters are immensely
talented and it should be a fairly even fight between two of the top fighters
in the middleweight division. These two will trade on the feet, but the
difference in the fight will be Marquardt’s takedowns, which will give him the
edge in a close decision.
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Thiago Tavares
In what could turn out to be
the “Fight of the Night,” Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lightweights Kurt Pellegrino and
Thiago Tavares will go to battle. Both fighters are coming off losses and need
a win to stay afloat in the crowded lightweight division. Tavares is the better
technical fighter on the ground and will show it by playing it safe and
grounding Pellegrino, not letting him unleash on the feet which what Pellegrino
needs to do to win the fight. On the ground, Tavares will use ground control to
win a decision over Pellegrino.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Matt Brown
Korean judoka Dong Hyun Kim
takes on Ultimate Fighter 6 participant Matt Brown. Kim made a dominating and
impressive debut at UFC 84, pounding on Jason Tan for the better part of 11 minutes.
Brown needs to catch Kim off guard on the feet because he is outclassed in
every other aspect of the fight. Look for Kim to continue his winning ways by
grounding Brown and pounding out a stoppage victory early in the fight.
Light Heavyweight Bout:
Tim Boestch vs. Mike Patt
Powerful wrestler Tim
Boestch returns to the Octagon to welcome UFC newcomer Mike Patt. Boestch made
an impressive UFC debut, tooling David Heath on the feet en route to a stoppage,
but his momentum was stopped by a loss to Matt Hamill. Patt steps in on late
notice to make his UFC debut and it won’t go his way. Boestch will punish Patt
on the feet with his unorthodox striking before finally putting Patt out of his
misery midway through the fight.
Roan Carneiro vs. Ryo Chonan
In a rematch of several
years ago, Roan Carneiro will look to avenge his loss against Pride veteran Ryo
Chonan. These two were scheduled to meet at UFC 85, but an injury forced Chonan
to withdraw and Carneiro lost to replacement Kevin Burns by submission.
Carneiro needs a win to stay relevant in the UFC, so look for him to play it
safe and take Chonan down, where he will use ground position to win a workmen’s
Jason Lambert vs. Jason MacDonald
Making his middleweight
debut, Jason Lambert faces off with late replacement Jason MacDonald. Lambert
hasn’t had much luck at light heavyweight lately, so he moves down to
middleweight to rejuvenate his career. MacDonald fought only a month ago, losing
to Damian Maia by submission and now looks to get back in the win column.
Lambert should be able to take the fight to the ground and punish the smaller
MacDonald with strikes en route to a decision victory in his middleweight