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- UFC 102 PREVIEW: THE SUPPORTING CAST

Posted on by MMAWeekly.com Staff

by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
KEITH JARDINE VS. THIAGO SILVA

Jackson’s MMA fighter Keith Jardine faces off with ultra aggressive striker Thiago Silva. Both are coming off a loss and need a win to continue to thrive in the crowded light heavyweight division. Expect these two to settle the fight on the feet, trying to knock one another silly.

The more technical of the two, Jardine will look to slow the pace of the fight down and keep Silva at a distance. He’ll need to move in and out with combinations and use effective low kicks to frustrate Silva. On the other hand, being more of a brawler, Silva will look to get into Jardine’s face from the onset of the fight and maul him. He needs to be aggressive and keep pressure on Jardine, who hasn’t dealt with pressure well in the past.

Neither fighter will be looking to take the fight to the mat; so don’t expect much ground work in this fight. At the end of the day, it will all come down to if Silva is aggressive. If he’s not, expect Jardine to methodically break him down.

JAKE ROSHOLT VS. CHRIS LEBEN

Highly touted NCAA wrestling champion Jake Rosholt faces off with local native Chris Leben. Again, both are coming off losses and need a win to continue on in the UFC middleweight division. They have a sharp contrast in styles, so expect this fight to be lopsided for the victor.

Leben is obviously the better fighter on the feet of the two, as Rosholt has some atrocious striking ability, unless he has dramatically improved over the past couple of months. The key in the fight will be whether or not Leben can defend the takedown from the far superior wrestler in Rosholt.

Rosholt needs to get the fight down quickly and keep it there. He won’t last too long on the feet. Look for Rosholt to take the fight to the ground with rather ease and keep it there on the way to winning a lopsided decision.

NATE MARQUARDT VS. DEMIAN MAIA

Former UFC middleweight title challenger Nate Marquardt faces off with undefeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter Demian Maia. This is an important fight for both, as the winner of this will more than likely be next in line for a shot at the middleweight title sometime next year. This is one of the most anticipated fights on the card, so expect it to deliver as both fighters look to impress.

Marquardt has the advantage on the feet and in experience, which could play a major factor into the fight. He needs to keep the fight on the feet and try to finish Maia with a combination of strikes, avoiding the ground at all costs. Maia on the other hand will be looking feverishly to get the fight to the mat, as he will no doubt finish it with a submission if he can get the fight on the ground.

This is a big fight. It will be hard for Marquardt to avoid going to the ground and that will be the difference as Maia locks on a finishing hold late in the fight to keep his submission streak alive in the UFC.

BRANDON VERA VS. KRZYSZTOF SOSZYNSKI

Muay Thai fighter Brandon Vera faces off with Team Quest fighter Krzysztof Soszynski. Both fighters are coming off wins and a victory in this fight would propel the winner to upper echelon of the UFC light heavyweight division. Both fighters enjoy trading strikes, so expect them to duel it out on the feet for the duration.

Vera is the more technical fighter of the two, both on the ground and on the feet, but Soszynski is the bigger and stronger fighter. Vera will look to use angles and kicks on the feet to frustrate Soszynski, while Soszynski needs to get on the inside and be aggressive with punch combinations that could make Vera welt under pressure.

If the fight goes to the ground, expect Vera to have an advantage over Soszynski, primarily due to his experience. Look for Vera to make this a slow and methodical fight, frustrating Soszynski and winning a decision.

ED HERMAN VS. AARON SIMPSON

Local favorite Ed Herman faces off with Arizona Combat Sports product Aaron Simpson. Both fighters took the fight on short notice, as the original bout between Wilson Gouveia and James Irvin fell apart.

They are both solid wrestlers, but Simpson is bigger and stronger then Herman, which gives him a huge advantage. Simpson shouldn’t have a problem taking the fight to the ground, where he’ll look to land some vicious ground and pound. Herman’s best chance will be to catch the inexperienced Simpson on the feet, but that isn’t very likely, so expect Simpson to see his hand raised on Saturday night.

GABRIEL GONZAGA VS. CHRIS TUCHSCHERER

Former UFC title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga takes on Midwest heavyweight prospect Chris Tuchscherer. Gonzaga comes off a loss and needs a win or else his UFC career could very come to an end for now. Tuchscherer is Brock Lesnar’s training partner and has tons of hype behind him.

Gonzaga has power on the feet and is the better submission fighter, but Tuchscherer is a big strong wrestler, which seems to be Gonzaga’s weakness. Look for Tuchscherer to take the fight to the ground and pound out a victory in his UFC debut.

JUSTIN McCULLY VS. MIKE RUSSOW

Southern California based heavyweight Justin McCully takes on Midwest grappler Mike Russow. Russow makes his anticipated debut after tearing through the smaller shows over the last couple of years. McCully has had mixed results in the UFC and needs to build up some momentum.

Neither fighter is much of a striker, so expect them to fight this out on the ground. Russow is the better wrestler. Expect him to take McCully down and then work for a submission, which he’ll lock on towards the end of the opening round to claim a victory.

TIM HAGUE VS. TODD DUFFEE

Canadian heavyweight Tim Hague takes on American Top Team heavyweight Todd Duffee. Hague is a big brawling heavyweight and showed some submission skills in his fight with Pat Barry. Duffee is a talented striker and grappler and there has been loads of hype around his UFC debut.

These two will brawl it out on the feet, but Duffee will get the edge and take the fight to the ground, where he’ll pound out a victory over the very likeable Canadian Hague.

NICK CATONE VS. MARK MUNOZ

East coast wrestling star Nick Catone takes on NCAA wrestling champion Mark Munoz. Munoz will be moving down from light heavyweight to middleweight, so he’ll be the much bigger fighter.

These two have a similar style of fighting and will look to impose their will on one another. Munoz is the better wrestler by far, so expect him to use his size and skill to throw Catone around. Catone’s best chance will be to catch Munoz on the feet, but Munoz should take this fight via ground and pound.

MARCUS AURELIO VS. EVAN DUNHAM

American Top Team lightweight Marcus Aurelio takes on undefeated Oregon native Evan Dunham. Aurelio is a late replacement for Matt Veach, who pulled out of the fight due to injury. Aurelio had already been in training for a fight, so he should be in good condition.

Aurelio will look to take the fight to the ground and use his submission offense, while Dunham will either use his wrestling to keep the fight on the feet or to pound on Aurelio from the top on the ground. The fight will come down to whether or not Aurelio can lock on a submission. If he can’t, he’ll be in for a long night, and Dunham will remain undefeated.

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