by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
Nathan Diaz vs. Clay Guida
This is one of the more
anticipated fights of the night because both fighters love to fight at a
frantic pace. Since winning The Ultimate Fighter 5, Diaz has gone 4-0 in the
UFC with three of those wins coming by the way of submission. Guida is known
for his workman-like pace, as he never stops coming forward, whether it be on the feet or on the ground, but he’s been on the wrong
side of some bad decisions in his UFC run.
The UFC needs to be credited
for the masterful job they have done in building up Diaz to be their next big
star, slowing increasing the level of his opposition. If he is able to defeat
Guida, then he’ll be launched into the upper echelon of the UFC lightweight
division. It seems more or less that Guida has become the gatekeeper in the UFC
lightweight division, being matched up with some of the UFC’s great young
prospects like Roger Huerta and Mac Danzig.
These two have one thing in
common, they have granite chins making them nearly impossible to knock out, but
that is where the similarities end. Diaz is the better technical striker with
his slick boxing ability, while Guida is known for powerful looping punches. If
the fight stays on the feet then Diaz will have the edge because he’ll likely
pick Guida apart with his superior boxing technique.
On the ground, Diaz is the
better fighter when it comes to submissions and technique, while Guida has the
edge in wrestling and positioning. The key on the ground will be whether Diaz
can lock on a submission early in the fight or if Guida has improved enough in
defending submissions that he can avoid them and impose his ground and pound on
One thing is certain in this
fight, these two will put on a high paced show that
will have everyone on the edge of their seats and clamoring for more.
Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones
A lot has changed for
Stephan Bonnar since his classic encounter with Forrest Griffin back in 2005.
He has tasted success in the UFC then he went on a two-fight losing streak
followed by a year suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancing
substance. After returning from suspension, he won two straight fights before
being sidelined for all of 2008 with a knee injury. He now looks to put all
that behind him and start his path up the ladder to title contention, but in
his way is touted prospect Jon Jones, who made an impressive UFC debut by
dismantling Andre Gusmao at UFC 87.
Jones is an impressive
prospect to say the least. He possesses brutal power in his strikes and is no
slouch when it comes to wrestling. In Bonnar, he’ll face his first real test to
see whether or not he is the real deal.
Bonnar is the more technical
fighter both on the ground and on the feet, being a former Golden Gloves
champion and training under the late Carlson Gracie. What Jones lacks in
technique, he makes up for in pure power and athleticism. He’s going to come
out guns blazing and brutalize Bonnar in the opening round with power shots.
Bonnar needs to withstand the barrage and make it into the latter rounds, where
he can take over with his technique.
Once all is said and done,
we’ll either have a cagey veteran working his way back up the ladder or a scary
new prospect to terrorize the light heavyweight division.
Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim
This is essentially a make
or break fight for both fighters for different reasons. Parisyan needs the win
to once again become a force in the welterweight division. Kim needs the win to
show that he is indeed a contender at 170 pounds. Although Kim won his last
fight, he didn’t look so hot in doing so as Matt Brown gave him more trouble
Both fighters are judokas,
but it seems that Parisyan has relied too much on his judo in his past couple
of fights and instead needs to evolve into a more complete fighter. At this
point in their careers, Kim seems to be the more complete fighter of the two,
as he is the better striker and has one thing that Parisyan doesn’t, power
behind his strikes. The one area where both seem to lack is in the conditioning
aspect, so whichever fighter has improved the most will have the edge.
To win the fight, Parisyan
needs to go back to his roots and become the dynamic submission fighter that he
was earlier in his career. He needs to rely less on trying to pound from the
top because Kim is someone that can match his judo skill when it comes to
takedowns and throws. Kim needs to keep the fight on the feet, where he can
pick apart Parisyan with strikes or if the fight hits the ground, pound him
from the top.
Whoever comes out the victor
in the fight will instantly become a contender in the welterweight division,
while the loser will need to start from the bottom up, quite possibly from
outside the UFC.
Jon Fitch vs. Akihiro Gono
Jon Fitch returns to the
Octagon at UFC 94 after his unsuccessful bid to become UFC welterweight
champion, taking on eccentric Japanese fighter Akihiro Gono. Both fighters come
off losses and a second straight loss will set the loser back quite a bit in the
crowded 170-pound division.
Fitch has the edge on the
ground with his impeccable wrestling credentials and ferocious submission game.
On the feet, he uses technical boxing with solid power behind his shots. Gono
is known for his excellent counter striking and his elusiveness, making his
opponents miss an awful lot.
For Fitch to come out on
top, he’ll need to stick to a solid game plan of taking Gono to the ground and
mauling him with ground and pound, getting in his face and not letting up. The
game plan is simple for Gono, avoid the takedown and use his counterstriking to
frustrate Fitch on the feet, avoiding his power shots.
Thiago Tavares vs. Manny Gamburyan
This is an important fight
for both fighters as each is coming off a loss. The loser could be left staring
at an end to his run in the UFC. Tavares is one of the more exiting
lightweights in the UFC, but he has been on the wrong end of the fight in his
last two outings. Gamburyan was unpleasantly surprised in his last fight, being
KO’d in mere seconds in stunning fashion.
Gamburyan is a mauler; he is
going to look to take Tavares down and just pound on him for the entire three
rounds. Tavares is the more technical fighter both on the feet and on the
ground, which he needs to take advantage of by simply outclassing Gamburyan
with pure talent. He’ll need to use sweeps and reversals to get out from the
bottom, where he can then go to work on Gamburyan.
With the importance of this
fight for both fighters, don’t be surprised if this ends up being a sleeper
candidate for fight of the night as they should leave it all on the mat.
Chris Wilson vs. John Howard
Chris Wilson will be looking
to get his UFC record over .500 as he faces off with UFC newcomer John Howard.
Wilson is known as one of the better welterweights that no one really knows
about, but if he can put together a couple of wins in the UFC then he’ll start
to get some recognition. Howard on the other hand will be looking to make an
instant splash in his debut.
Wilson is the more technical
fighter of the two, especially with his striking, while Howard is the stronger
and more athletic fighter. Wilson has the edge on experience and has fought
better competition then Howard, who is still coming
into his own as a fighter. All Wilson needs to do is weather the early storm
from Howard and let his technique take over in the later rounds. Howard needs
to be in Wilson’s face and not let him get comfortable in the fight.
Jake O’Brien vs. Christian Wellisch
Both fighters will be making
their UFC light heavyweight division debuts, as they have fought their entire
careers as heavyweights. Each is coming off of a loss and another one will
likely mean an end to the loser’s UFC career. Conditioning will be the biggest
factor in the fight as whoever is better adjusted to the weight cut will have
The gameplan is simple for
both fighters. Wellisch needs to avoid being taken down by O’Brien and use his
better striking ability to pick him apart on the feet. For O’Brien, he’ll need
to use his wrestling ability to get the fight to the ground and smother
Wellisch, rendering him ineffective.
Matt Arroyo vs. Dan Cramer
This is a battle of Ultimate
Fighter veterans. Arroyo has a .500 record in the UFC and Cramer will be making
his debut for the promotion. Neither fighter is anywhere near to being too
relevant in the welterweight division because they are young and inexperienced,
but it should a great scrap due to the fact that the winner gets to stay in the
Neither fighter is too
impressive at this point in his career, but Arroyo should have the edge on the
ground and experience, while Cramer will have the pressure of making his UFC
debut on his shoulders.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _