UFC 106 Predictions
p>I’ve spent the last few UFC events doing previews of all the televised fights. This time around, I’m feeling a little more risky. While I’m no expert, I feel it’s time to test my knowledge of the sport by predicting each fight. I’m going to pick each winner and means of victory (by KO, Decision or Submission). I’ll keep tabs on my record for the rest of 2009 to see how well I do.
On to the fights as once again, the UFC is giving the fans two free fights on the undercard. The first is a matchup between Ultimate Fighter Season 3 winner Kendall “The Spyder” Grove and 4 time All-American wrestler Jake Rosholt. Grove, at 6’6” is one of the tallest middleweights in the world and will definitely try to use his reach advantage to keep the powerful wrestler at a distance. Rosholt showed decent standup and an above average ground game in his submission victory over Chris Leben at UFC 102. Grove has time and time again been put into bad positions by wrestlers due to his high center of gravity and I don’t think tonight will be any different. Look for Rosholt to take Grove down at will.
Rosholt by TKO.
Ben Saunders vs Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis: Marcus Davis is a man on a mission. He lost a close split decision to the now number one welterweight contender Dan Hardy at UFC 99. I felt that he lost the fight because he let Hardy’s prefight trash talk get to his head and take him out of his game-plan. Saunders is much less vocal and Davis definitely has something to prove. Davis is considerably stronger in both the standup, where he was a professional boxer, and both fighters appear equal on the ground. The only way I see Saunders winning this fight is with takedowns, but I just don’t see it happening.
Davis by decision
Amir Sadollah vs Phil “The New York Badass” Baroni: Amir Sadollah won season 7 of the Ultimate Fighter but has not had much to show for it since. After winning, Sadollah had a spree of injuries which forced him off of two fight cards. Eventually he made his welterweight debut against Johny Hendricks where he was beaten viscously in the first round by TKO. Phil Baroni may think he’s “the best eva!” but he is only 5-6 in the last 4 years. This is his return to the UFC after last fighting in 2005 at UFC 51 and while he still has some power in his hands, I think Sadollah’s youth will win out over Baroni’s experience.
Sadollah by submission
Luiz Cane vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: This is a matchup between two of the best light heavyweights that no one really knows about. Cane has quietly won his last three fights in the UFC, two of which by TKO. Antonio Nogueira, twin brother of former UFC heavyweight champ Minotouro Nogueria, is making his UFC debut and his skill set is just as impressive. Both Cane and Nogueria hail from Brazil where both are extremely proficient in jiu-jitsu and striking. Nogueira is more of a boxer while Cane prefers kickboxing and Muay Thai. Be prepared to stay on the edge of your seat for this fight because I guarantee fireworks.
Nogueira by KO
Paulo Thiago vs Jacob Volkmann: Paulo Thiago made an impressive UFC debut by knocking Josh Koscheck out in the first round of UFC 95. He had a war with top welterweight contender John Fitch at UFC 100 and was very close to gaining a submission victory in the first round. Volkmann is making his UFC debut and is currently undefeated. He is primarily a wrestler, so I do not expect him to stand and trade with Thiago, where he will have the disadvantage. The only way I see him winning this fight is with takedowns, but that also puts him in danger of being submitted by Thiago, who is a BJJ blackbelt. Fitch is a better wrestler and barely escaped Thiago’s clutches, I don’t think Volkmann is experienced enough to weather the storm.
Thiago by submission
Josh Koscheck vs Anthony “Rumble” Johnson: Josh Koscheck has had a steady UFC career but always seems to falter when he’s in reach of a title shot. While Dan Hardy will be fighting next for the title, this bout will definitely move the winner that much closer to their goal. Koscheck is an All-American wrestler but has focused primarily on his striking in his last 4 fights (where he’s gone 2-2). He has displayed some solid power but Anthony Johnson is a completely different animal. He absolutely decimated Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 104 but he came in to the fight 6 pounds overweight. He appeared lean and mean at last night’s weigh-ins where he made weight easily and he knows how important this fight is for his UFC career. Josh Koscheck has been falling in love with his striking a little too much lately and I feel the only way he wins this fight is if he uses his wrestling to take the powerful Johnson to the ground. If he fails to do this, Johnson will knock him out at some point.
Johnson by KO
Forest Griffin vs Tito Ortiz: This is a fight that everyone is excited about. Forest and Tito are two of the biggest stars in the UFC, but both are in a unique position here. Griffin was TKO’d in both of his last two fights, and he was handedly embarrassed by Anderson Silva at UFC 101. Ortiz hasn’t fought in over 1 ½ years, and he also went 0-2-1 in his last three UFC fights before that. Both fighters are in desperate need of a win to become relevant again in the light heavyweight division. Did I mention they have already fought before? Ortiz squeezed by Forest the first time via split decision at UFC 59 in 2006 but it was Forest who came out of that fight with a moral victory as he used his momentum to eventually win the light heavyweight title. Ortiz was light heavyweight champion from 2000-2003 (which is still the longest title reign of any champion) and after some much needed back surgery, he says he is finally pain free and back to full strength for the first time since he had the belt.
Ortiz has the edge in wrestling, and will look for takedowns, and on paper, Griffin has the edge in striking. Honestly, who knows how Forest will react in his first fight since Anderson Silva. Silva beat him so badly that he ran out of the cage and skipped his post fight interview, much to the ire of his fans. Griffin has bounced back from defeat before, but I’m not sure if Ortiz is the best fighter to bounce back on.
Ortiz by TKO round 3