UFC 106 Preview:Card Filled With New and Familiar Faces
Although the UFC 106 card took a couple big blows when Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar was forced to withdraw from his scheduled title defense against Shane Carwin due to illness and when Karo Parisyan pulled out of his scheduled matchup with Dustin Hazelett, the organization still managed to piece together a very nice card for fight fans. Time for a look at the main card matchups.
Amir Sodallah vs. Phil Baroni: Baroni will be fighting in the UFC for the first time in well over four years when he takes on former TUF winner Sodallah. There are plenty of question marks in this fight. Sodallah has only fought once since winning his season of the UFC’s reality show, a controversial loss to Johny Hendricks, and has struggled to stay healthy. Baroni is a seasoned veteran who has been inconsistent throughout his career compiling a record of 13-11. Baroni has a slight striking advantage but Sodallah definitely has the better ground game. He will take the fight there and win by submission.
Luiz Cane vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: At first glance, many casual fans will probably be confused by this fight. This Nogueira is the twin brother of former UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. “Little Nog” fights in a lighter weight class than his identical twin brother and will be making his much anticipated UFC debut. Cane has won three straight fights in the UFC in impressive fashion and is believed to be one of the organization’s rising young stars. Nogueira is the more experienced fighter holding career wins over Dan Henderson as well as Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem (twice). Cane has never faced an opponent anywhere near the caliber of Nogueira and that experience will pay off for Little Nog in his promotional debut. Nogueira by decision.
Paulo Thiago vs. Jacob Volkmann: This fight replaces the Parisyan vs. Hazelett fight that was scratched when Parisyan pulled out of his second consecutive contest due to what Dana White called ”a laundry list of excuses.” Luckily for UFC fans, this is actually a more intriguing fight anyways. Volkmann, who fights out of Minnesota Mixed Martial Arts Academy (also home to Brock Lesnar, Sean Sherk, and Brock Larson) makes his UFC debut after compiling an impressive 9-0 record including six submission wins. Thiago knocked out Josh Koscheck in his first fight in the UFC in February but was losing the fight prior to the KO and was beaten in his next fight by Jon Fitch. This is another fight that could go either way with both fighters having excellent jiu jitsu. Volkmann wins by submission (although I really wouldn’t be surprised if it went the other way)
Anthony Johnson vs. Josh Koscheck: One way of another, this fight should be exciting. Koscheck has struggled with bigger, stronger fighters during his career (Georges St. Pierre, Thiago Alves) and Johnson is exactly that. Koscheck usually relies on his strong wrestling background, but Johnson will certainly be a load to take down. Like Luiz Cane, Johnson has yet to fight anyone near as good as Koscheck and this fight should tell us a lot about him. If he continues to improve, he may be the only man in the UFC’s welterweight division who can challenge GSP. On the other hand, Koscheck could expose him as a one dimensional pretender. I don’t think so. Johnson by TKO.
Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin: It’s not to often that two fighters who have a combined zero wins in their last five fights can headline a pay-per-viw, but this is the exception. Griffin is comin off back-to-back losses in which he was completely dominated and desperately needs to bounce back, while Ortiz recently had back surgery and hasn’t won a fight since beating Ken Shamrock over three years ago. It is hard to know what to expect from either fighter, both of whom are former light heavyweight champions, but Ortiz has the more impressive career resume and seems to be rejuvinated. He wins by TKO, validating his first win over the original Ultimate Fighter.