UFC 109 – Preview and Predictions

First off apologies to anyone of my loyal readers who has been disappointed at the lack of updates on here recently (*watches tumbleweed roll past blog*). I have still been writing stuff which has been posted on the rather awesome UKMMANews site but i just haven’t cross posted it here. I do have some more ideas for articles for this blog, so if you’re reading this…show me some love and leave a comment and at least let me know someone out there is reading this nonsense!!

Right, onto UFC stuff 🙂 So this weekend sees the return of the big show with two Hall of Famers headlining. Couture and Coleman are both legends of the sport who were scheduled to meet way back at UFC 17 but Randy pulled out through injury and now 12 years later we are getting it on! Although this probably would have been a far more entertaining scrap when both were in their prime back then, I’m sure it will still be a spectacle worth seeing.

UFC 109 “Relentless” is also a landmark card in the sense that we will be seeing a Gracie return to the octagon for the first time in a long time. Rolles Gracie brings in a perfect MMA record and that combined with his obvious grappling pedigree makes his fight with Joey Beltran (who im sure was a dance music DJ in the 90’s ?? Help me out people?) will attract a lot of attention, although sadly not from the people who can’t be at the event as it is relegated to the undercard. His original opponent Mustapha Al Turk has pulled out because of Visa Issues and it is Beltran who steps into the breach at short notice. There have been a few other high profile drop outs from this card for various reasons:

  • A Middleweight Championship bout between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort was confirmed by UFC President Dana White for this event, though it was dependant on Silva’s successful recovery from elbow surgery. As the injury appears to have been slow to heal, the fight is rescheduled for UFC 112
  • Antônio Rogério Nogueira had to withdraw from his bout against Brandon Vera due to a fractured ankle. It was announced that Vera will face Jon Jones on March 21, 2010 at UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs. Jones.
  • Josh Koscheck was scheduled to face Paulo Thiago, but was forced off the card with an injury. Mike Swick has stepped in as AKA tea-mate Koscheck’s replacement.
  • Despite these setbacks the card is a decent one and a couple of the main card fights have potential to be real wars!

    The undercard:
    Rolles Gracie 3-0-0 vs Joey Beltran 10-3-0 – Heavyweight
    If Al-Turk was still the opponent for Gracie I would say this fight would be a bit harder to call. Whilst not as elite a grappler as Gracie, Al-Turk is still an ADCC medalist and his boxing is very good, he never got any easy fights in the UFC and sadly we could have seen the last of him in the UFC after the latest visa debate. As it stand we have Beltran stepping into the breach, fresh off a first round TKO win over Alexander Houston last month. Of his 10 wins Beltran has stopped 9 of his opponents with strikes, most in the first round. Of his losses 2 have been decisions so it is fair to say he isnt a walkover opponent either. Although vastly more experienced in MMA than Gracie it would be foolish to count Rolles out on that basis. He has 3 first stoppages (all by choke) in his 3 MMA fights and this guy is being touted as a real challenger in the UFC’s most interesting and open division. He definitely has some holes in his game but he knows he doesnt have to sharpen his ground skills and can focus purely on wrestling and standup to round out his skill set. I don’t know what Beltran’s wrestling is like, but he better have worked his takedown defence because if(when?) this goes to ground it is good night Irene for “the mexecutioner”. Unless he can land that sweet punch Beltran is in a world of hurt when the distance is closed – which it almost certainly will be – by Gracie. I can’t see anything other than another 1st round submission win for the latest potential superstar off the gracie production line. Gracie Sub rd 1

    Tim Hague 10-2-0 vs Chris Tuchscherer 17-2-0 – Heavyweight
    Tuchsherers wrestling (he is a training partner of Brock Lesnar at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy) edges out the power of Hague in this fight for me. Hague was on the wrong end of the fastest KO in UFC history against Todd Duffee and although he is often billed as having submission skills his UFC win over Pat Berry was literally because Berry tied a bow around his neck with a note saying “choke me” attached. I see Hague looking for the KO early but either getting clipped himself or finding himself flat on his back looking up at Tuchscherer as he unleashes hell with his GnP. Maybe Hague makes it out of the first but this aint going the distance and I’m going to stick my neck out and say this gets finished early by Tuchscherer, who but for a horrendous kick in the balls may have done a whole lot better against Gonzaga in his last fight (although the KO was clean, we have no idea how much of an effect that kick had!). Tuchscherer T/KO rd 1

    Brian Stann 8-2-0 vs Phil Davis 4-0-0 – Light Heavyweight
    Davis has seriously legit wrestling credentials and is highly-touted by the UFC who are looking to beef up their LHW roster and get some fresh challengers in there after letting a few guys go recently. Stann is an ex-marine who after going on an unbeaten tear in the WEC, moved to the UFC after the WEC canned its heavier divisions. He lost his last fight in the WEC to Steve Cantwell, who he had previously beaten and they had the rubber match in the UFC when he decisioned Cantwell after a loss to the highest scoring UFC fighter in scrabble – Krzysztof Soszynski. His last fight in the UFC was another decision win against Rodney “sho nuff the master” Wallace (I only made this reference so I could reminisce about that ridiculously cheesy but highly entertaining 80’s movie “the last dragon”). I cannot see Stann being able to hang with Davis here at all and the younger, more athletic Davis should – despite the dreaded “Octagon jitters” I regularly refer to in these posts – come through this fight with his perfect record intact. Davis decision

    Phillipe Nover 5-2-1 vs Rob Emerson8-8-0 – Lightweight
    This is probably going to play out like one would expect from any grappler vs striker fight: Nover will want this on the floor and Emerson will fancy his chances better on the feet. Both men will want this desparately as they both share the dreaded “2 losses on the bounce” statistic that puts the fear into any UFC fighter, making this fight between the two TUF alumni a “winner stays, loser gets his p45” match-up. Emerson is notoriously hard to finish and most of his losses are by way of decision. A smart gameplan will be what wins this fight and I’m expecting a cautious affair as both fighters look to preserve their UFC status. However I can see Nover being able to avoid the stand-up game effectively enough to get this where he wants it and am picking him to sneak a sub to get the win and stay in the UFC for now. Nover sub rd2

    Melvin Guillard 22-8-2 vs Ronnys Torres 14-1-0 – Lightweight
    The vastly experienced and dangerous Guillard squares off against another new (to the UFC) Brazilian sensation Ronys Torres. Torres has rarely fought outside his native Brazil but comes in off the back of an 8 fight unbeaten run. He fought 5 times in 2008 but has not fought since then. Torres has twice had to withdraw from UFC fights due to injury hence the delay in him making his appearance for the organisation and his lack of fights since then. Guillard comes in off the back of a submission loss to Nate Diaz which takes his losses by submission to 7 out of his 8 total defeats. This will be the worrying statistic for him as he looks across the octagon at the Nova Uniao star Torres. However back in january bloody elbow reported that Guillard is training with Greg Jackson and if there is a game plan master in the world who can devise a way for Guillard to win this fight using the attributes he is blessed with then it’s Jackson. Whether Melvin can stick to that gameplan remains to be seen. Expect to see an improved Guillard in this fight. Given that Torres has had very few fights since 2008 and has undergone surgery we could very well see an upset here. Everyone (including me) expected Gleison Tibau to wreck Guillard on the ground and we all know how that went down! This one could be an upset and while I still have a nagging voice that doubts Guillards ability to avoid the submission from a fighter of Torres calibre, I’m taking this as my upset pick and going against the grain to take Guillard for the decision win

    Mac Danzig 18-7-1 vs Justin Buchholz 8-4-0 – Lightweight
    Another fight where the loser could be tossed on the UFC scrapheap pits TUF6 winner Danzig against the crazy haired Buchholz. Danzig hasn’t really lived up to the hype since his TUF win and is on a 3 fight losing streak, which is rare for a UFC fighter these days as normally he’d be out already. He definitely has “something” about his game though and I like him as a fighter. He has moved back to LA from Las Vegas and seems to be taking his training more seriously. In a recent interview with MMA junkie he said that he would leave the UFC voluntarily if he loses this fight as he doesn’t believe he deserves to be there if he takes his 4th straight loss. Despite the quality of training partners at Buchholzs disposal (including Urijah Faber) I think Danzig is far and away the better fighter and will finally put the doubters right and prove it on Saturday night. Danzig decision (but i hope it’s a sub win!!)

    Main Card:
    Matt Serra 9-6-0 vs Frank Trigg 19-7-0 – Welterweight
    You’d have thought with the sport of MMA growing all the time that the UFC wouldn’t need to resort to bringing back the stars of yesteryear for “one more throw of the dice” but those old stars just keep on coming back. Despite fairly poor showings in their most recent octagon outings, UFC welterweights Serra and Trigg will square off against each other for the first time. At the time they were both first active in the UFC they campaigned in different divisions with Serra being a lightweight and Trigg a middleweight. Serra got his WW shot after winning series 4 of TUF and then spectacularly knocking out GSP in the title shot given to the winner series. His taste of WW gold was shortlived though as GSP completely annihilated him in the rematch after perhaps taking him too lightly in the first encounter. This is the pinnacle of Serra career and I doubt even he would contest the fact that he is never likely to get up there again. Trigg came into the UFC after a legitimate run of wins in other organisations. Trigg isn’t the most explosive fighter in the WW division but his brand of effective wrestling could pose problems for Serra. Although both will probably be happy to stand and trade for a bit I would expect Trigg to be the one that initiates the ground phase in this fight, especially knowing that Serra does possess the ability to deliver a one punch KO, perhaps not as voraciously as that which Koschek dispatched Trigg with in his last fight, but the possibility is there. Serra is an expert grappler but has a tendency not to show too much of that in his MMA fights, certainly not in the same way that BJ Penn or Maia are able. I don’t think either fighter holds out much hope of getting back into title contention, but with Matt Hughes re-signed to the promotion, there could be a rematch with Hughes for the winner of this fight. This will almost certainly go the distance and I see Trigg coming out with the win here if he can avoid the big punch when the fight is on the feet. Trigg decision

    Demain Maia 11-1-0 vs Dan Miller 11-2-0 Middleweight
    After his quick loss to Marquardt and the first L on his record, submission wizard Demian Maia will be looking to get back on track for his shot at the belt against a young and hungry Dan Miller. Miller is himself coming off a decision loss against Chael Sonnen. Millers submission game coupled with his wrestling is his strongest weapon but that simply won’t be enough against Maia who is one of the best submission guys competing in the UFC right now. Miller may well attempt to keep this standing and seek to exploit Maia’s far weaker area: whether he can do this as effectively as Nate Marquardt did is another matter, personally I can’t see it happening! I don’t see Maia making the same mistake twice and it’s only a matter of time before this hits the mat and Miller becomes the fly in Maia’s web just waiting to be eaten-up. Shockingly bad metaphors aside, Maia takes this comfortably. Maia sub rd1

    Mike Swick 14-3-0 vs Paulo Thiago 12-1-0 Welterweight
    Swick was within one fight of a title shot, but as we all know Dan Hardy ruined his night quite convincingly. Despite his loss, if he can take Thiago out Swick will still be in the mix, but is almost certainly looking at having to face one of his AKA teammates: Surely a fight between one of Koschek, Fitch and Swick HAS to happen at some point in time??? Thiago will be looking to do to Swick exactly what he did to Koschek but he tends to leave himself wide open whilst attacking and this leaves him open to a good counterpuncher with excellent timing, like ……er…. Swick!! I think Thiago needs to try and get this to the floor but am not sure he will be able to. Swick has proven time and again to be excellent in the clinch and is a hard guy to take down. If we can see Thiago get him on his back and enforce his will then this is almost certainly going Thiagos way. Given that this has pretty much never happened to Swick though there is no reason to suspect it will happen this time. The way I see the fight panning out is that Thiago eats a lot of punches whilst trying to get inside and Swick using his excellent footwork, timing and counterpunching to pick Thiago off at will. I’m not sure it’ll be enough to finish him, but it will certainly be enough for the judges to give Swick the decision nod. Swick decision

    Nate Marquardt 29-8-2 vs Chael Sonnen 23-10-1 Middleweight
    Sonnen’s wrestling is up there with the best in the UFC, but he is not as complete a fighter as Marquardt. Wherever this goes I think Marquardt has the edge. Sonnen has been vulnerable to good submissions guys in the past and Marquardt has just over half his wins by Sub. Now that he has rounded out his striking game he is a very bad matchup for Sonnen. There won’t be an issue with Sonnen getting Marquardt down, but keeping him there and not getting something snapped off when it gets there will be Sonnens trouble. There is a whole other world of hurt waiting for Sonnen on the feet and I can’t see any other outcome than Marquardt winning this inside the distance. Im really not sure how it’ll go down, but i’ll take a punt on T/KO for Nate “the great” seeing as he seems to be settling into his groove of knocking fools out! This puts Marquardt back in the driving seat for first shot at the winner of Belfort/Silva and that is going to be one hell of a fight. Marquardt T/KO rd 2

    Randy Couture 17-10-0 vs Mark Coleman 16-9-0 Light Heavyweight
    In the main event of the evening we are taking a walk down nostalgia avenue again with two UFC legends. Unfortuantely for Coleman, he seems to be the legend that has stayed firmly rooted in the past as his game does not appear to have evolved anywhere near as much as Randy’s. Father time has been a lot kinder to Randy than he has to “the Hammer”, the hulking strength may still be good, but the knees have gone, the unstoppable double leg isnt looking so scary anymore and the gas tank is questionable at best. Although his shot would still trouble lesser LHW’s, Randy pretty much wrote the book on Greco in MMA and he won’t be shy of stuffing any takedown attempts Coleman feels like throwing. His striking game, whilst not perfect is light years ahead of Colemans and the Hammer won’t want to be getting drawn into a dirty boxing scrap. As this fight progresses into the later stages Coleman drops even further out of the running becuase there’s no way he has the gas tank to keep up with the natural. Randy is an excellent strategist and he will be more than prepared to handle anything that Coleman could bring to the cage. I think Randy takes this inside the distance as the pressure he will pile on Coleman will be too much for him. Randy T/KO rd 2

    Also just because I can, here is a pic of Colema taken whilst he was riding the crest of his popularity in Japan. the infamous “banana advert!”:

    ************ UPDATED WITH RESULTS *****************
    Joey Beltran vs Rolles Gracie – My Pick: Gracie Sub rd1 Actual: Beltran T/KO rd2
    Tim Hague vs Chris Tuchscherer – My Pick: Tuchscherer tko rd1 Actual: Tuchscherer decision
    Phil Davis vs Brian Stann – My Pick: Davis Decision Actual: Davis Decision
    Phillipe Nover vs Rob Emerson – My Pick: Nover Sub rd2 Actual: Emerson decision
    Melvin Guillard vs Ronnys Torres – My Pick: Guillard decision Actual: Guillard decision
    Mac Danzig vs Justin Buchholz – My Pick: Danzig Decision Actual: Danzig Decision
    Matt Serra vs Frank Trigg – My Pick: Trigg decision Actual: Serra TKO rd1
    Demian Maia vs Dan Miller – My Pick: Maia sub rd1 Actual: Maia Decision
    Paulo Thiago vs Mike Swick – My Pick:Swick Decision Actual: Thiago sub rd2
    Chael Sonnen vs Nathan Marquardt – My Pick: Marquardt tko rd2 Actual: Sonnen Decision
    Randy Couture vs Mark Coleman – My Pick: Couture tko rd2 Actual: Couture sub rd2


    2 comments on “UFC 109 – Preview and Predictions

    1. Great picks!!! I have Thiago over Swick. I am very excited about the Sonnen vs Marquardt fight should be a sick fight. Hope everyone enjoys the fighs. I know I will

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