This Saturday the UFC returns to Canada for UFC 113. The main event is the eagerly anticipated rematch for the Light-Heavyweight Title with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua once again looking to unravel the enigmatic style of Champ Lyoto “the Dragon” Machida. Last time out it seemed he had it figured out and stayed in the champs face, peppering his body and legs with kicks and looking to remove Machida’s ability to remain elusive and utilise his awesome footwork. Many people thought over the 5 rounds that Rua had done enough to wrestle the title from around Machida’s waist. But the judges saw it different and awarded the title to “the Dragon”. Cue a load of irate fans arguing over the decision on MMA message boards all over world! I know, that’s almost unheard of after UFC fights that go to the judges right!! (/sarcasm).
Another interesting fight on the card has wrecking machine Paul “Semtex” Daley squaring off against Josh “the fraggle” Koschek (not his official nickname, it’s just funny). Semtex can trash talk with the best of them and he has been suitably vocal about his opponent in the run-up to this fight. He started a mammoth photo-shop thread on the Underground forums over at mma.tv (which is hilarious) and has been reposted over loads of other internet message boards and involved giving Kos new hairstyles, like this:
Daley also put this awesome quote on his blog:
Okay, if we are doing this, let’s talk about his style. He’s not that great a wrestler. His takedowns have been stuffed by almost every opponent he’s faced. He can’t kick-box for crap, not if his life depended on it. If he tries to stand with me for even a second, I fear for his well-being. His ground and pound is crap. If he grounded and pounded me in my sleep he’d barely have enough power in his punches to wake me up. His subs are based on his strength; the technique is almost non-existent. He’s a good athlete and is strong, but I am so much stronger. I’m a different species than him. His subs just won’t work on me. Forget it, Fraggle. Knock me out? Too funny. People with glass chins shouldn’t throw stones. I don’t have a BJJ black belt, but I am sure I hit a little harder than Paulo Thiago, who almost decapitated Kos like a geek in a horror film. Thiago is a tough dude and a top contender I would love to fight, but the black and white of it is he’d never scored a knockout before he sparked Kos out and he’s not scored one since. It’s a trivia question: ‘For 10 points: Name that clown with the stupid hair who is the only guy to ever get KTFO by Paulo Thiago?
Koscheck has retorted in his own UFC blog recently:
The funny thing is, Paul Daley keeps saying ‘stand toe-to-toe with me.’ Well, how ‘bout we go out there and get in a wrestling stance? There’s a good chance of that. I’ve got 50 takedowns in me in 15 minutes, I can guarantee you that. And every time Paul Daley goes to bed at night, he’s gotta think “Oh shit, Josh Koscheck’s probably gonna take me down and throw me on my head.’ Every single time he throws a punch, he’s gonna have to worry about getting thrown on his head with a takedown, and that’s where I would be worried if I were Paul Daley.
He also posted some other rubbish where he talked about himself in the third person and came off like a massive douchebag. Quelle surprise!! No prizes for figuring out I’m firmly in the Daley camp for this one, but I am not writing off Koschecks chances completely, well at least not until I get to that part of my predictions:) so with that lovely little segue inserted, let’s get on with breaking down the action!!
Jason McDonald 24-13-0 vs. John Salter 4-1-0 – Middleweight
Salters original opponent was to be Nick Catone who got injured, he was then rumoured to be replaced by David Loiseau but this didn’t happen because of Loiseau being denied a license to fight. Some rumours surfaced that this was due to Losieaus alleged mob links but this has not been confirmed and apparently Loiseau WILL be back for UFC115. So we are left with Jason McDonald who has not fought in the UFC since his TKO loss to Nate Quarry back on UFC97. He has been plying his trade in other organisations and returns to the big show on the back of a 3 fight win-streak (2 decisions and a submission over veteran Vernon “Tiger” White). McDonald is primarly a submissions fighter with 75% of his career wins coming via sub. Salter only made his pro-mma debut in March last year and went on a 4 fight win streak before being snapped up by the UFC. In his first outing at UFN 20 he lost via 3rd round TKO to Gerald Harris. He is vastly outmatched in terms of experience here and will need to bring his A-game to beat “the athlete” who will be keen to impress on his return to the major leagues of MMA. For me Salter won’t be brining anything to the table that McDonald hasn’t seen before. Salters best chance of a win is taking this into the later rounds and hoping that McDonald tires after taking the fight on short notice and therefore having a much shorter training camp than normal. However he isn’t called “the Athlete” for nothing and in the past cardio hasn’t necessarily been a problem for him to my recollection. This should be another loss on the record for Salter, I can’t see him getting past the ground game of McDonald. McDonald Sub rd 2
Yoshiyuki Yoshida 11-4-0 vs. Michael Guymon 11-3-1 – Welterweight
Yoshida comes in to this fight off the back of a loss to welterweight wrecking machine Anthony Rumble Johnson, he also famously got stretched out by Josh Koscheck making it two big KO losses in 3 outings for the Japanese Judo expert. This is a must win for Yoshida and a loss to Guymon who was finished early in his UFC debut will surely signal the end of Yoshidas UFC run. As luck would have it however, a loss looks extremely unlikely for “Zenko”. KOTC veteran Guymon will have no answer for the takedowns and ground offense of Yoshida and does not possess the wrestling skill or stength of Rumble or Kos which would allow him to be able to dicatate the pace of this fight. Instead I think we will see a very convincing submission win from Yoshida, probably early on. Although Yoshida was tipped for big things when he joined the UFC, the losses he experienced prove he isnt going to challenge for the gold anytime soon. Whether he could make lightweight and have a run at that weight I am unsure, but if he wants to remain competitive in the UFC and not just a gatekeeper then i suspect that is the route he will have to take. Yoshida sub rd 1
Joey Beltran 11-3-0 vs. Tim Hague 10-3-0 – Heavyweight
Beltran is riding the crest of a big win against the hapless looking but much hyped Rolls Gracie the last time he was in the octagon. Hague is a late replacement for Chad Corvin and returns to the UFC after being dropped following his record breaking KO loss to Todd Duffee and a close decision loss to Tuchscherer. This second chance of a decent run in the promotion should be solidified by a good win here. Beltran is scrappy and will try to get in Hagues face but he is at a massive size disadvantage and is also outmatched in the skills department. This one could be a drawn out scrappy affair but however it goes it should be Hagues hand that is raised at the end. I’m gonna go for a Hague decision
Johny Hendricks 7-0-0 vs. T.J. Grant 15-3-0 – Welterweight
Hendricks is a wrestler and together with Jake Rosholt and Shane Roller, joined Team Takedown looking to become MMA fighters. He has done so in emphatic fashion going undefeated in his pro-career thus far with a notable win over TUF winner Amir Sadollah. With 12 submission wins to his name, Grant may not necessarily mind the inevitable takedowns that Hendricks will score, provided he can actually then grapple effectively instead of being trapped under the wrestler and eating some heavy G’N’P. This is something that he was unable to do against Dong Hyung Kim at UFC100 so I guess we will have to wait and see if any lessons were learned in that loss. Something tells me that he could be in for more of the same here because Hendricks wrestling is so vastly superior. Hendricks TKO rd 3
Marcus Davis 16-6-0 vs. Jonathan Goulet 22-1-0-1 NC -Welterweight
Meh! I don’t really like Marcus Davis since the whole whingey bitch act he did after losing to Dan Hardy and Goulet isnt a fighter that particularly excites me either so I can kind of take or leave this fight. The boxing of Davis should overcome the chinniness (is that a word?) of Goulet and that’s about all I have to say about this. Davis T/KO rd 1
Tom Lawlor 6-2-0-1 NC vs. Joe Doerksen 44-12-0 – Middleweight
Let’s not focus on the Rapist nicknames, let’s focus on the fight, ah who am I kidding…what sort of a nickname is the filthy mauler” anyway and Joe “el dirte” Doerksen, seriously wtf???? Rapey nickname issues aside, the much vaunted Lawlor, is up against a VERY experienced opponent in Doerksen as he looks to bounce back from his recent (and some would say controversial) loss to Aaron Simpson. Doerksen comes back to the big show at short notice and with his last run in the UFC coming it at 1 win and 5 losses, you’d have to say he is the underdog despite his experience. Lawlor is a very talented fighter whose star is on the rise and we have definitely seen the best days of Doerksen who, despite a recent 5 fight win streak (albeit against opponents with a collective record of 57-34-12 (ie journeymen at best) and some decent enough jiujitsu, will not be bringing anything to the table to worry Lawlor. Doerksen may be able to drag this fight into the second round but I don’t see it going much further. Lawlor TKO rd 2
Patrick Cote 13-5-0 vs. Alan Belcher 15-6-0 – Middleweight
The man with the dodgiest tattoo in MMA against the man with “that knee”. Who knows how this fight might play out…. oh wait I do 🙂 Ring rust on the part of the Cote could be a factor here, but if all the reports are to be believed he has had no problems with his knee in his training camp and is back to 100%. With a home crowd behind him, this could be a return for winning ways for Cote against Belcher, who as well as having a dodgy tattoo has a very suspect ability to keep his hands up! Cote has great KO power and is a former title contender, Belcher is a middle-tier fighter with decent-ish kickboxing but a sloppy style and this will play right into Cotes hands. This will be a pretty boring fight as Cotes style is to throw combinations on the inside and then smother the opponent in the clinch. This won’t allow Belcher the room he needs to assert his kickboxing skills. Short of an explosive over hand right connecting (or Cotes knee blowing out again) this is almost certainly going to be a Cote decision win.
Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson 4-1-0 vs. Matt Mitrione 1-0-0 – Heavyweight
Two TUF alumni, and one guy who really shouldn’t be on a main UFC card at all. I am not a fan of how Kimbo has basically ridden his way into the UFC off the back of some youtube street fights and being spoon fed opponents in Elite XC. Dana knew what he was doing signing Kimbo up for TUF, his notoriety ensured some decent viewing figures for the show, but I’m not convinced he deserves a place on the main card of a UFC event. He has been training with ATT and has shown that he is trying to become a different fighter to the one who knocked peoples eyeballs out of their sockets in bareknuckle, backalley fisticuffs on youtube. This might mean that this fight doesn’t play out as your average fan would think when they saw the card ie: 2 massive eejits whacking each other in the face to see who falls down first. Thing is that would actually be more exciting than this fight is likely to be. Kimbo is going to just want to win and won’t be looking to repeat his performance against Seth Petruzelli. This means he will probably be content to score points from takedowns, then not do much with them and maybe score the odd point on the feet. Slice decision
Sam Stout 15-5-1 vs. Jeremy Stephens 16-5-0 – Lightweight
An intriguing lightweight bout that pits the muay-thai skills of Stout against the swing for the fences style of Stephens. This one could be a KO of the night contender to rival the Davis vs Goulet fight on the undercard. I like Stouts style, he has cardio for days and mixes things up on the feet a lot. Stephens is far less technical but no less dangerous for it. Good job Stout seems to have a great chin on him as I’m sure it will be tested more than once in this fight! That being said, so will Stephens be tested and it is the array of strikes that he will be peppered with that will do the more telling damage in my opinion. His last 5 fights have gone to decision and he dropped 2 of those (against Terry Etim and Rich Clementi). This time I think Stout can stop his opponent inside the distance, but only just. Stout TKO rd 3
Josh Koscheck 14-4-0 vs. Paul Daley 23-8-2 – Welterweight
If this fight was decided on who could talk the best smack, Daley would have already won. He has properly riled up Koscheck which is exactly what he wanted. Unfortunately this fight isn’t already won and Daley has a lot of work to do once the bell rings. It could be the case that Koscheck decide this fight goes. On the feet Daley has the undisputed advantage, for all his braggings about “the evolution of Josh Koscheck” Kos is not anywhere near the kind of striker that Daley is. All fights start standing however and so from the start Kos is in Daleys world, he isnt one for shooting straight from the bell and if Daley has got in his head enough or if he just has a total brain fart in there, he may decide that he wants to be Josh Koscheck the striker, if this happens he is getting stretched out in the first round. However if he fights his own fight and plays to his strengths, ie his wrestling, he is likely to make things very difficult for Paul Daley. Kos is a 4 time all american wrestler with something like a 42-0 record from his wrestling days. Despite a lot of peoples assertions to the contrary however, Daley DOES have takedown defence and his grappling is improving. He must know that Kos has to go to his wrestling to win this fight and therefore will have been concentrating on that during camp. He is certainly not going to outwrestle Koscheck, I’m sure even he knows that. But with a potential title shot on the line and possibly a coaching spot on TUF12 opposite GSP, he will do everything he can to win. Looking at the last two performances is telling too. Daley had devastating wins over Kampmann and Hazelett both of whom are better grapplers than him on paper, but didnt get a chance to show those skills. Koscheck has a win over Johnson but a LOT of people would say he was on the verge of losing this before he looked to be play-acting and feigning injury and then miraculously bouncing back to take a submission win. He also beat a washed up Frank Trigg. I think the momentum is with Daley here (his last 4 fights have been first round KO wins) and that is not just blind UK fan loyalty. I think Kos will make a mistake and Daley will make him pay. If it goes the distance then we’ll have to see how them crazy UFC judges score Kos’ takedowns/attempts against Daleys pinpoint accurate Muay Thai. Hopefully they won’t leave to the judges though and I am going for Daley to finish Kos in the 3rd (but hopefully the first!!). Daley TKO rd 3
Light Heavyweight Championship:
Lyoto Machida 16-0-0 vs. Mauricio Rua 18-4-0
A very eagerly anticipated rematch sees the champion, Lyoto “the Dragon” Machida face off once more against Pride Veteran Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Many an internet critic felt that Shogun won the first encounter and this is his chance to make sure that this time it is left in no doubt that he is the champion. Unfortunately for Rua, the man that wants to stop him taking the gold is undefeated in 16 fights and is one of the most gifted and unorthodox Light Heavyweights to fight in the UFC. Machida’s own karate influenced style has been honed to work really well under MMA rules and his footwork and elusiveness has frustrated many an opponent in the past. It is fair to say that it has frustrated many a fan too and his early forays into the UFC attracted many criticisms with people saying he played it too safe and was happy to eek out decisions rather than go for the win. He answered back in explosive fashion laying waste to both Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans, both of whom were unbeaten before they were KO’d by Machida. The first fight with Shogun was Machida’s first title defence and so I think he can be forgiven for his cautious approach to the fight. Rua seemd to have the measure of him and drilled his body and legs with kicks that seemed to take away some of the champs mobility. It was a VERY close fight but under the rules that judges adhere to for scoring you can see how they made a case for Machida retaining his belt as he did some effective work in the first 3 rounds before the blows to his body and legs took their toll and he wilted in 4 and 5. All three judges scored it 48-47 awarding Machida 3 rounds and 2 to shogun – fair enough I say!
This time around what will be different? Shogun may try more of the same but it didn’t come to much first time out, possibly he will try to take it to the ground but Machida’s takedown defence is awesome and much better wrestlers than Rua (Ortiz / Evans) couldn’t do it. I think this time out we will see Machida possibly look to take Rua down, Shogun has a very dangerous guard but that is about all we have seen of his ground game as he does his most effective work on his feet – only one of his 18 wins coming by submission. Machida will know that Rua has already found an answer to his “in and out” style so in this fight he HAS to change things up. If he stays at kicking range Rua’s chute boxe influenced Muay Thai will be inflicted on him once more. If Machida can get in close this could make the fight more interesting than last time out as he has a great clinch, but once again the Chute boxe influence cannot be disregarded and anyone who knows about chute boxe knows their fighters were reknowned in Pride for their devastating clinch knees. On the ground for me is where this gets interesting and I think Machida has the wrestling ability to put Rua there. If he can avoid the guard and get a dominant position then Rua will be in serious trouble. This fight genuinely could go either way and is sure to be a very different fight than the first. For me though Machida will once again walk away with his undefeated record intact, but this time with a decisive win instead of a razor-thin decision victory. Machida TKO rd 3
************ UPDATED WITH RESULTS ***************
MacDonald vs Salter – My Pick: McDonald Sub rd 2 Actual: Salter TKO(injury) rd 1
Yoshida vs. Guymon – My Pick: Yoshida sub rd 1 Actual: Guymon Decision
Hague vs. Beltran – My Pick: Hague Decision Actual: Beltran Decision
Grant vs. Hendricks – My Pick: Hendricks TKO rd 3 Actual: Hendricks Decision (Grant had a point deducted due to multiple groin strikes.)
Davis vs. Goulet – My Pick: Davis TKO rd 1 Actual: Davis TKO rd 2
Doerksen vs. Lawlor – My Pick: Lawlor TKO rd 2 Actual: Doerksen sub Rd 2
Côté vs. Belcher – My pick: Côté Decision Actual: Belcher sub rd 2
Slice vs. Mitrione – My pick: Slice Decision Actual: Mitrione TKO rd2
Stout vs. Stephens – My pick: Stout TKO rd 3 Actual: Stephens Decision
Koscheck vs. Daley – My pick: Daley TKO rd 3 Actual: Koscheck Decision
Machida vs. Rua – My Pick: Machida TKO rd 3 Actual Rua KO rd 1