UFC 97 Predictions
UFC 97 Predictions
UFC 97 Predictions
by T.O. Whenham
UFC returns to Montreal for the second time, but it looks much different than the first. Last time the draw was hometown hero Georges St. Pierre, and he delivered in thrilling fashion. This time we have a one-sided main event, albeit one featuring Anderson Silva, the biggest name in MMA. We also have a washed up superstar, Chuck Liddell, trying to regain some glory at the top of the undercard. It won't be the best UFC event ever, but it certainly has enough going on to be interesting. Here's a look with my UFC 97 predictions,
Anderson Silva (-625) vs. Thales Leites (+425) - It's not a new thing for a top fighter to be put up against a badly outmatched opponent to further increase the reputation of the champion, but that seems like more of a tactic for boxing than MMA. That's what we seem to have here, though. Leites has only lost once, but he is as one-dimensional as a fighter can be. Leites is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter, and Silva can respond with decent BJJ himself. The Spider is stronger, faster, more versatile, and just plain better. This one could get ugly. Or at least it would if it lasted very long, but I don't see it getting out of the second round. With this win Silva will set a new record for the most consecutive wins in the UFC with nine.
Pick: Anderson Silva
Chuck Liddell (-200) vs. Mauricio Rua (+160) - Liddell long ago gave up on the concept of going out on top, so I guess he might as well keep fighting forever. All in all, this is a pretty good spot for him. Rua has looked pretty lousy lately, and seems to have some real problems. Liddell hasn't won his last two either, and he hasn't really come that close, but he has looked much more like a good fighter than Rua has. This is the kind of fight I would have much rather have seen about four years ago, but the Senior Tour can be as exciting as the PGA at times, I guess. I think the price is fair on Liddell. If we get lucky then this one could actually be worth watching.
Pick: Chuck Liddell
Krzysztof Soszynski (-155) vs. Briann Stann (+125) - Part of me hopes that Soszynski loses badly just so I never have to try to spell his first name again. I don't think that that will happen, though. Stann is making his UFC debut, and I never like backing fighters in that situation. He also didn't show much in WEC that makes me think that he can handle himself of the ground. Soszynski is very comfortable on the ground, so he will get the fight down there as quickly as he can, and he'll have his way once that happens.
Pick: Krzysztof Soszynski
Cheick Kongo (-350) vs. Antoni Hardonk (+275) - Hardonk's last name makes me laugh, but his skills don't do a lot for me. He's a pure kickboxer, and he's very good at it, but he doesn't have a lot of skills to call upon beyond that. Kongo is more versatile and has more ways he can dominate this one. Hardonk could catch Kongo, but you have to go with the favorite here.
Pick: Cheick Kongo
Luiz Cane (-325) vs. Steve Cantwell (+250) - Cantwell can get an edge here if he gets the fight to the ground early. That's really his only chance. I'm not sure he'll be able to, though, and even if he does Cane may have enough to answer. Cane is clearly the better all-round fighter, and that means that we unfortunately have to back yet another favorite.
Pick: Luiz Cane
Denis Kang (-325) vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam (+250) - Kang is coming off a loss in his UFC debut, but he has the advantage of fighting in front of a home country crowd, and that seems to help fighters quite a bit. Foupa-Pokam is making his UFC debut. Fouka-Pokam has an edge in striking, but Kang is much more well-rounded, and can capitalize in more different ways. The chalk-fest continues.
Pick: Denis Kang
Nate Quarry (-120) vs. Jason MacDonald (-110) - This is obviously a closely matched fight. With 16 UFC fights between them, these guys are settling into the roles of mid-card journeymen. Either one could win this fight. My guess is that Quarry will be a bit better suited to controlling the pace and location of the fight. That gives him enough of an edge to make him the pick.
Pick: Nate Quarry
David Loiseau (-125) vs. Ed Herman (-105) - Neither of these guys are in particularly good standing in the UFC thanks to the losses they have piled up, so they both need this win. Desperation is usually fun to watch. Loiseau is fighting in his hometown here, and that should be too much for a fighter like Herman to overcome.
Pick: David Loiseau
Mark Bocek (-285) vs. David Bielkheden (+225) - This is a clash of styles - Bocek is a BJJ fighter, while Bielkheden relies on his striking and a submission when he gets the chance. If Bocek gets this one to the ground then I don't see Bielkheden having an answer.
Pick: Mark Bocek
Sam Stout (-140) vs. Matt Wiman (+110) - Stout is a Canadian to he'll get a bit of a boost, but I' not sure that it's enough here - especially earlier on the card before the fans are relied fueled up on Molson. Wiman has been more successful than Stout in the UFC. He is a wrestler, and look for him to get Wiman down on the ground and minimize the damage Stout can do. Finally an underdog, even if just barely.
Pick: Matt Wiman
Re: UFC 97 Predictions
By Brad Young
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is making its second trip to Montreal, Canada for UFC 97: Redemption. Saturday’s main event from Bell Centre features a Brazilian battle between middleweight champion Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva (23-4) and Thales Leites (14-1).
‘The Spider’ has been installed as a decided $5.50 ‘chalk’ (bet $550 to win $100) over Leites, the $375 underdog (bet $100 to win $375). Silva has been the UFC’s most impressive champion that he even gets criticized when he doesn’t completely dominate. The 34-year-old hasn’t lost a fight in over three years, but is coming off a subpar victory over Patrick ‘The Predator’ Cote. That matchup ended when Cote injured his knee early in the third round and was unable to continue.
Leites received his title shot by winning his last five fights after subbing Drew McFedries with a first-round rear naked choke at UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote. Leites is a ground specialist, recording nine of his victories by submission. The 27-year-old needs to get this fight to the ground to have any chance of recording the upset, but ‘The Spider’ himself is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Silva has been so dominant, that Saturday’s headline event is in danger of being eclipsed by the light heavyweight matchup between Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell (21-6) and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua (17-3). These two fighters were on top of the mixed martial arts world a couple of years ago, and now both enter this fight in dire need of a victory.
Liddell is currently listed as a $1.80 favorite against Rua, the $1.60 underdog.
“I’ve wanted this fight for a long time, since back in the UFC vs. Pride days,” noted Liddell. “I plan on mixing it up in there, but I plan on striking and I plan on knocking him out.”
‘The Iceman’ was on top of the MMA world from 2004 through 2006 as the UFC’s light heavyweight champion, recording seven consecutive knockout victories. However, Liddell is just 1-3 his last four fights, and is coming off a devastating second-round knockout loss to ‘Sugar’ Rashad Evans at UFC 88: Breakthrough. This may be the last chance that the 39-year-old has to getting back into the title hunt.
“This is exactly what I need, I want fights that are going to get me closer to getting a title shot and I think this is one of those fights,” said Liddell. “It’s a fight that people want to see, we’re going to be going at it until someone gets knocked out.”
Rua was equally dominating in Japan’s Pride, and won the 2005 middleweight grand prix. ‘Shogun’ has victories over such fighters as Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Antonio Rogerio ‘Minotoro’ Nogueira, Alistair Overeem, Ricardo Arona, Kevin Randleman and Mark Coleman.
‘Shogun’ should be in his fighting prime at 27 years old, but has been hampered by a couple of knee surgeries and a broken arm. The knee injuries have prevented him from working on his cardio, which was evident in his UFC debut loss to Forrest Griffin and a lackluster victory over Coleman. Rua suffered a broken arm in his first fight against Coleman at Pride 31 Dreamers three years ago when he fell awkwardly.
Both Liddell and Rua are at crossroads coming into this contest.
“All my fights were important in my life, but I see this fight as the most important,” stated Rua. “Liddell is a guy who deserves respect because he’s a top fighter, but I see myself victorious in this fight.”
Liddell and Rua were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 85 in England, but ‘Shogun’ had to cancel after he re-injured his knee during training before undergoing a second surgery.
“The worst moment was when I injured my knee for the second time,” said Rua. “I was confirmed against Liddell and was in great shape, but unfortunately I had a new injury.”
This fight has many similarities to the Liddell-Wanderlei ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva fight that occurred at the end of 2007. Both fighters entered that matchup suffering through a two-fight losing streak, and many experts thought the fight was two or three years past its prime.
The two locked up in one of the best fights of the year in a thrilling back-and-forth slugfest that Liddell eventually won by unanimous decision. Rua is very close with Silva, and said he talked with his countryman about this bout.
“Silva told me that Liddell is a good athlete and hits hard, but he said that if I get there and I’m in good shape I will beat him,” stated Rua. “Besides being his friend, he gave me some good tips.”
Re: UFC 97 Predictions
UFC 97 Redemption: Preview and picks
By Robert Rousseau
The Ultimate Fighting Championship 97 kicks off at the Bell Centre in Montreal Saturday. Oftentimes, MMA events only have one fight worthy of main event status. In this case, however, the main event of Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites is just part of the story.
Fight fans also get the long awaited dream bout between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell.
Anderson Silva (23-4) vs. Thales Leites (14-1)
Anderson Silva (-550) is one of the greatest stand up fighters to ever grace an MMA Octagon, cage or ring. He demonstrates pinpoint punches, is a dynamo in the clinch and kicks in an accurate and powerful manner.
On the ground, Silva also owns a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He boasts excellent submission skills and an amazing guard in part to his long limbs.
Thales Leites (+350) is an outstanding submission fighter with good wrestling. His stand up is also solid. Together, this has netted him five straight UFC victories with his lone UFC defeat coming at the hands of Martin Kampmann by decision. Leites has managed nine submission victories throughout his career.
If Leites can get this fight to the ground, things could get interesting. But at this point, it's kind of hard to go against Silva. He's just on such a ridiculous streak.
Anderson Silva wins via first round knockout. As tough as Leites is, when Silva hits you with everything he has, fighters tend to go down.
Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell (21-6) vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (17-3)
Chuck Liddell (-230) has lost three of his last four fights, including two brutal knockouts at the hands of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Rashad Evans.
Liddell has the best takedown defense in the light heavyweight division and he hits like a truck. He is working on his boxing extensively for this bout. In terms of ground skills, Liddell is an outstanding wrestler that hardly ever chooses to take people down.
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (+170) is also on a downward turn. In his last two fights, Rua was dominated by Forrest Griffin, losing by submission, and barely defeated Mark "The Hammer" Coleman on the judge’s cards.
Rua looked like the next MMA superstar while he was fighting in PRIDE. He was missing nothing. He had submission skills, wrestling, kickboxing and cardio. But since joining the UFC, Rua has failed to live up to that hype.
This fight will end up wherever Chuck Liddell wants it to go. But knowing Liddell’s style, expect a lot of stand up. Liddell still has the power and takedown defense. His recent slump is more about stand up defense than anything else. Rua, on the other hand, just hasn't looked anything like the guy that once destroyed Rampage Jackson.
Chuck Liddell wins by way of second round knockout.
Krzysztof Soszynski (17-9-1) vs. Brian Stann (6-1)
In Brian Stann's (+135) last fight we learned that he was fallible, watching him lose by TKO to Steve Cantwell. Still, he's an excellent athlete with lots of striking offense. Stann wins by way of decision in a very good fight.
Cheick Kongo (23-4-1) vs. Antoni Hardonk (8-4)
This is a very interesting fight. If Cheick Kongo (-330) decides to stand with Antoni Hardonk (+230), this bout is a tossup. But if he goes for ground and pound, his athleticism will bring it home. Kongo wins by way of a second round TKO.
Steve Cantwell (7-1) vs. Luis Cane (10-1-1)
Both of these guys are very good strikers, making this a highly interesting bout. But Luis Cane (-280) is too proficient on his feet. Cane wins by way of second round TKO.