Alright, UFC 117 is just a couple days away, and I am incredibly excited because it is the best card the UFC has put together in over a year. I'll quickly go through the undercard, and then go more in depth on the main card.
Ben Saunders over Dennis Hallman - I think Saunders uses his size to keep the fight standing and picks him apart.
Tim Boetsch over Todd Brown - Brown is a last second replacement, so I think he'll lose.
Stefan Struve over Christian Morecraft - Struve is too dangerous in too many areas for Morecraft.
Johny Hendricks over Charlie Brenneman - Unless Mark Perry comes in with a Brenneman mask on, Hendricks will take this one.
Phil Davis over Rodney Wallace - Even though Phil Davis claims he is Mr. Wonderful, he is no Paul Orndorff, but he's still good enough to beat Wallace.
Rick Story over Dustin Hazelett - This is one of the toughest fights to pick, but I'll go with Story since Hazelett has had a really long layoff, and I think Story can grind out a decision.
And now onto the main card.
Clay Guida vs. Rafael dos Anjos - Dos Anjos has been on a quiet three fight winning streak. He is very good on the ground, so he is definitely a dangerous fighter. Unfortunately, I think Guida is going to be too much for him. Dos Anjos last loss was against Tyson Griffin, and I could see this fight looking a lot like that one where Guida is able to control dos Anjos and impose his will on him. Guida has a crazy fast pace, and it will be extremely hard for the Brazilian to keep pace with him. Clay Guida via Unanimous Decision.
Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida - A lot of the MMA experts seem to be immediately discounting Hughes' chances of winning this fight. I wouldn't discount him so fast. In the last nine years, Hughes has only lost to BJ Penn, GSP, and Thiago Alves. Yes, he is getting older, but his standup did look improved when he fought Renzo Gracie (who is admittedly not the best barometer for judging someone's striking). Hughes' ground game has always been underrated, because the reason he was so great at ground and pound was because he was also great at avoiding submissions. With that being said, Almeida is going to be a tough fight. Almeida has an excellent ground game, and even with Hughes' submission defense, he can definitely still cause problems on the ground. Let's face it, against the top of the weight class, Hughes really can't hang anymore, but it doesn't mean he's completely washed up either, and I think Hughes can take this fight. Matt Hughes via Unanimous Decision.
Roy Nelson vs. Junior dos Santos - Dos Santos seems to be the chosen one to challenge for the heavyweight title after Velasquez fights Lesnar. He has excellent standup skills and does a good enough job of takedown defense that he hasn't had to worry about his ground game. He trains with a lot of very good grapplers, so it should at least be solid for the heavyweight division. Roy Nelson is the fat guy, and he would admit that himself. He also probably knows that even though Dana White announced this as a #1 contender's match, he is not supposed to be the guy who ends up victorious. He's solid in every aspect, and very good at jiu jitsu from the top control where he has really learned to use his belly to his advantage. Although he isn't the prototypical build, people shouldn't immediately discount him. On paper, dos Santos wins this fight, but it's not fought on paper, and that is why I am going for the upset. I mean if Fedor can lose, I certainly think Junior dos Santos can lose. Roy Nelson via 1st Round Submission.
Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch - Jon Fitch is the ultimate grinder. He hasn't finished a fight in over three years. He isn't flashy in any way, and it looks like he struggles for everything that he gets, but against everyone not named GSP, he finds a way to get what he wants nonetheless. Thiago Alves is a much flashier fighter, and he's probably the biggest welterweight in the weight class. If Alves keeps the fight standing, he should be able to take out Fitch on the feet. Alves manhandled a guy I consider a better wrestler in Josh Koscheck, so it would seem that this would have a good chance of happening. But I don't think it does. Koscheck fought a stupid fight where he wanted to stand far more than he wanted to go to his wrestling. I think Fitch does what he needs to do to win this fight, but I don't think he finishes him. Jon Fitch via Unanimous Decision.
Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva - Before I break down this fight, let's check out some video that will help everyone make their decision.
Yeah, so Chael Sonnen may have lost his mind. And I absolutely love it. He accused Lance Armstrong of giving himself cancer on a radio show and the next day said he has never said a thing about Lance Armstrong. This guy is so batshit crazy, he makes girls look sane. He is a huge underdog in this fight, but you could never convince him of that.
Do you hear that? That must be Anderson Silva walking into a room, because I can actually hear a rat piss on cotton. In the second video, Chael Sonnen says he has never lost a second of any fight that he has been in. He's lost TEN times. The third video is the best, but I can't even get into the awesomeness of how awesome it's awesomisity is.
Does Chael Sonnen being a sociopath worry me? Of course it does. Does it excite me? Hell yes it does. Chael Sonnen will not give up in this fight. Against Anderson Silva, that usually wouldn't mean much, because Silva destroys everybody, but Sonnen is the perfect style matchup against Anderson Silva. Silva has fought one good wrestler in the UFC when he fought Dan Henderson. Henderson took him down and dominated him in the first round. Then he did what Dan Henderson does and just fought however he wanted to fight instead of sticking to his gameplan. Because of this, he got knocked silly and then choked out.
Chael Sonnen is here to win and he is going to impose his will in this fight. He's not going to mess around and stand with Silva; he's going to shoot in for a takedown and pound on him. I don't see why he can't be successful doing this. It would be irresponsible on my part if I didn't bring up Anderson Silva's black belt in jiu-jitsu, or the fact that he does have very dangerous elbows even with his back on the mat. The jiu-jitsu worries me a lot less than the elbows. Nate Marquardt is also a black belt, and he didn't threaten Sonnen with submissions. His elbows are a weapon, and I think that if Sonnen does fight smart, they are his key to keeping his title. People do stupid stuff when taking hard elbows to the dome, and it's a good way for Silva to set up an armbar or triangle attempt. But Chael Sonnen is my guy, and that is why he will be the new UFC Middleweight Champion. Chael Sonnen by 3rd Round TKO.
P.S. This is only for extreme nerds, but if you love the NFL Draft anywhere near as much as I do, here is a great spot to check out some of the prospects highlights from 2009 games. Also, here is the Adrian Clayborn highlight from the Georgia Tech game. Good luck not getting at least a half-chub from watching this, even you ladies.