Hey everyone, it's time for my second preview of the week leading up to "Super Saturday" as many are dubbing this weekend's stacked lineup on Saturday night between UFC Fight Night 14 and Affliction: Banned. I've already declared my viewing preference in my Affliction preview however I certainly will be taping UFC Fight Night 14 and watching it first thing Sunday. It would be unfair to devote my preview special to only one show. My loyal readers who prefer the UFC shouldn't be deprived of my MMA insights simply because two cards are happening on the same night! Let them have their cake and eat it too!
The UFC pulled a bush league move in my opinion by putting on a last minute card to compete head to head with Affliction. I think I have to agree with Tom Atencio (Affliction co-owner/promoter) that the UFC must be worried if they're trying to kill them off before they get started. I'm no UFC apologist but I don't blame them for doing this because like I said in my Affliction preview, this is the best card of the year. If Affliction can keep putting cards on like this even if they are infrequent I think they can become a serious competitor in this game. However, with the UFC's fan base, leverage, and financial status I think it's a little ridiculous that they've gone to such lengths to try to out do Affliction.
With that said though the fight fans really win here with two good cards on the same night featuring the two fighters who many consider to be the number 1 and number 2 fighter in the world (although many argue about which is which) with Anderson Silva and Fedor Emelianenko. The only reason the Silva fight is even compelling is because he's sick of putting middleweights through the grinder and is trying to step up to light heavyweight. It's a dangerous proposition because he really has nothing to gain from it. If he wins, his status as a top P4P fighter remains the same. But if he loses... I can hear the wil-e-coyote splat at the bottom of the canyon. There's been some nonsense about Silva not wanting to challenge for the light heavyweight title which is absolutely bogus. If you were a fighter stepping up in weight class would you really do it just for the hell of it? I don't think so. You either do it for the money or the belt. Silva's got plenty of money so it's obviously because he thinks he can rule two weight classes simultaneously which is almost unheard of (the technical exception is Dan Henderson but the validity of that is debatable based on the circumstances of PRIDE when he won). So while the Affliction card is better and more interesting top to bottom there are enough interesting fights on this card to get me to watch it later. So let's break it down!
* Side note: I will not be previewing the Dale Hart, Johnny Rees, and Brad Blackburn fights as I don't know much about them or their competitors.
Tim Credeur v. Cale Yarbrough: This is a match up of TUF 7 fighters. Tim is 9-2 with all 9 wins by stoppage. He is a submission expert. Cale has decent stand up but that's about it. With Tim's experience and ground game I expect him to take Cale down and submit him. My prediction is Tim by submission in round 1.
Rory Markham v Brodie Farber: Rory is 12-4 with all 12 wins by stoppage. He is mostly a stand up fighter but he does have some ground game. Farber is 13-3, 0-1 in the WEC, with 11 wins by stoppage. He is mostly a submission fighter. This should be a good clash of styles however I expect Markham to try and stay standing. I expect Markham to overwhelm Farber on the feet. I predict Markham by TKO in round 1.
Cain Velasquez v. Jake O'Brien: This is the first non under card fight for the skyrocketing Cain. He, Shane Carwin, and Brock Lesnar are being counted on to carry the heavyweight division since the UFC has lost many of its top fighters and seen some of its top competitors falter. Cain is 3-0, 1-0 in the UFC, with all 3 wins by KO. He has great hands and is a top level wrestler. O'Brien is 10-1, 1-0 in the WEC, 3-1 in the UFC, with 8 wins by KO. He is a stand up fighter. O'Brien is a very solid fighter however he's really going to be put to the test. I can't imagine Cain will try to stand with O'Brien when he can easily take him to the ground and pound him out. My prediction here is Cain wins by decision.
Jesse Taylor v. CB Dolloway: I'm not sure who I want to win less. This fight is a match up of TUF 7 finalist losers. Jesse was kicked off before he even got to fight in the finale and CB got caught by Amir in the same damn arm bar even quicker than he lost in their first fight. I really don't understand the reasoning behind putting this fight together. But since it's happening I guess I'll pick it. Taylor is 6-2 with 3 wins by stoppage. He is a wrestler and ground and pound fighter. CB is 6-1, 0-1 in the UFC, with 5 wins by stoppage. He is also a wrestler and ground and pound fighter. This is going to turn into a very boring match. Both of these guys fight exactly the same way but they're both too tough to get pounded out. It's going to be a matter of who can impose their will on the other. My guess here, and this is a total guess, is that CB is the better wrestler and will be able to take Jesse down, control him, and inflict enough damage to win the fight. So my pick is CB by decision.
Anthony Johnson v. Kevin Burns: Johnson is 5-1, 2-1 in the UFC, with 3 wins by KO. He is a stand up fighter. Burns is 6-1, 1-0 in the UFC, with all 6 wins by stoppage. He is a submission fighter. This is an interesting clash of styles. Both have looked fairly impressive in the UFC so far so it will be interesting to see who imposes their will. Can Burns take this to the ground and submit Johnson? Or can Johnson keep it standing and knock Burns out? That is the question. My bet is on Johnson. I'm picking Johnson by TKO in round 2.
Brandon Vera v. Reese Andy: Vera is 8-2, 2-0 in the WEC, 4-2 in the UFC, with 7 wins by stoppage. He is a well rounded fighter but mostly a striker. He was a rising star at heavyweight but had two bad matches against Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum and is now testing the waters at light heavyweight. I don't know much about Reese Andy other than this is his UFC debut. I can't imagine he can deal with his first big fight on the main card, live, in front of millions of viewers. I predict Vera to win by KO in round 1.
Hermes Franca v. Frankie Edgar: Franca is 18-6, 5-3 in the UFC, 3-0 in the WEC and was WEC lightweight champion, with 17 wins by stoppage. He is a submission expert. This fight will be Franca's first fight back since losing to Sean Sherk for the UFC lightweight title and then getting suspended for steroids. Edgar is 8-1, 3-1 in the UFC, with 4 wins by stoppage. He is a solid wrestler with good ground and pound. Edgar was a rising star at lightweight until running into Gray Maynard who is quickly making a name for himself. This fight will go a long way for both fighters to get back on the right path towards a title. Obviously this fight will go to the ground. The question is who is better there? Will Franca catch Edgar or will Edgar impose his will and pound out Franca? I think it's going to be tough for Franca to shake off the ring rust and Edgar is looking for redemption. My prediction here is Edgar wins by decision.
Anderson Silva v. James Irvin: Silva is the current UFC middleweight champion and is P4P the best fighter in the world in my opinion. This will be his first test at light heavyweight to prove he is the best P4P. Silva is 21-4, 6-0 in the UFC, 3-2 in PRIDE, with 16 wins by stoppage. He has been unstoppable in the UFC with none of his fights going longer than the second round. He is a brilliant Muay Thai striker with very good Jiu Jitsu. Irvin is 14-4, 3-1 in the WEC, 4-3 in the UFC, with 13 wins by stoppage. He is a striker. Obviously Irvin has a puncher's chance. But if I was Silva, as good as his triking is, I would take Irvin down and use my Jiu Jitsu to tap him out or control him and pound on him. I think Irvin will be stronger than Silva so it's important for Silva to stay out of the clinch and use his length to score points and if he can get Irvin to the ground that would be ideal. Irvin really needs to get inside on Silva and use his size and strength advantage to control Silva and throw hay makers because that's the only chance he has in this fight. In the end though I believe Silva is the vastly superior fighter and my prediction here is Silva by submission in round 2.
My pick for submission of the night goes to Anderson Silva. My pick for KO of the night goes to Brandon Vera. My pick for fight of the night goes to Cain Velasquez/Jake O'Brien. This should be a solid card and I'm very interested to see if Silva can hold up at 205. I want to see how Vera fares at 205 as well. The Franca/Edgar fight has serious implications in the lightweight division. And last but not least I'm looking forward to seeing Cain Velasquez and how he does against tougher competition. This should be a great weekend of fights and I can't wait to watch it all go down! Stay tuned for my reviews of this great night. Until then,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...