I'm happy that there are two UFC cards in two weeks but this was like a last minute fill in just to squeeze a championship match into Oct. and to foil Affliction's plans for a card this month. But I'll take all the UFC I can get considering promotions are folding left and right these days (achem... EliteXC... achem). Anyway, there is only two fights that have any actual relavence but there are some marquee names on the card. Let's start breaking down the fights:
Josh Burkman v. Pete Sell: Burkman is 9-5, 5-4 in the UFC, with 5 wins by stoppage. He is a well rounded fighter. Sell is 7-4, 1-4 in the UFC, with 3 wins by submission. He is a submission specialist. I honestly don't even know why this fight is on the card. Neither of these guys is particularly exciting. Sell, who hasn't fought in over a year, has 3 straight losses in the UFC and I can't believe he's still fighting for them. Burkman is coming off of two losses (though his last one was an exciting fight) and another one for either of these guys is a death knell. I think Burkman is just more well rounded and has better experience with the better stand up. I'll pick him by TKO in the third.
Hermes Franca v. Marcus Aurelio: Franca is 18-7, 5-4 in the UFC, 3-0 in the WEC, with 17 wins by stoppage. He is mostly a submission fighter but sometimes likes to stand and go crazy. Aurelio who is replacing an injured Gleison Tibau is 16-5, 3-3 in PRIDE, 2-2 in the UFC, with 13 wins by stoppage. He is also a submission expert. I think they'll cancel each other out on the ground and will wind up standing where I think Franca's power will win. I'll pick Franca by decision.
Matt Horwich v. Dan Miller: Horwich is 20-9-1, 0-1 in the WEC, 0-1 in Strikeforce, 6-4 in the IFL, with 19 wins by stoppage. He is a submission specialist. Miller who is replacing Ricardo Almeida and coming off his first UFC fight barely a month ago, is 9-1, 2-0 in the IFL, 1-0 in the UFC, with 6 wins by stoppage. He is also a submission specialist. This fight will come down to who is better on the feet. I'm going to give that edge to Horwich who is much more experienced even though he's making his UFC debut. I'll pick Horwich by decision.
Spencer Fisher v. Shannon Gugerty: Fisher is 21-4, 6-3 in the UFC, with 18 wins by stoppage. Fisher is a well rounded fighter but mostly fights stand up. Gugerty is 11-2, 1-0 in the UFC, with all 11 wins by stoppage. He is a submission fighter. This should be a great clash of styles. I'm going to pick Fisher who is more well rounded and has much more experience. I'll pick Fisher by TKO in the second.
Thales Leites v. Drew McFedries: Leites is 13-1, 4-1 in the UFC, with 10 wins by stoppage. He is a submission fighter. McFedries is 7-4, 3-3 in the UFC, with 4 wins by stoppage. He is a striker. This is a good clash of styles but I think Leites is just the better all around fighter. He'll get McFedries to the ground and tap him out in the first round.
Gray Maynard v. Rich Clementi: Maynard is 5-0, 3-0 in the UFC, with 1 win by KO. He is a ground and pound stylist. Clementi is 32-12-1, 5-3 in the UFC, with 24 wins by stoppage. He is a well rounded fighter. Clementi is more well rounded than Maynard and it's a great clash of experience v. the young gun. However, as experienced and well rounded as Clementi is he is also a grinder. And I don't think he can beat Maynard at that since that is what Maynard is best at. I'm going to go with Maynard here to pull out the decision.
Sean Sherk v. Tyson Griffin: Sherk is 31-3-1, 6-3 in the UFC, 1-0 in PRIDE, with 21 wins by stoppage. He is a ground and pound fighter. Griffin is 12-1, 1-0 in Strikeforce, 5-1 in the UFC, with 8 wins by stoppage. He is also a ground and pound fighter. This is a great match up. Again this is experience v. the young gun. It's also a battle for supremacy in terms of wrestling. Both of these guys are great, and I mean great, at what they do which is control and pound you. Sherk is looking to bounce back from losing the title and if Griffin wins he shoots right up to the top in terms of title contetion possibly setting up a fight with Ken Flo for number one status. Sherk looked absolutely horrible against BJ Penn's well rounded skills. But Griffin doesn't have those skills. I think Sherk is better at what he does than anyone else in his weight class and will prove it against Griffin. I'm picking Sherk by decision here.
Fabricio Werdum v. Junior Dos Santos: Werdum is 11-3-1, 4-2 in PRIDE, 2-1 in the UFC, with 9 wins by stoppage. He is a well rounded fighter. Junior is 6-1, making his UFC debut, and has all 6 wins by stoppage. He is mostly a striker. Werdum is the top heavyweight in the UFC outside of the 4 in the tournament for the title and if he wins this fight should be the number one contender in 2009 to whoever wins the title. I'm not giving any chance to Junior especially given his light experience. I'm picking Werdum by submission in the first round.
Thiago Alves v. Josh Koscheck: Alves is 15-3, 8-2 in the UFC, with 11 wins by stoppage. Koscheck, who is replacing the injured Diego Sanchez, is 11-2, 9-2 in the UFC, with 6 wins by stoppage. This is the most exciting fight of the night. Whoever wins this gets the first crack at the welterweight title after BJ Penn and GSP hook horns in 2009. Koscheck has the opportunity of a lifetime after being dismissed by GSP 3 fights ago. Alves has been building to this chance for quite some time so both men are very motivated. This is a great clash of styles matching the striker v. the wrestler. They are both incredibly strong and Koscheck with his improving stand up is a bad match up for Alves, worse than Sanchez. This is a tough choice for me but Alves has looked like an absolute beast in his last few fights and Koscheck looked lackluster in his last win so I'm picking Alves by decision. This unfortunately would be very bad news for Koscheck considering he's supposed to fight again in December. Hopefully he doesn't take too much of a pounding so the fight can go on even if it doesn't mean nearly as much.
Anderson Silva v. Patrick Cote: Silva is 22-4, 3-2 in PRIDE, 7-0 in the UFC, with 17 wins by stoppage. He is mostly a striker but is well rounded. Cote is 14-4, 4-4 in the UFC, with 9 wins by stoppage. He is a striker. I know Cote is on a roll but I honestly don't understand how this guy got a title shot. I always say a guy has a puncher's chance but I'm not even giving him that this time. Patrick is gonna stand and bang with Silva which is as dumb as it gets. Anderson Silva by KO in the first round, no doubts. I can't wait for Okami and/or Dan Henderson to get their rematch because the middleweight division is so light even with Bisping on a roll that there needs to be a more marquee matchup soon to keep interest in Silva to remain at 185.
This should be a fairly interesting night with a couple interesting match ups but overall it's not the UFC's strongest card. My pick for submission of the night is Werdum. My pick for KO of the night is Silva. My pick for fight of the night is Thiago Alves v. Josh Koscheck. Stay tuned for my TUF 8 Review tomorrow and my UFC 90 review this weekend. Until then,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...
P.S. RIP EliteXC - I hope Carano, Shields, Diaz, and Lawlor all find good homes.