Hey everyone! For the first time I'll be combining reviews since WEC 38 isn't exactly stacked. I'm sure the fights outside of the co-main event will be good since the WEC almost always puts on good fights. Unfortunately I barely know any of the guys so it would be very hard for me to preview their fights. So with that said let's quickly breakdown the co-main event:
Urijah Faber v. Jens Pulver: Faber is 21-2, 6-1 in the WEC, with 17 wins by stoppage. He is a wrestler but is a solid all around fighter. Pulver is 21-10-1, 6-2-1 in the UFC, 2-2 in PRIDE, and 1-2 in the WEC. He is a striker. It is obvious that the WEC is reching on this one. Pulver obviously has become outdated even at 145. He is not a serious title contender after losing to Faber already and Garcia. If he loses again his career is basically over. The WEC won't get rid of him because he's still a draw as is evidenced by this fight but he'll be nothing more than a gatekeeper. I'm not sure Urijah Faber really wanted this fight but unfortunately with Brown v. Garcia on the next card the WEC didn't have any other big names to give Faber so a rematch is born. I think Faber will be more determined and hungry than ever and I expect him to dole out the punishment to Pulver. In fact, even though this is only 3 rounds and the last time Pulver went 5 I seriously don't expect Pulver to survive in this fight. I think Faber wants to make an example of Pulver to get another crack at whoever has the title. Because of that I'm picking Faber by KO in the first round.
Jamie Varner v. Donald Cerrone: Varner is 15-2, 1-1 in the UFC, 3-0 in the WEC, with 14 wins by stoppage. He is mostly a submission fighter. Cerrone is 10-0, 2-0 in the WEC, with 8 wins by submission. Though his record says otherwise he is actually a very well rounded fighter. I expect Varner to want to take this to the ground but I think Cerrone is not outmatched down there and is the better striker. That is why I'm calling for the upset. I'm picking Cerrone to pull out the decision and snatch the lightweight belt away.
Ok now on to the Affliction preview. After alot of moving pieces fell into place and alot of strange publicity the second Affliction MMA card is finally coming to fruition. This card was originally scheduled to occur in October and it was supposed to feature an elimination match between Andrei Arlovsky and Josh Barnett to see who would fight Fedor for the WAMMA title. Then, after Arlovski won his nationally televised Elite XC crossover fight (along with some money problems for Affliction) they decided to push the card back to January and just grant Arlovski the title shot. Then it was promoted as a mixed Boxing/MMA card after Affliction announced their alliance with Golden Boy Promotions but now the two promotion companies will be hosting shows on the same night in the same city where Shane Mosley will fight Antonio Margarito down the street in the Staples Center for the welterweight boxing title.
After all that drama there is the drama on the card itself. Josh Barnett was originally scheduled to fight Aleksander Emelianenko but he couldn't get licensed so they decide to bring in Gilbert Yvel, aka Mr. Yellowcard in Japan, (probably the one man on the planet who is least likely to be licensed at the last minute) and it is still up in the air as to whether or not this fight will actually take place. Matt Lindland was scheduled to fight Vitor Belfot who orignally pulled out due to a hand injury. Babalu Sobral stepped in to fight Lindland at a catch weight. But then Belfot said the fight was back on leaving Babalu in the lurch until Sokoudjou was let go by the UFC and Affliction snapped him up right away. Last but not least Mark Hominick got sick and was replaced by Bao Quach. You following all this?? Trust me it was hard for me too! Oh yeah and don't forget that Affliction with keep with their MMA and entertainment theme this time having Ozzy Osbourne perform. Also, Tito Ortiz will make his Affliction debut not as a fighter but as a commentator. With all that said let's break down the fights.
Jay Heiron v. Jason High: Heiron is 13-4, 0-2 in the UFC, 1-0 in the WEC, with 8 wins by stoppage. He is well rounded. High is 6-0 with 5 wins by stoppage. He is also well rounded. I've got to give this fight by experience to Heiron. I'll pick him by KO in the first round.
Vladimir Matyushenko v. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: Valdimir is 21-3, 3-2 in the UFC, with 14 wins by stoppage. He is mostly a striker. Nogueira is 15-3, 8-2 in PRIDE, with 8 wins by stoppage. He is well rounded. I think I'm going to give the experience edge to Nogueira so I'll pick him by KO in the second round.
Paul Buentello v. Kirill Sidelnikov: Buentello is 22-9, 3-1 in the UFC, 2-1 in Strikeforce, with all 22 wins by stoppage. He is a striker. Kirill is 5-2 with all five wins by KO. He is a striker. Kirill is nicknamed Baby Fedor. We'll find out if that's just hype on Saturday. Kirill has never seen competition like Buentello so it's hard for me to pick the upstart no matter how bad Affliction wants to ram him down my throat. I'll pick Buentello by KO in the second round.
Chris Horodecki v. Dan Lauzon: Chris is 12-1 with 6 wins by KO. He is a striker. Lauzon is 10-2, 0-1 in the UFC, with all 10 wins by stoppage. He is well rounded. I'm picking Horodecki by KO in the first round.
Matt Lindland v. Vitor Belfort: Lindland is 21-5, 9-3 in the UFC, with 14 wins by stoppage. He is a wrestler with good ground and pound. Belfort is 17-8, 7-4 in the UFC, 5-3 in PRIDE, 0-1 in Strikeforce, with 13 wins by stoppage. He is a striker. I'm picking Lindland here for his grappling. I'll pick him by decision.
Renato Sobral v. Sokoudjou: Sobral is 31-7, 6-4 in the UFC, 1-0 in Strikeforce, with 19 wins by stoppage. He is a submission fighter. Sokoudjou is 5-3, 0-1 in the WEC, 2-0 in PRIDE, 1-2 in the UFC, with 4 wins by KO. He is a striker and Judo expert. The question is will we see the PRIDE Sokoudjou or the UFC Sokoudjou? My guess is Sobral's grappling will keep Sokoudjou on a slide and send him out with a submission in the second round.
Josh Barnett v. Gilbert Yvel: Barnett is 23-5, 4-1 in the UFC, 5-4 in PRIDE, with 19 wins by stoppage. He is a submission fighter. Yvel is 35-12-1, 2-7 in PRIDE, with all 35 wins by stoppage. He is a striker. Yvel is a walking DQ and it's yet to be seen whether the CSAC will even give him a license since there's less than a week before the fight and I haven't heard anything yet. However, with that said it shouldn't matter because Yvel isn't in the same league as Barnett who should easily dispatch of him by submission in the first round.
Fedor Emelianenko v. Andrei Arlovski: Fedor is 29-1, 14-0 in PRIDE, with 22 wins by stoppage. He is mostly a grappler. Arlovski is 15-5, 10-4 in the UFC, with 14 wins by stoppage. He is a striker. This should be a great clash of styles but ultimately unless Arlovski lands a lucky punch (and Fedor can be stunned people - yes he is human!) I can't see him surviving on the ground with Fedor which is eventually where this fight will end up given enough time. That is why I'm picking Fedor to win by submission in the first round.
Alright folks that's all for now. Stay tuned for my recaps next week and I hope you enjoy the fights next weekend! Until then,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...