Thursday, July 9, 2009

UFC 100: Echo calls it

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has finally reached its 100th card. Don’t worry, Granpa Echo isn’t going to get all nostalgic on you. Well, not much.

Though it is kind of crazy thinking back to the day, I was probably in Jr. High or so, when my professional wrestling fanatic of an older brother brought home the first UFC on video cassette. (Those are like a DVD, kids, but less shiny.)
He told me, “It’s like wrestling, but the guys actually hit each other and stuff. There’s blood and everything.”

Back then, there were very few rules governing the sport and fights were basically a collection of half-hazard brawls. The idea was simple: Who would win in a fight? The age old question of whether Bruce Lee could take out Tyson could finally be answered, in a matter of speaking, and I was hooked. Boxers fighting karate experts and sumo wrestlers taking on bar brawlers. It was insane.

Since then, the sport has evolved into a legitimate athletic competition wherein contenders (usually) train their bodies for years in various styles of combat in order to best their opponents; hence “mixed martial arts.” The differences between the first UFC tournament and where the sport stands now are as vast as night and day. Now we’re ready for UFC 100 and the sport is one of the fastest growing in the world, culminating with this weekend’s super-card featuring two title fights and a whole slew of what will, hopefully, be memorable bouts.

Here’s a look at the main card. I think I need to dedicate a separate post to the fact, after paying $50 for a pay-per-view, I don’t get to watch the full damn card. Especially since those undercard boys are usually the ones fighting to keep the dream alive, often showing more heart than anyone appearing in the main fights. But, again, that’s a rant for another day. Today we celebrate UFC 100.

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher: The night begins with two moderately fresh faces to the professional scene, both standout fighters. Akiyama’s mastery of judo and evolving standup should prove a formidable obstacle for the well-rounded Belcher. Partially because his name bothers me and partially because I feel Akiyama has a more experienced set of notches on his belt, I see this one going Akiyama’s way.

Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping: I cannot wait for this fight. Henderson and Bisping remind me a lot of each other, so this will likely be a wisdom vs. youth affair. Both have tremendous strength and lasting power, but Henderson has had some trouble finishing a fight in his last few bouts. Bisping, on the other hand, is cocky and hungry and quite good for such a young competitor. I fully expect this one to be a brawl and Michael “The Count” Bisping to have his arm raised high once all is said and done.

Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago: Here we have another contest between two similar athletes. Fitch has a great ground game, can go the distance and has only gotten better with each fight. Thiago, though, is a master of submission and, as his debut in the UFC earlier this year showed, has some knockout power. If the fight stays standing, I’m giving it to Fitch. If it drops to the ground, I have a feeling Thiago will have minimal trouble turning the table in his favor, possibly removing one of Fitch’s limbs in the process.

Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves: I’ll give Alves a nod for the fact he’s shown improvement over the years. And I suppose St. Pierre had to fight somebody, so it might as well be him. Alves, though, is not ready for a mentally and physically prepared St. Pierre and that’s exactly who he’s about to step into the octagon with. I expect to see a title fight between St. Pierre and the winner of the Fitch/Thiago bout by year’s end.

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir: I don’t really like Brock Lesnar or Frank Mir, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see these two guys tee off on each other for five rounds of viciousness. Mir made a plaything out of Lesnar’s ankle in their first outing following a series of blows from Lesnar that left me wondering how long Mir could survive. That was Lesnar’s first experience in the UFC and one of his first professional bouts in MMA. But the dude has learned a lot since then and can still hit like a jackhammer.

Once again, I’m calling this fight based on where it goes. From the ground, I think Mir will use his experience to keep the match in his favor. If it stays standing, though, I’m not sure if anyone can suffer too many blows from Lesnar’s ginormous mitts.

In short, I don’t see either of the belts changing hands at UFC 100, but I do think every fight on the card will be worthy of its lofty placement within the biggest event in the promotion’s history.

Mark Coleman vs. Stephan Bonnar
Mac Danzig vs. Jim Miller
Jon Jones vs. Jake O'Brien
Dong Hyun Kim vs. TJ Grant
CB Dollaway vs. Tom Lawlor
Matt Grice vs. Shannon Gugerty

(As an aside, the gloves are officially coming off between staticechoes and one pepperedthought. Look for more on this feud come UFC 101)


peskypepper said...

it's on! wooo!

Jeff The Jeff said...

My picks:

LESNAR over Mir
GSP over Alves
BISPING over Henderson
AKIYAMA over Belcher
FITCH over Thiago
BONNAR over Coleman
MILLER over Danzig
JONES over O'Brien
KIM over Grant
DOLLOWAY over Lawlor
GUGERTY over Grice

If you want detailed fight breakdowns, you'll have to visit my Web site: