Of all the fights on the card this Saturday at UFC 89, none promises more brutal action than the match-up of former PRIDE wunderkind Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Brazilian star-in-the-making Luis Arthur Cane.
UFC.com is hyping up the bout:
The now 24-year-old Sokoudjou has redeemed himself a little bit with a first round win against fellow judoka Kazuhiro Nakamura at UFC 84 in Las Vegas, his first in the UFC. In that fight Sokoudjou appeared very focused and—maybe more telling of an evolved psychological approach—far looser.
...Sokoudjou leaped at the chance to square off with the hard-socking Cane, who destroyed Jason Lambert in a couple of minutes at UFC 85 in London with strikes. Like Machida, Cane isn’t a one-trick pony and won’t rattle easily.
"I think he’s going to try and come in and beat the crap out me," Sokoudjou says in his very relaxed manner. "He’s a good striker, and he’s good on the ground. I’m going to respect his power. I know he can knock people out, so I’ll go in there knowing he has the potential to hurt me. But I’ve got a game plan, and I need to stick to it."
Cane hasn't really made an impression on the casual fans yet, but he's had the hardcores buzzing for a while.
And having just re-watched Sokoudjou's WEC loss to Glover Teixeira, I have to say I like Cane's chances. Sokoudjou rocketed to prominence with flash KOs of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona. But neither of those guys (for all Little Nog's boxing skill) is much of a kick-boxer. Cane is.
Cane expects a tough fight, via Fighters Only:
“I’m not expecting an easy fight. I’m going for a war but I’m pretty confident,” he added. “I know I can get there and knock him out, or submit him if the fight goes to the ground too.”
I expect Cane to use his reach to pick Sokoudjou apart at a distance before moving in for the kill. But I also wouldn't be shocked to see Sokoudjou's judo come into play when Cane tries to clinch and putting the Brazilian on his ass.
We'll see on Saturday, either way, it seems logical to expect fireworks and the winner could very well emerge as a rising contender in the UFC's stacked Light Heavyweight divsion.