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The UFC limps into Vegas this weekend for what is supposed to be their best show of the year. Instead the injury bug has cut it down to a mediocre one at best. That being said, it should still be a good night fights with some great highlight reel action. Making the final roster is Rashad Evans, Thiago Silva, Dustin Hazelett, and many more. To kick off my UFC 108 preview and predictions I start with Junior Dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel.
Junior Dos Santos vs. Gilbert Yvel:
UFC 108 is the UFC introduction of a Hurricane, That man is Gilbert Yvel. The old school Pride fighter is finally making his UFC debut thanks to the bad luck of the T-shirt guys (Affliction). If you are a new school fan then you will be greatly pleased with Yvel. He is 36-13-1 with wins over Pedro Rizzo, Gary Goodridge, Cheick Kongo, and a guy named Big Mo T. He has lost to Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Fujita, Don Frye, Jeremy Horn, and Josh Barnett.
Yvel is a very interesting fighter that will earn tons of fans with each fight he has in the UFC. His highlight reel KO of Gary Goodridge is still one of the most impressive MMA stoppages of all time. His use of his knees and ability to stop the take down will also make the fans stand and cheer.
If you are an old school Pride type then you remember that this is the guy that was a part of a gruesome no contest fight against Wanderlei Silva due to some unfortunate groin kicks.
Yvel may not have defeated any of the MMA A listers, but he has at least been good enough to earn fights with them. Unfortunately for him, the UFC’s heavyweight division is turning into a size battle as much of a skill one. If he is going to be competitive he will either have to get on the Frank Mir diet or cut to 205.
Welcoming the heavy handed Yvel is Junior Dos Santos. While Junior is a big ol’ boy, he is not the size of Lesnar. He will be a very good test for Yvel. Junior is undefeated in the UFC and has done nothing but increase his stock since joining MMA’s elite organization.
When Joe Silva put this fight together he had fireworks in mind. Both of these guy will be looking to put the other to sleep with their fists. From the starting bell, this one will be nothing but action. In my sleeper pick for fight of the night, don’t blink.
Prediction: Gilbert welcome to the UFC. With that comes lights, fame, better sponsors, more money, more nerves, more cheers…You get my point. While Yvel has fought on the big stage plenty of times, the UFC has a weird affect on the this type of fighter. While Junior has been in the UFC for three fights, he hasn’t had the hardest fights of the division. At this point he is a gatekeeper that is steadily working his way up. A win here would be huge.
Either fighter can win this one, and I expect the final betting line to be pretty close. Although Yvel’s last loss was to Josh Barnett, I would say that his level of competition hasn’t been as tough as Dos Santos’. I feel that Junior will be more prepared and be able to out last the UFC newcomer.
Nerves have a funny affect on the body, and I have a funny feeling that the longer this fight goes, the stronger Junior will get. Junior has never been knocked out in his career, and I don’t think this will be his first.
Junior Dos Santos by late TKO