Montreal Quebec, Canada will be invaded by the World's largest Mixed Martial Arts organization as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brings it's big dogs, and two time winner of Canadian Athlete of the year to the Bell Centre in Montreal on December 11th. To help you get into the mood I have once again decided to do the predictions column in a slightly different then normal fashion as I will break down 2 fights a day from the PPV card leading to Friday in which I will break down how I feel the Main Event between Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, and mouthpiece challenger Josh Koscheck will play out.
Today is the second of three installments, therefore we will be focusing on rising star Charles Oliveira as he looks to catapult his name close to the top of the list if he is able to get passed Jim Miller. Also two of the tallest in the Heavyweight division will square off, as the 6'11" Stefan Struve meets up with the 6'7" Sean McCorkle. Without further ado, let's get to talking the 'whats' and 'ifs' of these two matchups.
What an incredibly tough match up to call. You almost hate to see either of these two lose, as the potential is almost overflowing out of these two fighters. Miller is 18-2, with his only losses coming by way of decision losses to current Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar, and current number one contender Gray Maynard. If that's the worst that happens to you in 20 pro fights (7-1 UFC), then you're in decent shape. A very crafty submission specialist is Jim Miller, so it makes it all the more interesting when taking into consideration, the style of his opponent.
Charles Oliveira is a sneaky submission fighter himself, and has another great asset, which is the fact that in his 14 fight undefeated career, he has 6 wins by way of knockout, 7 by way of submission, and only one going the distance. It's really a record that had it consisted of more then 2 UFC fights, it would make picking Oliveira a lot easier. I have high hopes for Charles, and do think that he has what it takes to compete with the best of the best, and potentially hold the gold someday, but I fear that it may be a tad too soon to pit him against a 7-1 UFC fighter on the rise like Miller. I truly hope I get this one wrong, as I'm a big fan of Charles, but I have learned many a time not to bet with your heart. This one has Submission of the Night bonus written all over it, as I marginally, and sadly lean towards the more 'big stage' experienced Jim Miller.
Look for Miller to be surprisingly game on his feet early on, but as Charles starts to find his range we'll start to see reversal, after roll, after guard pass, etc, until one player of the ground game makes a mistake.
***Jim Miller by submission due to armbar***
'Big Sexy', 'The Hater', 'The Alpha Male', 'Curtain Jerker'. Whatever you or Sean want to call him, Mr. McCorkle is a loud, and entertaining piece of work. Fighting normally at around 320lbs, McCorkle had to make 265lbs to make the limit in his UFC debut against Mark Hunt. A weight that Sean himself, claims to have never seen since the age of 18. McCorkle made that almost 20 year weight hiatus and disposed of former K-1 and Pride fighter Mark Hunt in just over a minute, while placing Hunt on the injured indefinitely list.
Standing opposite McCorkle will be the towering 6'11" Stefan Struve, who at just 22 years old has already competed in 24 mixed martial arts fights, and 4 kickboxing fights. Struve has only seen the judges scorecards once in his career, and has an impressive 14 submissions. So the question then becomes can he take the onslaught from a Heavyweight that will undoubtedly be pushing 285lbs by fight time, and avoid the submission game that McCorkle as well possesses?
The weird thing about this fight is that no matter where it ends up I don't see either man having a distinct advantage. Why is that weird you ask? Well at Heavyweight it's rare to see two well rounded fighters compete. Struve may not have the striking power that McCorkle has, but he does have a surprisingly durable chin, and an even more game heart. This one again has me flipping back and forth on who could emerge the victor. But since we haven't seen much of McCorkle, and we know a lot more about Struve I suppose one should go with what he knows... Unfortunately I'm not so easily sold. I see holes in young Struve's stand up that are just too large to overlook. I feel that just as Junior dos Santos, and Roy Nelson were able to do, Sean McCorkle too will find a way to land the clean shot. The thing Sean will capitalize on that some of Stefan's opponents weren't able to, is Sean knows how to lock in a quick submission. Look for Sean to follow a rocked Struve to the ground and lock in a fight ending submission.
***Sean McCorkle by submisson by way of rear naked choke***
So that about does it for today's installment of predictions. Tune in to tomorrow for the possible play out of the Main Event everyone has been looking forward to since the announcement that the two would coach opposite each other on the Ultimate Fighter, as current reigning Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre takes on Canada's favorite villain in Josh Koscheck.
And don't forget to let me know how you see today's predicted fights going in your eyes. Let's hear it blackbelts.