UFC 117: "Silva vs. Sonnen"
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen
Luke Thomas: It's just hard for me to see a way for Chael to win this. I won't rule it out, but it is sure as hell unlikely. He has to avoid being KO'd and submitted while doing more damage throughout the course of the fight. Best of luck, Chael, because you're going to need it. Silva by TKO.
Kid Nate: Some worry about Anderson's age and his physical conditioning. I'm more worried by his motivation and perversity. Here's hoping Sonnen is dangerous enough with his wrestling to force Silva to KO him quickly. Silva by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: It all comes down to if Sonnen can A) survive 5 full rounds and B) can win one of the first three rounds. If he can steal one of the first three then he can maybe take over four and five with his wrestling if he has managed to wear Silva down. The problem is, he's just not good enough at preventing submissions if he does get on top and not good enough at striking to hang when they're on the feet. Unless we see the Roy Jones Jr. style "got old overnight" situation this shouldn't really be that much of a contest. Anderson Silva by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Sonnen may land some early takedowns on Silva, but I just don't see it lasting. Sonnen's slow and he doesn't have the same power threat Dan Henderson did. Silva might toy with him a bit, but I expect a finish in this one. Anderson Silva by TKO, round 3.
Chris Nelson: Josh Gross said that Sonnen's trainer Robert Follis thinks Chael "has Anderson right where he wants him." Twenty-plus years of watching cartoons tells me that's what the bad guy always says just before the piano falls on his head. Silva via TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: What is Sonnen's kryptonite? Submissions. I can't see Sonnen grinding Silva for 25 minutes without getting caught. Silva by submission.
Leland Roling: Sonnen's stand-up looked awful in pre-fight video, but he hasn't claimed he'll try to outstrike Silva. The problem, however, is that he really offers nothing on the feet, and I think Silva's length is going to be a real problem on the ground. In any case, I don't think Sonnen is going to have fun being picked apart on the feet early. Silva via KO.
Jonathan Snowden: I worry about a fighter like Anderson Silva. He reminds me quite a bit of boxer Roy Jones. Both men rely on a physical edge, hyper speed reflexes and reaction time that makes it look like their opponents are moving in slow motion. At some point, that kind of fighter is bound to fall of a cliff. When it happens, it won't be pretty. I hope we aren't there yet with the 35 year old Silva. Silva, KO, Round 2.
Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Hughes
Luke Thomas: I don't think Hughes has either the power or explosion on his takedowns that he once did. More importantly, Almeida is strong at this weight, has some measure of striking skill and an active guard. I expect Almedia to get it done. Almedia by decision.
Kid Nate: I think Hughes has aged more than Almeida but it's hard to know those things. Almeida by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Hughes is good enough at avoiding submissions and much better at wrestling. His striking is also a little bit underrated and I'd give him the slight edge if they stay standing. An Almeida win wouldn't be a shocker, but I think Hughes is a pretty safe pick. Matt Hughes by decision.
Mike Fagan: Ricardo Almeida is a lot like Matt Hughes, except with a better BJJ pedigree and no wrestling. Unfortunately, wrestling's going to be the main factor here. Matt Hughes by decision.
Chris Nelson: Almeida looked good against Matt Brown in his welterweight debut. Also, Almeida is not Renzo Gracie. Almeida via submission, round two.
Nick Thomas: I've actually been impressed with Almeida's wrestling I can actually see him winning a couple rounds by taking Hughes down With that, it's Almeida by decision.
Leland Roling: Tough fight to call, but I think Hughes is aging rapidly in the context of being competitive. He has the wrestling to nullify Almeida, but I think Almeida is going to control him with his frame off his back, something Serra could have used. Almeida via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: Let's be honest: neither man is the fighter he once was. Since Hughes started his decline from a higher perch, I'm on board with him here. Hughes, Decision.
Junior Dos Santos vs. Roy Nelson
Luke Thomas: It's hard for me to envision Nelson getting dos Santos to the floor and holding him there long enough to submit him. Again, I won't rule it out, but I don't find it likely. Dos Santos by KO.
Kid Nate: Not feeling good for Roy here. I think he'll make it a fight but I think it will be a one sided in Junior's favor. Dos Santos by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm not particularly sold on either guy. Nelson has suddenly picked up a reputation as a world beater despite being a guy who never really proved out anything against world class competition, including some sweet revisionism with such things as the idea that in the Arlovski fight Nelson was on the verge of getting a submission but the ref made a save rather than just a poor stand-up. Junior has looked very impressive and I love his striking, but he also hasn't fought much speed or anyone with much by way of wrestling, in a division where wrestling really factors in at the top that is something I want to see. Nelson has good enough wrestling and such a good top game that this is a good fight to prove things out. Junior dos Santos by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: This fight should be five rounds. I'm interested to see what Roy can do in top position if he gets there. I don't think he'll get there. Junior Dos Santos by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: "Big Country" only needs three takedowns to win this fight, but they're going to be awfully tough to come by. Dos Santos via TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: I really hope we get to see Nelson take Dos Santos down. But I doubt it. Nelson will play around with the stand up in the first round and that's where it will end. Dos Santos by TKO.
Leland Roling: Nelson's highlight reel knockouts got him here, but Dos Santos is going to use a stiff, quick jab to keep Nelson at bay. Nelson could potentially do some damage on the ground, but I think he's going to have a real hard time getting there. Junior Dos Santos via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: Roy Nelson is a hell of a nice guy. But in what world is Nelson a potential title contender? He's beaten an NFL washout with a handful of pro fights, a lesser version of Semmy Schilt, and Kimbo Slice. Not exactly a murderer's row there. I think Dos Santos brings the Nelson bandwagon back to reality here. Dos Santos, KO, Round 1.
Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch
Luke Thomas: I know he had problems cutting weight, but I don't see Fitch controlling Alves like he once did. I like Alves in the rematch. Alves by TKO.
Kid Nate: Before Alves blew the weigh ins I was thinking he'd win. Having seen these guys at the weigh ins made me revisit their first fight which was a one-sided beat down ala Randy Couture vs Vitor Belfort 3. Fitch by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Striking is a timing game and one that does not benefit from long layoffs. More than any other group strikers have a hard time coming back from layoffs and looking right in the first fight back. Fitch has been doing his thing and taking fights while Alves has been hurt or having brain surgery. I've got to go with the guy who has been active and isn't going to be trying to find his rhythm. Jon Fitch by decision.
Mike Fagan: This fight should be five rounds. Fitch can get himself in trouble when he stands in front of guys. I think he's only stood with guys with average or bad standup to get some practical experience. He'll wrestle Alves here. Thiago's improved, but I think people give his takedown defense way too much credit. Jon Fitch by decision.
Chris Nelson: Tough to know what to make of Alves, whose weight issues are now bordering on the absurd. I'm not sure Fitch has recently taken shots as hard as Alves will throw his way, but nonetheless I can't see it going any other way than Fitch via decision.
Nick Thomas: Fitch will take Alves down at will. Fitch by decision.
Leland Roling: Well... the weigh-in debacle makes me believe Fitch will win, but picking these fights is all about who I want to win. Fitch is a nice guy, good fighter, and obviously successful, but he bores me to no end. Thiago Alves could KO Fitch at any moment, and I'm banking on it. Thiago Alves via KO.
Jonathan Snowden: Is Fitch destined to clear out the division while never tasting championship gold? It's possible, but I like Alves to send Fitch back to the untelevized undercards. The Brazilian is too big, too strong, and hits too hard. I can't see Fitch being able to grind out three rounds with this monster. Alves, KO, Round 3.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Clay Guida
Luke Thomas: Dos Anjos is slick, but not slick enough to stop Guida. Guida by decision.
Kid Nate: I think dos Anjos is physical enough and skilled enough to get past Guida. Could be wrong, the Caveman is a very fierce gatekeeper at 155lbs. Dos Anjos by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: I think Guida's sub defense is just good enough to work his style and work to a decision. Clay Guida by decision.
Mike Fagan: This is a real coin flip. I like Guida to stifle with top position though. Clay Guida by decision.
Chris Nelson: Dos Anjos will know that his odds of winning this fight decrease every second after the first five minutes. I think he can sub the woolly wildman. Dos Anjos via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: Love this fight. I give Dos Anjos the slight edge on the feet and the ground. Going with Dos Anjos by decision.
Leland Roling: Great fight, Dos Anjos has the ground abilities to give Clay problems, and Clay's terrible stand-up will probably falter as well. But will his cardio? Hell no. Clay Guida via dog humping.
Jonathan Snowden: This is a great fight between two guys on the opposite end of the popularity scale. People don't know Dos Anjos yet, but they will after this fight. Dos Anjos, submission, round 3.
Tim Boetsch vs. Todd Brown
Luke Thomas: Boetsch should win this, but stranger things have happened. Boetsch by decision.
Kid Nate: I would not want to be a last minute alternate facing Tim Boetsch. Boetsch by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Boetsch is going to make very quick work of Brown. Tim Boetsch by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Don't see how Boetsch loses to a guy on short notice. Tim Boetsch by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Tim Boetsch via TKO, round one.
Nick Thomas: Boetsch has this by experience. Boetsch by TKO.
Leland Roling: Boetsch should win this, but it'll be a close war on the feet. Even in regional competition, Boetsch wasn't a world beater by any means. Should be entertaining, but I'll take Boetsch via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: Not only do I predict this one will go to Boetsch, but I expect him to do something spectacular enough to be shown on the PPV. Boetsch by TKO, round 1.
Dennis Hallman vs. Ben Saunders
Luke Thomas: I think Saunders is going to give Hallman a pounding. Saunders by TKO.
Kid Nate: Saunders is just too tall, rangy and dangerous for the battle-weary but ever-game Hallman. Saunders by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Hallman is going to have a hell of a time getting anything done standing against Saunders and on the ground Ben's length is enough to make the game of a guy like Hallman very tough to execute. Ben Saunders by TKO, round 2.
Mike Fagan: Saunders should take this on the six inch height difference alone. Ben Saunders by TKO, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Hallman's a tough old salt, but this is a perfect pairing for the lanky Saunders. Saunders via decision.
Nick Thomas: Saunders with the height and reach advantage. Saunders by TKO.
Leland Roling: Hallman's going to have a tough time against Saunders' length, and I doubt we'll see a BJJ clinic against such a large opponent. Saunders should show off some stand-up prowess here. Ben Saunders via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: Look, Hallman is probably 150 years old in fighter years. He's an opponent at this point, one Saunders should be too physical for. Saunders via decision.
Dustin Hazelett vs. Rick Story
Luke Thomas: Hazelett is extremely dangerous, but I like Story to hurt him enough to control him. Story by decision.
Kid Nate: I don't see where Story's wrestling can overcome Hazelett's BJJ and Story is no better than McLovin standing. Hazelett by submission.
Mike Fagan: It feels like Hazelett's been out more than seven months. Tough fight back too. I think he can catch Story, but Story just might be too strong. Rick Story by decision.
Chris Nelson: Three years on, I think we can all agree that the nickname "McLovin" has lost a bit of its lustre. The reference is about as dusty as Dustin is likely rusty, having sat on the shelf for seven months following the Daley loss, and 15 months before that. I almost think he should just go for broke the first time Story shoots on him. Maybe he will... Hazelett via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: This will look like Charles Oliveira vs. Darren Elkins. Hazelett by submission.
Leland Roling: Nate should watch some more tape. Story continues to improve his stand-up, and while it isn't unbelievable -- it'll be good enough to make Hazelett start wishing he'd shot earlier. Story's wrestling will be very tough for Hazelett to break, especially with such a long layoff. Rick Story via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: I think Story is in a lot of trouble if this thing hits the ground. If it stays standing, the audience is going to be in trouble since neither guy is any good at striking. I like Hazelett here. Hazelett, submission.
Johny Hendricks vs. Charlie Brenneman
Luke Thomas: I'd be shocked in Brenneman pulled the upset. Hendricks by submission.
Kid Nate: Hendricks should beat him up on the feet and on the ground if he takes it there. Hendricks by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Hendricks is a big favorite for a reason. Johny Hendricks by decision.
Mike Fagan: Hendricks via superior wrestling. Johny Hendricks by decision.
Chris Nelson: Hendricks has beaten Brenneman before in college wrestling. It should be easier with punches. Hendricks via TKO, round two.
Nick Thomas: Hendricks keeps this standing. Hendricks by decision.
Leland Roling: Johny Hendricks via Mike Tyson uppercuts in the clinch. Hendricks via TKO.
Jonathan Snowden: Hendricks is being groomed for big things. Hendricks by decision.
Christian Morecraft vs. Stefan Struve
Luke Thomas: Morecraft seems defensively strong and Struve is certainly a little sloppy, so the pick is difficult here. I'll go Struve. Struve by decision.
Kid Nate: Someday missionaries from advanced nations will bring the jab and the front kick to Holland, until then Struve will engage in ugly inside exchanges he should be able to avoid entirely. Still, I think he's in a different class than Morecraft and will win here. Struve by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Man, I'm obviously a big Struve fan but the kid has to learn to use his length effectively. There is no reason a little guy like Roy Nelson should have been able to get inside so easilly on him. I think he's got a favorable match-up here and one he will win but I'd really like to see him start to travel and get work in a lot of different camps where they can teach him some new tricks. Most coaches would love to be able to try to do something with a guy his height. Stefan Struve by submission, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Things have been bumpy for Struve, but I think he rights the ship here. Stefan Struve by submission, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Morecraft turned pro just over two years ago and has less than 10 total minutes of cage time. Unless this is a trap fight and Joe Silva is some sort of evil genius, I think Struve runs away with this one. Struve via submission, round one.
Nick Thomas: I'm guessing this is going to look a lot like Lesnar (Struve) vs. Carwin (Moorecraft). Can Struve survive the first round? I think so. Struve by submission.
Leland Roling: Honestly, Morecraft might bomb Struve's chin and win this early. But I'll bank on Struve actually learning something from his previous bouts. Struve by submission.
Jonathan Snowden: I like that Nick compared Struve to Lesnar. Visually,it's hilarious just to picture them standing side by side. My mind is reeling, but not enough to take a chance on Moorecraft. Struve, TKO, round 1.
Rodney Wallace vs. Phil Davis
Luke Thomas: Phil Davis is going to take away Wallace's strength and give him a taste of his own medicine. Davis by TKO.
Kid Nate: Phil Davis is the latest in the Matt Hughes/Jake Shields tradition of wrestlers who become submission artists except he's definitely the much more accomplished wrestler and probably will outshine them as a grappler too. Davis by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Davis has sick natural gifts, he should win this one in lopsided fashion. Phil Davis by submission, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Sorry Rodney. Mr. Wonderful's gonna run all over you. Phil Davis by submission, round 2.
Chris Nelson: Wrestling! Davis via decision.
Nick Thomas: Davis is going to destroy Wallace. Davis by decision.
Leland Roling: Rodney Wallace, love ya, but you are going to get dominated. Davis via decision.
Jonathan Snowden: Davis is supposed to win for a reason. It's because he's good. Davis, decision.f