Alright, Saturday is getting closer and closer and I've hardly said a word about the upcoming UFC. I guess that's because PRIDE 33 was such a great event and there have been so many hot match-ups rumored.
Main Card Bouts:
-Tim Sylvia (#5 Heavyweight in the World)* vs. Randy Couture
I've got to go along with the odds here. Couture got drummed out of the Heavyweight division way back in 2002 because he just couldn't handle the size of Ricco Rodriguez and Josh Barnett. Sylvia is bigger than either of those guys, has an incredible reach advantage, a great sprawl, KO power and Father Time is on his side too. I love Randy and will be rooting for him but just don't see a path to victory for the Natural. Sylvia has some good comments on the match and the improved UFC Heavyweight division on UFCFightNews.
-Matt Hughes (#2 Welterweight in the World)* vs. Chris Lytle
This fight has tune-up for Matt Hughes written all over it. I like Lytle a lot but his losses to Joe Riggs and Karo Parisyan give Hughes a pretty easy to follow recipe for beating him -- walk through the punches, get the take down and ground and pound to TKO or decision. Hughes' strong submission game will also create opportunities. Not that Lytle has no chance, but he's not a one punch KO artist (only 3 knock outs in 22 wins) and it'll be hard for him to keep the fight standing. Lytle has relied on a strong submission game for most of his wins and I don't see Hughes getting caught.
-Rich Franklin (#4 Middleweight in the World)* vs. Jason MacDonald
Many have called this another tune up fight to set up a title shot for Franklin. "Ace" doesn't agree. MacDonald has looked good in his two most recent UFC outings but he's facing a whole different level of competition in Franklin. Franklin will likely keep this fight standing and punish MacDonald. If the fight has a lot of scrambles on the ground MacDonald's chances increase dramatically.
-Renato "Babalu" Sobral (#7 Light Heavyweight in the World)* vs. Jason Lambert
Some say that Lambert matches up well against Babalu but I don't see it. Sobral is a much better wrestler and submission artist than Lambert and is faster. I see Babalu putting on a clinic in this fight.Take down, ground and pound, submission.
-Martin Kampmann vs. Drew McFedries
I'm not sure why they're putting this fight on the main card instead of the Jon Fitch fight. I guess they're expecting a stand-up war. Kampmann is a more technical striker but he'll need to watch McFedries KO power.
-Gleison Tibau vs. Jason Dent
-Jamie Varner vs. Jason Gilliam
Why this match isn't on the air baffles me. Fitch is a contender for the title! Fioravanti has the proverbial puncher's chance but I don't see him winning this one. Hamill is the definitive TUF nuub. Good wrestler but completely inexperienced and one-dimensional. Potential media star but not that great a fighter.
MMAWeekly has a great preview as well.