Home | News | Da BLOG | Interviews | Editorials | Guest Editorials
Photo Gallery | Techniques | Reviews | Upcoming Tournaments/Seminars| Shop | Links | Contact Us

September 10, 2005
Cage Rage 13
Saturday, September 10, 2005

Jason DeLucia vs Anthony Rea: DELUCIA by TKO

Mike Bisping vs Cyborg: CYBORG by KO

Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro vs Jean Silva: SHAOLIN by arm triangle

Marcelo "Uirapuru" Azevedo vs Jorge Rivera: RIVERA by TKO

***BREAKDOWNS***

DeLucia vs Rea
DeLucia is probably best remembered as being the victim of Royce Gracie's vicious armbar that had DeLucia tapping about 20 times. He's come a long way since then. After his appearances in the UFC representing the 5 animal system of Kung Fu, he ventured into Pancrase and briefly trained with Ken Shamrock's Lions Den. He's fought almost exclusively in Pancrase and racked up over 50 fights, fighting nearly everyone in the organization. His last fight was 2 years ago in Frank Shamrock's ShootBox event where he won by rear naked choke. His overall record stands at 33-19-1. Rea is a fighter out of France and sports an 8-4 record. He's fought Rick Franklin, Marvin Eastman, and Cyborg going 1-2 against them (he TKO'd Cyborg) and has finished fights with strikes and submissions so he seems rounded. DeLucia has about 4 times the experience of Rea and has fought higher-level opponents for a very long time. The biggest thing working against DeLucia is the ring rust factor. In the 2 years since his last fight, Rea formed his 12-fight record. I think Rea will be a handful for DeLucia on the feet or the ground but ultimately DeLucia's experience will come through and catch Rea in a submission.

Bisping vs Cyborg
Cyborg trains at Chute Boxe and bears a close resemblance to Wanderlei Silva except he has a lot more tattoos. Like his counterpart, Cyborg likes to trade on the feet but uses more power than technique. He's lost to the bigger names he's fought (Shogun, Pele) but has KO'd some decent fighters in Osami Shibuya and K-1 fighter Jefferson Silva. He hit a slump losing 3 fights in a row but has bounced back winning his last 2 fights by KO. Bisping is undefeated at 8-0 with most wins by way of KO. He's beaten some of Britain's top names in Mark Weir and Mark Epstein. This fight should make for some great fireworks and chances are slim it will go the distance. Cyborg has more experience and fought bigger names, but Bisping might give him all he can handle. This is a tough one to call but I'm going with Cyborg due to his exposure in bigger shows. Both will come out swinging for the fences with Cyborg connecting with the finishing punches.

Shaolin vs Jean
Shaolin is one of those gifted BJJers that's been able to take his dominance in BJJ and apply it to MMA. He was the shooto champ and has a 12-1 record. A few years back I remember him being active in the amateur wrestling circuit and at one point said if he had to phase out bjj to advance in wrestling, he would do it. Luckily he chose MMA instead, but his base in wrestling has helped him take his opponents to the mat where he dominates and usually submits them with his signature arm triangle choke. He's used it to dispatch Joe Hurley, Joachim Hansen, and Eddie Yagin. Other wins via decision have been over Ryan Bow, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Ivan Menjivar. At the end of 2004 he suffered his first loss (TKO) in a rematch to current shooto champ Tatsuya Kawajiri, but has come back strong with 2 back to back wins against shooto fighter Tetsuji Kato (arm triangle) and Gerald Strebendt (guillotine). Jean is a BJJ black belt with an impressive 12-3-2 record. His 3 losses were from heavy hitter Paul Jenkins by TKO, Eddie Bravo's student Gerald Strebendt by rear naked choke and most recently a decision loss to Takanori Gomi. Going the distance with Gomi is an accomplishment in itself considering that prior to Jean, Gomi finished his last 6 opponents. Jean avenged his loss to Strebendt by triangling him in a rematch. Jean likes to finish most opponents by triangle or rear naked. It's always interesting when two BJJ black belts tangle in MMA and to see they change up their game when they can incorporate striking. Shaolin should be to handle Jean on the ground without much trouble. If he can't catch him in the arm triangle, Shaolin should at least be able to take him down, control him from the top and advance position. The only time Shaolin has been stopped was by strikes from Kawajiri, so if Jean can hang with Gomi and survive the KO, keeping it standing is his best chance of winning. If Strebendt can catch Jean in a choke, I'll say Shaolin puts him away with one as well (arm triangle).

Azevedo vs Rivera
Rivera is mainly a stand up fighter and has wins over some bigger names such as Tim Sylvia when they were amateurs. Other highlight wins include TKOing BJJ black belt Travis Lutter and decisioning stand up fighter David Louiseau. He's shown that his weak point is the ground game. Lee Murray and Rich Franklin were able to submit him with armbars. Recently he's been keeping active in smaller shows in case UFC comes knocking again. Since his last UFC appearance against Franklin, he's gone 2-1 in other shows. The best opponent out of those 3 fights was Anderson Silva who beat him via TKO. Azevedo represents Gracie Barra and has a MMA record of 3-3. All 3 losses have been by decision, one being to Babalu and the other to BJJ black belt Eduardo Jamelao. His 3 wins haven't been over anyone of note but he was able to submit all of them. The big question is if Azevedo has the ability to take Rivera down. If not he's in for a beating on the feet. I'll say Rivera plays a sprawl and brawl game to get the win by TKO.

August 31, 2005
DEEP
Saturday, September 3, 2005

Din Thomas vs Tyrone Glover: DIN by decision

Eoh Won Jin vs Jutaro Nakao: NAKAO by triangle

***BREAKDOWNS***

Din vs Tyrone
Din started fighting back in '98 and has racked up an impressive record of 19-4. He's a well-rounded fighter who's got a lean build and is very strong for someone his size. He fought Caol Uno early in his career and gave him all he could handle until he got caught with a rear naked choke. As a testament to Din's heart, he was getting dominated in a fight against Bushido fighter Mishima, but came back to win it when he opened him up with knees for the TKO victory. Other notable wins have been over Jens Pulver (reverse heel hook), Fabiano Iha and Matt Serra. Tyrone is a BJJ black belt and is very exciting to watch. The first time I saw him in action was against Joe Scarola in a submission-grappling match. Tyrone has got some of the nastiest and fastest toe holds I've ever seen. He had Scarola scrambling to get out of them and was limping off the mat when the match was over (Tyrone won by points). In the So Cal Pro Am Tournament in '03, Tyrone pulled off a spectacular flying toehold to submit Paulo Guilloebel in less than a minute. He also put Andy Wang to sleep with an unusual modified guillotine. Tyrone won the Pride try outs earlier this year and trained with Matt Hume to sharpen his MMA skills. Recently Tyrone extended his MMA record to 4-0, by putting away his opponent via keylock while the President of Pride looked on from the audience. Experience will be the biggest factor in this fight. Tyrone is a gifted athlete, but taking on a fighter like Din this early in his career might be a little too much too soon. Din is a master of taking opponents out of their element and making them fight where they are weakest. Din is going to make him work for the takedown while punishing him on the feet. If it does go to the ground, Din is savvy enough he should be able to work out of any submission attempts thrown at him. Din has was able to fend of the submissions of Iha, Serra and Uno. If those three couldn't put him away, I don't see Tyrone doing it either. I feel that Din will keep it on the feet and punish Tyrone as long as possible. If Tyrone does get it to the ground he'll be hard pressed to keep it there. I feel it will go the distance with Din getting the decision by landing more shots.

Jin vs Nakao
The only info I have on Jin is that he's 1-0 in MMA, against an opponent I'm not familiar with. I'm assuming he's Korean from the sound of his name. Jutaro Nakao cut his teeth in the shooto organization and quickly stood out using his signature triangle choke to put most opponents to sleep, including Pat Miletich. Fighting for almost 10 years, he's amassed nearly 30 fights and has an overall record of 18-10-2. Most losses have been to top-level ground and pound fighters who knew about his triangle and effectively shut it down. Nakao has been keeping busy in the DEEP organization and just recently fought and lost a decision to ATT member, Marcus Aurelio in Pride Bushido. This should be an easy fight for Nakao. He's been getting better at his stand up so if isn't able to put Jin away on the feet, look for him to pull guard and tap him with the triangle.

August 17, 2005
UFC 54
Saturday, August 20, 2005

Jeremy Horn vs Chuck Liddell: HORN by submission

Randy Couture vs Mike Van Arsdale: COUTURE by TKO

Frank Trigg vs George St. Pierre: ST. PIERRE by TKO

Diego Sanchez vs Brian Gassaway: DIEGO by submission

Tra Telligman vs Tim Sylvia: SYLVIA by TKO

Matt Lindland vs Joe Doerkson: LINDLAND by decision

Trevor Prangley vs Travis Lutter: PRANGLEY by decision

James Irvin vs Terry Martin: MARTIN by TKO

***BREAKDOWNS***

Horn vs Liddell
Liddell was on a hot streak for several years and then hit a couple of speed bumps with decisive losses to Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson. Liddell's stunning come back fight against Tito put him back in the fast lane and he solidified it with follow up KO's over Vernan White and his rematch with Couture. It's been over 3 years since Horn was in either of the big shows of Pride or UFC. Despite being one of the best fighters at his weight and very well rounded, it's been rumored that his methodical fight style or plain look has hurt his marketability. In any case, he's been keeping himself busy on the smaller shows and has notched almost 100 fights. In this fight he finally gets the opportunity, which most true MMA fans know he deserves, a shot at the UFC title. He comes into this fight on a 6-fight win streak. This is a rematch of almost 7 years ago where Liddell was put to sleep via Horn's arm triangle choke. On the feet the edge obviously goes to Liddell, but Horn is technical enough to be able to defend most of Liddell's strikes. On the ground the submissions belong to Horn. The trick is getting Liddell on the ground and keeping him there. I feel that Horn's time is now. I see him taking the fight to Liddell by constantly coming forward. He'll open Liddell up for the takedown by trading with him, then getting the tie up and taking it to the mat. Once it gets to the ground look for Horn's beautiful jiu-jitsu game to go into overdrive. He'll establish dominant position and get the tap with a clean submission.

Couture vs Van Arsdale
Couture was recently having the best days of his MMA career and is one of the older fighters in the sport. His dirty boxing from the clinch combined with his Olympic caliber Greco Roman wrestling skills have helped him demolish some of MMA's brightest stars in Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Vitor Belfort. Most thought he was going to run over Liddell in their rematch but Liddell connected with punches early in the fight and handed Couture his first loss by KO. Mike Van Arsdale is an Olympic caliber wrestler and one of those natural athletes with a lot of speed and power. Few know that he holds a wrestling win over Olympic wrestling gold medalist Cael Sanderson (who went undefeated in college at 159-0). Van Arsdale has a MMA record of 8-1 with his only loss being by KO to Wanderlei Silva many years ago. Van Arsdale's most notable win is a TKO over submission specialist Chris Haseman. Couture is able to do everything Van Arsdale can do, but is light years ahead when it comes to the stand up. If Couture can play the sprawl and brawl game and force Van Arsdale to box with him, it should be easy pickings. Van Arsdale’s best strategy is to use his speed to try and put Couture on his back and ground and pound. I say Couture is able to keep it on the feet and punish Arsdale with punches every time he shoots for a takedown. Eventually he connects with enough of them to take Van Arsdale out and get the TKO.

Trigg vs St. Pierre
Prior to Trigg's second loss to Matt Hughes by rear naked choke, he was showing excellent submission defense along with powerful ground and pound by TKO'ing lanky submission fighters in Dennis Hallman and Renato Verrissimo. But after his last fight with Hughes, he was forced to go back to the drawing board. Since then Trigg has shaken up his training and branched out and trained with Randy Couture and a few others. He'll need all the stand up training he can get in dealing with next opponent. St. Pierre as we all know is an up and coming UFC fighter. At 8-1 his sole loss was by armbar to current UFC champ Hughes. St. Pierre has dominated everyone else in impressive fashion. He annihilated Jay Hieron with sharp standup, caught Pete Spratt and Dave Strasser in submissions and bloodied Karo Parisyan and Jason Miller using his wrestling with ground and pound. He is what today's true MMA fighter is all about, well roundedness. Trigg has heavy hands, but his standup technique isn't as polished as St. Pierre's, and he is lacking in kicks. Trigg's best bet is to put St. Pierre on his back and ground and pound. But even from there St. Pierre should be savvy enough to still be dangerous with his submissions. Putting St. Pierre on his back is going to be a tall order. And as we saw with his takedown of Hughes, St. Pierre could very well put Trigg on his back. Much like his fight against Heiron, I say St. Pierre keeps it standing and rocks Trigg on the feet. From there I can see him following Trigg to the ground with more strikes for the TKO win.

Diego vs Gassaway
Diego was a stand out wrestler in high school, which gave him a big edge when he transitioned to submission grappling and MMA. Prior to his reality show appearance he was well known as one of the top submission grapplers in the US and had a MMA record of 11-0 with none of the first 10 fights going the distance. His last win was his most impressive with a convincing decision over ATT black belt, Jorge Santiago. On the TUF show Diego steam rolled over three opponents and decisioned a tough wrestler in Josh Koscheck. Gassaway has been on the scene since the mid 90's and has racked up a long fight resume of 21-12-1 fighting on the smaller shows. I believe he's a training partner to Shonie Carter so his skills are well rounded. Gassaway prefers submissions to striking and has won the majority of his fights with them. Diego should be able to handle Gassaway without much of a problem. Gassaway seems to come up short against the bigger names he fights, and Diego is well on his way to becoming one. Diego should be able to handle whatever submissions are thrown at him. Gassaway's best bet is to exploit Diego's weakness, which is his standup. But like the others in the TUF show, I say Diego uses his wrestling to nail the takedown and catch Gassaway in a submission early in the fight.

Telligman vs Sylvia
Sylvia is coming off an easy TKO victory in a small show, but his 47-second submission loss to Andrei Arlovski is still fresh in his mind. Sylvia fights out of the Miletich camp and they've honed him into a KO machine. With his long reach and heavy hands, his specialty is putting people to sleep. He first captured people's attention when he won the Superbrawl 8 man tournament back in 2002, finishing all 3 opponents with strikes. Two fights later he debuted in the UFC and stopped an iron chinned Cabbage. People still weren't sure how good he was until he sent Ricco Rodriguez into La La Land while he was the champ. Most didn't give Frank Mir much of a chance against him. Sylvia made the mistake of taking the fight to the ground and letting his guard down. In classic Mir style, he tied up the quick submission and snapped Sylvia's forearm. With that loss, followed shortly by his last loss to Arlovski, many have started to question if Sylvia is too one-dimensional. Telligman seems to be the guy the UFC and Pride call on when they need someone to step up ASAP. A few years ago I had heard that Telligman was trying his hand at pro boxing. Following that Pride called on him to take on heavy hitter Igor Vovchanchyn. Few gave Telligman a chance, but to everyone's suprise he outboxed Igor and took the decision. Telligman's last fight was 2 years ago in a rematch with Pedro Rizzo. He was taking it to Rizzo but eventually Rizzo rallied back with enough punches to get the TKO. Sylvia is probably favored going in, but he's not looking as invincible as he used to. Arlovski used his speed to floor him with a punch, and Telligman has got the boxing skills to do the same. I don't see this going to the ground since both like to trade heavily. Telligman probably has the better boxing technique and Sylvia has the reach. I'll say Sylvia lands the better shots and eventually floors Telligman to win it by TKO.

Lindland vs Doerkson
An Olympic silver medalist and one of the top MMA fighters at his weight, Lindland is a tall order for anyone. He's used his aggressiveness in wrestling and channeled it into his fights with great success. He comes at his opponent at full force, overwhelming them with a brutal ground and pound game. Since his last high profile loss to David Terrell by KO, Lindland's kept busy and finished UFC vet Mark Weir by TKO and showed impressive submission skills in armbarring Landon Showalter and guillotining BJJ black belt Travis Lutter. Doerkson is BJJ black belt and a submission machine, transitioning from one submission to another until he gets the tap. He's got a record of 31-6 with most of them being by submission. Doerkson's whole training regime was BJJ until 3 consecutive losses to Egan Inoue, David Louiseau, and Stephan Potvin forced him to round out his game with stand up. Some of the bigger names he's beaten are Lee Murray, Adrianne Serrano, Anthony Macias, John Alessio, Denis Kang, and Chris Leben. He had a rough UFC debut suffering a TKO loss to Joe Riggs, but has bounced back with 4 wins in a row. Lindland is going to be a handful for Doerkson. On the feet I don't see them being a threat to the other. Lindland will rush in and put Doerkson on his back and go to work on his ground and pound game. Doerkson will be comfortable here and work for his submissions, but Lindland has a knack for shutting people down. This has the potential of being lackluster and will resemble Lindland's fight against Ivan Salaverry. I'll say Lindland gets the decision by being active with his ground and pound but not putting Doerkson in danger. Lindland by decision.

Prangley vs Lutter
I believe Prangley's background is wrestling and he hails from South Africa. His style is similar to Matt Lindland's in that he's very aggressive and likes to take fights to the ground where he works from the top with ground and pound and the occassional submission. At 10-1 his sole loss was a decision to Babalu in an 8 man IFC tournament 2 years back. He holds wins over Chael Sonnen by armbar, Curtis Stout by neck crank and Andrei Semenov by decision. Lutter along with David Terrell is one of the best submission grapplers in the US. He beat David Avellan 13x1 and was lined up to fight Terrell in a no gi submission match to determine who was # 1 submission grappler in the US. Unfortunately an injury cancelled the bout. In MMA Lutter has been able to submit a few lower level opponents but ran into a brick wall when he faced Jorge Rivera. Faced with someone who could stop his takedown and tag him on the feet, Lutter was finished with strikes. Determined to not let that happen again, he rounded out his game with stand up and he was able to show the fruits of his labor when he knocked Marvin Eastman out cold with a single punch. Lutter's last UFC fight was his most disappointing loss to date. There is no shame in losing to Matt Lindland, but when you’re a BJJ black belt and a wrestler guillotines you, you have to wonder. Since then Lutter secured a quick keylock victory over an opponent in Cage Rage 12. Lutter doesn't seem to do well with people who really push the fight like Prangley can. Look for Prangley to take the fight to the mat where he'll be inside Lutter's guard. From there it will look like Lutter's fight with Lindland, except don't expect to see Prangley pull out the submission. At least I hope not. I see this one going the distance with Prangley getting the decision by grounding and pounding.

Irvin vs Martin
Irvin comes into this fight with a record of 8-1. He's finished all his opponents quickly by strikes, save for one he armbarred for good measure. His sole loss was in his UFC debut to Mike Kyle. Terry Martin is undefeated at 10-0 and has made some big waves in the smaller shows. He finished off both Chael Sonnen and Homer Moore with strikes within a few months of each other. He seems well rounded in that he's finished his opponents with a mix of strikes and submissions. This should be a fun fight to watch. Irvin comes in to KO or be KO'd. Martin will oblige him and I don't see this fight going very long. I say Martin continues his undefeated streak and puts Irvin away as another notch on his belt. Martin by TKO.

July 13, 2005
Bushido 8
Saturday July 17, 2005

Ryo Chonan vs Phil Baroni: CHONAN by decision

Masakazu Imanari vs Joachim Hansen: HANSEN by decision

Marcus Aurelio vs Jutaro Nakao: AURELIO by decision

Daniel Acacio vs Kazuo Misaki: MISAKI by TKO

Takanori Gomi vs Jean Silva: GOMI by KO

Luis Buscape vs Tatsuya Kawajiri: KAWAJIRI by TKO

Kimo vs Ikuhisa Minowa: MINOWA by TKO

Dennis Kang vs Andrei Semenov: KANG by decision

***BREAKDOWNS***

Chonan vs Baroni
Chonan has beaten top fighters for a while now, but really grabbed everyone's attention against Anderson Silva. Out of nowhere Chonan submitted him with one of the most spectalur submissions in a scissors sweep takedown into a reverse heel hook. Chonan stands at 10-4, with all 4 losses by decision. His first big win was a TKO win (doc stoppage) against Hayato Sakurai in 2003. Ricardo Almeida handed him a decision loss after that. But then Chonan bounced back with a solid wins against Carlos Newton, Anderson Silva, ADCC trials winner Roan "Jucao" Carneiro and BJJ phenom "Nino" Schembri. Baroni is coming into this fight with a brutal KO over Ikuhisa Minowa, after 4 straight losses in the UFC. The first loss was a rematch with Matt Lindland where he was dominated by ground and pound and lost a decision. The next was the controversial ref stoppage against Evan Tanner. The 2 losses since then were rematches with Lindland and Tanner. Aside from his losses, Baroni has been plagued by injuries, financial difficulties and was under a 3-month suspension when he got rowdy with ref Larry Landless. When Baroni is on, he's extremely dangerous with his punches. But one has to wonder if the last couple of years have taken their toll on him. In his last UFC fight against Pete Sell, the fire of the old Baroni was gone and in its place was an overly cautious, reserved one. But the old Baroni was in full effect against Minowa. The two exchanged several punches until Baroni finally dropped him and ended it with Silva-esque face stomps to get the KO. This will be a tough fight for both guys, but Chonan is more consistent in his performances than Baroni. I'll give Baroni the edge with his boxing but Chonan has got his flying knees. On the ground Baroni will use his wrestling to try to land in top position to ground and pound, but Chonan has showed he can hang with anyone on the ground as well. I don't think either will do enough to finish the other, so I say Chonan wins the decision by continuously coming forward and out gassing Baroni and taking the fight to him.

Imanari vs Hansen
Imanari is an exciting ZST fighter who specializes in foot locks, especially heel hooks. He is 6-3-1 with his biggest win to date being a stunning 39 second reverse heel hook over well established BJJ black belt, Jorge Gurgel. Since that fight he's lost two bouts by decision to BJJ fighters Marcus Aurelio and Buscape, gotten another heel hook win over BJJ black belt Renato Tavares and his last fight was a draw against KO machine Yoshiro Maeda. Hansen is a former shooto champ with very heavy hands and throws punches with bad intentions. He gave Rumina Sato the worst beating I’ve ever seen and handed Takanori Gomi his first loss. Since losing his shooto title to Shaolin a year and a half ago (by arm triangle), Hansen's bounced back with 4 wins a row including solid performances against ATT fighter JZ Cavlcanti and a dramatic come from behind win via KO nee over Cauro Uno. Imanari will no doubt go for his foot locks, but against Hansen that could be a big mistake. Rumina Sato was working foot lock after foot lock on Hansen and paid dearly for his efforts. The entire time he was hunting for the submission, Hansen was pounding him with punches and eventually Sato had no choice but to defend himself and eventually got beat into a bloody pulp. On the other hand, Imanari just took Maeda the distance and Maeda is just a dangerous a striker as Hansen if not more so. Hansen will trade with Imanari on the feet and once it to the ground, Hansen will continuously pepper Imanari with punches while trying to keep his feet out of danger. I don't see Imanari catching Hansen and I don't see Hansen TKOing Imanari, so I'll say Hansen takes the decision by landing more strikes standing and on the ground.

Aurelio vs Nakao
Aurelio is a BJJ black belt fighting out of ATT. With a record of 12-2, he's kept active since his start almost 3 years ago. He submitted his first 5 opponents with none of them lasting more than a few minutes. Then he ran into ground and pounder Antonio McKee and suffered his first loss via decision. Aurelio came into the limelight when he finished 3 out of 4 opponents to take the ZST Grand Prix tournament in early 2004. Shortly afterwards he was picked up by Bushido where he lost a close split decision to tough shooto fighter Dokojonosuke Mishima. He comes into this fight with a decision win over Daisuke Nakamura. Jutaro Nakao cut his teeth in the shooto organization and quickly stood out using his signature triangle choke to put most opponents (including Pat Miletich) to sleep. Fighting for almost 10 years, he's amassed nearly 30 fights and has an overall record of 18-9-2. Most losses have been to top level ground and pound fighters who knew about his triangle and effectively shut it down, some would call it lay and pray. Nakao has been keeping busy in the DEEP organization and is coming into this fight with 4 wins in a row, finishing all but 1 of them. This fight will be decided on the ground as both like to submit people, although Nakao has been rounding out his striking. Aurelio will be wary of Nakao's triangle and it's a safe bet that he won't fall prey to it. I feel that this will be a positional chess match with Nakao being put on his back and Aurelio positionally dominating but won't be able to put him away. Aurelio by decision.

Acacio vs Misaki
Acacio is a Luta Livre fighter with an impressive 9-1 record. His sole loss was to Nilson de Castro via triangle. He's finished 7 out of 8 opponents using a mix of submissions and striking so he's well rounded. The Meca Vale Tudo events in Brazil have been the main organization he's fought. He's coming into this fight off an impressive TKO victory over Daijuru Takase. Acacio used classic Chute Boxe striking by incorporating leaping stomps, kicks and punches to put him away. Misaki is a very tough fighter who likes to scrap on the feet. He's well rounded with good submissions in addition to his standup. He's got twice as much experience as Acacio and has beaten some tough fighters such as Jorge "Macaco" Patino, Team Quests Ed Herman, former King of Pancrase Kiuma Kunioku, BJJ black belt Joe D'Arce and Flavio Moura. This should be an entertaining fight in that both guys are very closely matched. Both like to stand up and trade and are just as good on the ground, although I'll have to give the edge down there to Misaki. Misaki has put away several opponents with his arm triangle so if it does go to the ground Acacio better watch his neck and arm. I'll say experience wins this one. I'll say Misaki wears down Acacio either on the feet or by ground and pound and eventually getting the TKO.

Gomi vs Jean
Jean is a BJJ black belt with an impressive 12-2-2 record. His only 2 losses were from heavy hitter Paul Jenkins by TKO and to Eddie Bravo's student, Gerald Strebendt by rear naked choke. He avenged his loss to Strebendt by triangling him in a rematch. Jean likes to finish most opponents by triangle or rear naked. Gomi is one of the biggest stars of the lightweight scene in Japan. With an outstanding record of 20-2, he's looking unstoppable. His losses come from a decision to former shooto champ Joahim Hansen and MMA prodigy BJ Penn by rear naked choke. Besides those two, Gomi has dominated all of his other opponents. The early part of his career he was criticized as a boring ground and pound fighter that won decisions. But in the last few years Gomi has honed his hands into lethal weapons, and his chin is just as tough. Him and Jens Pulver had the closest thing to a boxing match you could have in a MMA bout, and unbelievably Gomi KO'd Pulver on the feet where everyone thought Pulver would have an edge over him. Gomi's confidence is sky high and he's coming into this fight with 6 wins in a row, finishing all them. This won't be a long fight. Jean won't be able to do anything to Gomi on the feet. Even if he connects, Gomi will probably shrug it off like a bothersome fly. Jean's only chance is to go for the submission on the ground. Unfortunately for Jean, Gomi's wrestling and submission defense is just as good as his striking. I see Gomi playing sprawl and brawl until he lands the pig punch that turns out Jean's lights. Gomi by KO.

Buscape vs Kawajiri
Buscape is a jiu-jitsu fighter out of Brazil with an impressive 10-2 record. His 2 losses were both by decision. Most his fights have been in events down in Brazil but after he started getting internationally recognized, he's branched out into shooto and now Pride Bushido. Buscape submitted Hiroyuki Abe with an arm triangle in his first Bushido fight, decisioned foot lock wizard Masakazu Imanari in his second outing lost a very close decision to Luis Azeredo in his last fight. Kawajiri is the current shooto champ and the top and most well rounded fighter in his weight class. Despite this he's still relatively unknown to most western fans. With a record of 14-2-2, his most recent wins have been the most impressive. Within the past year and a half, he's decisioned Yves Edwards and is the only fighter to finish both Ryan Bow and Shaolin decisively by TKO. Buscape is going to have more than can handle with Kawajiri. Kawajiri knows Buscape wants to play the ground game but will keep it on the feet as long as possible. If and when it does go to the ground, Kawajiri will maintain top position and use his ground and pound to TKO Buscape.

Kimo vs Minowa
Minowa has been very active recently with 6 fights within the past year. He has a ton of experience with a record of 28-21-8. Minowa's fight style is a mix of submissions and ground and pound. He lost a questionable decision to Ryan Gracie over a year go and has gone 5-1 since then. In his last fight he had a brutal slugfest with Phil Baroni before getting dropped by punches and then KO'd by foot stomps. Brought back by the UFC 2 years ago to fight Tank, Kimo has been having about 1 fight per year since then. I believe he finally earned his BJJ black belt from Joe Moreira and proved he had decent submissions in putting away Tank Abbott with ease via arm triangle. Since then he rematched Ken Shamrock where he was KO'd by a knee and in his last fight he won by forearm choke against Marcus Royster. Kimo is being used ascannon fodder. Minowa has been so much more active and his cardio is so much better than Kimo’s, which alone will probably win him the fight. Kimo will go 100 mph during the opening minutes of the fight but will quickly tire. Once he does Minowa will be able to pick away at him with his strikes where he'll eventually where Kimo down and get the ref stoppage.

Kang vs Semenov
Kang is very experienced with a well-rounded game of stand up and submissions. He seems to be a ground specialist and has most of his MMA wins by submissions, but he's also shown good striking. He’s KO'd UFC vet Keith Rockel and TKO'd numerous others. Most of the bigger names he's fought he's lost to, but with the exception of a draw with Semenov at the end of 2003, he's on an 12 fight win streak and hasn't lost in 2 years. Semenov fights out of the Red Devil Team. Though he's got the face of a kid, this guy can hand out a serious beat down. He slipped out of every submission Ricardo Almeida could throw at him and came back for the TKO win. He holds an impressive record of 25-5-2. He's got a well rounded game of submissions and striking and has bested fighters like Amar Suloev, Darell Gholar and Flavio Moura. This fight is to settle the score once and for all. Both have been very active since their draw with each other. Since then Kang has finished 7 opponents in a row, with few of the bouts going longer than a couple minutes. Semenov has gone 4-1, with the last 2 being by decision. I feel that Kang takes this one in that he's coming in with more momentum and confidence than Semenov. Both guys are very hard to finish so I see it going the distance, with Kang taking the decision.

June 29, 2005
Cage Rage 12
Saturday, July 2, 2005

Ebenezer Braga vs Antonio De Silva: BRAGA by submission

Gerald Strebendt vs Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro: SHAOLIN by arm triangle

Travis Lutter vs Matt Ewin: LUTTER by submission

Kyosuke Sasaki vs Lee Murray: MURRAY by TKO

Curtis Stout vs Nilson De Castro: CURTIS by KO

***BREAKDOWNS***

Braga vs Antonio
Braga is best remembered for his upset victory over Jeremy Horn via guillotine back in '98. At 14-7-2, he's been fighting for 10 years and posses good standup and ground skills. I would categorize him as a high level gatekeeper. Other notable wins are over BJJ champ Eric Wanderlei, Brandon Lee Hinkle and Daijuru Matsui. I wasn't able to pull up any info on his opponent, so I'll go with Braga by a relatively quick submission.

Strebendt vs Shaolin
Strebendt is a UFC vet with an exciting style of submission grappling and always goes for the finish. He was the first to pull off Eddie Bravo's famous Twister submission in a MMA about (a painful spine lock where you twist your opponent's torso). He'll go for the crazy submissions if they are there. He's lost to the bigger names he's fought with TKO losses to Josh Thompson, Charles Bennett and Sean Sherk. Shaolin is one of those gifted BJJers that’s been able to take his dominance in BJJ and apply it to MMA. He was the shooto champ and has an 11-1 record. A few years back I remember him being active in the amateur wrestling circuit and at one point said if he had to phase out bjj to advance in wrestling, he would do it. Luckily he chose MMA instead, but his base in wrestling has helped him take his opponents to the mat where he dominates and usually submits them with his signature arm triangle choke. He's used it to dispatch Joe Hurley, Joachim Hansen, and Eddie Yagin. Other wins via decision have been over Ryan Bow, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Ivan Menjivar. Seven months ago he suffered his first loss (TKO) in a rematch to current shooto champ Tatsuya Kawajiri, but bounced back with a strong showing against shooto fighter Tetsuji Kato and submitted him with the arm triangle. Strebendt's specialty is the ground game, but against Shaolin he's going to be in over his head. If Strebendt is smart he'll try to keep it on the feet or at the very least try to get top position on the ground and use GnP to try to get the TKO like Kawajiri did. I say Shaolin has his way with Strebendt. He's got the edge in wrestling over Strebendt and should be able to land in top position after getting the takedown. From there he'll methodically pass guard and cinch up his deadly arm triangle for the tap.

Lutter vs Ewin
Lutter along with David Terrell is one of the best submission grapplers in the US. He beat David Avellan 13x1 and was lined up to fight Terrell in a no gi submission match to determine who was # 1 submission grappler in the US. Unfortunately an injury cancelled the bout. In MMA Lutter has been able to submit a few lower level opponents but ran into a brick wall when he faced Jorge Rivera. Faced with someone who could stop his takedown and tag him on the feet, Lutter was finished with strikes. Determined to not let that happen again, he rounded out his game with stand up and he was able to show the fruits of his labor when he knocked Marvin Eastman out cold with a single punch. Lutter's last fight was probably his most disappointing loss to date. There is no shame in losing to Matt Lindland, but when you’re a BJJ black belt and a wrestler guillotines you, you have to wonder. Ewin is coming into this fight with a record of 13-5-1, with most wins by way of submission. His biggest win was over Sol Gilbert by rear naked choke. He's lost his last 3 fights in a row with a 4th being a no contest in a rematch with Riccio. Ewin is going to be in big trouble against Lutter. He's the underdog both in standup and the ground. I feel that Lutter will try to make an example out of Ewin and put him away with a quick submission.

Kyosuke vs Murray
Murray is lean and lanky fighter from Britain. He's infamous for his streetfight with Tito Ortiz where he was rumored to have come out the winner by KO. The rumor is probably what got him into the UFC. His debut in the cage proved short and in a good way. Jorge Rivera fell into his triangle and tapped just a couple minutes into the fight. Murray is strong for his weight and he's got a well-rounded game, finishing several fights in KO and submissions. His last fight was 10 months ago where he dropped a decision loss to Anderson Silva. Kyosuke seems to be a tomato can of sorts with a record of 2-6-2 against no one of note. His biggest accomplishment was going the distance and losing a decision to triangle specialist Jutaro Nakao. Out of his 10 fights 8 have gone the distance. This looks like a fight to keep the ring rust off Murray. Kyosuke has no credentials to warrant a match against him. I'll say Murray tools Kyosuke on the feet and eventually takes him down and gets the submission.

Curtis vs Castro
Stout is a 2x UFC vet but came up short both times. He was ground and pounded to a decision by Phil Baroni and submitted by Trevor Prangley via neck crank. Other notable fights include a submission loss to Andrei Semenov and TKO losses to David Louisea and Rich Franklin. Despite his losses to big names, he's coming into this fight with more confidence. His last two fights ended in a brutal KO's over Sol Gilbert and Mark Weir. Castro is one of the old veterans of the Chute Boxe team. He had his first fight almost 12 years ago in 1993. True to his school's style, he likes to trade on the feet but has a well-rounded game and has submitted a couple of opponents. His record is 10-7 but to his credit most losses have been by decision. Castro has been keeping his feet wet in Pancrase and is coming into this fight with 2 wins in a row. I see age being a factor in this bout. Curtis is younger, probably faster and is coming in with the momentum of the 2 KO's he dished out. I see this fight being as being a war on the feet with Curtis edging out the older Castro and getting his 3rd KO win in a row.

June 22, 2005
Pride Critical Countdown 2005
Sunday, June 26, 2005

***TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINALS***

Igor Vovchanchin vs Alistair Overeem: VOVCHANCHIN by KO

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs Rogerio "Minotoro" Noguiera: MINOTORO by
submission

Wanderlei Silva vs Kazuhiro Nakamura: SILVA by TKO

Kazushi Sakuraba vs Ricardo Arona: ARONA by decision

***SINGLE MATCHES***

Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira vs. Pawel Nastula: MINOTAURO by
submission

Sergei Kharitonov vs. Pedro Rizzo: KHARITONOV by decision

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. Ibragim Magomedov: CRO COP by KO

Makoto Takimoto vs. Kiyoshi Tamura: TAMURA by TKO

***BREAKDOWNS***

Vovchanchin vs Alistair
Vovchanchin has dropped down weight from heavyweights and it’s seems to have been a good move. After a string of losses to Mario Sperry, Heath Herring, Quinton Jackson and Cro Cop, Igor needed to rethink things. He looks a lot leaner now but still retains the power in his hands. He's on a 4-fight win streak, KO'ing 3 of them. Not only is his striking deadly, against Yuki Kondo he looked like a jiu-jitsu whiz with his positioning in getting mount several times and holding it. Alistair is originally a kickboxer out of the Golden Glory team. He has become the elite MMA fighter that his brother, Valentijn looked to be becoming before falling to a string of B-level fighters and falling out of the big shows. Alistair has rounded out his game on the ground and seems to have become the Pequeno of the big goys. He guillotined 4 opponents in a row to win the ADCC'05 European trials and became the first person to make Vitor Belfort tap out with his guillotine choke. This should be an interesting fight. Alistair has a sizeable reach and height advantage, whereas Vovchanchin is the harder puncher. Both are primarily strikers but have become excellent grapplers as well. Vovchanchin focuses more on positioning on the ground whereas Alistair looks to submit with his guillotine. Both guys will be comfortable trading on the feet but I feel Vovchanchin has got the more dangerous standup. Alistair's KO loss to Chuck Lidell is still fresh in my mind, and I can see the same thing happening against Vovchanchin if he can get through Alistair's defenses. I say Vovchanchin KO's Alistair.

Shogun vs Minotoro
Like Alistair, Shogun has quickly emerged out of the shadow of his brother and become his own man in MMA. Shogun has the aggressiveness of teammate Wanderlei Silva and also has youth on his side. Shogun first got noticed when he KO'd Silva look-alike, Cyborg in a Meca event. Shortly afterwards he entered an 8-man tournament and TKO'd BJJ champ Eric Wanderlei before tapping to a guillotine by tournament winner Babalu Sobral. Since entering Pride, Shogun has KO'd all 5 of his opponents. The first four were of questionable quality until he demolished a weary looking Quinton Jackson. An aggressive attack of knees broke Quinton's rib and eventually Shogun secured the dramatic TKO win for the biggest victory of his career. Like Shogun, this tournament is allowing Minotoro to step out of brother Rodrigo's shadow and make a statement that he's one of the best at his weight. He has already dispatched 3 other tournament competitors in Kazuhiro Nakamura 2x, Kazushi Sakuraba and Alistair Overeem. He's got a well-rounded game of decent boxing skills and a solid BTT ground game. Unlike his twin brother, Mintoro wasn't known for his submissions but his decision wins. He suprised a lot of people with his first round armbar over Dan Henderson. This is probably the most anticipated fight of the card. It has the Chute Boxe vs BTT school rivarly in addition the striker vs grappler rivarly. Quinton was the first real quality opponent that Shogun put away, and despite him making it look easy, I can't help but notice Quinton has looked off in his last few fights. Minotoro will be the best opponent Shogun has faced and I'm not sure if he's ready to handle his ground game. Granted Shogun being submitted via guillotine was a long time ago, but I think Minotoro has the skills to expose his ground game once again and get the submission.

Silva vs Nakamura
I don't think there is anyone else in MMA that is more feared than Silva. He is every reason why someone doesn't want to do MMA. The golden boy of Pride, he hasn't lost at his weight in over 4 and a half years. A lot of people accuse Pride of feeding Silva tomato cans. But key wins in Dan Henderson and Quinton Jackson 2x, and winning the last middleweight Grand Prix tournament prove that he's one of the best. Nakamura is a judoka and protégé under Hidehiko Yoshida. With a record of 6-3, Nakamura is learning from each of his fights and getting tougher to beat. His most impressive wins have been decisions over grapplers like Daniel Gracie, Murilo Bustamante and Kevin Randleman. This should be a fairly one sided fight in favor of Silva, although Nakamura's sensei has taken Silva the distance twice so he might have a good game plan going in. Nakamura has faced dangerous strikers in Dan Henderson and Stephen Leko, but Silva's MMA striking is more dangerous than theirs. I think you'll see a classic Silva sprawl and brawl strategy with Nakamura getting worn down and eventually TKO'd.

Sakuraba vs Arona
Sakuraba made short work of Korean judoka Yoon Dong Sik by TKOing him in 38 seconds of the first round of the tournament. Prior to that short fight, it's been almost a year since Sakuraba last fought where he won a decision in a rematch against Nino Schembri. Hopefully that time off has given him time to heal his injuries. Arona is coming off a dominating decision win over Dean Lister. He showed good control on the ground but surprisingly bad form in his stand up. He was sticking his chin out and keeping his hands low. Even someone like Sakuraba will notice that and could stun him if he isn't careful. I see this fight going much like Arona's fight against Lister. Sakuraba has always done well against jiu-jitsu players who were guard players, but against Arona he'll be on his back. Sakuraba should keep the fight standing and punish Arona with his leg kicks. But inevitably Arona will get the takedown and land hard shots, bloodying Sakuraba but it won't do enough to put him away. Arona by ground and pound decision.

Minotauro vs Nastula
Minotauro is ready to get back in the ring after a much needed half year lay off after losing in the Grand Prix finals to his arch nemesis, Fedor Emelianenko. Prior to that fight, he fought Fedor but it was ruled a no contest due to Fedor's cut. Before that Sergei Kharitonov proved a worthy opponent before losing to a decision to Mino. Six months should be enough time for Nogueira to get over his loss and injuries and to regroup and start the road back to the top. Nastula is the lastest in a long line of Olympic judoka's being lured into MMA by the big paychecks of Pride. I believe he was a gold medalist in the 2000 Sydney Games. He recently made a special request to modify the of time of the rounds and how many rounds there were. I don't remember the specifics. He also requested that Minotauro wear a gi, but Minotauro turned down both requests as Pride left the decision up to him. Minotauro shouldn't have much trouble with Nastula. To no suprise, striking has been the key factor in putting away these Olympic judokas. Minotauro knows his hands are much better than Nastula's and will probably take a page out of Sakuraba's book and try to KO him on the feet. He does have the KO power to do it (as shown in his fight against Sanae Kikuta), but I feel that he'll just use his boxing to soften Nastula up before getting him on the ground and submitting him.

Kharitonov vs Rizzo
Kharitonov's shown his well-rounded MMA game. He was able to hang on the ground with Minotauro, escaping all submission attempts and surviving bad positions. On the feet he was able to wade through Semmy Schilt's long limbs and lethal strikes to get him on the ground and finish him with strikes from the mount, something Fedor couldn't do. His last fight was a one sided beating of Korean wrestler / submission fighter Choi Mu Bae which ended in a KO victory for Kharitonov. It's been a year and a half since Rizzo fought. Once the bright star of UFC, his lackluster performances saw him fade towards the end of his UFC career. He had 2 huge fights with Randy Couture, which he lost both, had a brutal KO win over current interim champ Andrei Arlovski, then dissappointing defeats to underdog Gan McGee and wrestler Vladimir Matyushenko. He left the UFC with two wins against Tre Tellingman and Ricco Rodriguez, but it wasn't enough for him to be asked back. This should be a close fight. Rizzo definitely has the edge on the feet but Kharitonov is more than capable of sneaking in a punch that could floor Rizzo, much like McGee did. After testing the waters on the feet, I feel that Kharitonov will want to take it to the ground and try to get top position for GnP. Rizzo will play his usual sprawl and brawl and try to catch Kharitonov on the chin. I feel that Rizzo's ring rust and lack of aggressiveness will again hurt him. Kharitonov will push the pace and take advantage of Rizzo being easily cut and use that to eventually take the decision.

Cro Cop vs Magomedov
It’s been a year and 2 months since Cro Cop suffered his last loss to the hands of Kevin Randleman. Since then he's kept busy and is a top contender again, rattling off six wins in a row with only 1 going the distance. One of those wins was to avenge his KO loss to Randleman. This time Cro Cop guillotined the wrestler in less than a minute. Magomedov is a Russian fighter that cut is teeth on the Russian M-1 fight shows. At 12-2, his only losses have come from the bigger names he's fought in Gilbert Yvel (KO) and Travis Wiuff (decision). Magomedov seems to be primarily a striker. This is a warm up fight for Cro Cop until he can meet up against Fedor. Magomedov isn't a submission whiz on the ground so Cro Cop doesn't have much to worry about there, and he certainly doesn't have anything to worry about on his feet either. Magamedov has an impressive record but the wins aren't over anyone significant. As long as Cro Cop keeps his guard up so another Randleman flash KO doesn't happen, he should get the KO relatively easily.

Takimoto vs Tamura
I'm not positive but I think Takimoto is a judoka. His only MMA fight was against American sumo wrestler, Henry Miller that Takimoto won a decision. Tamura is coming off a "TKO" win which was one of the worst Pride fights in history against sorely mismatched wreslter Aliev Makhmud. Tamura seems to be at the tail end of his career and hasn't been able to translate the success he had in RINGS to the more hardcore rules of Pride. Nevertheless, he should be able to handle Takimoto without much trouble. Tamura has good kicks and he should be able to TKO Takimoto.

June 14, 2005
Demolition
Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dennis Hallman vs Jason Tapia: HALLMAN by submission

Matt Knaub vs Alex Shoenauer: SHOENAUER by TKO

Hallman vs Tapia
Hallman has kept busy since his last high profile TKO loss to Frank Trigg. He's coming into this fight after a TKO loss to relatively unknown but undefeated Russian fighter, Ansar Chalangov. Best known as the only man to submit Matt Hughes 2x, Hallman's base is in wrestling but he has transititioned into more of a jiu-jitsu / submission fighter. He doesn't have that overpowering wrestlers physique or ground and pound game. Hallman's constantly fighting and has only lost to the top names. Most recently Hallman competed in ADCC'05 and got a revenge of sorts when he submitted Frank Trigg with a heel hook. Tapia is listed as 2-0, finishing both fights in under a few minutes. Neither opponents are anyone of note. This appears to be another tune up fight for Hallman, although he got a rude awakening with his last "unknown" opponent in Chalangov. Regardless I say Hallman steam rolls over Tapia, working the classic ground game by taking him down and quickly submitting him.

Knaub vs Shoenauer
Knaub is listed as 4-3 overall and seems to favor submissions. He hasn't fought any high profile fights and has lost his last 2, one being by triangle to UFC vet Joe Doerkson. Shoenauer was one of the lower key fighters in Spike TV's hit reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. Alex showed good hands and aggressiveness en route to a TKO loss to Forrest Griffin on the show but suffered a much quicker demise on the live show at the end of the season when he was KO'd in 20 seconds by fellow TUF contestant Mike Swick. Prior to these losses Alex was undefeated at 6-0, finishing all opponents. One guy he beat was old school UFC veteran Jason Fairn. You may recall Fairn as the pony tailed fighter who fought and lost to Guy Mezger in UFC 4 in an alternate fight. I'm giving the edge to Alex in that he's faced higher-level opponents that Knaub and will have the edge standing up. Alex's weak ground game was exposed on the show and Knaub will look to take him down and get the submission, but ultimately I see Alex getting the KO on the feet.

June 8 , 2005
It's Showtime
Sunday , June 12, 2005

Gilbert Yvel vs Valentijn Overeem: YVEL by KO

Badr Hari vs Stephen Leko: LEKO by KO

Martin De Jong vs Jordan Radev: JONG by submission

Yvel vs Valentijn
Yvel caught the attention of the Pride matchmakers with his a balls to the wall style of constant attacking on the feet. If anyone has seen his brutal massacre of Semmy Schilt then you can't but help but be impressed. He had several matches in Pride with mediocre results. His most spectacular fights during those years was when he KO'd Gary Goodrige with a Cro Cop style high kick to head. He also knocked Carlos Barreto into next week with a flying knee. Over the past couple of years Yvel has emerged as a gatekeeper for the bigger shows. Within the past year Yvel's record is 1-2. He comes into this fight with a submission loss via toe hold to Ikuhisa Minowa. Four years ago Valentijn was a fast rising star in the MMA world, scoring impressive submission victories over fighters like Randy Couture (guillotine) and Babalu (toe hold) in the RINGS organization. But as promising as his career seemed, it quickly took a nosedive after he got a call from the big show, Pride. The incorporation of strikes to the face while on the ground (not allowed in RINGS) seemed to make all the difference for Valentijn. He further disintergrated by going from losing to big names fighters to being finished by fighters no one had heard of. He's coming into this fight after 2 losses in a row, the latter one being an quick armbar loss to Shungo Oyama, one of the bottom of the barrel Pride fighters. Years back I would have picked Valentijn to footlock Yvel, but not these days. Valentijn has decent hands and good submissions, but he doesn't seem to have heart. If Yvel comes out aggressive like he usually does, look for him to light Valentijn up on the feet and get the KO fast.

Hari vs Leko
I wasn't able to pull up any info on Hari. The one fighter that I saw might be him (with a slightly different spelling) has only 1 fight with it being a loss to a no namer at around 22 seconds. Leko's transition from kickboxing to MMA has been anything but smooth. He notched a win in his debut by KOing judoka Murakami Kazunari, but has been demolished in his last 3 fights in a combined time of less than 2 minutes. His takedown and submission defense seems to be nonexistent. One would think after his first one or two rough outings he'd train with someone like Cro Cop who's made the transition beautifully, but that’s apparently not the case. To his credit Leko keeps trying, and he's doing the right thing in taking a step down from the big show and taking a less dangerous opponent. If Hari has indeed only 1 fight, Leko's kickboxing experience alone should give him a big mental edge despite his recent MMA losses. If Leko can stay on his feet I see him KOing Hari with relative ease.

Jong vs Radev
Jong has been fighting since '97 and is a ground specialist. I believe he's a black belt in BJJ and recently had a gi match against Cadu from the Yamasaki Academy where he eventually lost by choke. Through his career he's fought on the smaller shows and would be considered a gatekeeper. He submits most no namers but loses to the recognizable ones. He's fought and lost to Andrei Semenov 2x, Pele, ex-shooto champ Masanori Suda and Egan Inoue. He did triangle Yuki Sasaki who's a good shooto fighter. All that I could pull up on Radev is that he's undefeated at 4-0 and has finished all his opponents with strikes and a submission. This is a tough fight to call. Jong has the experience and fought big names, but Radev is showing he's no slouch by running over all his opponents. I'll have to go with Jong by submission due to the fact that none of Radev's opponents have been on the level of Jong.

May 12 , 2005
Mixed Fighting Championship 4
Saturday, May 14, 2005

Dennis Hallman vs Ansar Chalangov: HALLMAN by submission

Eric Oganov vs Kurt Pellegrino: PELLEGRINO by submission

Hallman vs Chalangov
Hallman has kept busy since his last high profile TKO loss to Frank Trigg. He's coming in with a 5 fight win streak, all by submission. Best known as the only man to submit Matt Hughes 2x, Hallman's base is in wrestling but he has transititioned into more of a jiu-jitsu / submission fighter. He doesn't have that overpowering wrestlers physique or ground and pound game. Hallman's constantly fighting and has only lost to the top names. Though not well known, his opponent Chalangov sports an impressive resume. Although he's only been fighting for just over 2 years, he sports an undefeated record of 6-0 with his last being his most impressive. In that fight he made quick work of MMA veteran Dave Strasser with a guillotine choke in less than a minute. He's beaten most other opponents by submission as well. Hallman is definately coming in as the favorite but anyone who can submit Strasser that quickly isn't a pushover. This fight will inevitably end up on the ground and whoever has the sharper submissions will take it. Hallman has the experience and has fought against the best in the business so its hard to bet against him. Hallman by submission.

Oganov vs Pellegrino
Pellegrino is a wreslter / BJJer formerly out of Renzo Gracie's team (I believe he's part of ATT now) and one of the top grapplers in the country. He's beaten BJJ brown belt star Mike Fowler 2x, and at least 3 BJJ black belts in Marcus Aurelio, Edson Diniz and Tyrone Glover. His double leg takedowns are lighting quick and his penetration when he shoots in is superb. Most of his opponents aren't as a good a wreslter so they find themselves playing a guard game against him. He's 2-1 in pro fights and 5-0 in amateur fights. Most recently he made it to the finals of ADCC'05 Qualifiers beating Tyrone Glover on points only losing to Cameron Earle in the finals by guillotine. Oganov's pro record stands at 0-2, both by submission. Amar Suloev armbarred Oganov in his debut and he tapped to a rear naked choke to an unknown in his last fight earlier this year. This should be a very one sided stomping. Pellegrino will shoot in early and put Oganov on his back. From there Pellegrino will methodically pass the guard and either submit him quickly or mount him and finish with strikes. I'll say Pellegrino by an early submission.

April 28, 2005
Cage Rage 11
Saturday, April 30, 2005

Ian Freeman vs Kristof Midoux: FREEMAN by KO

Jorge Rivera vs Anderson Silva: ANDERSON by decision

Mark Weir vs Curtis Stout: WEIR by TKO

Mark Epstein vs Cyborg: CYBORG by KO

Freeman vs Midoux
Most remember Freeman from his dramatic TKO victory over heavily favored Frank Mir. Freeman's record stands at 17-6-1 and uses heavy hands to end most fights. He's had mixed results with the bigger names he's fought. He decisioned Carlos Barreto, Tedd Williams and TKO'd Travis Fulton. He's lost to Osami Shibuya, Andrei Arlovski and Valentijn Overeem. His last big fight was a draw with Vernon White almost 2 years ago. Since then he's TKO'd three lower level opponents in a row. Midoux is listed as 4-5 with losses to the bigger names he's fought. Travis Fulton, Jeremy Horn, Fabricio Werdum and Antoine Jaoude were able to finish him. He's coming into this fight off a neck crank loss. Freeman should win this fight handedly. Midoux should try to put Freeman on his back and take him out with strikes. Unfortunately for him, I don't see it going that way. Freeman wins by KO from ground and pound.

Rivera vs Anderson
Rivera is mainly a stand up fighter and has wins over some bigger names such as Tim Sylvia when they were amateurs. Other highlight wins include TKOing BJJ black belt Travis Lutter and decisioning stand up fighter David Lousieu. He's shown that his weakest point is the ground game. Lee Murray and Rich Franklin were able to submit him with armbars. Anderson is known to have the best jab in MMA, and the rest of his standup is top notch as would be expected of someone who trained in Chute Boxe for as long as he did. Most of his MMA wins have come by KO / TKO's and two highlights of his career include a vicious head kick that split open Alex Steibling and a flying knee that brutally KO'd Carlos Netwon. Anderson was on a roll in 2004 when he decisioned Jeremy Horn and Lee Murray. Although Ryo Chonan didn't let him get out of 2004 unscathed, catching Anderson in a spectacular scissor sweep takedown to reverse heel hook. Anderson will be able to match Rivera on the feet if not get the better of the exchanges. On the ground it shouldn't be close in that Anderson can hang with anyone on the ground in MMA. He's at least a brown belt in BJJ, which could be a black belt by now. I'll say Rivera and Anderson will start of slow and test the waters by trading a few shots. If Rivera starts giving Anderson problems standing up, he'll take it to the ground where he'll have Rivera on the defensive. Anderson submitting Rivera is a real possibility, but I
think a more likely scenario is Anderson taking it by decision.

Weir vs Stout
Weir is known for his 10 second KO over Eugene Jackson and has also submitted Shannon Ritch and TKO'd Ben Earwood. He kept busy in 2004 having six fights. He's mainly a stand up fighter but has shown decent submissions, which he displayed against old school MMA vet, Johil de Oliveira and tapped him with an arm triangle. Weir has had a rough time in his last 5 months and is coming into this fight off a 3 fight losing streak, one of them being by TKO to Matt Lindland. Stout is a 2x UFC vet but came up short both times. He was ground and pounded to a decision by Phil Baroni and submitted by Trevor Prangley via neck crank. Other notable fights include a submission loss to Andrei Semenov and TKO losses to David Louisea and Rich Franklin. Despite his losses to big names, he's coming into this fight with more confidence. His last fight ended in a brutal KO over opponent Sol Gilbert. Stout connected with a punch that turned out the lights while Sol was still on his feet. This will be a close fight. Stout and Weir like to trade shots on the feet, but on the ground I feel Weir has the edge. I feel Weir is more polished on the feet as well. I'll go with Weir by TKO.

Epstein vs Cyborg
Cyborg trains at Chute Boxe and bears a close resemblance to Wanderlei Silva. Like his counterpart, Cyborg likes to trade on the feet but isn't as polished. He's lost to the bigger names he's fought (Shogun, Pele) but has KO'd some decent fighters in Osami Shibuya and K-1 fighter Jefferson Silva. Cyborg has lost his last 3 fights and needs a win. Epstein is 7-6 and primarily a striker. His biggest fight to date was against Travis Lutter where was submitted via rear naked choke. Like Cyrborg, Epstein has lost his last couple of fights and should be hungry for a win. A KO is a sure thing in that both like to trade heavy strikes. I'm going with the scarier looking Cyborg. He's gone up against higher caliber opponents and has slightly better results. Cyborg by KO.

April 14, 2005
UFC 52
Saturday, April 16, 2005

Randy Couture vs Chuck Lidell: COUTURE by TKO

Ivan Salaverry vs Joe Riggs: RIGGS by decision

Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg: HUGHES by decision

Jason Miller vs George St. Pierre: ST. PIERRE by decision

Joe Doerkson vs Patrick Cote: DOERKSON by submission

John Marsh vs Mike Van Arsdale: ARSDALE by decision

Renato "Babalu" Sobral vs Travis Wiuff: BABALU by decision

Travis Lutter vs Matt Lindland: LINDLAND by decision

Couture vs Lidell
Couture is having his best days of his MMA career and is one of the older fighters in the sport. His dirty boxing from the clinch combined with his Olympic caliber Greco Roman wrestling skills have helped him demolish some of MMA's brightest stars in Chuck Lidell, Tito Ortiz and Vitor Belfort. Lidell was on a hot streak for several years, and then hit a couple of speed bumps with decisive losses to Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson. Lidell's stunning come back fight against Tito put him back in the fast lane and he solified it with a KO over Vernon White 8 months ago. Even though their last fight was almost 2 years ago, Couture was so dominant that I don't see it going any differently. Couture even got the better of Lidell in the stand up portion of the fight which suprised everyone. Couture has said he plans on using the same strategy he did the first time. Lidell will play his usual sprawl and brawl game and Couture will indulge him in trading a few shots. Ultimately Couture will tie up and get Lidell on the ground using legs trips or his pick up and slam. Keeping Lidell on the ground is tough, but Couture has a nack for breaking down fighter’s game plans and negating their strong points. I see Couture getting the TKO again from strikes on the ground.

Salaverry vs Riggs
Salaverry is a well-rounded fighter having competed in ADCC, K-1 and MMA. On the ground he reminds me of a smaller Minotauro. He's got long limbs and is very sneaky and aggressive with his submissions. He schooled Tony Frkyland and Andrei Semenov with his ground game, dominating each with strikes and using his jiu-jitsu game to put them on the defensive on the ground. Riggs has been fighting for over 3 years and racked up a record of 21-5. I didn't think he'd be able to fend off Joe Doerkson's submissions in their UFC fight, but to my surprise he got out of everything that was thrown at him and came back for the brutal TKO win. He showed he had high-level submission defense. Riggs used to weigh around 300 lbs and is used to dealing with the big boys. He commented that at his new weight, it feels like he's playing with children when it comes to power. This should be a tough fight for both guys. Both have excellent stand up but I think Riggs is more comfortable striking from the top position on the ground as opposed to exchanging on the feet. Riggs will take Salaverry down where he'll be fending off submissions while he employs his ground and pound game, similar to the strategy Matt Lindland used against Salaverry. If Joe Doerkson couldn't submit Riggs off his back, I don't see Salaverry doing it either. I feel that Riggs will get the decision while punishing Salaverry with punches from within his guard.

Hughes vs Trigg
Hughes is back in top form after his submission loss to BJ Penn over a year ago. He escaped a tight triangle attempt from Renato "Charruto" Verrissimo to win a questionable decision, and then pulled out the beautiful armbar submission in the closing seconds of the 1st round against up and comer George St. Pierre. Trigg has been even more impressive than Hughes since his submission loss to him 1.5 years ago. He's shown excellent submission defense coupled with powerful ground and pound by TKOing lanky submission fighters in Dennis Hallman and Verrissimo. Trigg has earned the right to fight Hughes again, and I don't see him getting submitted this time. I think it'll look more like Hughes vs. Sean Sherk. Hughes has the edge in wrestling in that he was an elite college wrestler whereas Trigg never stood out at that level. Hughes also showed it in their fight when he was able to reverse Trigg a couple of times and maintain top position for a majority of the fight. They'll test the waters standing up for a few minutes, but it won't stay on the feet long. Either one can take the other down. But I think Hughes' edge in wrestling and jiu-jitsu will have him winding up on top. Unlike Hallman or Verrissimo, Hughes has the strength to apply a submission that Trigg won't be able to escape. But a more likely scenario is Hughes using the same strategy he used against Sherk. Ground and pound to take the deicision.


Miller vs St. Pierre
Miller has made a name for himself of late by doing well in 2003's GrappleTV's So. Cal. Pro-Am Invitational submission tournament where he beat stand out grapplers Sean Spangler (points), Kenny Bond (rear naked) and KOTC fighter Joe Stevenson (arm triangle) only to lose in the finals of the heavy weight bracket to tourney champ Rener Gracie (gi choke). Not many picked Miller to win when he was lined up to fight Egan Inoue. This was supposed to be a warm up match for Egan who was coming out of retirement to avenge his KO loss to shooto champ Masanori Suda. Miller had other plans and handed Egan a TKO loss. Based on that performance he was invited to fight in the UFC, but some things came up in Millers personal life that cancelled his debut. Miller is coming off a win over Ron Jhun via arm triangle. St. Pierre as we all know is an up and coming UFC fighter. He sports a purple belt in BJJ and I'm sure he was kicking himself when he got armbarred by Matt Hughes using a textbook defense to a kimura. In addition to his bjj, St. Pierre has a great wrestling shoot (he raised a lot of eyebrows by taking Hughes down) and wrestling skills. Miller will have the edge in submissions and will most likely be working off his back. St. Pierre will try to keep the fight standing up and test Miller's chin. Miller's best bet is on the ground and try to exploit the holes in St. Pierre's submission defense that Matt Hughes exposed. Ultimately St. Pierre's strength will put Miller on his back where he'll utilize a ground and pound strategy that he used to decision Karo Parisyan. St. Pierre by decision.

Doerkson vs Cote
Doerkson is BJJ black belt and a submission machine, transitioning from one submission to another until he gets the tap. He's got a record of 29-6 with most of them being by submission. Doerkson's whole training regime was BJJ until 3 consecutive losses to Egan Inoue, David Louiseau, and Stephan Potvin forced him to round out his game with stand up. Some of the bigger names he's beaten are Lee Murray, Adrianne Serrano, Anthony Macias, John Alessio, Denis Kang and Chris Leben. He had a rough UFC debut suffering a TKO loss to Joe Riggs, but has bounced back with 2 triangle choke wins over Team Quest fighter, Ed Herman and Matt Knaub. Cote is best known for being Tito Ortiz's ground and pound dummy in UFC 50. Cote was able to display decent punching power when he connected with a punch that momentarily dropped Tito before Cote was taken down and controlled for the rest of the fight. Since Tito, he went on to win a split decision over relative unknown fighter in Ricardeau Francois. I don't know much else about Cote other than most of his experience comes from the TKO show up in his homeland of Canada. He style seems to utilize a mix of boxing and wrestling, with most wins coming by TKO. Tito couldn't finish Cote since he never was able to cut him from his ground and pound, but Doerkson's chances of finishing him I'd say are much higher. Cote himself appears to be a ground and pounder, but fighting within Doerkson's guard is asking for trouble, and he can handle himself if Cote decides to try to keep it on the feet. In the end I say Cote takes Doerkson down to try and ground and pound, where Doerkson pulls out the eventual triangle or armbar from the bottom.

Marsh vs Van Arsdale
Marsh is a jiu-jitsu fighter that specializes in foot locks. He submitted Travis Fulton by heel hook and has beaten other smaller name fighters by either submission or obtaining dominant ground position and finishing with strikes. He's come up short against fighters that were better on the ground. Josh Barnett, Ricco Rodriguez, Jeremy Horn and Vladimar Matyushenko all handed him losses. Marsh is coming off a surprising decision win over Wesley "Cabbage" Correira by using a stand up strategy of hit and run. Mike Van Arsdale is an Olympic calibur wrestler and one of those natural athletes with a lot of speed and power. Few know that he holds a wrestling win over Olympic wrestling gold medalist Cael Sanderson (who went undefeated in college at 159-0). Arsdale has a MMA record of 7-1 with his only loss being by KO to Wanderlei Silva many years ago. Van Arsdale's most notable win is a TKO over submission specialist Chris Haseman. I feel that Van Arsdale's speed and power will be too much for Marsh. The one thing that could be Van Arsdale's undoing is his lack of submission defense. He's shown in ADCC that he can be caught, but in MMA he's good at punching his way out of them. Marsh will have the edge on the feet, but Van Arsdale will inevitably take him down where he'll employ some brutal ground and pound. I don't see Marsh tapping from it, but a cut is likely. I'll say it goes the distance with VanArsdale ground and pounding to a decision win.

Babalu vs Wiuff
Babalu finished 2003 in impressive fashion by defeating three top-level fighters (Trevor Prangley, Shogun and Jeremy Horn) in one night to take the IFC 8 man tournament title. Babalu is very well rounded in that he's competed in muy thai, wrestling and submission grappling. His submission defense is excellent and was able to fend off ADCC'03 champ Marcelo Garcia's lethal rear naked choke after Babalu had his back taken by Garcia in a no gi submission event. Babalu is fresh off a TKO win over Pierre Guillet. Wiuff is on a roll TKOing almost everyone in his path and is coming into this fight on a 19-fight win streak. For his last fight against Olympic wrestler Antoine Jaoude, Wiuff lost a significant amount of weight and is getting pretty cut. He edged out Jaoude in a decision win where the fight saw Wiuff have a slight lead in striking and overall ring control. He’s got good wrestling and heavy hands. These guys are almost mirror images of each other in terms of fight style. Both are wrestlers with good hands, although Babalu is better versed with his muy thai. Though Wiuff has steam rolled over most opponents, they haven't been on the level of Babalu. I feel that Babalu will negate his size disadvantage with superior skill. He'll get the better of striking on the feet but I feel he'll get the win by putting Wiuff on his back and pounding on him to take the decision.

Lutter vs Lindland
Lutter along with David Terrell is one of the best submission grapplers in the US. He beat David Avellan 13x1 and was lined up to fight Terrell in a no gi submission match to determine who was # 1 submission grappler in the US. Unfortunately an injury cancelled the bout. In MMA Lutter has been able to submit a few lower level opponents but ran into a brick wall when he faced Jorge Rivera. Faced with someone who could stop his takedown and tag him on the feet, Lutter was ultimately finished with strikes. Determined to not let that happen again, he rounded out his game with stand up and he was able to show the fruits of his labor when he knocked Marvin Eastman out cold with a single punch. An Olympic silver medalist and one of the top MMA fighters at his weight, Lindland is a tall order for anyone. He's used his aggressiveness in wrestling and channeled it into his fights with great success. He comes at his opponent at full force, overwhelming them with a brutal ground and pound game. Since his last high profile loss to David Terrell by KO, Lindland's kept busy on the lower level shows and finished UFC vet Mark Weir by TKO and showed submission knowledge in armbarring Landon Showalter. This will be the classic wrestler vs jiu-jitsu fighter. Lutter may try his luck again by trading punches with Lindland, but odds are he's going to end up on his back. Lindland won't be able to pass the guard so he'll be content to ground and pound from within it. Lutter will go for triangle and armbar attempts, but if Lindland could avoid submissions from Ricardo Almeida and Ivan Salaverry, I don't see Lutter getting one. I'll say Lindland gets the decision via ground and pound.

April 7, 2005
The Ultimate Fighter
Saturday, April 9, 2005

Rich Franklin vs Ken Shamrock: FRANKLIN by TKO

Kenny Florian vs Diego Sanchez: SANCHEZ by decision

Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar: GRIFFIN by decision

Josh Koscheck vs Jason Sanford: KOSCHECK by TKO

Jason Thacker vs Chris Leben: LEBEN by TKO

Nate Quarry vs Lodune Sincaid: QUARRY by TKO

Alex Karalexis vs Josh Rafferty: KARALEXIS by TKO

FRANKLIN VS KEN
Franklin is one of the most well rounded fighters at his weight. He's equally dangerous with his stand up and submissions. Franklin beat the tar out of Edwin Dewees and Evan Tanner in his first two UFC fights, but dropped a TKO loss to Lyoto Machida in a fight he took in Japan. Even with that being his sole loss (he's 17-1), it was enough to sideline his UFC career. After finally being invited back, Franklin showed his well roundedness in his last fight with Jorge Rivera. They both traded heavily on the feet, and then Franklin moved the fight to the ground where Rivera was weakest and finished him with an armbar. Travis Fulton and Marvin Eastman are two other high profile fighters Franklin has finished. Ken has been in the UFC since day 1 and was a pioneer in the sport, being one of the first Americans to compete in the Japanese scene and obtain the King of Pancrase belt. His exposure to Pancrase gave him a well-rounded game of submissions and stand up that gave him a skill set that was ahead of his time. Ken took a break from MMA and dabbled in Pro wrestling for a number of years. In 2000 he returned to MMA and has had 6 fights since then, going 3-3. This match is interesting in that it pits a well-rounded fighter of the old era vs one of the new era. Ken has experience, size and strength but Rich has youth and speed. Everything Ken can do, Franklin can do a little bit better. Franklin will be able to take Ken apart on the feet, guiding his hands between Ken's defenses. If Ken takes it to the ground, Franklin's jiu-jitsu is good enough to submit him. In the end I see Franklin using speed and accuracy to TKO Ken on the feet with punches.

FLORIAN VS SANCHEZ
Kenny is BJJ black belt and is one of the top competitors in the grappling circuit on the east coast. He's still relatively new to MMA but has built a record of 3-1. The one fight he lost was the one that landed him a slot on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter. President of the UFC, Dana White was at the event scouting Kenny's opponent, Drew Fickett. Fickett went on to win via decision and earn a slot in the last UFC event, but Kenny impressed Dana enough to get a spot on the show. Kenny was a big under dog in his fight against Chris Leben, but showed he's got heart and a good chin by taking several hard shots but kept in the game and seemed relatively un-phased. Kenny rallied back to win via TKO cut from an elbow. Diego was a stand out wrestler in high school, which gave him a big edge when he transitioned to submission grappling and MMA. Prior to his reality show appearance, his MMA record was 11-0 with none of the first 10 fights going the distance. His last win was his most impressive with a convincing decision over ATT black belt, Jorge Santiago. On the TUF show Diego destroyed his first two opponents who were easy prey for his submission game, and he decisioned a tough wrestler in Josh Koscheck. Diego is the favorite going into this fight and for good reason. Kenny's bjj is on the same level as Diego's, but wrestling, size and strength will give Diego the edge. Kenny is probably a little more polished on the feet and will be looking to use his kicks and his elbows to cut him. I don't think Diego will give him a chance and go for the takedown early. Once he puts Kenny on his back he'll use a ground and pound strategy to win points. Its doubtful he'll be able to mount or get Kenny's back with hooks, in that Kenny's ground game is slick enough to avoid it. A submission isn't likely. I see Diego maintaining top position in the guard or half guard and ground and pounding to take the judges decision.

GRIFFIN VS BONNAR
Griffin was becoming a well-known fighter before the TUF show came around. His debut fight was in late 2001 against MMA legend Dan Severn, which he lost a decision. His first big win came 8 months later against ADCC champion Jeff Monson. Griffin was able to frustrate him with his stand up and even mount him on the ground, which earned him a decision. Griffin continued to highlight his resume by stopping MMA iron man Travis Fulton w/ strikes, submitting Pride and UFC veteran Ebenezar Braga with a rear naked choke and triangling wrestler Chael Sonnen. So far in TUF, Griffin has shown power with his striking by TKOing Alex Shawn-something and Sam Hogar. Both opponents were able to keep it fairly even on the feet, so he showed smarts and took it to where he had the edge. He took Alex to the ground where he knew he would dominate positionally and finished him off with strikes from the mount. Against Sam who had good kicks, he got in close with the clinch and used knees to setup the finish. Bonnar is one of the bigger fighters of the TUF show. He's a brown belt under Carlson Gracie and has a record of 6-1. His sole loss coming from undefeated Lyoto Machida who's also beaten Rich Franklin and BJ Penn. Bonnar's appearance doesn't seem very tough, but looks are deceptive. He's well rounded with an aggressive fight style that pushes the pace. He's active off his back
working for sweeps and submissions and he presses forward with punches while standing. This is going to be a tough fight for both guys in that they are evenly matched. Bonnar has the size advantage so look for him to press forwards. Griffin's striking has more power, and Bonnar's brown belt may give him a slight edge on the ground. Either way I see this as being a war with Griffin edging out the decision by tagging Bonnar with more power shots.

KOSCHECK VS SANFORD
Koscheck was a top wrestler in college and his MMA career is just over a year old. Prior to the TUF show he KO'd an opponent and submitted 2 others, showing more depth than the 1 dimensional fighter many people have labeled him. Koscheck was a big under dog for the Chris Leben fight but he effectively shut him down and used a boring yet effective ground and pound strategy to put Leben on his back and keep him there. Against an active submission fighter in Diego Sanchez, Koscheck's wrestling strategy didn't pan out and he lost a close decision. Sanford came into the TUF show as the oldest and one of the more out of shape contestants as pointed out by Couture. We never got to see him fight after he was asked to leave after his team lost an elimination contest. He's listed as 4-0 out of the tough Cesar Gracie team. 3 of the wins have been by various submissions and one by KO. I think Koscheck is coming into this fight as the favorite and for good reason. He showed he could hang with a tough striker in Leben and survive numerous submission attempts from Diego. Sanford is going to have his hands full trying to stop Koscheck's takedowns. Once on his back Sanford will go submission hunting but Koshcheck will use his strength to power out of any attempts. Koshcheck should take this one by ground and pounding to a decision.

THACKER VS LEBEN
Poor Thacker was the first one to get booted off the TUF show. After struggling with the workouts and feeling like an outsider from the beginning, Couture ended the pain and picked him to leave. I wasn't able to pull up any info on his fight record. I had Leben as the favorite to win the show. On his resume he broke UFC vets Benji Radach's jaw and gave bjj black belt Joe Doerkson all he could handle. At one point Doerkson had Leben's arm completely straight in a full armlock and somehow Leben resisted and got out of it. Luck didn't shine on Leben on the TUF show as he was shut down by Koscheck's ground and pound game and a Hail Mary elbow from Kenny Florian cut him open after a dominating performance from Leben. This match up looks to be the fight that Leben can't lose. If he does he might want to consider finding a new line of work. Thacker was the weakest of the light heavyweights, and Leben was favored as one of the strongest middleweights at the beginning. Thacker will have his shot to show any skills he has, but unfortunately I think Leben is going to put the nail in the coffin and show that the third times a charm. Leben will KO Thacker on the feet.

QUARRY VS SINCAID
Behind Leben, I had Quarry as my next favored guy to win his division. A Team Quest member under Couture and along side Chris Leben, Quarry's base is wrestling. He handed a previously undefeated Nakapan Phungephorn his first loss via decision. Quarry employs a not so exciting yet effective ground and pound strategy similar to Koscheck's. His sole loss was to Marco Ruas fighter Gustavo "Ximu" Machado via decision. Sincaid came into the TUF show with an impressive 6-0 record, stopping all 6 opponents with a mix of submissions and strikes. He was doing well against Bobby Southworth until he got hit with a combo of punches that put him down and out. Despite Sincaid's size advantage, I don't see the fight going his way. Quarry's wrestling and brute strength will drive Sincaid to the mat and pin him there. Sincaid will try for submissions off his back but Quarry will be able to avoid anything he tries. I feel that Quarry's punching will wear Sincaid down where he'll get the TKO.

KARALEXIS VS RAFFERTY
Karalexis had a poor showing against submission whiz Diego Sanchez. His plan was to stuff the takedown and KO him with punches, but Diego was just too fast. Karalexis doesn't have much experience with an overall record of 4-0, but a TKO win over a tough Ted Govola Jr. is impressive and shows he does have power in his hands. Rafferty was another victim of Diego and was put away before he could show anything. Rafferty's record is 6-3 and he's won with both submissions and strikes and lost by both as well. I was going to go with Rafferty until I saw Karalexis had stopped Govola. Karalexis is a short, compact fighter that has punching power. Rafferty is more lean and probably can't push an opponent around like Karalexis can. I feel that Karalexis will pressure into Rafferty with his punches where he'll wear away his defenses and get the TKO.

April 1, 2005
Bushido 6
Sunday, April 3, 2005

Aleksander Emelianenko vs Ricardo Morais: ALEXANDER by decision

Daniel Acacio vs Daiju Takase: TAKASE by decision

Ikuhisa Minowa vs Gilbert Yvel: MINOWA by decision

Fedor vs TK: FEDOR by TKO

Ryatu Sakurai vs Murillo Bustamante: BUSTAMANTE by decision

Luis Buscape vs Luis Azeredo: AZEREDO by decision

Takahiro Oba vs Dennis Kang: KANG by submission

Marcus Aurelio vs Daisuke Nakamura: AUERLIO by submission


***4 Man Tournament***

Dean Lister vs Akira Shoji: LISTER by decision

Amar Suloev vs Paulo Filho: FILHO by decision

...Filho to decision Lister in the finals to win it.

ALEKSANDER VS MORAIS
Fedor's brother Aleksander is off to a good start in MMA having a record of
5-1, only losing to Cro Cop. Assuerio Silva was his debut fight in which
Aleksander gutted out the split decision win. His next two opponents
weren't against anyone significant. Since then he's gone on to decision
Carlos Barreto and demolish a scary looking James Thompson who had more
bark than bite. Morais began his MMA career nearly 10 years ago by winning
a grueling 32-man tournament in Russia, finishing all 5 opponents. Two of
those opponents was Lion's Den's fighter Alex Andrade and Russian sambo
specialist Mikhail Illoukhine. Since then he's gone on to have an overall
record of 9-3-1. He decisioned RINGS fighter Hiromitsu Kanehara but lost
decisions to Mark Coleman and his last fight to TK in late 2003. Morais
doesn't want any part of the stand up game with Aleksander. He'll shoot in
for the takedown and Aleksander will probably sprawl and brawl. If it does
go to the ground Aleksander will use his wrestling to keep top position and
ground and pound inside Morais' guard. Aleksander has to watch himself in
that Morais is a good submission grappler, but he should be able to
neutralize any submissions thrown at him. Aleksander by decision via ground
and pound.

ACACIO VS TAKASE
Acacio is a Luta Livre fighter with an impressive 8-1 record. His sole loss
was to Nilson de Castro via triangle. He's finished 7 out of 8 opponents
using a mix of submissions and striking but he hasn't beaten anyone of
note. The Meca Vale Tudo events in Brazil have been the main organization
he's fought for. It’s rumored that in training, Takase is one of the best
submission fighters in Japan. Looking at his MMA record of 7-9-1 one would
think otherwise. He's shown glimpses of slick grappling when he triangled a
heavily favored Anderson Silva. 2004 was Takase's best year yet going
undefeated at 2-0 with decision wins over Chris Brennan and Carlos Newton.
Keeping the fight on the feet is Acacio's best bet in that striking has
been Takase's Achilles heel. But Takase has more experience in bigger shows
and against tougher opponents. I feel this advantage will have Takase
getting Acacio to the ground we're he'll start fishing for submissions.
Acacio is very tough and Takase's last 4 fights have gone the distance. I
don't see this one ending early, so I'll go with Takase by decision by
controlling the fight on the ground.

MINOWA VS YVEL
Yvel caught the attention of the Pride matchmakers with his a balls to the
wall style of constant attacking on the feet. If anyone has seen his brutal
massacre of Semmy Schilt then you can't but help but be impressed. He had
several matches in Pride with mediocre results. His most spectacular fights
during those years was when he KO'd Gary Goodrige with a Cro Cop style high
kick to head. He also knocked Carlos Barreto into next week with a flying
knee. Minowa has been very active recently with 6 fights in 2004. He has a
ton of experience with a record of 27-20-8. Minowa's fight style is a mix
of submissions and ground and pound. He lost a questionable decision to
Ryan Gracie almost a year ago, but has been on a 4-fight win streak since
then. In his last fight he demolished K-1 kickboxer Stephen Leko in under a
minute with a heel hook. Yvel is obviously going to try and KO Minowa on
the feet, so Minowa will keep his distance and wait for the shot or tie up
in the clinch and take him down from there. Once on the ground Yvel is
savvy enough to stay out of submissions, but he'll probably be pushed into
the turnbuckle and pounded on. Minowa used this strategy to effectively
shut down Ryan's guard game and I see him using it here to ground and pound
out a decision.

FEDOR VS TK
Fedor is the number 1 fighter in the world right now and looks unstoppable.
He's got some of the must brutal ground and pound in the game and can KO
you on the feet. His speed and takedowns are second to none as Minotauro
found out in their 3rd meeting when he was getting tossed around the ring.
On top of that he applies lighting fast submissions with smooth, flowing
technique. He's a serious threat in all aspects of a fight and is truly one
of the most well rounded fighters in the game. TK has been fighting for
over 10 years and has amassed a record of 26-15-2. Most of his fights were
with the RINGS organization, which didn’t allow punches to the face while
on the ground. TK's base is in judo but he's well versed in submissions,
especially foot locks. TK has gone up against the best in the business and
is the sole blemish on Fedor's record. They fought over 4 years ago in
RINGS and within the first 20 seconds of the match, TK threw a punch and
his glove grazed Fedor's head, making a cut that caused a doctor stoppage.
It was similar to when Vitor Belfort cut Randy Couture in the opening
seconds of their 2nd meeting. The only reason this match is happening is so
Fedor can wipe the slate clean with the only man that "beat" him. TK is
good, but he's in over his head with Fedor. TK hasn't faired well with good
stand up fighters as evidenced with multiple losses against Gilbert Yvel
and Bas Rutten. Fedor will approach this fight like he did against
Mintoauro. He'll light up TK on the feet and avoid the ground game. If it
goes to the ground Fedor will use his brutal ground and pound to cut TK and
either KO him or cause a doctors stoppage. Either way I don't see it going
the distance. Fedor by TKO.

RYUTA VS BUSTAMANTE
I believe Ryuta is the brother of famous shooto fighter Hyato "Mach"
Sakurai. At 11-7-4, Ryuta like his brother Mach, has shown well roundedness
by finishing several fights by submissions and KO's. Ryuta's career has
mainly been in shooto against lesser-known opponents. Some of his more well
known opponents were John Renken, Masanori Suda and Yuki Sasaki which he's
gone 1-2 against, respectively. Bustamante has suffered a big setback in
his career over the past few years. After decisively finishing off Matt
Lindland in the UFC, he moved over to Pride and has lost all three fights.
The first was a close split decision to Quinton Jackson, then a flash KO by
Dan Henderson, and his last and most disappointing loss was a decision to
judoka Kazuhiro Nakamura. I'd say Bustamante's biggest weakness can be his
lack of aggressiveness. It seems that he likes to bide his time and doesn’t
go all out to take it to his opponent. That especially hurt him in the
Nakamura fight. Ryuta won't submit Bustamante, so he may try and play the
stand up game or take him down and ground and pound. Ryuta's best bet is
being aggressive and take the fight to him. That said, I think Bustamante's
experience against higher-level opponents will win him the fight.
Bustamante can handle himself wherever Ryuta wants to take it. As long as
Bustamante doesn't let Ryuta impose his will on him, he should be able to
tag Ryuta on the feet and control positionally on the ground. I'll say
Bustamante wins the decision.

BUSCAPE VS AZEREDO
Buscape is a jiu-jitsu fighter out of Brazil with an impressive 10-1
record. His sole loss was via decision. Most his fights have been in events
down in Brazil but after he started getting internationally recognized,
he's branched out into shooto and now Pride Bushido. Buscape submitted
Hiroyuki Abe with an arm triangle in his first Bushido fight and is coming
off a big win by decisioning foot lock wizard Masakazu Imanari. Azeredo is
also a jiu-jitsu fighter from Brazil with a record of 6-2. He is one of the
few to have a win over Anderson Silva, which surprisingly enough was
Azeredo's first fight almost 5 years ago. Azeredo has also TKO'd Chute Boxe
jiu-jitsu trainer Cristiano Marcello and KO'd Marco Ruas' nephew Rodrigo
Ruas. He took Hyato Sakurai and Tony DeSouza the distance although lost
decisions to both. This should be an evenly matched fight. Buscape favors
his fights going to the ground and likes to finish via submission. Azeredo
knows the ground game too but likes to throw strikes. Azeredo's best bet is
to stuff Buscape's takedowns and try to take him out on the feet. Buscape
will take him down and try to submit him. Neither fighter has been finished
and I don't see it happening here. I'm going to have to give the edge to
Buscape. I'll say Buscape takes the decision by controlling positioning on
the ground.

OBA VS KANG
Oba fights out of the DEEP organization and is listed at 2-1. His loss was
by decision and he's gotten both wins using striking (not sure if it was
standing or on the ground). Kang is very experienced with a well-rounded
game of stand up and submissions. He seems to be a ground specialist and
has most of his MMA wins by submissions, but he's also shown good striking.
He’s KO'd UFC vet Keith Rockel and TKO'd numerous others. Most of the
bigger names he's fought he's lost to, but with the exception of a draw
with Andrei Semenov, he's on an 11 fight win streak and hasn't lost in 2
years. Considering Kang has 13x as many fights as Oba, it’s hard to bet
against him. Kang has been doing this for years and has fought against
several top names and has done respectably. Kang may tag him on the feet
but will ultimately take him to the mat and submit him.

AURELIO VS NAKAMURA
Aurelio is a BJJ black belt fighting out of ATT. With a record of 11-2,
he's kept active since his start almost 3 years ago. He submitted his first
5 opponents with none of them lasting more than a few minutes. Then he ran
into ground and pounder Antonio McKee and suffered his first loss via
decision. Aurelio came into the limelight when he finished 3 out of 4
opponents to take the ZST Grand Prix tournament in early 2004. Shortly
afterwards he was picked up by Bushido where he lost a close split decision
to tough shooto fighter Dokojonosuke Mishima. This Nakamura isn't the same
one that’s the prodigy of Hidehiko Yoshida whose first name is Kazuhiro.
This Nakamura, first name Diasuke, is 7-5 and is a veteran of the smaller
shows in Japan like DEEP. He favors the ground game and has finished most
his opponents via armbar. Triangle specialist Jutaro Nakao is the most
skilled opponent he's faced and that resulted in a KO loss for Daisuke.
This fight should be all Aurelio. Daisuke shouldn't be a threat on the feet
since he's a submission fighter. Odds are that he's not going to be able to
hang on the ground with Aurelio. Plus Aurelio has faced much tougher
competition. I'll say Aurelio takes him to the ground and has his way with
him, submitting him with relative ease.

LISTER VS SHOJI
Lister is a submission fighter best known for his standout performance in
ADCC'03, winning the absolute division and submitting names such as
Cacareco, Saulo Ribeiro, and Nathan Marquardt. He's 6-3 in MMA and coming
off 2 decision losses in a row to Jeremy Horn and Amar Suloev. In
submission grappling Lister's speciality is foot locks and is a threat to
anyone he faces, but in MMA the stand up game has proved a to be a
challenge. Suloev frustrated Lister by stuffing his takedowns and had him
covering up on the feet and on the defensive. Shoji is a scrappy,
well-rounded fighter that’s fought in many Pride events. The last few years
have had mixed results for him. He's lost 8 of his last 12 fights and is
coming into this fight off a split decision loss to Paulo Filho. This will
be a tough fight for both guys. Shoji has a lot more experience than Lister
and he's got no quit in him. Lister has been working on his stand up so he
should be able to handle whatever Shoji throws at him. Unlike Lister's
fight with Suloev, I think he'll be able to get Shoji to the ground where
he'll be able to gain position on him and ground and pound. There is a
chance that Lister might be able to submit Shoji but I doubt it. I say
Lister wins a decision via ground and pound.

SULOEV VS FILHO
Suloev is a tough fighter from Russia and a stable mate of Andrei Semenov
out of the Red Devil team. He's best known for his fight against Baroni
where he was controlling the fight but then got taken out when Baroni
rallied back and delivered some vicious shots on the ground. He went up
against Chuck Lidell but lost a decision. He's faired better outside the
UFC and is 17-4 and has a win over Semenov (before they were on the same
team) via rear naked and a TKO over Din Thomas although the size difference
was significant. His last fight was a lackluster split decision over Dean
Lister. Filho is a jiu-jitsu fighter out of BTT. He's built like a bulldog,
stocky and very powerful. Like his teammate Ricardo Arona, his strength
along with his wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills allows him to impose his will
on most opponents. Despite his jiu-jitsu background, Filho seems to utilize
a ground and pound strategy in most fights. 5 out of his 7 wins have been
by decision. This will be a classic striker vs grappler match and the
winner will be the one who can make the other play his game. This is a
tough call but I'm going with Filho. Suloev is very good at sprawl and
brawl and he'll make it tough for Filho, but I feel Filho's wrestling is
good enough he'll get Suloev to the ground where he'll pound out a
decision.

...In the finals I'll say Filho uses ground and pound to decision Lister.

March 24, 2005
Hero's
Saturday, March 26, 2005

BJ Penn vs Lyoto Machida: PENN by decision

Joachim Hansen vs Kauro Uno: UNO by decision

Jerome LeBanner vs Yoshihiro Akiyama: AKIYAMA by submission

Sam Greco vs Heath Herring: HERRING by decision

Ramon Dekker vs Genki Sudo: GENKI by submission

Gary Goodridge vs Alan Karaev: GOODRIDGE by KO

Kim Min Soo vs Bob Sapp: SOO by submission

PENN VS MACHIDA
Penn is what every BJJer that goes into MMA wants to become. Penn has the honor of being the first non Brazilian BJJ black belt to win the Mundials. After winning the biggest tournament in BJJ, he tried his hand at MMA and shot to the top, right from the start. His high level ground game along with his equally dangerous stand up game had him tearing through everyone in front of him. On top of his gifted fighting abilities, Penn has continually challenged himself by fighting the most dominant names at several different weights. He was the first to finish Takanori Gomi in a MMA fight and then disposed of one of the most dominant UFC champions in Matt Hughes. In both cases the fights weren't even close which was an amazing feat. In Penn's last fight, he decisioned a previously unbeaten Rodrigo Gracie. Machida is listed at 5-0 and caught everyone's attention win over Stephan Bonnar who's a contestant on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter. He submitted K-1 kickboxer Michael McDonald with a guillotine choke and in his last fight, he eeked out a split decision over Sam Greco. could be a factor. There is supposedly bad blood between the two. Penn must be packing on the pounds for this fight. No matter how pudgy and out of shape Penn looks, he's always dangerous. Machida obviously has good standup if he can take out Franklin on the feet, so Penn's best bet is to get it to the ground. Like Penn, Franklin is very well rounded standing and on the ground, and Machida was able to shut him down, so Penn will probably have his hands full. Then again Machida's last performance against Greco was disappointing in what many thought would be an easy victory for him. I see Penn mixing it up on the feet before setting up a takedown. Once there, he'll out position Machida and probably take his back at some point where he'll try for the rear naked. Machida should be well versed enough on the ground to defend the choke, but in the end I see Penn winning based on him controlling the action of the fight.

HANSEN VS UNO
Hansen throws punches with very bad intentions. He gave Rumina Sato the worst beating I’ve ever seen and handed Takanori Gomi his first loss. Hansen's kryptonite is someone who is good at wrestling and submissions, like Shaolin. He made quick work of Hansen by submitting him with his patented arm triangle. Since then Hansen's bounced back with solid performances against ATT fighter JZ Cavlcanti and quickly submitted his opponent with a rear naked in a Euphoria show. Back in '99 Uno showed his elite wrestling and submission skills by taking 2nd in his division in ADCC. On his way there he tapped John Lewis and Eddie Ruiz with his patented rear naked choke setups, only losing to Jean Jacques Machado in the finals by rear naked. He was also the first to tap Rumina Sato, which happened in their year-end shooto fight with, you guessed it, a rear naked choke. Uno's wrestling usually gives him an edge with takedowns and top control over his opponents. His unconventional setup for the rear naked as caught many people in it (including a young Din Thomas). After his stint in the UFC, Uno has been keeping busy in K-1 and has notched submission wins in his last two fights. His last big name fight was a draw against current shooto champ Tatsuya Kawajiri. This should be an exciting and competitive match. Hansen may try to keep this standing but I don't see him blocking Uno's takedowns. Hansen does well if he can maintain top position on the ground and hammer down punches. Uno will put Hansen on back to take away his most dangerous weapon (Hansen can still throw nasty punches off his back). I feel that Uno will ground and pound to try and loosen him up for a submission, but in the end I think Uno will take the decision.

LEBANNER VS AKIYAMA
LeBanner is another legend of K-1 and one of the best kickboxers to never win a K-1 tournament title. With a record of 32-10-1 he has KO'd Ernest Hoost, Satake, Mike Bernardo, Peter Aerts, Fransico Filho, Jan Nortje, Don Frye, Gary Goodridge, and Musashi. This guy knows how to throw bombs and take them as you can tell by his off center nose. In September he suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of Francois Botha but rallied back a few months later and KO'd Hiromi Amada. In his last fight he went up against Bob Sapp in a fight that alternated rounds between kickboxing and MMA. The fight started off with a kickboxing round and LeBanner unleashed on Sapp, nearly finishing him off. Sapp rallied back in the MMA rounds and obtained mount, but he wasn't able to finish either. It was declared a draw after both fighters were too exhausted to finish the other and let time expire. I believe Akiyama is an Olympic gold medalist in judo. In his MMA debut he armbarred Francois Botha at K-1's year-end show. This will be the second MMA fight for both of them. LeBanner fought Tadau Yasuda at the end of 2001 and tapped to a weak looking forearm choke. There is a significant size difference between the two, but I think LeBanners's takedown defense will be his downfall. Akiyama will keep his distance and most likely clinch up and get him down with a throw or leg trip. Once there he'll establish mount and like he did with Botha, and promptly submit him with an armbar.

GRECO VS HERRING
Greco is a veteran kickboxer in K-1. He's listed as 12-9-2 in kickboxing with wins over names such as Ernesto Hoost, Branco Cikatic, Masaaki Satake, Mike Bernardo, Ray Sefo and Stephen Leko. He's drawn with Andy Hug and Jerome LeBanner. After suffering 3 losses in a row at kickboxing, he's trying his hand at MMA. His debut MMA fight ended in a draw against fellow kickboxer turned MMA'er, Satake. Against Stefan Gamlin, Greco showed some submission skill by tapping him with a rear naked choke. Despite Greco's last fight being a split decision loss against Lyoto Machida, it was his most impressive. Machida is known as a very well rounded fighter both standing up and on the ground and was the first to finish an unbeaten Rich Franklin with strikes. The fact that Greco made it that close of a fight is impressive. Herring debuted in Pride over 4 years ago and is known for his ultra aggressive style of fighting. Herring's breakout fight was against Tom Erickson. Not many gave Herring a chance, but an un-intimidated Herring exploded out of the gate and went straight on the offensive. After landing a head kick that floored Erickson, Herring immediately dove onto his back to secure the rear naked choke. Since then he's gone 10-5 in Pride holding wins over fighters such as Mark Kerr, Igor Vovchanchin and Enson Inoue. He's only been stopped by fighters that are at the top of the Pride food chain such as Minotauro, Fedor and Cro Cop. Greco is going to have his hands full with Herring. Herring won't be afraid to test the waters on the feet with Greco, but ultimately he'll look to take Greco to the mat. Once there, Herring will unleash a flurry of punches and knees to soften him up and go for a submission. If Greco could fend of Machida, I don't see Herring submitting him either. I'll say Herring takes the decision by grounding and pounding.

DEKKER VS GENKI
Dekker is a kickboxer that is debuting in MMA (as far as I know). The kickboxing record I pulled up only listed him as 1-1-1, but I've seen highlight clips of him in several matches. He throws some of the meanest punches I've seen from a guy his size. The KO's were pretty brutal. Besides what I saw on the tape, I don't know much more about him. Genki is one of the most entertaining fighters to watch. Not only for his crazy style of fighting but for his over the top entrances to the ring. Genki keeps everyone entertained during the open moments of a fight by doing Michael Jackson dance moves, spins, and robot impressions. Its not all show as Genki has the stand up and grappling skills to compete with anyone in the world. He's very well rounded in that his foundation was greco-roman wrestling so his throws from the clinch are top notch. He actively competes in K-1 kickboxing matches and has KO'd opponents using his patented double spinning backfist, and he's competed in ADCC 2001 and gave Rodrigo Gracie and Vitor Belfort competitive matches. His style of grappling can be compared to Rumina Sato's. Genki was the first to try a flying triangle in the UFC and if anyone has seen his highlight reel on the submission tournament he competed in a couple of years ago, you can't help but be impressed. He was pulling off flying triangles, rolling knee compressions from standing up, and on and on. He is extremely fast with his movements. Highlights of Genki's career include wins over Nathan Marquardt (he was one of the few to actually submit Marquardt), a draw with Andre Pederneiras (which would've been a win for Genki had there been judges) and his last MMA fight which was a brutal KO win over Royler Gracie. Genki's also beaten Kauro Uno in a submission grappling match via decision. This fight should be all Genki. He had some trouble and ended up losing a close decision to kickboxer Duane Ludwig in the UFC, but Ludwig was a lot more experienced with takedown defense than Dekker is. Genki may trade shots with Dekker and try a spinning backfist or two, but I don't see it staying on the feet long. Genki will either shoot in on Dekker or clinch up and use a greco throw to ground him. Once there, Dekker will be helpless, and Genki will finish him with a quick submission.

GOODRIDGE VS KARAEV
Goodridge is the Mike Tyson of MMA and has been around since the early days. Mainly known has a gatekeeper, Goodridge has had impressive moments in his career. The first was a brutal KO over sambo specialist Oleg Takatrov. Other high points were TKO / KO wins over highly touted Valentijn Overeem, Dan Bobish and Don Frye. He's dabbled in K-1 kickboxing and notched impressive wins over Mike Bernardo, Dewey Cooper and Toa. But his overall K-1 record is 4-8. I wasn't able to pull up any info on Karaev. I think I heard he was a wrestler? I'm not sure. It seems the Japanese like to throw Goodridge sacrificial lambs here and there, to see if someone who's trying their hand at MMA will get past the gatekeeper. Since I have no idea who Karaev is, I'll have to go with Goodridge and his sledgehammers by KO.

SOO VS SAPP
Soo is another Olympic judoka (silver medalist) that’s entering the world of MMA. I couldn't pull up any info on him so I'm assuming this is his first fight. It’s been about 3 years since Bob Sapp entered into MMA. Initially thought of as a flash in the pan, Sapp showed promise in his first few fights. He annihilated Kiyoshi Tamura in 11 seconds via TKO. Then he went up against Minotauro and nearly killed him when he bear hugged him after defending a takedown and spiked him onto his head. After taking an unbelievable amount of punishment Minotauro came back to win via armbar. Sapp disposed of 3 no name opponents after Minotauro but ran into Kazuyuki Fujita. It was a one sided beat down that embarrassed Sapp. With his growing celebrity in Japan and full schedule of MMA fights, interviews, movies, commercials, and kickboxing matches, Sapp couldn't find the time to train properly and his K-1 and MMA career have suffered for it. Despite Soo's lack of size and MMA experience, Sapp's lack of training and Soo's extensive judo experience should even things out. Soo will obviously want to avoid standing up with Sapp in that Sapp's arms and legs are like tree trunks (and he finished off Ernesto Hoost 2x with them). I'll say Soo will do a hit and run strategy until he can tie up and get Sapp on the ground. If Soo can get out from underneath Sapp and get ontop in the mounted position, he'll either armbar or gets his back for the choke. Soo by submission.

March 19, 2004
UAGF
Thursday, March 17, 2005

Phil Baroni vs Trevor Garrett: BARONI by TKO

Aaron Brink vs Mike Whitehead: WHITEHEAD by decision

Baroni vs Garrett
Baroni is coming into this fight with an armbar win over a no namer, after 4 straight losses in the UFC. The first loss was a rematch with Matt Lindland where he was dominated by ground and pound and lost a decision. The next was the controversial ref stoppage against Evan Tanner. The 2 losses since then were rematches with Lindland and Tanner. Aside from his losses, Baroni has been plagued by injuries, financial difficulties and was under a 3-month suspension when he got rowdy with ref Larry Landless. When Baroni is on, he's extremely dangerous with his punches. But one has to wonder if the last couple of years have taken their toll on him. In his last UFC fight against Pete Sell, the fire of the old Baroni was gone and in its place was an overly cautious, reserved one. I hope he isn't suffering a case of Vitor Belfort syndrome where the explosive hands disappear and a normal, almost boring fighter takes its place. Despite Garrett's 0-2 pro record, one of them was a split decision loss to Dave Menne. Anyone who can make a close fight against Menne is one tough customer. Everyone expected Baroni to run over a green Pete Sell but he got guillotined instead. Baroni should have some confidence back with his last armbar win, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him pushed hard against Garrett. I'll say Baroni controls the action on the feet, eventually taking it to the ground and pounding out a decision.

Brink vs Whitehead
Brink is a busy boy these days. He juggles his career between being a MMA fighter and a porn star under the name of Dick Delaware. Can we say alpha male? Brink is more of a gatekeeper at his weight. He beats most no namers but comes up short against the big names. He's fought a who's who of heavyweights including Bobby Hoffman 2x, Tom Sauer, Valentijn and Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, and Jeremy Horn. Out of that list he TKO'd Sauer but lost to the rest. Like Brink, Whitehead is on the level of a gatekeeper, but with a little more polish in his game. Whitehead won the ADCC 2003 North American trials, so his grappling game is very good. He's listed as 7-4 in MMA and has gone up against former UFC champ Tim Sylvia 2x, Ben Rothwell and Brandon Vera. He was able to win a decision against Rothwell. Brink likes to throw strikes, so Rothwell will probably keep his distance and time the shoot. Once he gets Brink on the ground, he'll ground and pound him to a decision.

Lockdown in Paradise
Saturday, March 19, 2005

Ronald Jhun vs Jay Hieron: JHUN by decision

John Cox vs Fabiano Iha: IHA by armbar

Jhun vs Hieron
After years of fighting Jhun finally got a crack at the UFC, only to loss via guillotine to Chris Lytle. Jhun is well rounded and at times has displayed Vitor Belfort hand speed. Since his UFC loss, he fought Jason Miller and tapped to an arm triangle. For this fight he's coming off a decision win over a relative unknown. I believe Heiron is a blue belt but
with good wrestling skills. You may recall he had a UFC fight against George St. Pierre where he was brutally TKO'd. This should be a competitive match, with Hieron giving Jhun a hard time with his wrestling. Jhun will be sharper standing up, so he's best advised to play the sprawl and brawl game. Hieron won't want to suffer the same fate he did against St. Pierre when he tried to mix it up on the feet, so he'll try to take Jhun down and ground and pound. I feel Jhun's experience will be the deciding factor. Hieron has around 4 fights whereas Jhun has 10x that many. Jhun will pick apart Hieron on the feet and if it ends up on the ground Jhun has the skills to keep Hieron at bay. Jhun by decision.

Cox vs Iha
Known as the king of armbars, Iha turned heads when he competed in the first ADCC in 1998, almost submitting Renzo Gracie with an armbar. How Renzo got out of it remains a mystery to me to this day. Iha went on to place third beating John Lewis on advantage. Iha's record in MMA is 8-5, with some impressive wins early in his career. He armbarred Yves Edwards and KO'd Rickson black belt Cleber Luciano. Out of his 8 wins, 5 have been by armbar, which justifies his nickname. Like most hardcore BJJer's, Iha's weakness is his standup. He hasn't done well against wrestlers either, and if you mix a wrestler with good hands that seems to be the formula to beat him. He was destroyed by Frank Trigg in his Pride debut and crumbled under Trigg's punches. Dave Menne, Din Thomas and Kauro Uno all hold wins over him. Iha's last MMA fight was a few months ago where he won against an unknown by what else, armbar. I wasn't able to pull any info up on Jeff Cox. This seems to be the sacrificial lamb fight to keep Iha busy and prepare him for bigger things if he plans to continue fighting. Look for Iha to rush in, take Cox to the ground and get the quick armbar.

March 7, 2005
Reality Fighting
Saturday, March 12, 2005

Roberto Traven vs Yukiya Naito: TRAVEN by decision

Traven is one of the old school BJJers from Brazil that dabbled in MMA and had his most impressive competitive showing in ADCC'99. That year in the absolute he out pointed Fabiano Capoane, Garth Taylor, Luis Duarte and Hayato "Mach" Sakurai to win it. He took on Mario Sperry in the following years superfight but lost on points. His MMA record is 6-3. Back in '97 when knowing BJJ almost guaranteed you a victory, he won an 8-man tournament in Russia fairly easily. Dave Menne won a decision against him in RINGS and he was destroyed by then purple belt Frank Mir in Mir's UFC debut. Traven's achilles heel is striking which Mir used to setup an armbar that broke it. His last fight was against Elvis Sinosic and Traven's weak stand up was again exposed when he was KO'd with a punch.

Naito's record stands at 6-2 and with most of his latter fights being in Pancrase. Like Traven, Naito favors submissions and appears to like to end fights on the ground. His 2 most high profile fights have been decision losses to Egan Inoue and Yuki Sasaki. If Naito had mainly a stand up game I'd probably be inclined to lean towards him, but I'm going to go with Traven. Naito needs to keep it on the feet where even if he has a little stand up, it will probably be better than Traven's. Nevertheless, I feel Traven will get it to the ground where he'll use his positional game to keep Naito on the defensive. Traven isn't known as a finisher so I'll say he takes the decision.

Shooto
Friday, March 11, 2005

Rumina Sato vs Makoto Ishikawa: SATO by submission

Alexander "Pequeno" Noguiera vs Joao Roque: ROQUE by decision

Sato vs Ishikawa
Up until Sato recently dropped weight, he was a glimmer of the star he was, in the mid / late 90's. To his credit he's hung in there, but has suffered a few tough losses within the last couple years. One was a devastating TKO loss to former shooto champ Joachim Hansen, and he was guillotined in about 40 seconds by current shooto Champ Pequeno. At his new lighter weight Sato is on 3-fight win streak and finished each fight decisively. Sato was impressive in his fight against Bao Quach, showing his old self, showing complete domination by throwing him down, obtaining mount and locking the armbar. In his last fight he went up against a tough Katsuya Toida who holds a decision win over Baret Yoshida. Sato suprised fans and showed he's been rounding out his game with striking by ending the fight via a vicious KO punch.

I'm not familiar with Sato's opponent, Ishikawa. He holds a decent record of 11-5, which is good considering the high talent of shooto fighters. The majority of his fights go the distance. He's 2-1 against opponents I recognize. He has a decision loss to Mishima, a draw and a decision win over Tetsuo Katsuta (who decisioned Pequeno several years back) and a TKO win over Hiroyuki Abe (who is 1-1 with Pequeno).

This fight is for the shooto belt and could finally mean Sato will be a champion. Most are surprised to find that despite given numerous chances, Sato has always fallen short of obtaining the belt. I like Sato's chances here and think he'll continue his good luck at the new weight. He's shown improved speed and power with his 2 submissions and KO which are harder to pull of at these lighter weights. I feel that Sato will take Ishikawa down where he'll be all over him and in typical Sato fashion, pull out the quick and dramatic submission victory.

Pequeno vs Roque
Pequeno has the prestige of being one of the only fighters that can pull off one submission over and over and over, and even though everyone knows it’s coming, no one can stop it. His ten-finger guillotine has been trademark-finishing move since his debut in Shooto, over 6 1/2 years ago. Its amazing in that not only has he finished off some of the best at his weight with the move, he's done it more than once to the same guy. Noboru Asahi got caught both times he fought Pequeno. Uchu Tatasumi and Tetso Katsuto (both extremely good fighters) got guillotined in their rematches with him. Pequeno was even able to turn the tables on Rumina Sato and give him a taste of what Rumina's old victims must've felt after being submitted so quickly. Pequeno was able to finish Sato with the guillotine in just 40 seconds. Hideki Kadowaki was Pequeno's last opponent and like all the rest, was submitted with the dreaded guillotine.

Roque has been fighting since the early days of MMA and has been one of the elite BJJers that made a successful transition to fighting. At 8-1-4, his sole loss was a close decision to Jens Pulver, with the 4 draws being in the Japan Vale Tudo events where he dominated but because there were no judges, they were ruled draws. Roque's ground game is second to none and gave Royler Gracie all he could handle in ADCC'99. His signature move is the armbar and he's been able to submit a number of good fighters with it, like Stephen "Bozo" Palling, Hiroyuki Abe, and Takehiro Murahama 2x. Roque has also decisioned Ryan Bow and Noaya Uematsu, both top level shooto fighters.

In my opinion Roque will be Pequeno's toughest opponent to date. Pequeno's got the edge standing up and his best bet is to play sprawl and brawl. Roque's weakness in standup was exposed in his last fight where he took significant punishment on the feet from Hiroyuki Takaya and managed to eek out a draw. Roque has to be VERY careful in taking it to the ground because he favors shooting in for the double leg, which puts his neck in the firing line for Pequeno's guillotine. Roque is well aware of Pequeno's choke, and I think his ground game is too solid to be caught in it. I feel he'll use his speed and strength to get Pequeno down onto his back. Once there, Roque will start his methodical ground game where he'll out position Pequeno, possibly passing guard and obtaining mount. He won't submit Pequeno, but I think it will be enough to win Roque the decision.

March 1, 2005
IFC
Saturday, March 5, 2005

Joe Doerkson vs Matt Knaub: DOERKSON by submission

Andy Montana vs Tom Sauer: SAUER by KO

Jeff Curran vs David Douglas: CURRAN by submission

Doerkson vs Knaub
Doerkson is a submission machine, transitioning from one submission to another until he gets the tap. He's got a record of 28-6 with most of them being by submission. Doerkson's whole training regime was BJJ until 3 consecutive losses to Egan Inoue, David Louiseau, and Stephan Potvin forced him to round out his game with stand up. Since his last loss to Potvin he's on a 10 fight-winning streak ending 3 of them with striking. Some of the bigger names he's beaten are Lee Murray, Adrianne Serrano, Anthony Macias, John Alessio, Denis Kang and Chris Leben. He had a rough UFC debut suffering a TKO loss to Joe Riggs, but has bounced back with a triangle choke win over Team Quest fighter, Ed Herman. Knaub is listed as 4-1 overall and seems to favor submissions. He hasn't fought any high profile fights. This should be another stepping stone fight for Doerkson. Knaub doesn't have the experience or any significant wins to make me think he has a chance against Doerkson. Look for Doerkson to mix it up on the feet to test the waters of how good Knaub is standing. If Doerkson gets his rythem on the feet and doesn't feel threatened, he may go for the KO. If Knaub lands some punches, Doerkson will take it to the mat where he should submit Knaub fairly quickly.

Montana vs Sauer
Sauer is a fighter with HEAVY knockout power. He's KO'd several opponents by walking up to them, landing his big one punch and its lights out. Sauer shouldn't be under estimated in that he has some wins over big names. He submitted ADCC champ Jeff Monson with a rear naked choke early in Monson's fight career. David Dodd, Valentijn Overeem, Andrei Kopylov and most recently Enson Inoue have all been KO'd / TKO'd by Sauer's heavy hands. Montana holds a 13-7 record and his mixed it up with names such as Joe Riggs 2x, Paul Bunetello, Travis Wiuff and Aaron Brink. He suffered losses in all those bouts with the exception of Brink who he armbarred. He seems to be a well-rounded fighter, mixing his wins by using both strikes and submissions. Sauer should have the edge in that Montana hasn't faired well against big punchers. Montana's best bet is to try to get Sauer on the ground and go for the submission. If Sauer is able to keep it on the feet or lands on top position if it hits the ground, he should be able to pound out a win. I feel with Sauer's experience he'll be able to KO Montana on the feet.

Curran vs Douglas
Curran is a bjj black belt and has been very active. He first made a name for himself when he KO'd Baret Yoshida almost 3 years ago. Curran is well rounded and finishes most guys he fights but usually ends up on the losing end when he matches up with the big names. Notable wins include triangling Todd Lally, Dan Swift and he just got done guillotining former shooto veteran Mashiro Oishi. Douglas is listed as only being 2-0 but both wins have been very impressive in that he finished them in under a minute. The first fight he TKO'd his opponent in 8 seconds. Wow. Douglas obviously has heavy hands so he'll try to KO Curran on the feet or ground and pound him if it hits the mat. I feel that with Curran's experience, he'll be able to get it to the ground where he will promptly submit Douglas.

February 11, 2005
DEEP
Saturday, February 12, 2005

Yoshiro Maeda vs Masakazu Imanari: MAEDA by KO

Taisho vs Dokonjonosuke Mishima: MISHIMA by submission

Ryo Chonan vs Roan "Jucao" Carneiro: CHONAN by decision

Maeda vs Imanari
Not many people outside of Japan know Maeda, but those keeping track of his last few fights can't help but be impressed. With a MMA record of 12-0, Maeda throws serious bombs. Six of his twelve wins have been by KO/TKO's. With guys in this light a weight class, you need to be packing dynamite to be able to get a clean KO. It’s a testament to how good a striker he is. He's already KO'd two standout ADCC veterans in Baret Yoshida and Soca and decisioned elite BJJer Fredson Paixao. Imanari is an exciting ZST fighter who specializes in foot locks, especially heel hooks. He is 6-3 with his biggest win to date being a stunning 39 second reverse heel hook over well established BJJ black belt, Jorge Gurgel. Since that fight he's lost two bouts by decision to BJJ fighters Marcus Aurelio and Buscape, but his last fight was another submission win over BJJ black belt Renato Tavares. These two have already competed against each other in submission grappling with Imanari getting the win by submission. Maeda will be looking for some payback. Imanari is used to fighting in ZST, which isn't full out MMA in that you can't strike to the face while on the ground. This only benefits Maeda in that past ZST fighters have shown that their submissions are much tougher to pull off in full MMA. Maeda will use his sprawl and brawl tactics with Imanari going for his takedowns directly into foot lock attempts. I feel Maeda will be wise to his game and manage to keep himself standing where he will eventually KO Imanari.

Taisho vs Mishima
Mishima is one of the top guys at his weight although has come up short when given a shot at the top dogs. He holds an impressive record of 15-3-2, which includes wins over Cromado (kneebar), Ryan Bow (decision), Ito (armbar), Fabio Mello (decision) and Kato (decision). He's a ground specialist and is said to be one of the best at passing the guard in a MMA fight. His losses have been to top fighters. He was dominating Din Thomas until Din landed some nasty knees that won him the TKO on a doctor stoppage. Mishima was also TKO'd when he went up against Gomi, and then lost a decision when he fought Ralph Gracie. Taisho is listed as 5-2 with some wins over big names such as shooto veteran Noboru Asahi, Jason Maxwell (who TKO'd Jens Pulver) and ZST submission wizard Hideo Tokoro. More impressively he finished all of them with either strikes or submissions, which displays his well-rounded game. He's coming into this fight after losing his last two fights by decision to Rich Clementi and Edson Diniz. Mishima has more experience against bigger names than Taisho does. I feel that Mishima will take Taisho down and work his slick ground game. Mishima was known as one of the best guard passers in MMA so I see him getting sidemount after taking Taisho down. Taisho's defense should be good enough that he will avoid Mishima's submissions and take him the distance where Mishima will take the decision.

Chonan vs Jucao
Chonan has beaten top fighters for a while now, but really grabbed everyone's attention in his last Pride fight against Anderson Silva. Out of nowhere Chonan submitted him with one of the most spectalur submissions in a scissors sweep takedown into a reverse heel hook. Chonan stands at 8-4, with all 4 losses by decision. His first big win was a TKO win (doc stoppage) against Hayato Sakurai in 2003. Ricardo Almeida handed him a decision loss after that. But then Chonan bounced back with a solid decision win against Carlos Newton and then his last fight against Anderson. Jucao trains at BTT and has a record of 5-2. His most solid wins have been a decision over Marco Ruas' nephew, Rodrigo Ruas and submission over Paul Jenkins. Chonan should dominate Jucao in all aspects. Chonan can hang with the best in the world on the ground and his positioning and submission defense are tops. His submission over Anderson was very unusual in that many of Chonan's fights go the distance as I'm guessing will be the case here. Look for Chonan to maintian superior positioning on the ground and dominate any stand up that happens. Chonan by decision.

February 4, 2005
UFC 51
Saturday, February 5, 2005

Tito Ortiz vs Vitor Belfort: TITO by decision

Chris Lytle vs Karo Parisyan: KARO by decision

Tim Sylvia vs Andrei Arlovski: SYLVIA by KO

Evan Tanner vs David Terrell: TERRELL by TKO

Mike Kyle vs James Irvin: KYLE by KO

Paul Buentello vs Justin Eilers: EILERS by KO

Phil Baroni vs Pete Sell: BARONI by TKO

Nick Diaz vs Drew Fickett: FICKETT by decision

Tito vs Belfort
Tito has been having a rough time lately. Tough losses to Lidell and Couture derailed the Tito train and a lot of fans bailed. There are also rumors that his marriage is going through a tough time. He's also mentioned that he's been training by himself a lot, and parted ways with several training partners. Yet Tito brushes it all off and continues to push himself and get his career back on track. He got a much needed win against Patrick Cote, but it was a bit of a no win situation in that if he beat Cote, he was supposed to. But the fact that he didn't finish him dissappointed a lot of people. His seeminlgy one-dimensional ground and pound game wasn't enough and bored fans in the process. Belfort is back training with ATT, and I hope he's been training to fight off his back. We all know Belfort's got the hands, but we haven't seen the machine gun hand combo's of old, in years (save for his fight with Marvin Eastman). Belfort proved his ground game was world class in ADCC, beating Ricco Rodriguez and Genki Sudo. Unfortunately he hasn't been able to show those ground skills lately in MMA when going up against superior wrestlers like Couture. He looked flat and passive when he was put up against the cage. Both guys are coming in off less than stellar times in their lives and need to make something happen. I feel that Tito has more hunger to win it than Belfort. Belfort does have the edge standing up, but I feel that Tito will probably rush him and take him down before he has a chance to tee off. Once on the ground, I see Tito getting Belfort up against the fence and using a Couture like ground and pound game. If Tito couldn't finish Cote, I don't see him finishing Belfort. Tito by decision.

Lytle vs Karo
Karo burst onto everyone's radar screen when he submitted Dave Strasser in a way never before done in the Octagon, with a Sakuraba-esque like kimura. Karo is a world-class judoka and one of Gene LeBelle's top students. Most of his wins have come via submission, although he's decisioned some of the bigger names he's fought. Antonio McKee, Fernando Vasconcelos, Shonie Carter and most recently Nick Diaz have all lost decisions to him. Karo's only losses were from ground and pound specialists in Sean Sherk 2x and rising UFC fighter, George St. Pierre. Lytle is the definition of a well-rounded fighter. He's a pro boxer and the only fighter to cleanly KO steel chinned Aaron Riley (a feat Robbie Lawler couldn't do despite hitting him with everything he had). Lytle has stood toe to toe with Lawler as well. Despite losing the decision he held his own and looked good doing it. He has a wealth of experience always keeping busy. He comes into this fight as 16-10-5. Some of the wins he has are over Dave Strasser, Kazuo Misaki, Lavern Clark, Pete Spratt, and most recently Ron Jhun. Karo will want no part of Lytle trading on the feet. He'll use the same technique he did against Diaz and rush in to close the distance, clinch up and get the throw if its there. Once its on the ground I feel that Karo will be able to maintain top position and ground and pound. Karo has beaten Nick Diaz and Fernando Vasconcelos, both excellent BJJ fighters, so he won't have worry much about being submitted by Lytle. Although he's best advised to watch out for Lytle's guillotine. I feel that Karo will end up taking the decision after dominating with ground and pound.

Sylvia vs Arlovski
Sylvia is coming off an easy TKO victory over UFC heel Wes Sims. Sylvia fights out of the Miletich camp and they've honed him into a KO machine. With his long reach and heavy hands, his specialty is putting people to sleep. He first captured people's attention when he won the Superbrawl 8 man tournament back in 2002, finishing all 3 opponents with strikes. Two fights later he debuted in the UFC and stopped an iron chinned Cabbage. People still weren't sure how good he was until he sent Ricco Rodriguez into La La Land while he was the champ. Most didn't give Frank Mir much of a chance. Sylvia made the mistake of taking the fight to the ground and letting his guard down. In classic Mir style, he tied up the quick submission and snapped Sylvia's forearm. Prior to this blemish, Sylvia seemed almost unstoppable. Arlovski got off to a rocky start in MMA. His first fight ended in a KO loss, but he bounced back with a few more wins. In his first fight in the UFC he armbarred porn star / MMA fighter Aaron Brink (yes you read that right, Brink bangs chick and beats up guys for a living) but then had disappointing losses to Ricco Rodriguez (TKO from punches from the mount) and Pedro Rizzo (KO punch). Since that loss Arlovski refocused and started polishing his boxing skills. He came back 8 months later and disposed of heavy hitter Ian Freeman by TKO in UFC 40, and he followed that up with impressive KO wins over tough wrestler Vladimir Matyushenko and iron chinned Cabbage. This fight is a KO in the making. Both guys love to punch and get punched and have no interest in going to the ground. This will be like a super sized version of Pulver vs Gomi. Despite Arlovski's fast and heavy hands, he's shown he can get taken out with a punch that sneaks through (Rizzo's fight). Sylvia has the size and reach advantage. Slyvia’s punches have a very good chance of sneaking through Arlovski's defenses as he charges forward. Sparks are sure to fly on this one, and I'm going with Sylvia by KO on the feet.

Tanner vs Terrell
Terrell is one of the best submission grapplers in the US and looks to be on his way to possibly being one of the best MMA fighters as well. He's coming off a stunning 26 second KO win over Matt Lindland. In submission he's beaten Todd Margolis 2x (both times by submission), Cameran Earle (guillotine choke), David Avellan, Dean Lister, Ricardo Almeida (straight ankle lock), Margarida....the list is impressive. He's 5-1 in MMA with a decision loss to Vernon White back in his debut when he was 19. It's 5 years later and Terrell has had a couple of fights in Pancrase where he finished Yuki Sasaki (KO punch) and Osami Shibuya (rear naked choke). He seems to have the traits that made BJ Penn so successful with his transition from jiu-jitsu to MMA, which is a submission game second to none and very heavy hands. Tanner is one of the sports pioneers and also one of the most successful. What’s even more impressive is that through his 30-4 fight career, Tanner was largely self-trained. Many of the submissions he learned were from the Gracie Basics instructional videos. Tanner favors the ground game. Once he gets his opponents to the ground he uses his superior strength and positioning to either TKO or submit them. One of his signature moves is attaining mount and raining down punches and elbows. This is tough fight to call. You have vast experience vs a young up and comer who seems like he could be the next Vitor Belfort or BJ Penn. Its still too early to tell with Terrell, but from everything we've seen of him so far, he seems more than capable of handling Tanner. One thing Tanner will not be doing if the fight does go to the ground is getting mount. For that matter, no matter where the fight ends up, I feel Terrell has the edge. He's has shown devastating punching power with his fights against Sasaki and Lindland. And on the ground he's just as dangerous with his submissions in that he's caught the best submission grapplers in the country. Tanner will most likely want to take Terrell down, maintain top position and ground and pound him. But in the end I feel that Terrell will keep it on the feet where he will end it by TKO.

Kyle vs Irvin
Kyle trains out the American Kickboxing Academy and is 6-3 with each of his wins have been by KO/TKO. He's lost to the bigger names he's fought in Paul Buentello, Dan Bobish and most recently his childhood buddy, Justin Eilers. If Kyle is fighting, you can guarantee that someone is going to get KO'd. None of Kyle's fights have gone to decision and all have ended by strikes, whether it was him who was handing the beat down or receiving it. Irvin comes into this fight with an impressive undefeated record of 7-0. He's
finished all his opponents quickly by strikes, save for one he armbarred for good measure. Looking solely at their records, one would probably favor Irvin. The only problem is Irvin hasn't faced the caliber of opponents that Kyle has. I'm going with Kyle on this one by KO on the feet.

Buentello vs Eilers
Buentello has been fighting for almost 8 years and has compiled a 17-8 record. Like his opponent Eilers, Buentello likes to trade on the feet and holds some impressive TKO/KO wins over fighters such as Bobby Hoffman and Mike Kyle. The ground game isn't his strong point as he's shown a weakness by being caught in a few submissions. Eilers was prepping for a career in the NFL until shoulder surgery left him out of the loop for a year. While recovering Eilers hooked up with old friend Pulver and took up fighting to stay in shape. In his debut he took Severn the distance and down the road gave Cabbage all he could handle. He lost both fights via decision but still impressed since he was a no namer. With 9 wins he's managed to finish each opponent off with strikes including fellow UFC fighter and friend, Mike Kyle. On paper this is a very even looking match. Both hold KO wins over Mike Kyle, and Buentello has a significant edge with the experience. Eilers only 2 losses were by decision, whereas Buentello has been finished by both strikes and submissions. I'm going with my gut on this one and say Eilers takes Buentello out on the feet with punches.

Baroni vs Sell
Baroni is coming into this fight after 3 losses in a row. The first was a rematch with Matt Lindland where he was dominated and lost a decision. The next was the controversial ref stoppage against Evan Tanner. And his last fight was a decisive decision loss in a rematch against Tanner. Aside from his losses, Baroni has been plagued by injuries, financial difficulties and was under a 3-month suspension when he got rowdy with ref Larry Landless. When Baroni is on, he's extremely dangerous on his feet with his punches. But one has to wonder if the last year has taken its toll on Baroni. In his last fight against Tanner, the fire of the old Baroni was gone and in its place was an overly cautious, reserved one. I hope he isn't suffering a case of Vitor Belfort syndrome where the explosive hands disappear and a normal, almost boring fighter takes its place. Sell is a fighter out of the Renzo Gracie camp. He's undefeated at 5-0 and to no ones suprise specializes in the submission game though 3 of his 5 fights have gone the distance. I think he's more of a positional ground fighter. Sell gets props for having a big set of balls for taking this fight in place of an injured Robbie Lawler, but I don't think he's ready for the big leauges and might suffer the fate of fellow teamate Jay Heiron who was brutally TKO'd by George St. Pierre. Baroni is going to try to take Sell's head off, and Sell will try his hardest to get it to the ground. If he can even get it there is questionable in that Baroni's strength and wrestling will probably overcome his attempts. I say Baroni ends the fight on the feet with well-placed punches.

Diaz vs Fickett
Diaz is one of the top dogs out of Cesar Garcie's impressive fight team. His base is BJJ but as everyone saw in his last fight, he's just as good with his hands, as Robbie Lawler found out we he landed face first on the canvas. Diaz's record is 9-3 with a loss to Jeremy Jackson which he rematched 2 more times and won both, a close split decision to shooto fighter Hironaka and most recently a decision loss to Karo Parisyan. Diaz seems to use submission and striking equally. He's finished half of his opponents using both methods. Fickett recently improved his MMA record to 24-2 by submitting Nuri Shakir. Fickett's bread and butter is the ground where he has shown good submission offense and defense with his base in wrestling. He's submitted BJJ black belt Fabio Holanda with a rear naked and has had decision wins over big names like Dennis Hallman, Edwin DeWees and Kenny Florian who's a contestant on the reality show The Ultimate Fighter. Diaz's best bet is to try and keep this one on the feet by playing the sprawl and brawl game. If he can stand with Lawler then he shouldn't have much to worry about against Fickett. Staying on his feet against Fickett is another matter. I feel if Fickett gets Diaz to the ground using his speed and fast takedowns, he'll be too strong for Diaz to control. Karo frustrated Diaz, and Fickett is similar to Karo with his aggressiveness and maintaining top position. While on top, Fickett likes to ground and pound to soften up his opponents before submitting them. Diaz is slick on the ground, and he recently submitted a much stronger looking Macaco via rolling kneebar in a submission match. Fickett in the past has shown he's susceptible to lower body submissions in straight grappling, but in MMA they are much harder to land without taking punishment. I feel that Fickett will get Diaz to the mat and use his ground and pound game to take the decision.

January 19, 2005
Shootboxing
Sunday, January 23, 2005

Pete Spratt vs Wataru Takahashi: SPRATT by KO

Spratt throws some nasty kicks as shown when he handed an unbeaten Robbie Lawler his first loss by TKO. Since then he hasn't had the best luck, showing a glaring whole in his takedown and submission defense. Before Lawler, he was kimura'd easily by Carlos Netwon. After the Lawler fight, George St. Pierre and Chris Lytle choked Spratt out quickly. Its been over a year since Spratt had a full MMA fight, although he fought John Cronk in a stand up fight a few months ago. Wataru is listed as 3-4-1 in MMA and seems to favor submissions. He's never been finished in that all his losses are by decision. I'm not sure if this is a kickboxing fight or full MMA. If its MMA, Spratt is very susceptible to submissions which Wataru could very well catch him in. If its standup, it should be all Spratt. Either way, I'm going with Spratt by TKO.

ZST Grand Prix Finals
Sunday, January 23, 2005

Hideo Tokoro
Masahiro Oishi
Remigijus Morkevicius

...Tokoro is probably the second best submission fighter in ZST, right after Naoyuki Kotani. His fluid movement on the ground with his chain submissions and positions always makes it a treat to watch him fight. Oishi is a former shooto champ who's been in the game for almost 10 years and specializes in submissions. He's fought a who's who of well-known fighters at his weight and has lost to the better known ones. He seems to be more of a gatekeeper fighter. Morkevicius is said to have some of the most vicious knees in MMA. He sports an 10-3 MMA record with his first 5 fights all ending in KO's. Tokoro has already submitted Oishi and is 1-1 with Morkevicius. Tokoro was KO'd by him the first fight, but triangled him in a rematch. I'll say Tokoro submits whomever he faces to take the tournament

WEC
Saturday, January 22, 2005

Shonie Carter vs Cyborg: SHONIE by decision

Shonie along with Jeremy Horn, Travis Fulton and Dan Severn is one of the constant workhorses of MMA. He has over 70 fights on his record. Shonie has an unorthodox fighting style. He's got great Greco-roman takedowns that send opponents sailing through the air. His wrestling and submission defense is excellent as well. Matt Serra went for submission after submission on him in their UFC fight, and Shonie kept escaping and ended it in dramatic fashion with a spinning back fist for the TKO win. Shonie also competes in nearly everything fight related. He's competed in wrestling, kickboxing, submission grappling, san shou, boxing and nearly anything else you can think of. Cyborg now trains at Chute Boxe and bears a close resemblance to Wanderlei Silva. Like his counterpart, Cyborg likes to trade on the feet but isn't as polished. He's lost to the bigger names he's fought (Shogun, Pele) but has KO'd some decent fighters in Osami Shibuya and K-1 fighter Jefferson Silva. His last fight he took a tough Yuki Kondo the distance but lost a decision. This will be a tough fight for both guys. I'm going to have to give the edge to Shonie in that Cyborg has a lot of ring rust. Shonie is always active and had 8 fights in 2004 whereas Cyborg only had that one fight against Kondo. Cyborg's biggest weapon is that he hits very hard, but Shonie should be able to fend off any stand up attacks that Cyborg throws at him. This fight will probably go the distance with the two trading on the feet and Shonie using his Greco takedowns to get it to the mat occasionally. I see this one going the distance with Shonie getting the decision.

GrappleTV.com© 2003-2006 All rights reserved.