Fighter Of The Week – Kenny Florian

One of MMA’s most well respected fighters, Kenny Florian is known for many things. His razor sharp elbows, sharp suits and fantastic tweets (if you don’t have twitter or you’re not following him, then it’s your loss). As he enters a new stage in his career by moving from the lightweight division to the featherweight division, Florian has new challenges ahead of him, including the likes of Manny Gamburyan, Josh Grispi and of course, Jose Aldo.

MMA UK salutes you Mr Florian…

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The Year End Round-Up With JB: April – June

In The News This Year,

Takanori Gomi, hell yes! This dude made his UFC debut at Ultimate Fight Night 21, which aired at 03:00 on April 1st here in the UK, thus making it fair game, bitches! Despite having had a very ho-hum time in the ring since losing to Marcus Aurelio all those years ago in Pride quite a few people were giving him a shot against his opponent Kenny Florian. I guess the theory goes that Florian is overrated because he was on TUF and what have TUF contestants really accomplished anyway bla bla bla. Other, more ridiculous, punters were claiming that Gomi was overrated and didn’t deserve the hype he had back in the day.

For those of you who lived under a rock during the Pride Bushido days (BJ Penn among others, considering he wasn’t ranked #1) Takanori Gomi went on a ten fight win streak on his way to becoming the first Pride FC Lightweight champion, utterly destroying every fighter in his path. Trust me, his competition was not a set of scrubs as at this point in time Pride FC had easily the best Lightweight division in the world.
Gomi also had one of the most exciting fights in Pride history against Tatsuya Kawajiri, so let’s take a look at some vintage Gomi action

That was the Gomi of old however and recent days haven’t been kind to him. He’s sort of the Vitor Belfort of the Lightweights, possessing ridiculous talent and skill but with a mind game that can shoot his best efforts down despite everything. In their battle Florian managed to outwork Gomi every step of the way, using his reach and technical striking to stay one step ahead and eventually sink in a rear naked choke to finish an exhausted Gomi.

Gomi did rebound against Tyson Griffin later this year and redeemed himself with a trademark violent finish. Is Gomi’s fire back or will he continue to be inconsistent? We’ll find out in 2011.

Also in April the UFC held it’s most international event yet, UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, which was ultimately a disappointment. This was mainly due to some lackluster fights but also due to misplaced hype, in this case in regards to the two main events. People were expecting BJ Penn to absolutely destroy Frankie Edgar, who most didn’t even think deserved a shot for the title. Hell, I’ll admit I was scoffing at the whole deal! Then something weird happened: Edgar won. Disputed as the call was he won/stole the title nontheless and already the event had the crowd confused and a little unruly. Thankfully a rematch was scheduled immediately to settle the score once and for all and allow Penn, who allegedly had a cold (or something), to be deadly serious next time.

Then came the main-main event with Anderson Silva going up against one of the best jiu jitsu players in the world in Demian Mai; Striker verus grappler, Brazilian versus Brazilian, patience versus JESUS FUCKING CHRIST DO SOMETHING!

In the end the fight ended up being marginally more exciting than the Thales Leites fiasco but way more embarassing for Zuffa management who had just put on one of mainstream MMA’s most boring fights this year in front of their new shareholders. Dana White was understandably furious and claimed that Silva would face consequences for his behaviour, which I guess is one explanation for his bruised ribs in the Sonnen fight. Don’t embarass Irishmen and Italians I guess…

Speaking of embarassing Strikeforce aired it’s now infamous event in Nashville on the 17th of April, featuring Gilbert Melendez making professional asshole Shinya Aoki look like an amateur, Dan Henderson getting destroyed by a man half his size and the Diaz brothers keepin it real on prime time TV.

Yeah, that brawl was something… strange. Even after some time it was hard to tell exactly how it started, not to mention why. Ok, the why part is pretty self explanatory; Jason Miller entered the ring (media later claimed he “invaded” the ring but I seriously doubt the Irken Empire would send Mayhem on a stealth mission) while Jake Shields was holding his victory speech, flanked by the Diaz brothers of course. At some point during his mad rant he got in the vicinity of Diaz’s face (which Diaz is still unclear) and they proceeded to take him to the cleaners on live TV. Good old family entertainment which for some reason freaked CBS out and led to months of negotiations having Strikeforce dangerously close to losing their cable deal.
Miller later apologized for the incident, taking full responsibility which wasn’t entirely fair but hey, at least he proved that he can be the bigger man when required.

Following this Nick Diaz and Miller started trading insults online and a fight between the two seemed a very real and very exciting possibility. Thankfully Strikeforce realized how watching a fight like that would be too awesome for our feeble mortal minds and spared us the spectacle in favour of more predictable fights like Diaz vs KJ Noons (spoiler: Diaz totally whupped his ass).

King Mo also became the first man to beat the new and improved Gegard Mousasi using good old fashioned wrestling and the biased Western MMA Rules. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of good old fashioned wrestling, hell it’s the martial art I myself came from, but holding someone down whilst getting your face bashed in shouldn’t be seen as winning! Didn’t we all agree that Clay Guida getting the nod from one judge against Sanchez was bullshit for the very same reason? We need to make a decision here, and it’s a big one: what’s more important between controlling a fight and trying to finish a fight?

We also saw WEC hold it’s first and only PPV event which turned out incredible fights as usual with one standing head and shoulders above every other fight this year. Chan Sung Jung, AKA The Korean Zombie! took on hard hitting veteran Leonard Garcia in what was, put simply, incredible. This is the fight you show your friends to get them into MMA. It’s that simple.
In fact, I’ll help you out

Leonard Garcia Vs Chang Sung Jung

The event also saw Manny Gamburyan turn off the lights in Mike Brown’s head and Jose Aldo showing Cecil Peoples why leg kicks count. Seriously, if you haven’t seen Urijah Faber’s little diary chronicling his leg after that fight then do so just for the absurdity of it all.

Speaking of absurdity, UFC 113 featured a match that had no shortage of that. Josh Koscheck vs Paul Daley was billed as a classic Striker vs Grappler match from the get go; Koscheck being one of the most decorated wrestlers to show up in MMA and Daley being a muay thai powerhouse with an astonishing record of brutal finishes. Problem with billing a fight as Striker vs Grappler is that thanks to Royce Gracie we already know how that’s gonna end.

Historically this fight will best be remembered for how both men managed to make complete asses of themselves on live TV. First Koscheck over sold an illegal knee to the head to the point where even the crowd noticed (not that you can convince Koscheck of that. Say what you want about him but he’ll stick to a story better than an LA cop) and then Daley, frustrated by the fight and apparently furious from whatever sweet nothings Koscheck whispered in his ear in the closing seconds, landed his best shot of the night long after the final bell had rung. This led to his contract being terminated and supposedly banned from the organization. You know, just like all the other dudes that would never fight in the UFC again.

Shogun Rua got his revenge against Lyoto Machida later that night following a brutal KO that truly came from out of nowhere. There are many speculations as to what Machida may be working on for a future rubber match and if I may be so bold I’d like to throw my hat in the ring: Study Ray Amsley! The guy can kick saws!


The rest of May was relatively dead so to fill this void THQ released the excellent UFC Undisputed 2010, a welcome addition to any game library. No, stop, don’t give me a load of bullshit on how the submission system is broken or the AI being invincible. Stop sucking and enjoy the fact that this game, for all it’s flaws, at least didn’t turn out like EA Sports MMA.
If you guys want an in depth comparison of the two my fee is one quart of Wild Turkey and hour.

JUNE! Only one story really mattered this month and that was the cataclysmic event of Fedor Emelianenko finally losing a fight legitimately. Not only that but to subpar competition like Fabricio Werdum, who’s only a multi-time ADCC and world Jiu Jitsu champion… ok maybe I’m the only one who thought Werdum at least stood a chance here. I won’t lie, I was shocked when it happened but the possibility of a grappler of Werdum’s caliber hitting a submission wasn’t impossible, just highly improbable.

Naturally this loss sparked thousands of doofuses crawling out of the woodwork and whining about how this proved that Fedor was overrated and how a 30 fight win streak really isn’t that big of a deal and bla bla bla. You know what? Go fuck yourselves. There, I said it, go fuck yourselves. Yeah it’s annoying that Fedor never went to the UFC but here’s the cold hard truth: your favourite fighter, no matter who it is, will lose. Eventually they will all lose. As long as you’re competing you run the risk of getting your ass kicked and this time Werdum shocked us all by not only figuring out how to beat Fedor but how to do it early. He deserves respect for that. Fedor is a dude who competed and dominated through several generations of fighters and whether you consider him to be top pound for pound, heavyweight or whatever you at least have to credit him for that. Also, one loss in 34 fights isn’t a necessarily a sign that he’s on the way out so hold your horses until his next fight, which should be soon barring any more crazy Russian antics.

Fights We Want To See in 2011: Lightweights

Frankie Edgar Vs Gray Maynard

The next UFC Lightweight title fight, looks to be an interesting affair between these two savages. Edgar wants revenge for the only loss on his record, but Maynard wants revenge as he feels that Edgar has a title that belongs to him. It’s pretty captivating stuff, and whoever wins on January 1st, it will certainly be a war.

 

Cole Miller Vs Donald Cerrone

If you don’t know this already, there’s a bit of bad blood between these two fighters. Cerrone came out recently and said that he disliked Miller’s attitude after Miller beat Garcia back at UFC Fight Night 11. We all know that if Cerrone is fighting someone he doesn’t particulary like, we’re going to get a pretty awesome brawl. Miller is maturing into a fantastic fighter, with good stand-up and great jiu-jitsu. This would be an interesting fight to see if Cerrone can be a player in the UFC lightweight division.

Shinya Aoki Vs Gilbert Melendez

Shinya Aoki got absolutely handled in their first meeting, but if they were set to fight in a ring instead of a cage, it may be in Aoki’s advantage. Aoki would be dangerous for any opponent you put against him, but Melendez has a significant strength advantage. Plus, Melendez isn’t a slouch on the grund as he’s coached by Cesar Gracie. This is certainly an interesting match up for those that are interested.

Gray Maynard Vs Anthony Pettis

“Styles make fights” – never truer words were spoken when it comes to this potential match-up. Whatever happens, I see these two fighting at some point in their careers. Maynard is probably the best wrestler in the division and will takedown any fighter that you put in front of him. Whilst Pettis, loves to throw amazing kicks and flashy submissions. Whatever happens, we both know that these two lightweight fighters would have an absolute war with each other and it could possibly be fight of the night.

Takanori Gomi Vs Clay Guida

This has non-stop brawl written all over it. Neither fighter really gasses and both are looking to finish from wherever they are on the cage. The good news is that we only have to wait a couple more weeks for this fight to happen.

George Sotiropolous Vs Ben Henderson

I’m going to put this one out there and say that this could be a pretty interesting match-up indeed. Sotiropolous is a shoe-in for a No1 contendership and Henderson is one of the best lightweights in the world. It would be interesting to see where both fighters are at in their current careers and this would be a great way to find out, whether they are truly in the top tier of competition.

Joe Lauzon Vs Shane Roller

If Lauzon can have another performance like he did against Gabe Ruediger, he’ll be considered one of the most dangerous men in the UFC, but he looked lacklustre against Sotiropolous and will look to come back in a big way. Shane Roller vs Joe Lauzon would be a great fight, simply because they are both entertaining fighters, but underated in my eyes.

Jim Miller Vs Evan Dunham

Both on the rise in the UFC, this would cement them a place in the top tier of the robust lightweight divison. Neither fighter backs away, so expect a finish from either man.

Kenny Florian Vs Sean Sherk

Florian stated that after his fight with Gray Maynard, that he needed to work on his wrestling a lot more. If that’s the case, then give Florian one of the men that has beaten him, Sean Sherk. Florian will want to test himself against a quality wrestler and he’ll get that with Sherk.

Eddie Alvarez Vs Gilbert Melendez

There’s been a lot of talk regarding this fight and whether or not it will happen is a different story, but it’s certainly something that MMA fans want to see. Melendez has made it clear that he wants to fight Alvarez and Alvarez wants the same thing. At this point, it’s all about logistics between Strikeforce and Bellator, but what a fight that would be.

MMA UK Interviews, Gray “The Bully” Maynard

If you’ve been following MMA UK since the beginning then you’ll know that one of our first HUGE interviews was with Gray Maynard.

The last time we spoke, Gray was going into his fight with Kenny Florian, a fight which would determine the next person to face Frankie Edgar. Maynard came out on top that night, convincingly beating Florian for three rounds using his crisp boxing and vicious ground and pound.

 

Maynard now faces Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, the man who beat BJ Penn twice, UFC 125. Maynard already has a win over Frankie, but both fighters have improved significantly since their last fight and this looks as if it will be an all out war between two of the worlds top lightweight fighters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations on your last win against Kenny Florian, what was the game plan going into that fight?

He’s a good southpaw, counter puncher with good top game jiu-jitsu, so I didn’t want to rush in or chase him. I wanted to control him on the ground and not give him a chance to get on top where he is strong.

 

 

Knowing that Florian has some of the best strikes in the lightweight division, many people were impressed with the fact that you stood up with for long periods of the fight.  Were you intimidated by his Muay Thai at all

No, not all. He’s the 5th southpaw that I’ve fought in a row. I think he gets away with basic things that a southpaw does cause many of the guys he goes against don’t know what to do when fighting a southpaw. I spar with a lot of high level boxers, so I’m confident in my stand up game.

 

Florian struggled with fighting against you from his back. Was it as easy as it seemed on TV or was he as difficult as you assumed he would be?

Like I said before, his top game seemed to be better than his bottom game from the tapes I watched. But, was crafty on bottom and threw some short elbows that were surprisingly effective. It’s never easy, but when you’re prepared there shouldn’t be too many problems.

 

You and Frankie have both grown as fighters since you last fought. After seeing his last two fights against BJ Penn, what would you say are his weaknesses as you seemed to be the only fighter in the Lightweight division who has the key to beating Edgar?

I think he’s a great fighter. I just believe I’m better.

 

 

What type of fighters have you used in your training camp to try and mimic the style of Edgar?

I live in the fight capitol of the world, so it’s not hard to get guys to train with that have similar styles. I did bring in Jamill Kelly, he was a 2004 Olympic Silver medalist in wrestling. He’s been a great asset in keep my wrestling skills top notch.

 

 

Considering wrestling has once again entered an era of dominance on the MMA scene not seen since the old days of Hughes, Ortiz and Kerr, how does you see the sport evolving next?

I see the gaps closing between all the fighters. So the little details are going to matter the most in all areas of the fight.

 

Obviously the UFC-WEC merger was big news this year and was probably even bigger news for you. The lightweight division is incredibly stacked now. As a competitor, how exciting was it to know that more fighters were coming in?

I love to compete against the top competition, so it works out perfectly for me!

 

 

With the winner of Pettis and Henderson set to face the winner of you and Edgar, which of the two WEC fighters do you think you match up well against?

I just let that play out however it goes and focus on beating Edgar. I don’t look at any fight, but the one I have in front of me.

 

After Nick Diaz’s last win, he mentioned you and some other lightweights in his discussion with Joe Rogan and that he’d like to fight you again. How do you feel about that, considering the last round of you two fighting was a straight-up brawl. Some would assume that you two don’t like each other much?

I can’t speak for Nate, but I just look at it as business. I really don’t think about it, again right now all my attention is on Frank Edgar.

 

 

Any predictions for your fight against Edgar?

Me being 110% Jan 1st, getting a great win and a UFC belt

 

 

Thanks for your time Gray, anyone you’d like to thank?

Dethrone, HiTech Pharmaceuticals, Xtreme Couture, Xcap, my family, friends, and fans! Also check out http://www.graymaynard.com the only place to buy the new “Bully Brand” T shirt!

Weekly News Round-Up With JB

In the news this week,

Strikeforce gives us all one big What the hell?! moment by not only failing to put on and promote a fight between Welterweight champ Nick Diaz and Middleweight contender Jason “Mayhem” Miller, AKA the fight that hypes itself, after the two have been calling each other out online and even having a god damned brawl on live network television; now they’ve somehow let Heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem slip back into K-1 and leave their long awaited Fedor/Overeem match that seemed derailed out in the rain. What’s frustrating is that this time the Russian’s camp for once came out as the instigators and suggested the match-up for later this year only to be denied by Overeem who claims that, since Fedor is now on the losing track (Ed note: by “losing track” he’s are referring to that one loss in his last 30) he’d rather wait until Werdum recovers and instead spend his time competing for the title in K-1.
     To be fair to Overeem, he really wants that K-1 title and it’s something he’s aspired to all his life so of course the entire division should take a break while he’s away realizing his dream; the UFC did the same for Couture and “Rampage” Jackson in regards to their acting aspirations and I think we can all agree that went over just swell.

Of course there are inevitably going to be some miserable cynics out there claiming that this is just a put-on by Overeem in an attempt to duck Fedor and instead fight the, on paper, less dangerous Werdum but those people probably don’t even think John Edward can speak to the dead.

Speaking of “Mayhem” Miller the brash fighter has recently been slated to fight the aging Kazushi Sakuraba at DREAM.16, this according to a twitter post (I refuse to refer to them as “tweets” due to fears that I might develop a sudden fondness for Meg Ryan movies and praising child performers for “at least trying”) by HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon.
“DREAM 16 breaking news- Mayhem v Sakuraba, Joe Warren v Omigawa &Gegard v Mizuno for title. HDNet kick ass card. News from me & @hdnetfights”

This is where I get slightly more serious than is warranted and wonder just when the hell enough is enough for Sakuraba. His last fight against Ralek Gracie saw the Brazilian avenging his family’s honour… well, avenging really is a pretty strong term for a young buck beating up an old man, isn’t it? Especially since you’d think they’d be over this guy by now. What I’m trying to say is that despite Sakuraba being one of my favourite fighters of all time he’s so far past his prime that it’s a bit sad. Miller is younger, more well rounded and I can’t see Saku putting up much resistance here.
Due to the controversy surrounding their last fight it has been confirmed that Chael Sonnen will get an immediate rematch against Middleweight champ Anderson Silva. For those of you who might have missed it the controversy in question was that Sonnen seemed to be winning until he lost, something the fragile minds of the fans just couldn’t bear.
      Because of this the man who was originally slated to fight Silva, Vitor Belfort, had been sidelined yet again. Not one to rest on his laurels however Belfort requested another fight this year and will be taking on Japanese wrestler Yushin Okami, the only man in the UFC to hold a win over Anderson.
Sure, he beat him by getting kicked in the head but as Josh Barnett would say: a win is a win is a win is a win is a win, unless you’re on roids in which case it’s a no contest and a one-way ticket to the puroresu circuit.

The fight will go down as the main event on UFC 122 in Oberhausen, Germany and will air for free on Spike TV on the 13th of November.
UFC 118 has come and gone, the dust has settled and it’s time for the aftermath.

While the card was pretty damn entertaining overall there are three things in particular that need to be adressed, the first of which being Kenny Florian.
I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for this guy; he’s entertaining, eloquent and a great ambassador for the sport. He does have a pretty significant handicap that his later fights have given light to: he tends to wilt in high profile fights. Both against Penn and now against Maynard Florian looked off, a little flat on his feet and even confused. The Florian we saw fight Maynard last night frustrated me because he can do better than that and we’ve all seen him do it.
This isn’t taking anything away from Grey Maynard, the guy’s a stud and anyone who expects to have an easy night against him is sorely mistaken, but the Kenny Florian we saw yesterday didn’t give it his all. I guess this just goes to prove that the mental game is just as, if not more, important than the physical.

I have no joke for this paragraph so here’s a picture of Frank Trigg and Tom Cruise.

"Trigg is way too deadpan for this image"

 

 The second thing would be the embarassing way in which James Toney entered and exited MMA. Can we drop the whole debate now? Will Bob Arum let the white man continue to lube up and dry hump in cages without ridicule? I’d love to say yes to this but despite the painful results of Toney’s first match boxers and boxing promoters are always going to criticize MMA because boxing is kind of, sort of on it’s way out. It’s not going away, it’s just going to be eclipsed by MMA at some point when more and more young boxers go to MMA instead of boxing for a pay day.
These men will also never really accept MMA because it has grappling and like all alpha males they’re insecure about their sexuality and once they see those tight shorts on GSP they fly off into a confused, frightened and strangely aroused rage. I’m here to tell you guys: it’s ok! Just like you’ve suspected all MMA fans are extremely camp but hide it very well behind skulls, swords, barbed wire and slogans like “TapOut” or “Deathclutch” or “Xtreme I’mma Kick Your Ass”. All this grappling nonsense is, just like you’ve said from the start, just thinly veiled gay-porn though I guess since you recognized it as such you must already be more than familiar with that subject.

"De La Hoya working on his Jiu Jitsu

 

At least we have the guts to watch men get bummed in public!
The third issue is of course BJ Penn. Some of our readers might recall me heralding this year as the potential downfall of the current greats and the new generation rising up to take the throne. So… yeah. That happened. As it stands the only fighter left right now is GSP and I hope he isn’t a supersticious man looking around at all the other pound for pound greats who suddenly aren’t looking that hot anymore.

Penn’s sudden implosion could possibly be linked to the fact that he still trains with basically the same people. Sure, he brings in new guys to train with occasionally but the camp and corner has been the same for a while now and I get the feeling he’s the top dog around there. As has been said before iron sharpens iron and I feel like Penn might need to go travelling for a bit to find someone to not only push him but to assess his skills objectively and help him improve his game further. Either that or be stubbornly left behind as the sport moves forward.

UFC 118 Results and Opinions – The 1st Video

We’ve done it again! We’ve upped our game and now we’ve got a Youtube channel and we’ve posted our first video.  Enjoy the UFC 118 Results and Opinions with Kris and I.

UFC 118 Predictions

UFC 118 isn’t one of the most anticipated events of the year. It’s solid, but I think this event is more about answering questions and sorting out where fighters are in the UFC “rankings”. Is BJ Penn going to exact ferocious revenge on Frankie Edgar, or does Edgar have the answer (see what I did there?). Can MMA legend Randy Courture beat boxing legend James Toney whose been on Chael Sonnen trash talking levels ever since the card was announced. Even I’ve resorted to calling grown men princess.

Can Demian Maia destroy the memory of his embarrassing last fight against Anderson Silva and build himself up again when he faces Mario Miranda or will Miranda make him name for himself and take out the BJJ specialist.

It’s a fight for the number one contender for the lightweight title. Will it be third times a charm for Kenny Florian or will Gray Maynard bully him out of title contention. We also have a Welterweight matc-up between the Nate Diaz and the Irish Hand Grenade, Marcus Davis. Will Diaz be able to move further up the welterweight division or will the experience of Marcus Davis prevail?

As always your three favourite MMA analyst Kris, JB and myself Aundre will be giving you guys our opinions on whom we think will win.

  Kris

Nate Diaz Vs Marcus Davis

Koscheck vs St. Pierre is scheduled for December. Jon Fitch or the winner of Jake Shields vs Martin Kampman likely to be next in line. Neither of these guys are truly in the mix. Nate Diaz is trying to establish himself as a factor in the welterweight division and Marcus Davis is doing everything he can to avoid being the new welterweight gatekeeper. A couple of wins could put either guy in the conversation as it’s new blood for the title, especially if GSP is still the champion. This fight is perfect timing for both fighters and truly is a must win. I believe Nate is truly more technical on the ground and on the feet but Marcus Davis will probably show Nate a level of power that he hasn’t handled before in the octagon

I’m always a fan of technique prevailing and I think this will be no different. The Irish hand grenade is no stranger to submissions so I think he will avoid being finished but I think Nate Diaz will be the victor.

Nate Diaz Via Submission

JB

This fight should be a blowout. We’ve got two guys who won’t back down and have solid stand up skills. Davis probably has the edge standing but if it goes to the ground Diaz will absolutely murder him with his jiu jitsu. As much as I like Davis we all know that Diaz is more than willing to pull guard if he wants it on the ground and unless Davis can avoid that it’ll be a short night.

Diaz by submission

 

Aundre

I’m a big fan and a big believer in the talents of both Diaz brothers. Although I think Nick is the better fight at this current moment in time, I don’t think that’s anything to take away from Nate. His ground game is sick, he loves a fancy submission and his striking has become a lot sharper. I feel that Marcus Davis is past his prime and should be beaten by Diaz. However,  he isn’t called the Irish Hand Grenade just for the hell of it, so Diaz has to watch out for a vicious strike otherwise it could be a bump in his career.

Diaz by Submission

 

Kenny Florian Vs Gray Maynard

 

Kris


Well and truly number 3 and 4 in the division within the UFC at the moment. With Kenny Florian desperately trying to get another shot at the title, while Gray is adamant to get the fight that he feels should’ve been his prior to Edgar’s short. I think that the fight will be a stand up war until Gray gets frustrated and takes Kenny down. Florian definitely has one of the most under rated guards in the division but I do believe that he is going to get well and truly bullied. Gray is determined, motivated and has the size to give Florian more problems than he can handle.

Gray Maynard via Decision

JB

This is one I’ve gone back and forth on for some time now. Florian is a very well rounded fighter, so much so that people forget that he’s a grappler first hand! Maynard, however, is not so well rounded; everyone knows he’s a wrestler and everyone knows he’s going to try to take Florian down, smother him and try to win by decision. What this fight comes down to in my mind is two questions:
can Maynard take Florian down without getting badly hurt and once there can he control him? If the answer to either of those questions is No then I think we’ll see Florian walking away with another win and possibly another title shot.

Florian by submission

Aundre

I’m a huge fan of Kenny Florian. I think he’s one of the most well rounded fighters in any division and constantly improves on aspects of his game and as he likes to point out, he finishes fights. He has always been a pretty exciting and energetic fighter and that’s why fans love him.

However, I think he’s met a man in Gray Maynard who is going to be able to control him and stop his Jiu Jitsu, which is one of Florians main weapons. This fight is really a question of whether or not Maynard can take Florian down and is Maynards wrestling better than Florians Jiu Jitsu. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to be a good night for Florian…

Maynard via decision

Demian Maia Vs Mario Miranda

JB

This both looks and feels like a tune-up fight for Maia but looking through Miranda’s previous fights he’s not one to sleep on. He’s got great jiu jitsu, solid wrestling and pretty heavy hands so if Maia lets himself get punched in the face it could spell disaster for him. Of course Maia is going to have the advantage on the ground, no questions asked; he’s submitted black belts before and made it look easy. So I guess what I’m saying is that Miranda is in there to play the part of the can but don’t be surprised if he should fight back.

Maia by submission

Kris

Possibly the best thing to happen to Maia. Mario Miranda has stepped up to fight Maia due to Alan Belcher and his detached retina. Belcher offers massive problems for Maia, Miranda . . . . . not so much. I expect Maia to use his new found stand up confidence to get on the inside and either pull guard or take Miranda down. Once he’s there it’s pure and simply game over. Two wins in a row and again he can work towards the number one contender spot.

Demian Maia via Submission 1st Round
(Submission of the night)

Aundre

I don’t have much to say on this fight as I don’t know much about Mario Miranda. I do know that Demian Maia is a fantastic BJJ artist and I’m convinced that he’s going to take him down and make him tap. Sorry Mario, but you’re fighting a high calibre opponent that is probably way over your pay grade.

Maia Via Subission

Randy Couture Vs James Toney

Kris

Randy Couture, one of the true pioneers of the sport. Well rounded fighter with a solid Greco roman background. James Toney is by far the best boxer to wear 4oz gloves. Logic would suggest that Couture is going to use his wealth of experience to get on the inside, take Toney down and well and truly beat him up (probably from half guard). However with Randy getting rocked in a couple of his last fights, going in the hardest puncher he has ever faced, I’m going to go with the under dog.

James Toney by way of Ray Mercer vs Tim Sylvia (just not as quick)

JB

Someone is getting embarrassed in this fight, trust me on that one. Couture is a seasoned veteran in MMA and one of the legends of the sport while Toney is a seasoned veteran and a legend of boxing. Throwing the whole “MMA vs boxing debate” out of the window (because it isn’t a debate unless you also debate rugby vs football or curling vs golf) this one comes down to two guys with very simple gameplans.
Toney: Punch him in the face.
Couture: Don’t let him punch you in the face.
Whoever executes their gameplan the best will win and I’m gonna go with Couture on this one based on experience alone. We’ve seen boxers try to cross over to MMA before (Yosuke Nishijima comes to mind) and while Toney is certainly training for his fight I think his lack of experience is going to do him in. Still, if Randy boxes with him he’s gonna get KTFO.

Couture by TKO

Aundre

This fight is really a case of who does what quicker. Can Couture take Toney down first or can Toney light up Couture face like a christmas tree? I’m not sure really, but if I had to take a guess I’d say Couture. Couture has always been a smart fighter and a great tactian. He knows he’s getting old and his chin isn’t what it used to be, so he has to go for what everyone is presuming he’s going to do. He’s going to go for the takedown and it doesn’t matter if Toney has been training his wrestling – he’s a newbie to the sport. He’s not going to be able to get up once he’s on the floor and then Toneys nickname is going to haunt him as I believe it will be lights out for the boxer.

Couture via TKO

BJ Penn Vs Frankie Edgar

JB

This is an intriguing fight, more so than last time they fought, because now Edgar has a chance to prove that last time wasn’t a fluke. If he manages to beat Penn again it will completely mess up the rankings and also kind of mess up the way we currently view MMA; where suddenly the small guy, who with today’s BS weight cutting plans should be fighting at Featherweight yet decides to use his speed at a higher weightclass can be dominant.
Penn isn’t going to have that, of course. While he’s already admitted, and I agree, that Edgar winning wasn’t a fluke but rather a well executed game plan he’s vowed to fight a better fight and get his title back and secure his legacy. This is honestly a tough fight to call because on paper Penn has every advantage but the speed and possibly the cardio but despite this we’ve seen Edgar steal a decision from him. In my mind Edgar has all the tools and he might just have figured Penn out. I’m probably crazy but I’m going with the champ on this one and expect an awesome showing from both guys who both have something to prove.

Kris

This fight reminds me of a Call of duty game where you edge a win by a couple of kills and then in the next game you get nuked. I believe that BJ Penn will well and truly provide the Vaseline as his rape of Edgar will look that easy. BJ Penn is in the top 5 best pound for pound fighters in the sport and we will all see why on Saturday

BJ Penn via Total destruction 3rd round (only because he wants to make Frankie cry in the first 2 rounds)

Aundre

I’m going to make this short, sweet and in mathematical terms.

BJ Penn +Motivation + I need for revenge = New champion.

Enough said!