Today is the day I’ve been waiting for, for a very long time. It’s UFC 116, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada! The fight card is stacked and looks like it’s going to really deliver.
The main event is for the UFC Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship. In the eyes of many, myself included, the winner of this main match-up between current champion Brock Lesnar and interim champion Shane Carwin, could very well be considered the new, best heavyweight fighter in the MMA world, today.
In one corner you have a truly massive, highly athletic, former NCAA College Wrestling Division 1 Champion Wrestler, who has strength, speed, and great wrestling, as well as experience under the big spotlight which helps ease nerves, thanks to his days in the WWE as a pro wrestler and other main event fights in the UFC. His record is 4-1 and the only reason he’s fought just 5 fights total since becoming an MMA fighter, is because last Fall he suffered from diverticulosis (a condition of unnecessary pouches developing within the walls of the colon), an intense ailment that put him on the shelf for several months. Now that he’s back in action and completely healthy again, the only thing that might be his disadvantage is ring rust, because not having a fight for basically one year exactly, might be tough to overcome.
In the other corner you have another very large, athletic, heavy handed, former NCAA College Wrestling Division 2 Champion Wrestler. Wow, talk about two guys with similar pedigrees prior to entering MMA (with the exception of Shane never being a WWE Superstar). Shane has an even more profound MMA record than Brock: 12 wins, 0 losses. It’s also important noting that Shane has never gone past the first round with an opponent…meaning that he’s knocked everyone out in less than 5 minutes. This will be his first time fighting in the main event of a PPV, which would normally give a fighter a little bit of extra nerves, but since Shane has fought two big UFC heavyweights within a little over a year’s time (Gabriel Gonzaga and Frank Mir, the latter of which Brock also holds a victory over…and one loss), he should be ready.
Who gets the edge in this fight? You can argue that Brock has more overall athleticism, better wrestling, and a little more weight and strength. His one inch height advantage and one inch reach advantage won’t be too big of a factor. For Shane, you could argue that having twice as many fights under his belt makes his MMA experience, better and that his standup boxing is more refined than his opponent’s. His slightly larger hand size means more space to block his face and technically speaking, more surface area chance to land a punch, but doesn’t equate necessarily to more precision or pounds per square inch of force upon delivery of said punch. It’s a tough fight to call, but I’m going to give the win to Brock Lesnar.
The Co-Main Event is of 13-1 Yoshihiro Akiyama against 20-6 Chris Leben. Akiyama was originally set to fight Wanderlei Silva, but Silva had to pull out of the fight due to a torn ACL and then, just two weeks before the fight (he was still planning on fighting despite the knee injury) he broke a few ribs during a training session. In comes Chris Leben to replace Wanderlei, while he’s coming off, injury-free from a fight he had just a couple of weeks ago. It’s going to be a fight between a Judo expert in Yoshihiro against a fighter who engages with a lot of varied punches in Chris. I like this Middleweight fight and am going with Leben.
The next fight down the list is of Chris Lytle 38-17-4 and Matt Brown 13-8. Both men have win percentages in the 60’s and both are eager to get another win to make a statement in the Welterweight division. We have two strikers, Lytle with the better ground game and Brown with higher physicality. I’m picking Chris.
I like the match-up a lot, between The Polish Experiment, Krysztof Soszynski 20-10-1 and American Psycho, Stephan Bonnar 14-7. Each fighter his very entertaining to watch and has an identical percentage of wins of their overall combined fight total (not counting Krysztof’s 1 draw) of 66.6%. We should get a great fight from these two men, as both have had some solid performances in the past, as well as some just plain unfortunate fights where they lost closely or hard. Perhaps the most interesting factor is the fact that they just fought each other four months ago, at UFC 110, where Soszynski pulled a win due to a TKO stoppage, because of a serious cut on Bonnar. I think we’re going to see a different fight this time around, but will pick Bonnar as the winner this time around.
George Sotiropoulos 12-2 and Kurt Pellegrino 21-4 are fighting in Lightweight action and I’ve got Kurt as the winner.
The following two fights can be viewed for free on Spike TV or by going to UFCLive.com
Brendan Schaub 6-1 and Chris Tuchscherer 18-2 (1 No Contest) are competing in Heavyweight action and I’m going with Brendan as the winner.
Seth Petruzelli 14-5 (best known for his 1 minute Round 1 win over Kimbo Slice, who acted as a replacement for Ken Shamrock on a few hours’ notice) is fighting MMA newcomer, Ricardo Romero, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu purple belt, in Light Heavyweight action. I pick Seth as the winner.
The following four fights might not get seen tonight.
Kendall Grove 13-7 (1 No Contest) is fighting Goran Reljic 8-1 in a Middleweight bout. I pick Goran as the winner.
Gerald Harris 15-2 is up against Dave Branch, Jiu Jitsu black belt, in another Middleweight fight. I’m going with Gerald as the winner.
Daniel Roberts 9-1 is taking on Forrest Petz 24-7 in a Welterweight fight. My pick for the winner is Daniel.
Jon Madsen 5-0 is fighting Karlos Vemola, 6 Time Czech Republic National Wrestling Champion in Heavyweight action. I’m going to pick Jon as the winner.
Here’s to UFC 116 being a truly great PPV. I wish all of the fighters to be on the top of their game and to deliver their best performance possible. Let’s get it on!