MMA World Rankings

MMA World Rankings

UFC 86 Preview

205 lbs. Title – Quinton Jackson [1] vs. Forrest Griffin [7]

Quinton Jackson (29-6) has world-class wrestling, tons of heart and a iron chin. His only 3 losses since 2001 have come against fighters that trained out of the legendary Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil (Wanderlei Silva (2x) and Shogun Rua). Forrest Griffin (15-4) is one of the smartest fighters in the sport. That, combimed with a massive heart and tremendous cardio make up his strengths. As far as skills go, he is a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Unfortunately for him, his strengths are also Jackson’s strengths. He’s not going to out-work “Rampage” and he won’t beat him with heart. I would be very surpised if he pulled off the victory. I see Rampage getting the better of him standing and then grounding him in the 2nd or 3rd round to do some pounding. It will be tough to finish Forrest off so it may go the 5 rounds. Forrest suprised everyone by beating Shogun Rua in his last fight, so perhaps I’m underestimating him again…but I doubt it.

185 lbs. – Ricardo Almeida [24] vs. Patrick Cote [29]

Ricardo Almeida (9-2) has one of the best submission games in the sport. He’s had only 1 fight since 2004, so we still don’t know what he lost or gained from his exile. He fought an overmatched Rob Yundt and easily submitted him in the 1st round. Prior to his leave of absence, he had wins over Ryo Chonan [NR], Kazuo Misaki [8] and Nate Marquardt [7]. If he is the same fighter as he was then, he is one of the best in the sport. Patrick Cote (12-4) is on an impressive 4-fight winning streak with wins over quality opponents like Scott Smith [38], Jason Day [44], Kendall Grove [32] and Drew McFedries [33]. Those are all good opponents but none are elite fighters. He is primarily a striker with a good chin. His “weakness” is Almeida’s strength…his ground game. He has been submitted twice in his career. He is currently in the prime of his career at 28-years-old. If he can beat the submission specialist, Almeida, it will tell us how far his skills have developed since being submitted by Travis Lutter [28] in 2006. Cote is a hungry fighter that is very hot right now. Almeida will have to work very hard to get him to the mat. But if and when he does, it will likely be over. I think Almeida will set up the takedown with leg-kicks. Whether or not he can submit Cote depends on Patrick’s development. I don’t think he’s there just yet. I think Almeida will dominate the ground game before submitting him.

155 lbs. – Joe Stevenson [10] vs. Gleison Tibau [48]

Joe Stevenson (28-8} has one of the best ground-and-pound games in the world. Gleison Tibau (15-5) is a good wrestler with good submissions. He is also very big and strong for 155. He is coming off his best performance in a losing effort to the highly regarded Tyson Griffin [17]. Joe “Daddy” is coming off a brutal loss to BJ Penn. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back. Will he be more cautious or will he be the same ferocious fighter that he’s always been? I think he’ll be the latter. I don’t see how Tibau has any chance of winning this fight. Joe is better in all areas. He’ll outwork him and get a ground-and-pound TKO in the 2nd or 3rd round.

170 lbs. – Josh Koscheck [4] vs. Chris Lytle [15]

Josh Koscheck (10-2) is a great wrestler with very powerful hands. He is coming off a tougher-than-expected win over rising star Dustin Hazelett [13]. Chris Lytle (25-15-5) is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the sport. He also has tons of experience–having been invited to fight in the UFC’s cage 14 times (7-7). His only 3 losses since 2005 have come against the top of the division: Matt Serra [9], Matt Hughes [6] and Thiago Alves [3]. “Kos” will get his takedowns but will have to pass Lytle’s formidable guard. Kos also has the more powerful hands but Lytle has the more technical boxing skills. It’s going to be an interesting fight. The most probable ending will be a 3 round Unanimous decision for Koscheck. Lytle does have a chance of catching him with a submission or a series of strikes. Lytle has a great chin so Kos will have a hard time ending it with strikes.

155 lbs. – Tyson Griffin [16] vs. Marcus Aurelio [30]

Tyson Griffin (11-1) is a very strong wrestler who combines good striking and good jiu-jitsu with great cardio and a giant heart. He is on an impressive 3-fight win streak with wins over Clay Guida [25], Thiago Tavares [42] and Gleison Tibau [48]. He trains at Xtreme Couture and at just 24-years-old, he is one of the UFC’s brightest prospects.  Marcus Aurelio (16-5) is a submission master. The 34-year-old is a 3rd degree blackbelt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). He has decent striking but will be out-classed in that area by Tyson. He will have to get him to the ground to win this fight. His chances of getting a KO standing are very, very slim. Tyson will have to work hard to stuff the takedowns and if/when he gets taken down, he will have to work equally hard to get back up. Aurelio has never been stopped and 4 of his 5 losses have come by split decision. I don’t see how Tyson could get the stoppage here. The most likely scenario is him getting the decision victory. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if Aurelio gets the submission. This is an interesting matchup that will reveal which fighter is more ready for a title shot.

HVY – Gabriel Gonzaga [8] vs. Justin McCully [31]

Gabriel Gonzaga (8-3) is a BJJ blackbelt with world-class grappling ability. The 29-year-old also has tremendous knockout ability with both his fists and his feet. “Napao” is looking to bounce back from a 2-fight losing streak that includes losses to Randy Couture [3] and Fabricio Werdum [7]. Justin McCully (8-3-2) is a 32-year-old training out of Huntington Beach, California. He holds a blackbelt in BJJ and is coming off a victory over Antoni Hardonk [33] over 1 year ago. I think Gonzaga has too much skill and power for McCully. He will likely finish him in the 1st or 2nd round…but, if taken into round 3, he may start to wear down. If McCully can last that long, he has a chance.

155 lbs. – Cole Miller [62] vs. Jorge Gurgel

Cole Miller (13-3) Jorge Gurgel (12-3)

155 lbs. – Melvin Guillard [63] vs. Dennis Siver

Melvin Guillard (21-7-2) Dennis Siver (11-5)

155 lbs. – Corey Hill vs. Justin Buchholz

Corey Hill (2-0)  Justin Buchholz (7-2)


July 1, 2008 - Posted by | MMA Analysis | , ,

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