MMA World Rankings

MMA World Rankings

UFC 91 (November, 2008)

UFC 91 – November 15 

Heavyweight Title – Randy Couture [3] vs. Brock Lesnar [15]

 

MMA Records: Couture (16-8]; Lesnar (2-1)

 

Preview: At long last…the return of “Captain America”, Randy Couture. This fight has been covered from all angles. Couture is getting absurdly old (45!) and Lesnar is coming in to blow out his remaining candles. Couture is the old wizard who knows every move and countermove in the game. Lesnar is the young cat with otherwordly power and strength. Instinct tells me that Couture must take this into the deep waters of the 4th and 5th rounds. Lesnar seemingly will outmuscle him and perhaps even put Randy on his back where he can administer his wicked groud and pound game. If Randy survives the initial attack, he will look for Lesnar to wear down. From there, Randy can work his unparralelled clinch-game, perhaps put Brock on his back and maybe get the TKO. Honestly though, my gut tells me that Brock is going to run through Randy like a hot knife through warm butter. Age has to catch up to him at some point, doesn’t it? I think it will but then again I was certain Vitor Belfort would beat Randy…I was certain Chuck Liddell would beat Randy…that Tim Sylvia would beat Randy…and that Gabriel Gonzaga would beat Randy. Every time, Randy amazed me. After watching all his those incredible feat, I should know better but I have to be honest and I honestly think Brock is going to come out, put Randy down and pound him out in the 1st or 2nd round.

 

Result: Randy’s age and experience only bought him 1 round against his goliath of an opponent. Lesnar was just too big and athletic for him to deal with. In round 2, he landed a sledgehammer below Couture’s ear and then pounded him out for the stoppage. There has been a lot of discussion about the weight disparity in this match. Lesnar outweighed Randy by 55 lbs. To put that in perspective, it would be the same difference if Kenny Florian fought Rampage Jackson. Some are calling for a Super-Heavyweight division but I highly doubt that will happen. There is a new era in the Heavyweight division and his name is Brock Lesnar….that is until Rodrigo Nogueira beats Frank Mir and then submits Lesnar in the 4th round of their looming superfight. Lesnar rises to 3. Couture drops to 6.

155 lbs. – Kenny Florian [7] vs. Joe Stevenson [9]

MMA Records: Florian (10-3); Stevenson (29-8]

Preview: This is the #1 contender fight in the Lightweight division. Kenny Florian is the submission fighter with good muay thai skills and Joe Stevenson is the wrestler with a nasty guillotine choke. Both guys have good jabs and use them well. Both are smart and savvy.  Both have top shelf gas tanks. Stevenson will look for the takedown, Florian will look for the clinch. Stevenson could end the fight by ground and pound, Florian by sharp knees and elbows.  I just think that “KenFlo” is the more versatile fighter with more ways to win. I predict him winning by rocking Stevenson with some strikes from the clinch and then submitting him on the ground.

Result: Florian was at his very best in landing a 1st round rear-naked choke on Joe Stevenson. Prior to that, “KenFlo” was jabbing circles around Stevenson. Kenny will now get a chance to defeat the legendary B.J. Penn in a lightweight title fight. Kenny is at the peak of his career, so now is his best shot to cement his legacy. This is a major setback for Joe “Daddy.” He got dominated like he’s never been dominated before. In a super-stacked division, his last best shot may have gone by the wayside. Kenny rises to 4. Stevenson drops to 21.

HVY – Gabriel Gonzaga [7] vs. Josh Hendricks

MMA Records: Gonzaga (9-3); Hendricks (15-4)

Preview: I don’t know enough about Josh Hendricks to analyze him right now. I can say a few things about Gabriel Gonzaga. He has world-class jiu-jitsu skills and possesses KO power in every limb. There are some question’s about his toughness and his cardio. I don’t see a champion’s hunger in his eyes. He also doesn’t seem to have the cage-presence of top tier guys like Randy Couture and Rodrigo Nogueira. That might come with more experience but I haven’t seen it yet. Gonzaga will surely be a stiff test for Hendricks. We will see if Josh can survive Gonzaga’s power and submissions.

Result: Gonzaga takes one step closer to the title with another huge KO. This one came just over 1 minute into the fight. Gabriel is a powerhouse but his stamina remains suspect. Gonzaga drops to 8 (Because of Lesnar’s rise).

185 lbs. – Demian Maia [15] vs. Nate Quarry [54]

MMA Records: Maia (8-0); Quarry (10-2)

Preview: Maia needs to get this fight to the ground quick. He has arguably the best submission game in the world. Quarry cannot win this fight on the mat. His takedown defense is the most important factor. I’m also eager to see how improved Maia’s striking is. He’s relatively new to MMA, so he should be developing stronger and stronger striking skills. Who knows, maybe he’ll suprise us with a head kick or two. But i’m going with Maia by submission in the 2nd round.

Result: Demian Maia is white-hot right now. The submission-machine picked up another rear-naked choke in the 1st round. Quarry couldn’t keep Maia on the feet and he paid for it. Quarry is getting up there in age and it looks as if he’ll never get to strap on the title belt. Maia rises to 12. Quarry stays at 54.

185 lbs. – Amir Sadolloh [74] vs. Nick Catone — FIGHT CANCELLED (Injury to Amir)

MMA Records: Sadolloh (1-0); Catone (5-0)

Preview: Like Josh Hendricks, I don’t know enough about Nick Catone to give an honest assessment. Amir Sadolloh has some very valuable intangibles like toughness and intelligence. As far as skills go, he is well-rounded but not dominant in any area. We must wait until he fights an elite grappler or striker to see whether or not his skills are elite. Right now, he is in the developing stages. He reminds me of Forrest Griffin. I’m not sure how Amir’s work ethic in the gym is, but if it’s anywhere near Griffin’s, then he has a good shot at becoming great. Let’s not forget Nick Catone, however. This is a big chance for him to make a huge splash in the division. Win or lose, hopefully the fight will last long enough for us to get a glimpse of what he brings to the table.

170 lbs.- Dustin Hazelett [12] vs. Tamdan McCrory [43]

MMA Records: Hazelett (11-4); McCrory (9-1)

Preview: Dustin Hazelett is quietly becoming one of the best fighters in the world. His submission game is on the verge of greatness. At just 22-years-old, he will be a fixture at this weight class for years to come. Tamden McCrory is also a talented young fighter. He’s a 6 foot 4 inch, 21-year-old with deceptive strength. Too bad for him he’s running into a young Lion. Hazelett is very dangerous right now for anyone. I can’t see him losing this fight anywhere. Hazelett by 1st round submission.

Result; Dustin Hazelett is right there with Demian Maia and Rodrigo Nogueira in terms of submission prowess. He sustained a 1st round barrage of strikes from McCrory and eventually got the fight to the mat. When he did it was only a matter of time befor he employed a textbook rubber guard and got the armbar submission just 2 minutes into the fight. Hazelett has a championship waiting for him in the future. Right now, he continues his ascent. McCrory also appears to have a bright future ahead of him. His height and striking skills will pose a challenge for anyone. Hazelett rises to 11. McCrory rises to 39.

170 lbs. – Matt Brown vs. Ryan Thomas

MMA Records: Brown (7-7); Thomas (9-2)

Result: This is the 2nd straight fight in which I’ve been impressed by Matt Brown. He appears focused and hungry to prove his worth. He picks up a 2nd round armbar to put on his resume. Brown debuts at 61.

155 lbs. – Jeremy Stephens [64] vs. Rafael dos Anjos

MMA Records: Stephens (13-3); dos Anjos (11-2)

Result: Jeremy Stephens has some vicious power! He landed a highlight reel uppercut en route to a devastating 3rd round KO. Up to that point, I was impressed with dos Anjos’s skills. But that was erased by an uppercut from hell. Stephens rises to 59.

Mark Bocek [73] vs. Alvin Robinson

MMA Records: Bocek (5-2); Robinson (9-3)

Result: Bocek winner by 3rd round submission (Rear-naked choke). Bocek rises to 66.

155 lbs. – Jorge Gurgel vs. Aaron Riley

MMA Records: Gurgel (12-4); Riley (26-10-1)

Result: These two guys are just plain warriors. They have massive hearts and an abundance of grit. It was no surpise that it won Fight of the Night. Riley picked up the unanimous decision but noone lost any honor.

Future Fights That Make Sense:

HVY

Brock Lesnar [3] vs. winner of Rodrigo Nogueira [2] vs. Frank Mir [15]

Gabriel Gonzaga [8] vs. winner of Cheick Kongo [9] vs. Mustapha Al-Turk

Josh Hendricks vs. Loser of Justin McCully [30] vs. Eddie Sanchez [33]

205

Randy Couture [NR] vs. loser of Quinton Jackson [2] vs. Wanderlei Silva [7]

185

Demian Maia [12] vs. Michael Bisping [14]

Nate Quarry [54] vs. Jake Rosholt [79]

170

Dustin Hazelett [11] vs. winner of Mike Swick [12] vs. Jonathan Goulet [29]

Tamdan McCrory [39] vs. loser of Kevin Burns [17] vs. Anthony Johnson [18]

Matt Brown [61] vs. winner of Ben Saunders vs. Brandon Wolff

Ryan Thomas vs. loser of Ben Saunders vs. Brandon Wolff

155

Kenny Florian [4] vs. BJ Penn [1]

Joe Stevenson [21] vs. Tyson Griffin [20]

Jeremy Stephens [59] vs. Per Eklund [79]

Mark Bocek [66] vs. David Bielkheden [74]

Aaron Riley vs. winner of Steve Bruno vs. Johnny Rees

Jorge Gurgel vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Alvin Robinson vs. loser of Corey Hill vs. Dale Hartt

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November 9, 2008 - Posted by | MMA Analysis | , ,

7 Comments »

  1. Lesnar is fat and Couture is a Grandpa… Makes for a weak fight

    Comment by Fight Strike | November 13, 2008 | Reply

  2. This event crashed into the third spot of ‘event of the year’ in my books. It could’ve place higher, but there was a lot of tension and small tactical battles between Lesnar and Couture (opposed to a more dynamic fight), additionally Randy’s footwork/headmovement seemed a bit off. The other thing that held this event back was none of the fights really qualified for my fight of the year list (it is a long list). All fights were entertaining, but no fight really really pulled me in.

    Small disagreements with you: (just my opinion)
    Stevenson is still very young, he’s out of the title picture for at least a year, but not for good.
    Gurgel/Riley was disappointing, but only because Gurgel doesn’t play to his strengths (may even be ashamed of ground fighting, thinking it boring). Gurgel trained Franklin to escape that Lutter armbar. Gurgel trained McLovin to be creative with armbars. Gurgel didn’t try to submit from his guard, but instead to kick out to get it back to the feet. Great chin, great cardio, horrible game plans.

    I’d like to see McCrory vs Brown.
    How bummed will you be if Lesnar beats Nog? (which I’m hoping wont happen)

    Comment by Aas Gutú Adéli | November 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. Gutu,

    There were some great finishes on this card but you’re right, there wasn’t a fight of the year candidate.

    I know Stevenson is still young but in order to get a title shot, it takes about a 3-4 fight win streak…especially if you’ve already fought the #1 contender match twice. I just think there are some guys like Diaz, Tyson, Gray and Etim that are going to push him down even further. I hope Joe gets back to the top but It may take a long while.

    I’ve given up on Gurgel. He’s fought this long in the UFC and has never learned to fight his fight. I could understand it if he was losing to top guys but he has lost to mediocre guys and his wins have come against even more mediocre guys.

    I was actually going to put Tamdan vs. Brown 🙂 Those 2 looked good.

    I love Nogueira so I would be super-bummed if Lesnar beat him. Lesnar is too loud for my liking. I prefer the humble guys like Nog and Randy.

    Comment by Kevin | November 17, 2008 | Reply

  4. I agree with you Kevin on Stevenson. He didn’t look great against Gleison Tibau either even though he pulled off the guillotine. Gurgel is extremely frustrating as well…

    As for Randy, I think with the other HVY’s bulking up it is going to become increasingly difficult for him to compete with bigger opponents. I agree that a fight between him and the winner of Silva/Jackson III would be awesome. But if that happens, Machida/Silva better be getting the next title shot at 205 because I don’t want to wait past March or April for another 205 title defense.

    I think Lesnar’s nerves got to him a lot in that fight… How couldn’t they? When it seems like everyone in the entire arena wants you to lose. He’s a bit brash and loud, but I find him entertaining in a division that has needed excitement pretty bad in the mainstream.

    Nogueira vs Lesnar is going to be a war if it materializes. I think it would be just as legendary as Sapp vs Nogueira. I believe Lesnar is a better athlete than Sapp and I would love to see Lesnar vs Nog happen. But we can’t count out Mir yet… unfortunately…

    This could really be editing, but this Season of TUF has really made me dislike Mir. He seems very disrespectful and does not do a good job coaching his team. I’d like to think it’s just the editing…

    Comment by Giga Explosivo | November 18, 2008 | Reply

  5. Also, What about Randy Couture vs Anderson Silva at 205 lbs?

    Comment by Giga Explosivo | November 18, 2008 | Reply

  6. Randy/A.Silva would be memorable.
    A.Silva seemed to have a distaste for LHW from the last interview I read.

    Maybe Randy vs the winner of Franklin/Hendo?

    Mir has looked pretty terrible on TUF this season. He looks like he’s in great shape, but he seems very dim (which doesn’t appear to be the case at WEC events). I think Mir might be better than most give him credit for. He has excellent ground skills and he might have decent standup, the crash took a lot out of him, and where we see people like Kenny getting better in every respect as they dedicate themselves to the sport, with Mir we see a renewal in him. He is gaining his health/strength/speed back.

    We might see the best Mir ever against Nog (we better), but it still might not be enough. But I can’t count him out.

    I’ll add Riley/Huerta to the fight suggestions. They could probably put together a fight of the night and Huerta should be back in action soon. Did he go somewhere?

    Comment by Aas Gutú Adéli | November 18, 2008 | Reply

  7. I was actually thinking about Randy vs. Anderson but I’m pretty sure Anderson is fighting Liddell at UFC 95.

    I agree with, Giga, on the nerves getting to Lesnar. I thought he looked a bit gassed and bewildered at the end of the 1st round.

    I totally agree about Frank Mir. He seems like he should have been cast in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. His advice conisists of exaggerating comments like “You have more talent than anyone by far! You should kill this guy easily…etc.” Nothing constructive that i’m aware of (could be editing.)

    I have a feeling Nogueira vs. Mir is going to be a standup fight with Nogueira outboxing him for a couple of rounds and then Mir wearing out.

    I suppose you’re right about Lesnar’s entertainment value. And you’re right about the Sapp comparison. I actually think Sapp is stronger than Lesnar. Very rough fight indeed.

    Huerta probably will be back in February. Riley is one guy who could match toughness with him for sure.

    Comment by Kevin | November 19, 2008 | Reply


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