UFC 79 - Nemesis - Preview & Predictions

As per my usual, I'll be at BW3's in Austintown watching UFC 79 on Saturday. if you're looking for something to do, swing by. If you're not an MMA fan, come get schooled. I've been a fan for going on five years now, moreso of the now defunct PRIDE organization, but haven't missed a UFC since 40.

Mark Bocek vs Doug Evans -
Bocek, submission.
Jiu-Jitsu beats striking and wrestling, especially since Evans isn't a master of either.

Roan Carneiro vs Tony DeSouza - Carneiro, submission.
Carneiro is training with American Top Team, DeSouza's not fought since 2006 and has a suspect chin he covers with a wild beard ... and he's easily cut (two of his three losses are due to cuts).

Jordan Radev vs Dean Lister - Lister, submission.
Lister is a multiple ADCC champion, Olympic wrestler and has been working strong on striking. Radev's intro by Bruce Buffer was longer than his last fight, as it took was last seen getting KTFO'ed in 33 seconds by Drew McFedries in June.

Nate Mohr vs Manny Gamburyan - Gamburyan, decision.
Gamburyan is short and stocky and not known as a finisher. Mohr is a striker. Gamburyan was beating devastating striker Nate Diaz before separating his shoulder in The Ultimate Fighter 5 finale and can take a shot.

Luis Cane vs James Irvin - Cane, TKO, knees.
Irvin, a.k.a. The Sandman, can knock anybody out with his fist of death, but Cane will take this one. Like most Brazilians he has mad jiu-jitsu and knees that do big damage, and solid strikes with his fists, too. If it goes to the ground, Irvin's out of his element.

Soa Palelei vs Eddie Sanchez - Sanchez, strikes.
Palelei's had one fight in three years - it lasted 5 seconds. He's huge - 6'4" and 265. Sanchez hung with Cro-Cop for nearly a round before the fight was stopped. And he hurt Cro-Cop, too. I see Sanchez getting KO #6, early.

Rich Clementi vs Melvin Guillard - Guillard, strikes.
Clementi's great on the ground, but Guillard has fists that come fast and furious and with bad intentions. And these two dudes don't like each other, as Joe Rogan will tell us, over and over.

Lyoto Machida vs Sokoudjou - Sokoudjo, strikes.
I watched in stunned silence, as did most everyone else who was a fan of PRIDE, when Sokoudjou knocked out Antonio Rogerio Noqueira (Lil 'Nog) in 23 secods at Pride 33. Six weeks later battered Ricardo Arona in two minutes. The African Assassin is now training with Team Quest. Machida is a great technician, but so are both Nogueira and Arona, and neither could find their game before the punches came.

Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva - Silva, strikes.
Silva has beaten Quinton Jackson, twice. Jackson has beaten Liddell, twice. Liddell has lost his last two fights (Jackson knocked him out in 1:53; and a split decision to Keith Jardine in which he was solidly rocked). Silva has lost his last two fights, both by highlight knockouts (Dan Henderson demolished him at Pride 33; and in the Open Weight GP in 2006 he was another victim of Cro-Cop's head kick). The difference - Silva has taken 8 months off, taken his time, learned from his losses. Liddell has taken fight after fight as soon as he could. My only concern for Silva is how will he handle being in a cage for the first time since 2000's five-round decision loss to Tito Ortiz. However, I see Silva teeing off on Liddell, often, and in tight, as his his style. With knees, elbows and fists flying. I see Chuck either retiring or taking serious time off in 2008 to regroup, as Silva did in 2007.

Matt Hughes vs Georges St-Pierre - St-Pierre, knockout.
St-Pierre took this fight after Matt Serra's serious back injury, and it's for the interim welterweight title. I don't see how this late in his MMA career Hughes can go from being a dominating wrestler to anything else. St-Pierre is the most well-rounded MMA fighter, ever. He can wrestle, strike, evade and work the ground. He dominated Hughes when he took the title in November 2006, knocking him out in the second round with a knee Hughes said he had no idea hit him. Hughes doesn't have the all around ability to defend himself. St-Pierre has continued to evolve and will be the dominant welterweight moving forward, as Hughes was for five years prior to his loss to GSP.

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