Alright, let's be honest. No one is buying UFC 97 to see a great battle between Silva and Leites. If that's the fight you want to see, you're either a huge A. Silva fan or you just want to see how he rebounds from the Cote fight.
The real war to tune in to is the highly awaited scrap between legends Chuck Liddell and Shogun Rua.
Dana White said it best, a couple of years ago people were arguing which was the best LHW fighter, now whoever wins this fight goes back towards the top of the heap.
My friends and I have argued to no end about this fight. It's not really a question of who is the better fighter per se, but which form of the fighters will show up to the event.
So, without further ado...
1. How much has Shogun's cardio improved?
After TWO knee surgeries (yes, he blew it out after it had finally healed) Shogun's cardio in his first two UFC outings looked pitiful at best.
Reports have surfaced that he has rededicated himself to his training and without the knee problems Mauricio says we will see the Shogun from back in the days of Pride and is now training at a different facility with better training partners.
This remains the biggest factor of the fight.
2. Will Chuck's age catch up with him?
I say no. He looked bad against Jardine, and I believe he admitted that (correct me if I'm wrong). He came back with a great win against Wanderlei, won the first round against now champ Rashad Evans, and then made a mistake and got caught with a devastating overhand right.
Getting knocked out is a part of the sport, and I think no matter how young Chuck was, that punch would've had him KTFO.
3. Will Shogun's striking match up against Chuck's?
I today I re-watched Shogun's fights against Forrest and Coleman, and it seemed his striking looked a bit sloppy.
It looked worse against Forrest, but that may just be because of Forrest's reach and striking abilities.
Shogun's strikes looked a little too wild and not quite as fast as they should be, but this could all be attributed to poor conditioning and lax training.
4. Will Chuck mix up his skills?
Chuck has stated he wants his belt back. Although that is a little far fetched, he has been training harder than ever and has even been training with American Top Team.
If Chuck comes ready to mix it up by using take downs, leg kicks, and GNP, it could be a long, or even worse, short night for Shogun.
Alright, the article might have been a little biased, but plain and simple, I think Shogun was better in his prime than Chuck was in his, but times have changed.
Here's how I see the matchup:
Striking: Pretty even, but Shogun has shown in the past he can mix it up his strikes a lot better and Chuck has shown he has tremendous knockout power. (The only thing that might give the edge to Chuck is that UFC doesn't allow soccer kicks and head stomps, which have been key to 6 of Shogun's victories.)
Reach: Chuck only has half an inch on Shogun
The real factors will be Shogun's dedication to training and Chuck's will to win.
Shogun showed real threats to Forrest by taking him down, which I don't think he'll be able to do to Chuck.
Chuck beat Wanderlei by using better technical striking, but Shogun has shown he can be the master technician.
Who will win this epic clash? Leave me feedback and tell me what you think.