UFC 99: The Comeback Preview and Predictions

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UFC 99: The Comeback Preview and Predictions
(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

It’s once again time for my world renowned article that explains to people my thoughts on an upcoming event.

I’d like to apologize for the delay of this events preview and predictions.  It’s been a week full of studying for a certification exam and today was the first day I had the free time to write.  

For the first time ever the UFC will take place in Germany and will feature six main card fights which I think is also a first.  Now on to the picks

 

Prelims

John Hathaway vs. Rick Story

This will be Hathaway’s second appearance in the octagon and in his first showing did a great job against Tom Egan at UFC 93. Story has had some success against mid level fighters like TUF fighter Brandon Melendez, and former WEC fighter Ryan Healy. 

Hathaway has a striking advantage with a bigger reach and better overall skills, and Story has wrestling advantage. The question here will be who can impose their will against the other. 

Big show jitters will be too much for Story and I can see Hathaway using his better hands to win in the first. 

John Hathaway wins via TKO in the 1st.

 

Denis Stojnic vs. Stefan Struve

Evidently Denis Stojnic doesn’t like Stefan Struve or at least he didn’t’ at the weight in, which sucks for Stojnic because he is at a massive reach disadvantage fighting the tall Struve.   

The one time we saw Struve he was getting manhandled by Junior Dos Santos but I think that fight did show his real abilities. That and Dos Santos is just beastly.  Regardless in a fight between to strikers you should always side on the fighter with the better reach. 

And by way better I’m guessing like four or five inch advantage. 

Stefan Struve wins via TKO late in the 1st.

 

Rolando Delgado vs. Paul Kelly

First I don’t dislike Rolando Delgado, I just think his black belt is overrated. He is tall and lanky for 155 which should give most fighters problems but not for Paul Kelly. Kelly is finally at a weight class that suits his frame at 155 and should be able to take every punch and kick Delgado can offer. 

The only place I see Delgado winning is with a submission but Kelly’s top control is way too good for that. 

Kelly should make some noise in the near future at this weight and I’m personally looking forward to him finishing this fight with a devastating KO early in the First. 

Paul Kelly wins via KO in the 1st.

 

Peter Sobotta vs. Paul Taylor

I like Paul Taylor, I really do, but damn if the UFC isn’t putting him in a bad spot.  First off, Taylor is a striker and in order for him to have a shot at a win in the UFC he needs someone to bang with, and Peter Sobotta isn’t a striker. 

Secondly, the UFC put him against one of only two Germans on the card.  Peter Sobotta is a submission wrestler and is good at it. 

The likelihood of this fight being on its feet is like slim to none and with good reason.  For Sobotta to win he has to ground and pound Taylor till he gives him his back and sink in the RNC—which is how I see it going. 

Peter Sobotta wins via RNC in the 1st.

 

Dale Hartt vs. Denis Siver

Dale Hartt is a two fight vet of the UFC and is 1-1, but most people know him as the other guy in the cage with Corey Hill had that horrific leg break. Hartt is currently training at Greg Jackson’s camp in New Mexico and oddly enough Siver is in Vegas training at the gym Hartt normally trains at with Xtreme Couture. Odd right? 

Regardless Hartt is going to be trying to erase the Hill injury from people’s memory and try and start a new with this fight. Siver for his part will have the entire building on his side and will bring his tools to the cage in hopes of pleasing the home crowd. 

I wish I could tell you some cool insight into why I think, either one of them will win but I really can’t. We really don’t know enough about Hartt to say if he is that well rounded and Siver was once solely known as a ground fighter but has had some recent success standing. 

Hartt is taller and will have a reach advantage so my guess is he is going to try to keep the advantage forcing Siver to try and take it to the ground. I’m not leaning any sort of way so it’s down to the old coin flip…Denis Siver is the winner. 

Denis Siver wins via Decision.

 

Justin Buchholz vs. Terry Etim

Pink haired Justin Buchholz will try and make it two in a row in the octagon, but will have to face easily his toughest opponent yet. Terry “It looks like I’m sleepy” Etim is a dangerous striker and rather good off of his back with a majority of his wins by submission. 

Buchholz has a wrestling advantage here, but I don’t know if he really wants to go there with Etim, who has a 75 percent win rate via submissions, most of which are via triangle choke. 

Etim will have a sizable reach advantage who is abnormally tall at 6’1” for a 155 pounder. Buchholz only way to win this fight is by a shocking TKO but Etim’s foot work is too good to allow that to happen. 

Terry Etim wins via Triangle Choke in the 1st.

Main Card

Mustapha al Turk vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic

Al Turk is without a doubt coming into the UFC having one of the hardest back to back fights ever.  First he got demolished by Cheick Kongo and now faces a hungry Mirko Cro Cop.   

Al Turk is a ground fighter, or so he tells people, and will be looking to take this fight to the ground instantaneously and with good reason. 

If Cro Cop is half of what he was in 2006 his leg kicks will be devastating and he is saying all the right things about his knee surgery. What remain to be seen is which Cro Cop shows up, the Cro Cop who last New Year’s Eve chopped down the 7 foot monster in Hong Man Choi or the Cro Cop that gave up mentally against Cheick Kongo at UFC 75. 

Al Turk needs to follow the game plan Gabriel Gonzaga used to get Cro Cop out of his game which is take the Croatian to the ground and bust him up.  If he can’t do that then I can see Cro Cop punishing him with left leg kicks to the body and a highlight reel head kick to end the show. 

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic wins via TKO in the 2nd.

 

Spencer Fisher vs. Caol Uno

When the event was announced I was more excited to see this fight than any other and am still really jazzed about it.  Uno is making his long awaited return to the Octagon and since that time has had some good wins in K-1 Hero’s and made it to the semi finals of the lightweight grand prix in Dream. 

This is going to be a classic match of striker (Fisher) vs. grappler (Uno). Uno is a very good wrestler and grappler as noted by his decision loss to Shinya Aoki who has been subbing just about everyone and will be looking to get this fight there quickly. 

Fisher is a very good striker with very good technique in his boxing. I really like both fighters and it could make for a very good fight. I’m leaning towards Uno mainly because Fisher has been put on his back before, often times by less the stellar wrestlers and Uno is at the very least one of the best pure wrestlers Fisher has ever fought. 

Uno’s top game is what will allow him to ride to a win. 

Caol Uno wins via decision.

 

Marcus Davis vs. Dan Hardy

The fight that has all but stolen the show is this fight that has done so with a war of words between these two men and I’m really glad that it will end after this.  Truth is it’s nothing more than hype, at least in regards to Dan Hardy. 

Davis looks and is acting pissed off, but it could all be for hype purposes. Regardless this isn’t even a fight as far as I’m concerned. I think Hardy is on the way to being a good welterweight, but Davis is far more experienced than Hardy and far more well rounded to allow this fight to go past the first round. 

Yes Hardy has some good wins in the UFC against Gono and Markham, but the Akihiro Gono he fought is light year away from the Gono we all loved in Pride and Markham was overrated and was known to have a soft chin. 

Davis is a hard puncher with good boxing skills and is very versed on the ground.  He is just closer to his prime than Hardy is and it will show when they fight. Now I’m not saying Hardy doesn’t have a shot, I’m merely stating that I’d place the beating line at 65%-35% for Davis. 

If Davis wins can we please see him against someone in the top ten?  Man would I love to see him versus Kos.  Marcus Davis wins via TKO in the 2nd.

 

Ben Saunders vs. Mike Swick

This is another fight that is more hype than needed.

Yes, Ben Saunders made Brandon Wolff look like he had a horn coming out of his head, but come on people it was Brandon Wolff.  Yes, he is taller than Swick but so what—Swick would have beat Yushin Okami if that fight went one more round, and I know for a fact Okami is much bigger man than Saunders. 

Saunders is being hyped as if he is the new Anderson Silva with his Thai Clinch which he is so not. I like the kid but Swick is a massive step up in comp and I personally don’t think he is there yet. 

Swick trains with far better fighters at AKA and is still has some of the fastest hands in MMA. He is pen-point accurate with his hands and legs and will out cardio anyone at 170. 

It’s just too big of a step for Saunders and his inexperience will show. For the record I’m not even that big of a Swick fan, he has yet to win a significant fight at welterweight, and needs to fight someone in the top five realm to get a title shot. 

Anyways back to the fight. If I were Swick I’d get use my speed to move in get the fight to the ground and pound on Saunders for the win. 

Mike Swick wins via Decision.         

 

Cheick Kongo vs. Cain Velasquez

Velasquez had a fight lined up with Heath Herring but due to injury Herring had to drop out and now he has a tougher task in front of him. Kongo is very close to a title shot and a win over Velasquez all but guarantees it. 

Another Striker vs. Grappler matchup but this time the differences are worlds apart.  Velasquez is a division one wrestler at Arizona State and has been able to take everyone of his opponents to the ground at will in his fights. 

Kongo is a top level kick boxer who has very good hands that are not only quick but very powerful. The fights go to the fighter who can keep the fight were they want it.  Velasquez has to get it to the ground and keep it there, all they while Kongo needs to stuff a few takedowns to punish Velasquez standing. 

Unless Kongo can catch Velasquez with a knee on the way to a takedown, there is very little Kongo is going to be able do to stop this fight from going on the floor. With that said I don’t think Velasquez is going to be able to stop Kongo giving him the ability to grind out a victory. 

Kongo may be able to stuff a few early takedowns but its gonna be hard to stop them all. 

Cain Velasquez wins via Decision.

 

Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva

I’m really digging this fight and the fact that it’s at a catch weight, which I hope is an intro into a new division for the UFC (it’s doubtful, but I can dream).

I’m a fan of both fighters but the truth is that Franklin is the less wore out of the two fighters, and will probably have the size advantage. 

Wandy has always been a small 205-er and even at middleweight will be one of the shorter fighter in the division. 

What I’m hoping for is a entertaining fight between two of best MMA fighters ever, but I just have a feeling the Franklin will be able to keep away from the hooks of Wandy and use his takedowns and ground control to his advantage. 

I know that Wandy is a black belt in BJJ, but until he uses it, it isn’t an issue. For Wandy to win he has to make it into a brawl and get inside where he can put his uppercuts and knees to work. 

If Franklin is smart he will keep Wandy at bay with his reach and try and counter Wandy’s looping punches with good head movement and stiff punches. 

Like in the Velasquez fight I don’t see this fight ending early but it will be exciting. My pick goes to Rich. 

Rich Franklin wins via Decision.

 

Fight of the Night—Franklin vs. Silva

Submission of the Night—Terry Etim

KO of the Night—Paul Kelly

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