UFC 101: Declaration Predictions/Tips

Flying KneeCorrespondent IAugust 7, 2009

UFC 101: Declaration promises to be a another solid card full of excellent fights and good matchups. Aside from seeing a lightweight title shot, we'll get to see the much-hyped middleweight Amir Sadollah in action again.

Once again, all lines taken from bodog, and given in decimal form, and based upon the total return assuming you bet 1.00. Therefore, 1.55 indicates that you make a profit of 0.55 + your original 1.00 for every 1.00 you place. I should really start copy/pasting this...

Josh 'The Dentist' Neer vs. Kurt 'Batman' Pellegrino

Josh Neer

+Excellent clinch game, complete with Greco-Roman, dirty boxing and Muay Thai clinch
+Pretty good chin

-Questionable sprawl
-Not a good ground fighter

Kurt Pellegrino

+BJJ black belt under Hermes Franca
+Never (T)KO'd
+Decent ground and pound
+Wrestling background

-Not very mobile when striking
-Takedowns are not fast or powerful


Pellegrino is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Hermes Franca, but not all black belts are created equal, especially considering he got submitted by brown belt Nate Diaz.

Nonetheless, he's still got an obvious grappling advantage over Neer. Neer has a very good clinch game which he used very well against Nate Diaz, and Pellegrino is a similar enough fighter to Nate, so I would expect this to be another close run fight which could go either way.

My Take:

I'd guess that Neer would outwork Grove for a split decision victory. Neer enters at 1.40, and Pellegrino at 2.90, which is odd for such a close fight, and I would feel better going against myself and picking Pellegrino.

Ricardo 'Cachoarro' Almeida vs. Kendall 'Da Spyder' Grove

Ricardo Almeida

+Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt
+Prestigious ADCC career
+Very good ground and pound
+Good at jumping guard
-Weak wrestling
-Beginner level striking
-Bad cardio

Kendall Grove

+Stands at 6'6, tall with a mighty reach advantage
+Very competent striker with a good Muay Thai clinch
+Good enough ground game
+Decent sprawl

-Striking defense is suspect
-Somewhat slow on the feet
-Not a tremendously hard hitter


If Almeida takes Grove down, the American will be lucky to survive the round with the third-degree BJJ black belt (awarded by Renzo Gracie) on top of him.
But like many world class grapplers, wrestling is Almeida's Achilles. Grove is 6'6, which would be tall for a heavyweight, and is gigantic for a middleweight.

Almeida is good at jumping guard, but he'll find that difficult given the sheer distance he has to close between himself and his opponent.
If he doesn't get a submission in round one, I don't see him having the energy to go and get a submission in the second or third.

Grove isn't bad on the mat himself, having most of his wins by submission, but he'll still try to avoid Almeida like the plague. Expect boos, many of them.

My Take:

Grove by unanimous, Tim Sylvia-esque, decision, surviving scares and continuing to pop away at Almeida. Almeida enters at 1.62, while Grove comes in at 2.30, so of course I believe Grove to be a smarter play.

Amir Sadollah vs. Johnny Hendricks

Amir Sadollah

+Extremely slick with submissions
+Excellent Muay Thai, with great speed, combiations, power and a liking for high kicks

-Has not competed in more than a year
-Very green
-Not a good wrestler
-Coming back off injuries

Johnny Hendricks

+2005 and 2006 NCAA Division I wrestling champion and 2007 runner up
+Hard hitter

-Weak cardio
-Not a refined striker
-Unknown if he will be able to go about finishing good opponents or if he will resort to lay and pray


Sadollah may be slick on the ground, but I think that's where Hendricks is going to need to take this to keep it competitive. Sadollah is a vicious Thai boxer and will leave Hendricks in a heap if this stays up.

Hendricks has some decent finishes to his name, but nothing against good opponents, and I would be very surprised if he finished Sadollah, but that may be his best option; I don't know if he has the cardio or submission defense to lay and pray him for 15 minutes.

My Take:

Sadollah by submission, Round 2. Both enter at 1.87, so I'll be taking Sadollah.

Anderson 'The Spider' Silva vs. Forrest Griffin

Forrest Griffin

+Very large , standing at 6'3, and with the largest frame in the light heavyweight division
+Good at hit and move striking, utilising low kicks and jabs
+Great heart
+Solid chin
+Good on the ground
+Excellent cardio

-Not good off his back
-Not a great wrestler

Notable Wins:
Quinton Jackson (2008)
Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua (2007)

Anderson Silva

+Lethal Muay Thai; precise and powerful, and extremely unpredictable
+Awesome chin
+Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt
+Use of footwork and head movement make him very hard to hit
+Good cardio
+Very good defensive guard

-May not be motivated anymore
-Not a good offensive wrestler

Notable Wins:
Dan Henderson (2008)
Rich Franklin x2 (2007, 2006)
Nate Marquardt (2007)
Hayato Sakurai (2001)


If Forrest wins, this it'll be on the ground where he is underrated, because I don't see him bothering Anderson with his stick-and-move Misaki-style striking, which is very light in all honesty.
Anderson is a better striker than anyone Forrest has ever faced, and while Griffin pulls a fair share of upsets, this will be one of his toughest fights.

Griffin may be able to control him on the ground and rack up points without submitting him, but I don't see him being able to do that for long; Griffin is not a wrestler, he just has a heavy size advantage.
Anyway, he'll find it hard to close the distance for takedowns given Anderson's speed and evasiveness.

Only thing to look out for is Anderson's seeming despondence which was apparent with Leites. If he displays the same lethargy, Griffin will likely outpoint him for a unanimous decision.

My Take:

Anderson by KO, Round 2. I don't believe that he's going to punch Forrest in the leg or anything like that, I think he's going to systematically destroy him like he did to Franklin.

Anderson enters at 1.20, while Griffin enters at 4.00, so not much value on Silva here. Wouldn't back him on his own, but maybe a combined bet with another sure thing...

BJ 'The Prodigy' Penn vs. Kenny 'Ken-Flo' Florian

BJ Penn

+Excellent technical boxing with great crosses and jabs
+Powerful hitter
+2000 Mundials champion of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at black belt and a great guard
+Excellent jaw
+Very tough skin, only cut once
+Awesome takedown defence

-Could improve offensive wrestling
-Focus has always been hit and miss
-Overall Thai Boxing not versatile
-Does not check low kicks

Notable Wins:
Sean Sherk (2008)
Matt Hughes (2004)
Takanori Gomi (2003)
Caol Uno (2001)

Kenny Florian

+Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt
+Good Muay Thai, with good elbows
+Elusive on the feet
+Excellent ground and pound

-Not good at close range striking
-Not a good wrestler
-Not good off back
-Not a KO artist


Penn has a distinct advantage on the mat, and has an awesome sprawl, so don't expect to see him on his back in this one. Even if he is, Penn's defensive guard (which has only been passed a couple of times) should be good enough to counter Florian's GnP and to stand back up. I'm guessing this should be a battle between Penn's boxing and Florian's Muay Thai.

At least it shouldn't be as lopsided an affair as the standup battle with Sean Sherk, who's T-Rex arms could barely reach Penn's chin, but the Sherk fight did highlight that Penn's defense is boxing orientated and did seem to have trouble checking them.
Perhaps that's Florian's strategy, but he'll likely get tagged by a jab if he doesn't protect himself while he's throwing them.

Florian does not like getting pressured in close fighting, and Penn's quick combos could spell severe danger for him. Florian will have to try a Misaki-style fight if he wants to beat Penn, I believe.

My Take:

Florian really isn't as good a striker as Penn, maybe a little lighter on his feet, and with a few more kicks, but that's it. Can't see him frustrating Penn for very long, even if he tries to stick and move, I see Penn tagging him and finishing him in Round 3.

Penn enters at 1.36, while Florian enters at 3.20, so not much value on the Hawaiian on his own, but could be profitable enough when placing a multiplier with Anderson Silva.


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