Well, ladies and gentlemen, we're about to find out if anyone out there will still read me after an unexplained six month hiatus. I'm easily as excited as Billy Madison on Nudey Magazine Day. Maybe even more.
Strikeforce today, UFC 105 next week.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (13-1) vs. Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (12-4)
This is a decent title eliminator match, which would be fine, if Strikeforce had any semblance of heavyweight depth. Which they don’t. Bigfoot looks to prove he can hang with the best at heavyweight as he takes on Werdum (coming off a win against the immortal Mike Kyle), who, at least on paper, appears to overmatch him. But that’s why they fight the fights. I think Bigfoot will prove that he can stay out of Werdum’s subs using his superior size, and eventually a frustrated Werdum will realize that if he’s going to beat this guy, it’s going to be on the feet. Good luck with that. As long as Bigfoot doesn’t have any Eric Pele flashbacks, he’ll use his size, and skill to outpoint Werdum in a relatively uneventful unanimous decision.
Jake Shields (23-4-1 vs. Jason “Mayhem” Miller (22-6) (for MW title)
Here's my expert analysis: Jake Shields is just BETTER than Jason Miller. He can match all of Miller's skills, and then some. Throw in the Mayhem Monkeys, constant distractions, his reprehensible “reality” show, the dumb grills, the overbearing “I’m funny, look at me” personality, the fact that Mayhem thinks he’s a sub wizard, and the fact that Mayhem is completely insane, and you know what you get? You get a win for Jake Shields, that's what. By decision, but still.
Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi (26-2-1) vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (7-4)
This scrap is the bastard stepchild of the Ando Silva-Forrest Griffin tilt that headlined UFC 102. You know what I mean. The “look, we know whose going to win, it wont be that close, and it’s not for the title, but these are two young, talented athletes, and this is going to be an exciting fight, dammit! Just watch it and shut the hell up!” Alright, then. The only thing I can’t decide is whether Gegard will tap him, or TKO him.But, you didn’t come here for cocky proclamations. You came here for analysis. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Sokoudjou is coming off of two consecutive victories over Tugboat and Earthquake, respectively (Jan Nortje and Bob Sapp). Not exactly a murderers' row. Not to mention, he had to be pulled off by the ref both times. Was he the victim of ‘roid rage? Or was he just afraid that Jan, or Bob would get up, and attempt to eat him? We may never know. What we do know is that all of Sokoudjou’s fights tend to unfold in one of two ways: (1) He blitzes his opponent with punches and kicks, and earns a quick TKO victory, or (2) he blitzes his opponent with punches and kicks, wonders why his opponent is still standing, and gets tired within three minutes. Remember my PRIDE article and the Alistair Overeem “Crap, THREE more minutes?” Face? Step aside, Ali. Soko is the new king of this face. The only difference is that he makes it during five minute rounds. After that, it’s a matter of time before he gets “caught” in an arm triangle, or a like-minded submission.
Mousasi has been on an absolute tear lately, winning 13 fights in a row against top competition (Kang, Babalu, Manhoef, Jacare, Lombard, etc). He has shown that he can break an opponent's strengths and weaknesses down to a tee. He studies his opponent, finds the weak point, and attacks it. He triangled Manhoef in a minute twenty eight without throwing a strike.He TKO’d Babalu in a minute flat against the cage.
And, to think, the UFC didn’t even make him an offer. What a travesty.
The striking in this matchup is relatively even, but Mousasi has the advantage in nearly every other facet: Ground game, submissions, gas tank, and savvy. I think Gegard makes this look relatively easy, and trades heavy strikes with Soko before luring him to the ground and finishing him via straight armbar. In the first round.
Fedor Emelianenko (30-1) vs. Brett “The Grim” Rogers (10-0) (for HW title)
Ahhh, yes…it’s the elephant in the room. Let's forget for a second that Fedor’s agent, Vadim Finkelstein, is an absolute failure at his job and that Fedor should be fighting Brock Lesnar for the UFC HW title. Let's forget that Fedor has fought five times in three years. Lets forget about the fact that Fedor isn’t that well known in the States, and that Brett Rogers is undefeated. Seriously, throw all of that out the window for a second, because I’m about to drop a bomb on you.
This is a man who has never lost a fight fair and square. Yes, he had a few close decisions when he was fighting in RINGS, but keep in mind, in RINGS they did not allow strikes to the head on the ground. In Fedor’s case, this was like outlawing Kareem’s sky hook; Yeah, he’d still be good, but not nearly AS good.
And yes, Cro Cop and (especially) Kazuyuki Fujita clipped him, and briefly sent him into an impromptu rendition of the Salmon Dance, but in both cases, he immediately fought off the cobwebs and established dominance.
Other than that, the man has left a path of destruction that is simply unprecedented. His ground-and-pound is fantastic, his submissions are slick, his top control is stifling, his stand-up game is underrated (seriously, for all the “holes” in his stand-up, why do I always get the feeling that he wants you to think his stand-up has holes? It's known as "playing possum"), his clinch game and sambo throws are sublime, and to top it off, WE ARE LETTING THIS MAN INTO A CAGE. If Fedor pins Rogers’ head against the fence, phone a priest immediately.
As for Brett Rogers? Well, I’ve seen every fight of his that I can find, and I have three nice things to say: First, the man hits hard. That much, we can tell. Second, he seems very relaxed and poised on his feet. And third, he looks like a cross between Ben Wallace and every heavyweight boxing champion who ever lived. So he has that going for him.
Fedor will fall eventually, but not here. Fedor by armbar in the first round.