UFC 106 was shaping up to be a great card a couple of months ago, and it still is a great card, for those who have a higher UFC IQ than the average fan. This UFC will answer a few questions that I'm willing to bet no average fan had. Is it worth the $50? Absolutely not. Can it shape up to be a great night? Most definitely.
Here are my thoughts.
Tito Ortiz hasn't won a fight since 2006, and his last win was against a man who should have retired back in '96 and stayed in the WWE, Tito Ortiz hasn't won a fight against a bottle of peroxide since his UFC debut in '97, maybe even before that, I don't know.
What Tito Ortiz does have going for him, is his ability to beat fighters who are shells of themselves, much like his three wins against the guy he should have stayed in the WWE, Ken Shamrock. What does that say about Forrest Griffin?
There are more than a few question when it comes to Griffin, like what happened to him in the Silva fight, and how much damage did it cause?
But honestly, Griffin has left it all in the ring more than once, with his epic battles against Stephan Bonner and Tito Ortiz, also he took the best Rampage Jackson could give him, and got knocked out by Rashard Evans. Griffin is 30 years old, but he is an old 30, Tito Ortiz is 34 but is coming to the fight fresher after a year long layoff.
If Griffin wants to be taken seriously, he either has to completely dominate Ortiz over three rounds, or completely destroy Tito Ortiz. Either way complete domination over Ortiz will have him back as a serious contender. Ortiz needs to shake off the Octagon rust and finish what Anderson Silva started in August, and considering how easy Anderson Silva made it look, if Ortiz finds that chin, it will be a short night.
Though to go on a quick tangent here, The Tito Ortiz/Dana White feud had a Stone Cold versus Vince McMahan type feel. I know that most diehard MMA fans hate it when people make references to the WWE about the UFC, but follow me here.
What if Dana White hasn't made friends with Tito Ortiz, but he just likes seeing Tito get beat down so much that he just had to make it happen again. I mean every interview that Dana White gives about Ortiz losing a fight, he lights up like my grandmother when I enter the room. Only Dana White knows what Dana White does, but this is what I see, and this is the angle I'm hoping for.
Who wins? I have no clue, I like to look for other forms of motivation that each fighter might need, as Griffin just got married, Ortiz just had twins with porn legend Jenna Jameson. Tito Ortiz probably hasn't changed his game plan that made him such a force earlier this decade, using his patented ground and pound game.
The question is, which Forrest Griffin shows up? If it is the face-first brawler, that won't end well, if it is the overly excited guy who showed up for the Silva fight, that won't end well either. If Griffin fights a at measured pace that he did against "Rampage" Jackson, and sticks to the game plan, it will be a long night for Tito.
I say Griffin needs this more, and will show up to the fight hungry, in shape, and ready to prove that August was a fluke.
Can Koscheck live up to his potential and win this fight against and surging Anthony Johnson?
Though Koscheck has a highlight reel of knockouts, can he overcome a four-inch height disadvantage, a five-inch reach disadvantage, a speed disadvantage, and a striking technique advantage to beat "Rumble?"
The answer is a resounding "no," but what I think we will see, is the old school Josh Koscheck, as his wrestling pedigree will come in to play, or in this case, needs to come into play.
Koscheck has a bad habit of leaving himself open when he strikes, and the other problem is that he has fell in love with his striking to the point that I think people have forgot that he started off as a pure wrestler.
"Rumble" has a great habit of exploiting those habits and separating people from their consciousness, and Koscheck has a suspect chin as he showed against his losses against Thiago Alves and Paulo Thiago. "Rumble" has shown that he can be vulnerable on the ground, as his submission loss to Rich Clemti has shown. Koscheck has shown the ability to ground and pound his way to victory.
Who wins? It comes down to who does their thing better. IF Koscheck gets it to the ground, get ready for a boring grind it out victory. If Rumble keeps it standing, get ready for "knock out of the night," and talk of "Rumble" as a serious contender.
How Luis Arthur Cane is rated as the No. 8 light heavy in the world after wins over Steve Cantwell , Sokoudjou, Jason Lambert , and Damien Stelly ; especially when you mix in a disqualification loss to "Sand Man" Irwin. How did that happen?
Does Sherdog.com know something I don't know? How Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is only ranked at No. 9 in the light heavy weight division especially with wins against Allstair Overeeem, and Den Henderson on his record, it just makes me wonder.
Nogueira is the lesser of fighters when he is compared to his twin brother Minotauro , but that really is like saying that Ashley Roberts is the ugliest Pussycat Doll . She is still hot, and Nogueira is still a supreme talent who has the ability take what someone gives him and win fights.
Who wins? Every fighter who steps into the Octagon at least has a chance to win, though Nogueira is a supreme talent compared to Cane, Cane has great striking technique, and Nogueira has a suspect chin. Cane has a strikers chance, however, Nogueira being a better fighter has a better more likely chance of winning.
Both are fighters who win fights either by decision or on the ground, neither are fighters who are talented enough to make a legitimate run at the welterweight crown, so this fight has a feel of two fighters completing their UFC contracts and moving on with their lives.
Yet, there is something fun about Dustin Hazeletts performances, mainly due to his "submission of the night honors" that he received in wins over Josh Burkman and Tamdan McCrory .
The most interesting part of this fight, is if Hazelett can do something no one else in MMA has done against Parisyan, and that is submit him.
Who wins? Well, who cares really? Do you? Because I don't...Moving on.
Why is Phil Baroni back in the UFC? How did Dana White think this is a good idea? Baroni hasn't been legitimate since he beat Dave Menne in 2002. He is so far down on the list I'm not even sure if one can call someone who is only 2 wins above .500 a "New York Badass" legally.
I mean to be a "Badass" in the fight game, which is comprised of nothing but bad asses, you actually have to win fights. So my theory here is that Dana White had to throw The Season Seven Ultimate Fighter winner a bone because he got bum rushed by Johny Hendricks in his Octagon debut.
Johny Hendricks is no joke, and Dana White has a six fight contract with Sadollah, so it makes sense for Baroni to come to the UFC to make Sadollah look good.
Who wins? For the love of God and all things Holy, the world only makes sense that Sadollah earns an easy payday against the walking punching bag that should be now known as Phil Baroni. If Baroni has a chance, it will be with his hand speed and power, I just figured I had to throw that in there.
This fight is a cross-roads fight for the both of them. Marcus Davis has loses against both Mike Swick and Dan hardy, so he isn't exactly an A-level fighter, but he is exciting and likes to finish fights, which is what makes him so dangerous and why many would still figure him for a contender.
Ben Saunders has a loss against Mike Swick, meaning that with Swicks loss to Dan Hardy, Saunders has a chance and a reason to move up and earn a chance to get a rematch against Swick.
I think that every fighter should avenge their losses against higher rated fighters before they move on, and if Saunders can't beat Swick, he isn't going to be a contender. Both need to win this fight in dominate fashion, and both fighters have a record that shows that they love finishing fights.
These two are hungry enough, desperate enough, and need this win enough to leave it all in the ring.
Who wins? If I know anything about fighting, then I say the fans, this has "fight of the night" written all over it.
Thiago knocks out Koscheck, and then loses against Jon Fitch and there is a chance we won't see him on TV. Koscheck gets knocked out by Thiago then beats the fighter formerly known as Frank Trigg and he gets co-feature status?
I know what most will say, The Jon Fitch Paulo Thiago matchup, which was shown as the last fight on UFC 100, did everything it could to suck the life out of what was a great evening of fights.
What does this mean? It means that Koscheck was dominating the fight against Thiago before he got caught, and that Thiago's ground game is good, but not that good. Meaning that Thiago is a good fighter, but he has more than a few flaws. Are they flaws that Jacob Volkmann can exploit? Volkmann has a decent record and is making his Octagon debut.
The best debut to make is to make a statement, do what Koscheck couldn't do (win) and what Jon Fitch couldn't do (win via submission). Volkmann has a flawless 9-0 record with six wins via submission, Thiago needs to win this fight after losing a unanimous decision to Jon Fitch. This has all of the makings of a boring fight or "submission of the night."
Who wins? Honestly, Jacob Volkmann kinda sorta looks like Mr. Bean , so as far as unintentional comedy goes, I'm all about Mr. Bean stepping into the Octagon a few more times, but the question is, will Paulo Thiago live up to his promise and finish Volkmann?
Kendall Grove is blessed with all of the tools in the world to be a MMA legend. He is long and rangy, in fact, he looks like Manute Bol when he stands next to some of the fighters he faces. The problem is, he doesn't use those God-given tools.
In fact, if you are roughly eight-feet tall, the one thing that you should use is a jab. In MMA the jab and the front kick are the least used weapons in the game, especially among taller fighters. He is a paradox, because he has the skills to lock a D'Arce choke on Alan Belcher, bet he can't keep a jab going to keep a shorter fighter off of him such as Jorge Rivera, which lead him to get knocked out.
At 6'6" a steady jab provides the opponent the challenge of leaping the fighting equivalent of three miles to get into the inside.
The reason why I am harping on the jab for Kendall Grove is because Jake Rosholt is a four-time All American NCAA Division I wrestler, and considering what he did to Chris Leben, putting him to sleep, it is leading me to believe that Rosholt's loss in his Octagon debut against Dan Miller was due to fighting a veteran and the Octagon jitters.
Kendall Grove needs to keep Rosholt off of him, Rosholt needs to take the fight to the ground on his terms.
Who wins? I will be honest here, I am going for Rosholt, and not for the reasons why you may think. Kendall Grove likes to celebrate by doing that grave digging thing that Tito Ortiz did after his fight with Evan Tanner.
Celebrating a win is cool, but there has to be some time constraints for one, some originality for two, and in Kendall Groves case you have to beat more than Jason Day to celebrate in that manner.
I'm not saying that the UFC should look into setting restrictions for celebrations, but the fighters should just celebrate by doing what comes naturally because anyone understands the pure emotion of winning a fight. Though, if Grove discovers that he is a talented fighter and fights and intelligent fight, he will show that he still belongs in the UFC.