Spiars' Quick Picks: UFC 106
We're only moments away from Zuffa's third card in the span of eight days, and while the headlining fight might not be main-event material, there are a number of fights that can make this card worth watching.
Unfortunately, the fight between Karo Parisyan and Dustin Hazelett has been pulled from the card completely, with no replacement fight, but as always, the show must go on.
Away with the bad and in with the good, the UFC has decided to continue in it's trend of preliminary bouts aired live on Spike TV.
So whether you are buying the card, watching it at your local sports bar, or living the pirate lifestyle, UFC 106 will offer us all a night of great fights that look bleak on paper.
Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz: Tito Ortiz
One thing that is often said about Forrest Griffin, is that he has a tremendous heart. He has squared off against some of the best light-heavyweight fighters in the world, without any doubt, and without any hesitation.
His gas tank is large enough to carry him through any three round war, enabling him to push the pace from any area of the fight. If he hits the ground, he has a solid guard full of submissions and sweeps.
With a solid training camp behind him, sparring with MMA legend, Randy Couture, Griffin's takedown defense going in to this fight might be at an all-time high.
While he has gained a lot of fans with his wild striking, it appears that Griffin hasn't polished off the guns enough in his progression as a fighter.
Tito Ortiz should be looking to take advantage of the disheartened Griffin, not through his dominant ground-and-pound, but through his hands.
Although Ortiz has shown the world that his take downs are top notch with his near inescapable clinch, his biggest threat to Griffin may be his striking.
Ortiz is a very smart fighter who usually comes in with an effective game plan, and there is a good chance that he knows Griffin is working hard on improving his takedown defense, so Ortiz will likely come in with a noticeable difference in his combinations.
Another advantage for Ortiz is that, even though he has said this before, he is claiming to be 100% healthy coming into this fight. Add in his jet-sized gas tank, and fight fans might be treated to another dose of punishment prescribed by Tito Ortiz.
Anthony Johnson vs. Josh Koscheck: Anthony Johnson
Since hitting a road block against Georges St. Pierre, Josh Koscheck has been travelling the bumpy road in his quest towards the belt.
He has upped his skill level from being a relentless, NCAA Division 1 wrestler into a ruthless, all-around fighter. Despite this, Koscheck has been unable to string together a number of wins since his loss to St. Pierre.
It seems that Koscheck's plan will remain the same as his last few fights, use his wrestling in reverse to keep this fight standing, and look for the devastating knockout.
He has the attributes to accomplish this blueprint, but it has backfired on him before, mostly against bigger and stronger fighters.
Bigger and stronger, does that sound like anyone in the welterweight division?
Anthony Johnson is undoubtedly the largest fighter competing in the 170 pound weight class, clearly evident by his failed weight cut at UFC 104.
His hands are heavy, and probably made of stone, possibly turning this fight into an old-fashioned slugfest.
Johnson is not only strong, but he brings in speed to match, proficiently combining them with his Cung Le-inspired striking.
Anthony Johnson just might come in and shock the world this Saturday, leaving Koscheck dazed and confused, wondering how he can put the pieces back together.
Phil Baroni vs. Amir Sadollah: Phil Baroni
Amir Sadollah fell flat on his face against Johny Hendricks in his most recent fight, and he is in desperate need of a win to show that he deserved the TUF contract.
Sadollah has a black belt in Sambo, with an under-appreciated ground attack. He has all of the tools to get inside with the clinch and take the fight down to where he can finish it.
The question is, can he get past the brutal hands of Phil Baroni?
With a sub-par record of 13-11, Baroni has never been in the talks of best pound-for-pound fighters, well, at least outside of his fantasy world of, "I'm the best evah!"
That being said, he has flaunted some of the deadliest hands in the sport. He wings them at his opponent's dome as fast as a speeding bullet, leaving welts and bruises as evidence.
If Baroni can connect before his stamina runs low, expect another highlight reel knockout, courtesy of "The New York Badass."
Luis Cane vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: Antonio Nogueira
Luis Cane has shown all of the developing tools of a star in the making, and this is exactly the type of fight he needs to prove this to be true.
He can almost be dubbed the southpaw version of Dan Henderson with his lethal left hand. Mixed in with effective combinations and his dazzling hand speed, Cane has what it takes to strike with the best of the light-heavyweight division.
And although fans rarely get to see a ground attack from Cane, he is no slouch in that department either, carrying a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Cane chooses to use his jiu-jitsu only when necessary, aggressively keeping the fight on the feet, which in the end, may ultimately be his down fall.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has established himself to be one of the better boxers in the sport of MMA.
The variety of combinations unleashed usually keeps his opponent guessing, and frustrated outside of the range. When they are able to get into reach, Nogueira is very effective with the counter-punch, making him that much more dangerous.
He is remarkably tough to take down, and if his back does hit the mat, he is in no danger there as well.
Nogueira, like his twin brother Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, is a black-belt practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
He also trains with some elite fighters such as his brother, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Junior dos Santos, Paulo Filho, and Ronaldo Souza.
Paulo Thiago vs. Jacob Volkmann: Paulo Thiago
Volkmann has a tough test ahead of him in his UFC debut, which will also air live on the main card.
He might have some first-time jitters, but the three-time All American wrestler out of Minnesota has been competing ever since he was a child.
Like most wrestlers, Volkmann is extremely strong and he is able to get the take down when he wants it.
His striking is clean and very quick, but he mainly uses it to obtain his clinch and work his wrestling game.
However, Volkmann might want to avoid the clinch completely against Paulo Thiago, who is a proud owner of a black belt in both judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Thiago earned a name by submitting fighters left and right, but he stole some thunder when he knocked out the highly-recognizable welterweight, Josh Koscheck.
He was unable to take advantage of his huge victory, falling prey to another dominant wrestler, Jon Fitch.
This is Thiago's chance to beat a strong, dominant wrestler, to once again prove that he has a chance in any fight against the division's top welterweights.
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
Marcus Davis vs. Ben Saunders: Marcus Davis
Ben Saunders sank in his attempt to swim with the big sharks.
His strength and reach should is a tough task for plenty of welterweight fighters, and if he is able to gain a clinch, his muay thai is outright dangerous.
With American Top Team on his side, Saunders has the right assets to become a name inside the division, but he has another tough task ahead of him.
Marcus Davis is coming off of an upsetting loss, and he will be looking to put that behind him with a convincing victory over Saunders.
A boxer at heart and soul, Davis has very quick, clean strikes that should be able to get him past the telegraphed striking of Saunders.
Davis may experience some trouble if he falls prey to the clinch, but he has the chin and recovery skills to bypass any damage done.
Kendall Grove vs. Jake Rosholt: Jake Rosholt
The lanky Kendall Grove has effectively turned his tall, awkward body into an efficient Muay Thai machine.
If he put as much work into training this art as he did with his jiu-jitsu, Grove could be a very deadly opponent.
Grove learns some of the game's tricks from one of the best, training under B.J. Penn, which could spell trouble for his opponent.
Although his first loss came at the hands of a skilled grappler, Jake Rosholt is the type of fighter who improves dramatically after each performance, regardless of the outcome.
The four-time All American wrestler has an unbelievable amount of core strength, taking fighters down at will.
His patient, unappreciated ground game will likely keep the fight on the mat, where Rosholt might capitalize on an impatient mistake by Grove.
PRELIMINARY CARD (un-aired)
Brian Foster vs. Brock Larson: Brock Larson
Fabricio Camoes vs. Caol Uno: Fabricio Camoes
Jason Dent vs. George Sotiropoulos: George Sotiropoulos
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