UFC 107: Penn vs. Sanchez Predictions/Tips

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UFC 107: Penn vs. Sanchez Predictions/Tips

UFC 107 will likely be the last great UFC card of 2009, due to the hex that has been placed on UFC 108. The lightweight title is on the line, and many say that it will be Penn's last true challenge.

All lines are taken from Sportsbook.com and given in decimal form.

E.g., 1.55 means that for every 1.00 you place, you will obtain a profit of 0.55 plus your original 1.00.

Sorry for the barren version, but formatting really became impossible...maybe I'll fix it later.

 

Paul Buentello vs. Stefan Struve
(265 lbs/120 kg)



Stefan Struve
18-3-0
The Netherlands


+Excellent Jiu Jitsu (black belt?) and appears to be versatile from top and from guard
+Massive height (6'11") and reach (84")

-Not very mobile or light on his feet
-Little power behind strikes

 

Paul Buentello
24-10-0
USA

+Good boxing, with a useful jab
+Good cardio

-Poor grappler
-Not explosive striking
-Little kicks

 
Analysis:

Buentello is a solid, hard hitting boxer and a fight veteran. Struve is a grappler near black belt level, standing at 6'11" and is 21 years old—but has fought 21 times in his professional career.

Buentello's great jab will hardly work to keep range when dealing with the giant Struve, and his boxing is not on the level of Junior dos Santos, so I'm not expecting him to close in and TKO Struve suddenly.

One thing I'm quite certain of is that Struve will survive standing a lot easier than Buentello will survive grappling.

Conclusion:

Struve by submission, Round One.

Both fighters enter at 1.87, so I'll bet on Struve.


Kenny Florian vs. Clay Guida
(155 lbs/70 kg)

Kenny Florian
11-4-0
USA


+Good Muay Thai
+Vicious elbows that cut
+Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt

-Not the hardest hitter
-Wrestling could be better

 

Clay Guida
25-10-0
USA

+Good wrestler
+Great cardio
+Excellent heart
+Great jaw

-Striking is pretty unrefined
-Wrestling is telegraphed
-Not a hard hitter

 

Analysis:

Florian may lack the sheer heart and cardio of Guida, but he's ahead of the Carpenter for technique and skills. Namely, better grappling and cleaner striking.

I'd expect Florian to try and avoid brawling, and try and work the range with kicks and jabs.  I doubt he would be set on KO'ing Guida, who has never been KO'd in thirty-five fights.

Five of Guida's ten losses have been by submission, so Florian would be comfortable on the mat, but will have problems taking it there with Guida's wrestling skills. Florian's most likely gameplan will be to out-point Clay for the decision.

Conclusion:

I'd feel that Florian will get a unanimous decision, except Guida can cause people problems, as demonstrated by the split decision loss to Sanchez.

For that reason I'd rather back Guida, since he enters at 2.60 as opposed to Florian's 1.50.



Jon Fitch vs. Mike Pierce
(170 lbs/77 kg)



Jon Fitch
20-3-0
USA


+Jiu Jitsu black belt
+Good kickboxer
+Awesome cardio
+Endless heart
+Great chin

-Not the most powerful puncher
-Relies on wearing fighters down over long periods

Mike Pierce
9-1-0
USA

+Very strong wrestler
+Solid cardio
+Decent ground control
 
-Weak striking skills
-No submission game demonstrated yet 


 

Analysis:

Fitch has a significant advantage striking, and he should have the wrestling to keep it there. His iron jaw and Jiu Jitsu black belt means that he is very unlikely to be either KO'd or submitted by Mike Pierce, who is not famous for possessing either of those skills.

It goes without saying that Pierce's gameplan will be to out-wrestle Fitch for the unanimous decision, but with Fitch being such a good wrestler himself, he'll have a harder time than he did with Larson.

Conclusion:

It's Fitch's fight to lose, so Fitch by unanimous decision.

Pierce is massive underdog at 4.00, and Fitch is at 1.20, but I'm confident enough to bet on Fitch as part of a multiplier.



Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo
(265 lbs/120 kg)

Frank Mir
12-4-0
USA

+Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt
+Not afraid to injure opposition
+Decent striking

-Not a great wrestler
-Questionable cardio

 

Cheick Kongo
14-5-1
France

+Elite striker, Muay Thai and Savate
+Considerable height (6'4") and reach (82")
+Good ground and pound
+Decent wrestling

-Terrible ground game
-Fouls opposition frequently



Analysis:

If Mir gets it to the ground, Kongo is in severe danger of being subbed, but every second it stays standing, Mir suffers a distinct risk of getting KO'd.

While Mir may have said that he would stand and trade with Kongo, I can't believe he could have become that arrogant, and would expect him to try to bring Kongo to the mat.

Kongo, who has, in the past, had some of the worst wrestling in the heavyweight division, has improved dramatically in that regard. His loss to Velasquez may have lodged itself in people's minds, and caused people to underestimate his wrestling, but Mir is nowhere near the wrestler Velasquez is.

The reverse is true with Mir's striking, which was responsible for TKO'ing Nogueira, who had never been TKO'd before. However, given the fact that Nogueira shouldn't have fought that night, it becomes less astounding. If he truly does believe he can strike with Kongo he'll likely get flattened and pummeled á la his fight with Vera.


Conclusion:

Kongo by KO, Round Two.

Kongo enters at 2.70, while Mir is 1.48, so of course, I'm choosing Kongo.


BJ Penn vs. Diego Sanchez
(155 lbs/70 kg)

BJ Penn
14-5-1
USA
 

+Excellent boxer, maybe the best in MMA
+Great grappler, being a Mundials champion at black belt in 2000 
+Awesome takedown defense
+Excellent chin
+Good ground and pound

-Doesn't use Muay Thai to the fullest
-Motivation is iffy

 

Diego Sanchez
21-2-0
USA

+Great cardio
+Very dangerous Brazilian Jiu Jitsu brown belt
+Very good wrestler
+Dangerous and versatile striker
+Elite training partners
+Solid jaw and has never been (T)KO'd

-Aggression can lead to reckless brawls
-Does not have devastating KO power


Analysis:

Sanchez has the cardio and the heart, but Penn has everything else—the striking, the grappling, the chin, the ground and pound....

Sanchez is at most danger when striking, I'd say.  His brawling style leads me to have more confidence in Penn's orthodox boxing, and I would expect the Hawaiian's jab to find a home with Diego's jawline.

His best chance, I feel, is to try to wear Penn down by constantly wrestling with him, perhaps even using ground control. But that is extremely hard to see. Sanchez may train with an Olympic wrestler, but an Olympian he is not, and I can't see him preventing Penn from standing back to his feet.

Should Penn wind up on top of Sanchez, I could see the latter eating elbows and punches that could end the fight. I wouldn't expect a submission here.

Conclusion:

Penn by TKO, Round Four.

Penn enters as huge favourite at 1.36, while Sanchez is big underdog at 3.15. I still will stand by Penn, and will opt to double him with Fitch.

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