UFC 109 is just around the corner. Most people that I've discussed it with have labeled it a bit of a snoozefest, mainly because the main event is between two grizzled Hall of Famers in Mark Coleman and Randy Couture.
I'm inclined to agree. In my opinion, this match should be a co-main event at it's very best. The fact that it's a main event just shows that the injuries of the past few months have weakened the UFC slightly. It's not necessarily a bad card. It's just not a great card.
And while I realize these words are motivated by the fact that UFC usually spoils us with great cards, I will still complain because it's my job as a consumer.
Anyway, on to the main card predictions...
Matt Serra vs. Frank Trigg
Trigg did not look good when he faced Josh Koscheck. He got pummelled and out-classed by the younger athlete and was made to look like he didn't belong in an Octagon.
Serra's last outing was against Matt Hughes, a match that some felt he won (me included). Add on to his resume that he is a former welterweight champion and his stats look better than "Twinkle Toes" by a mile.
Also factor in that Serra is going on 10 years as a Renzo Gracie trained BJJ black belt and that Trigg has a proclivity to "choke" in big matches. I see Serra getting a win and Trigg getting his final UFC pink slip.
Matt Serra by submission.
Demian Maia vs. Dan Miller
Both men are coming off of losses and need a win to stay afloat in the UFC's middleweight division. It's not the most stacked division in the company, but that means any win is a big one (evidenced by Chael Sonnen getting a shot at Marquardt and possibly a title shot when, to me, he doesn't deserve one...but I'll touch on that later).
This fight seems pretty simple to me. If it does go to the ground, Dan Miller's recently acquired BJJ black belt under Jamie Cruz (http://www.gogoplata.com/2010/01/15/dan-miller-gets-his-bjj-black-belt/) isn't going to matter. Maia will make him tap.
On the feet, neither men has a strong track record of knockouts or TKO's. Maia has two TKO's, one of which was a shoulder injury for his opponent. Miller has only one, which was a corner stoppage.
Don't expect a stand up war. Do expect a Maia win.
Demian Maia by submission.
Mike Swick vs. Paulo Thiago
Swick has excellent stand up and is not too bad on the ground. He's facing a BJJ black belt (one of 5 on the main card), though. My guess is that he'll do his best to keep this fight vertical.
Paulo obviously has some power in his hands, as showcased by his KO of Josh Koscheck almost a year ago at UFC 95 (random trivia: This was the first and only time Kosheck had been knocked out in his pro MMA career), but his record is indicative of a fighter who likes working his ground game.
Swick has been fighting and winning against better fighters for longer than Thiago. He also has the extra motivation of getting revenge for his fallen AKA brother, Josh Koscheck. I see Swick getting the win here.
Mike Swick by Decision or TKO.
Nate Marquardt vs. Chael Sonnen
I'm not going to mince words for this one. Nate Marquardt is one of my favorite fighters and I don't care for Chael Sonnen. He's completely uninteresting to me as a fighter and recently took to calling out Anderson Silva to try and raise his profile in the UFC. He had a few stories written about him, but most everyone who read his comments thought him foolish, as did I.
Barring some kind of God-awful catastrophe, Marquardt will destroy Chael whether the fight goes to the ground or stays on the feet. He's better than Sonnen in every aspect of MMA (besides maybe wrestling). I don't see Chael bringing anything to the table that Marquardt hasn't seen done better in his 10+ years of pro fighting.
Sonnen is fine with grinding out decisions for his wins, but Nate looks to finish every opponent that steps into the cage with him. That determination alone would make me pull for Marquardt, even if I wasn't a huge fan of his.
Marquardt by whatever he wants.
Randy Couture vs. Randy Coleman
Note: This one won't be short and sweet. I'm ranting a little.
Two wrestlers. Two veterans. Two Hall of Famers. One title shot.
Which of the above sentences doesn't fit?
I've heard Couture talking about maybe getting a title shot if he wins this match. I've heard Coleman say he would love to make another run at a title before he retires. What I've not heard, however, is sanity.
I love Captain America as much as the next guy. He's well-spoken. He's a great representative of the sport. He's also Father Time. At 46, he's still competing at the highest levels of the sport (regardless of whether he belongs there or not), which should be an inspiration to any fighter.
But he doesn't deserve a title shot if he wins this fight. He beat Brandon Vera (depending on who you ask) in his last Light Heavyweight fight and before that, his last trip to that weight division was a loss to Chuck Liddell in 2006.
"The Hammer" deserves a title shot even less. He's never even been a champion at 205 and his only win in the division is against Stephan Bonnar, who's only win against anyone close to the top 10 (Keith Jardine) was at the beginning of 2006. This type of win does not make a contender in any division, especially one as stacked as the UFC's 205 weight class.
So what do I expect from this fight? I expect a lot of wrestling. I expect both guys to alternate between laying on each other against the cage/on the ground and throwing some boxing in every once in while. I expect a decision. I expect Couture to win.
But I do not expect whoever wins to get a title shot. If they do...something is wrong. Very, very wrong.
Couture by decision.