Finally, an event unscathed by injuries as UFC makes its debut in Sydney, Australia with its 110th official event.**
Aussie residents will have the pleasure of watching a number fights that are honestly too close to call—a clash of styles being the reason why. Another reason being that fading legends will be battling with some of the best up-and-comers that the UFC has to offer.
Unfortunately, no preliminary fights are set to air on Spike TV this time around. So fans won't be able to watch Stephan Bonnar fight Krzysztof Soszynski, or the middleweight debut of Goran Reljic.
Regardless, the main card has the firing power to blow us all away. Let's just hope that the fighters are able to deliver spectacular performances.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Cain Velasquez- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Cain Velasquez has done nothing but impress UFC fans since his debut back in April of 2008.
In his seven professional fights, Velasquez is undefeated with six TKO victories due to relentless ground-and-pound. The lone victory that went to decision was yet another impressive display of his determined heart.
A non-stop pace with arguably the second-best wrestling attack of the division has turned Velasquez from prospect to contender in less then a year.
Although Velasquez has had such an easy time against his past opponents, he still needs improvement in his jiu jitsu and striking. With tweaking here and there over at AKA, he could potential become just as "unbeatable" as the current heavyweight champion.
Although he is still green in certain areas of the sport, Velasquez is still a serious threat due to his unparalleled desire. With an un-catchable drive, the California native can defeat any style of fighter placed before him.
However, it is in this writer's opinion that Velasquez isn't quite ready to fight the caliber of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and come out on top.
Velasquez does hold a speed and conditioning advantage over Nogueira, that is for certain. While Nogueira lacks in those departments compared to his foe, he makes up for it in composure and world class jiu jitsu.
The man known as Big Nog has been in some brutal wars during his prime. Being stuck in some dangerous situations and still coming out on top shows the type of composure he has.
Nogueira has had his head bouncing off the canvas many a times and still pulled out the victory with a sudden submission. Showing that in the sport itself, it doesn't matter how much damage you take as long as the W column has another mark in it.
While he's not considered a feared striker by any means, never count Nogueira out of a striking match. He trains with some of the world's best, most elite strikers over at Black House. Despite being a seasoned veteran, he is still picking up tricks.
The Brazilian does lack in the sprawl, but against a wrestler of Velasquez's caliber, that doesn't really matter all that much.
Where Nogueira is going to shine will be in the standing clinch. People tend to forget about his judo pedigree, and if Velasquez isn't careful, he's going to wind up in the wrestler's least favorite position- on his back.
From here with his Brazilian jiu jitsu background, Nogueira should be able to out-grapple Velasquez en route to a unanimous decision victory; in what should be the fight of the night.
Michael Bisping vs. Wanderlei Silva- Wanderlei Silva
The largest star in British MMA history bounced back from a devastating defeat with an equally impressive victory over Denis Kang.
Wanting to keep the momentum rolling, Bisping slid his way into the co-main event of UFC 110 against Wanderlei Silva- replacing Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Bisping has been known to have a ridiculous sprawl, and is even tougher to keep down if the take down succeeds. This has always been one of his greatest attributes, but unfortunately for him, it won't much matter in this fight.
One of his other attributes is his clean, accurate boxing. He uses some decent footwork to get in and out of his opponent's range; scoring points in the process. However, he doesn't possess the knockout power to strike with his dangerous opponent.
Instead he should focus on taking his opponent down with single leg shoots. Here he can use his ground-and-pound to wear down Silva throughout the fight. Yes Silva has a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, but he doesn't use it all that much.
What Silva does use is his deadly looping hooks that seem to work so well. Many fighters try to emulate his style, but Silva has been one of the few dance around the fire with very little burns.
If Silva is able to connect with one of his wild strikes, he enters into frenzy mode. His punches become even more sporadic, but he also unpredictably mixes them in with his lethal knees.
As stated above, although he doesn't use it that much, Silva also owns a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. A definite plus considering his wrestling isn't all that great compared to Bisping.
That's to say that Bisping is able to get past Silva's hands though. Despite being old in fighting years, Silva still has faster hands than most of his fellow middleweights.
Still, his time is dwindling. So expect Silva to clean up his act and search for the much needed win over the crowd-pleasing performances that we've been recently accustomed to.
George Sotiropoulos vs. Joe Stevenson- Joe Stevenson
One can argue that George Sotiropoulos got the main card nod due to his Australian heritage. Now whether or not the Aussie was placed on the card for the home town hero effect, you can still expect him to come in and perform well.
He has quietly gone 4-0 inside the octagon, albeit over fighters who are no longer within the organization.
In seven of his 11 professional victories, Sotiropoulos persuasively used his Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt to tap out his foe. What makes his jiu jitsu so good is how he is able to quickly sink in a hold out of the blue.
The Aussie is no joke on the feet as well. Not known for devastating hands, but is quick and accurate enough to set up his desired take down attempt.
While Sotiropoulos has the talent and style to beat just about anybody, his opponent Joe Stevenson is better in just about every area.
Stevenson holds a black belt in jiu jitsu as well, but may not have the same level of technique as Sotiropoulos. His jiu jitsu is better in the form of strength though.
The former lightweight contender has the strength of two men in his biceps, making his guillotine choke one of the tightest in the game. And his strength is in more than just his jiu jitsu.
He can take down just about anyone in the division, and with Stevenson's wrestling background, Sotiropoulos won't be able to say otherwise. If Stevenson wants the take down in this fight, it's likely that he is going to get it.
The one area of concern for Stevenson in the past has been his striking, but since joining Jackson's MMA, his hands have drastically improved.
Expect this time around to be no different as Stevenson out-muscles Sotiropoulos on the feet, setting up a TKO due to strikes later in the fight.
Ryan Bader vs. Keith Jardine- Ryan Bader
Keith Jardine's career inside the UFC has been hit or miss. Recently it's been tilting towards the miss side of the debate.
Since a shocking victory over Forrest Griffin, Jardine has been unable to pull his title run together. Known to take on the toughest challenges and top fighters, Jardine has come out on the wrong side more often than not.
Trying to clean up his awkward style of striking has hurt him in the past, so expect Jardine to come into this fight in old format. His awkwardness is definitely where he is most comfortable, and "The Dean of Mean" knows this.
But in this fight, it seems that striking isn't going to play a huge role. Fortunately for Jardine, his ground game is severely over-looked by most opponents.
Jardine is almost impossible to keep down with his herky-jerky movements. His training with Greg Jackson's gaidojutsu style has really paid dividends in Jardine's evolution as a fighter.
Even still, Ryan Bader's controlling style of wrestling appears to be too much for Jardine to handle.
Don't let TUF season 8 light-heavyweight champion fool you. While he has been training diligently with his striking and would love for nothing more than a knockout, his game plan lies within his wrestling.
Bader's conditioning is phenomenal and nearly matches the likes of former college teammate Cain Velasquez in pace and intensity. What makes his wrestling so good is his control- with a smothering grip and a solid base in his hips.
Nothing special here, expect Ryan Bader to grind out another decision victory.
*Updated* Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. Anthony Perosh- Mirko Cro Cop
Days before his scheduled bout with Mirko Cro Cop, an undisclosed illness has forced Ben Rothwell to withdraw from the fight. Stepping in to fill the void will be Elvis Sinosic's business and training partner, Anthony Perosh.
It would of been nice to see a higher ranked opponent replace Rothwell in this fight. Not to say that Perosh doesn't have a chance in this one, but it's obvious that this is so the UFC can milk a legend a little while longer.
Upon sudden review of Anthony Perosh, he is doomed from the get go.
He is very stiff on his feet, making Cro Cop look like a graceful swan. Perosh telegraphs many of his strikes, which is something that the Croatian should easily counter with his K-1 pedigree.
Perosh struggles against better strikers, often resorting for a miracle take-down attempt. Unfortunately for him, he usually fails in his endeavor.
With Cro Cop's superior striking and speed, along with his unusually tough sprawl, the most likely outcome is a victory in his favor.
With the media's negativity towards Cro Cop's recent performances, expect the Croatian to keep the fight standing as he pleases, as he searches for a much-needed, jaw-dropping knockout.
Chris Haseman vs. Elvis Sinosic- Elvis Sinosic***
Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski- Stephan Bonnar
Brian Foster vs. Chris Lytle- Brian Foster
C.B. Dollaway vs. Goran Reljic- Goran Reljic
Igor Pokrajac vs. James Te Huna- Igor Pokrajac
**I guess I should of kept my mouth shut on that one.
***Fight scrapped due to Elvis Sinosic's shoulder injury.
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