Pellegrino Vs. Sotiropoulos: Another Ultimate Fighting Classic

Dale De Souza@@DaleDeSouzaMMAAnalyst IApril 4, 2017

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An MMA fan can go on for days about the fights that they consider to be classic fights in the history of the sport.

Fights with a Gracie sometimes make a person's list.

For that matter, so do fights with BJ Penn, Matt Serra, Matt Hughes, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, and Rich Franklin.

Now, even Anderson Silva is known for some classics. So is Evan Tanner, Georges St-Pierre, Shogun, Rampage, Cro Cop, and even Wanderlei Silva.

Throw in whatever names you wish to classify as "a fighter who always puts on classic fights."

In the modern era, there are fights that come every once in a while that remind people like you and me as to exactly why we love MMA so much.

Usually, the first fight mentioned when talking about unforgettable fights in the modern era of MMA is the three-round light heavyweight war at the inaugural UFC Ultimate Fighter finale between Forrest Griffin Vs. Stephan Bonnar.

Not to call Forrest or Stephan, "the best 205-pounder in MMA," but that fight set a strong standard for the fights we see right now, and very few fights have had the same effect on fans as that one fight.

Very few fights did, until Diego Sanchez fought Clay Guida, and I think we know how that went. That was a war at lightweight if there ever was one.

The last fight that may be cliche, but that most people will call an all-around exciting fight is, of course, Leonard Garcia Vs. Chan Sung Jung.

Two guys that love to fight, and two guys willing to fight regardless of how many shots they eat in the process.

That, plus Garcia fought the third round with a broken hand, lest we forget.

Fights like these, as well as others which I may have missed, are known not only for their excitement level or their near-finish moments, but also because you have two guys that have unique styles — styles which neither would be shy about using if it meant winning the fight.

Case in point: the just-today announced lightweight between Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino and "The Wizard of Oz" George Sotiropoulos.

What you have here are two potential, and in my honest opinion, eventual threats to Frankie Edgar or just about any other UFC lightweight in the division right now.

Both men look to finish by submission, and the minimal amount of knockout wins on both fighters' records is proof of this.

The difference between Pellegrino and Sotiropoulos is four fights.

Sotiropoulos has twelve wins and two losses: that's a knockout win in 2008, seven submission wins, and four decisions wins — including his recent unanimous decision victory over Joe Stevenson — with only a decision loss to current Ultimate Fighter contestant Kyle Noke and a DQ loss to Shinya Aoki on his resume.

Meanwhile, Kurt Pellegrino stands across the cage from the Ultimate Fighter Six favorite with 16 wins and four losses.

One of the two KO wins on Pellegrino's record came in 2005 by way of doctor stoppage, and the other KO win was a 2008 TKO-by-punches victory in the UFC over Alberto Crane. Ten of Pellegrino's wins — including his most recent victory at UFC 111 over Fabricio Camoes — have come by submission, and much like his UFC 116 opponent, he has gone to the judges and won four times.

He's only lost by the judges' scores against Joe Stevenson, and the other three of his losses — including one loss to Nate Diaz on the main card of the same event at which Sotiropoulos scored his only TKO win — have come by submission.

Pellegrino has seen the loss column twice more than Sotiropoulos, but neither man has seen the loss column by way of knockout.

An improved striking game in either man could change that, but more than likely, this will be one fight in which I don't predict someone getting knocked out.

"Someone's tapping out" sounds more appropriate to insert here.

Both men aren't afraid to take it to the ground. After all, Pellegrino does have wrestling expertise, and thus can come in with a takedown on Sotiropoulos, but Sotiropoulos has extended his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills by training with Eddie Bravo and absorbing his teachings of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, and thus, George could actually be the better fighter on the ground.

I don't know that for a fact, I'm just speculating that it could be so.

In this one, I think someone's striking game will definitely show improvement, or maybe even both men will show vast improvement in the striking game. I do believe that if either Batman or Sotiropoulos can throw an explosive shot and follow it up while the other is on the ground, one of the two could win the fight.

Still, I believe that someone's getting another win by submission here. Of course a knockout shot would be a surprise, but I think we have a better chance of seeing a shot thrown to set up a takedown than we would for a shot being thrown to end the fight.

Both men are as explosive as a lightweight can get, and they match up pretty well at the Jiu-Jitsu game. Again, I can guess who I'd think wins, but I can't call a winner here.

Then again, it wouldn't be the first time I couldn't call a fight.

For those who have their focus on Soszynski-Bonnar II, Silva-Akiyama, or Carwin-Lesnar, don't take this article as an attempt to distract you from those three fights. Those three fights in their own right are going to be nothing short of memorable.

However, consider this fight when you watch the event, and check this fight out from its start to its finish.

I think by the time Bruce Buffer has the official decision, we will have finished seeing another classic fight in the modern-day world of Mixed Martial Arts.