By Caleb Parkinson
March 19, 2011 at 10ET UFC 128
From the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
One thing just needs to be said right now, and that is that B.J. Penn was dominated in what was called a “draw” by the judges after his fight with Jon Fitch at UFC 127. Granted, Fitch should work on his submission game and not leave it up to the judges, but he still dominated that fight and was well deserving of a unanimous decision. Sorry, I just had to air that out.
Alright, I’m not gonna go on bragging about how I said that Jones would stop Bader, but….
After the fight, League Commish Dana White made a stunning anouncement; giving 23 year old Jon “Bones” Jones a shot at Shogun, and a chance to be the UFC light-heavyweight champion of the world.
So here’s a look at some of the key fights on this card.
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber vs. Eddie Wineland
Finally, the arrival of Urijah Faber to the UFC is official! Any mixed martial arts fan knows what Faber brings, and is anticipating something exciting unlike Miguel Torres’ (also from the WEC) debut in UFC 126.
Faber is listed at 5’6 136 lbs. and has a record of 24-4 with 13 wins by submission and seven by (t)ko’s. Faber is 31 years old and a former featherweight champion of the WEC who fights out Team Alpha Male. He is well known for his constant action and creative attempts inside the cage that can occasionally leave him open for punishment.
Wineland is listed at 5’7 136 lbs. and sports a record of 18-6-1 with nine (t)ko’s and five submission victories. Wineland is 26 years old and is a former bantamweight champion of the WEC, he fights out of Duneland Vale Tudo. Eddie is also an explosive fighter, who defeated Ken Stone in December by KO from a slam.
This fight will be an awesome way to kick things off for the new-look UFC bantamweight division. It really could go either way, but I’m gonna go with Faber in what should be an excellent fight.
Nate “The Great” Marquardt V. Dan Miller
Marquardt is listed at 6’0 186 lbs. and fight out of Aurora, Colorado with the Grudge Training Center. He holds a record of 30-10 with 15 wins by submission. He is nearly 32 years old (birthday on 4/20, not making that up) and is coming off of a tough loss to Yushin Okami. He has nice wins in his career that include the likes of Martin Kampman, Wison Gouveia, and Demian Maia. So while I’m not completely sure if he has lost a step from all the weight cutdowns, but this will be a good test to find out the answer to that.
Dan Miller is 29 years old and is listed at 6’0 184 lbs. He is 13-4 with eight submission wins and fights out of AMA fight club. He is a solid fighter, but seems to be a little bit small for the likes of Nate “The Great” Marquardt, who I believe can pull out the “W” against Miller.
Jim Miller V. Kamal “Prince of Persia” Shalorus
Jim Miller is just 27 years old with a 19-2 record that includes 11 by way of submission. Like his older brother Dan, he is a Brazilian Jui-Jitsu style fighter who fights out of AMA fight club. He is listed at 5’8 155 lbs, and I believe a more agressive and better all-around fighter than brother Dan.
Shalorus is an Iranian-British fighter who is listed at 5’8 155 lbs. and has a record of 7-0-2 with four of his wins by way of (t)ko. He fights out of Austin, Texas with the American Combat Association. Shalorus is another fighter coming over from the WEC, and his age is unlisted on many major sites. Whatever that’s all about? Either way, his skills should convert to the ”bigs” just fine.
Both possess a high level of technical skill, but I believe that Miller is the one with the momentum and the desire to take this fight. Plus, how much can I really trust a guy who doesn’t have his birthday listed? For all I know, he could be another guy who didn’t get his shot at the big stage until their mid to late 30′s. This should be a tremendous lightweight bout with Miller pulling out the victory.
Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino V. Gleison Tibau
Pellegrino is 31 years old and is listed at 5’8 155 lbs. He is 16-5 with 10 submission wins and is a nasty scrapper.
Tibau is 27 years old, and this Brazilian born fighter is fighting out of American Top Team and is listed at 5’10 154 lbs. He has a solid record of 21-7. He looked great in recent victories over Josh Neer and Caol Uno before taking a tough decision loss to Jim Miller.
This should be another exciting fight with some unique styles exchanging in the cage here. It’s so hard to pick the winners in fights like these, but I’m picking Batman, and not just for the name.
Pellegrino always gives a hard, all out performance. I have no reason not to believe that will be the change this time around. I expect to see some damage!
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua V. Jon “Bones” Jones for the UFC light-heavyweight championship.
Defending champ Rua is 19-4 with an impressive 16 wins by way of (t)ko. The 29 year old Brazilian fights out of Universidade da Luta, and is listed at 6’1 201 lbs. He won the title in astonishing fashion by overwhelming the usually very elusive former champ Lyoto Machida in a TKO victory.
Jones is only 23 years old and is “only” the No. 7 ranked light-heavyweight mixed martial arts fighter in the world. However, this kid is 12-1 with his only loss coming by disqualification from what appeared to be incidental in the timing of an illegal strike that caused him to lose the fight with Matt Hamil in which he was dominating. He is 6’4 and fights at 206 lbs. His striking is elite and ground game continues to make great strides. Most of all, his imposing size and athleticism are going to be a problem for any opponent, even the champ.
On paper, Shogun should win this fight. He is the reigning champ for good reason, and is longer rested than Jones, who just found out that he would get this chance six weeks earlier. I’m gonna stick with Jones, and predict that he takes the title. There is still a very real chance that he gets overwhelmed by the champ, and I’m well aware of that. I just think that there is also a good chance that Jones’ striking can be a factor in this fight, and by that logic, I’m rooting for a more exciting fight.
In theory, if the fight goes Shogun’s way, then it could be a fight mostly of cage position and if it goes Jones’ way, then it will likely be more exciting because he will push the pace and utilize his devastating reach. Between his youth and the fact that he’s been training with Greg Jackson’s camp, I do not think stamina or readiness will be at all an issue. There are no excuses, only opportunities. I believe the young man will make the most of it.