Commentary by the MMA Blaster
The UFC 81 card is shaping up to be the type of card that destroys MMA pay per view numbers. The card is officially headlined by Tim Sylvia vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the Heavyweight Belt. The unoffical headlining fight that will be hyped to death will be Brock Lesnar v. Frank Mir. Here is a look at the potential fights:
Tim Sylvia (24-3) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (30-4-1)- HW Title- Two time UFC HW Champ Sylvia just beat Brandon Vera after losing the belt to Couture. Nogueira did not look impressive in his bout with Herring, but is widely regarded as the second best heavyweight of alltime with wins over Josh Barnett, Sergei Kharitonov, Cro Cop, Fabricio Werdum, Dan Henderson and Mark Coleman.
Ricardo Almeida (8-2) vs. *Rob Yundt (6-0)- Almeida has six wins in a row including Ryo Chonan, Nate Marquardt, Kazuo Misaki, Yuki Sasaki and Ikuhisa Minowa. Alan Belcher has withdrawn from the fight. MMA Weekly rumors Alaska Fighting Championships' Rob Yundt will be filling in.
Nate Marquardt (25-7) vs. Jeremy Horn (79-15)- Marquardt, former King of Pancrase, is coming off a MW title loss to Anderson Silva. Jeremy Horn is a well traveled veteren with wins spanning from 1996 to present. Horn's victories include Chuck Liddell (21-5), Falaniko Vitale (24-8), 2X over Chael Sonnen (19-9), Trevor Prangley (17-5), Josh Burkman (9-4), David Loiseau (15-7), Dean Lister (10-5), Forrest Griffin (15-4), Travis Fulton (182-44) and Gilbert Yvel (32-12).
Tyson Griffin (10-1) vs. Gleison Tibau (15-4)- Tyson has wins over Clay Guida and Thiago Taveres since his loss to Frank Edgar. Tibau has four wins in a row, three in the UFC, since his loss to Nick Diaz in UFC 65. This fight will be all action.
Marvin Eastman (14-7) vs. Terry Martin (16-3)- I'd like to see this fight make the ppv because there will be plenty of bombs thrown. Eastman's last UFC appearance was a KO loss to Rampage. Martin last was KO'd by Chris Leben. Wouldn't be surprised if one of these guys is moved to fight Marquardt.
Tim Boetsch (6-1) vs. David Heath (7-2)- Heath is coming off of the Babalu choke incident. Boetsch is replacing Tomas Drwal.
Keita Nakamura (14-2) vs. Rob Emerson (6-6)- Nak is looking for his first UFC win.
Chris Lytle (24-15) v. Kyle Bradley (13-4)- Lytle is coming off a loss due to a cut from Thiago Alves. Bradley has 7 straight victories.
Brock Lesnar (1-0) vs. Frank Mir (10-3) - Hype Machine commence
"Finally" is all I have to say about this dynamite heavyweight contest. The anticipation of Lesnar's entrance into the UFC has been all the rage on internet MMA forums. People have been waiting for this for a long time. There are three different distinct opinions when it comes to Lesnar and his chances in MMA - the Lesnar is God and can take Fedor on next camp, the Lesnar is a former NCAA Champ/freak athlete division, and the Lesnar will suck because he has no standup or submission defense camp.
I fall into the Lesnar is a former NCAA Champ and freak athlete camp. You can't deny the fact that NCAA champions can and do perform exceptionally in mixed martial arts. His training video is something of legend. He has been training for two years in preparation for his big UFC debut and I hope he has been practicing his submission defense for this contest.
Mir is simply no joke when it comes to submissions, and after he broke Tim Sylvia's arm to capture the UFC Heavyweight title, he had everyone clamoring about the excellent JJ Mir had on display. His toe hold over Tank was really no surprise, but if you haven't seen that video, it is pretty good.
For anyone who didn't see Lesnar's debut in K1 I have posted it below. As you can see, Lesnar's gameplan was simple. Take Min So Kim down and pound him into oblivion. He made a good pass to the mount which I don't see Mir allowing.
My prediction is Lesnar by ground and pound in the second or third round. Yes, Mir could find Lesnar's overextended arm for a sub, but I don't think you can secure that mammouth neck for a choke. One thing is for certain, this will be one of the UFC's most hyped events. For those of you who don't necessarily appreciate the UFC hype machine, I feel for you.
Some additional notes: Many have labeled Lesnar's sole MMA opponent Min Soo Kim a can. However, he recently TKO'd Ikuhisa "The Punk" Minowa on October 28 of 2007 in K1. Minowa has victories over MMA vets Gilbert Yvel, Kimo and Phil Baroni.