Saturday, November 1, 2008

UFC 91 Preview

UFC 91 will be held in Las Vegas on November 15, 2008. I'll probably be watching at a local watering hole here in Chicago. With the drawing power of Lesnar and Couture, the ppv buy record for an MMA broadcast will probably be shattered. All fighters made weight with Randy Couture tipping the scales at 220 pounds. Brock Lesnar weighed the max at 265. In the other HW clash, Gabriel Gonzaga came in at 256 while Josh Hendricks came in at 238.

Randy Couture (16-8, 13-5 UFC) vs. Brock Lesnar (2-1, 1-1 UFC)- This is the main event for the UFC Heavyweight title. Couture has been absent from the cage for 14 months while involved in a contract dispute. It is still unclear what Couture will do after this fight as he wants a fight with Fedor.

Couture beat Tim Sylvia to win the HW belt and defeated Gabriel Gonzaga in his title defense. Prior to that fight Couture had lost to Chuck Liddell at 205 pounds in 2006. Couture has been fighting since 1997, winning a four man tournament at UFC 13 in his debut. Couture's big wins have been against Vitor Belfort, Tito Ortiz, Pedro Rizzo, Kevin Randleman, Maurice Smith and one victory over Chuck Liddell (2 losses to Liddell).

Lesnar is a NCAA HW Champion wrestler at the University of Minnesota and placed second in his junior year. Lesnar destroyed Min Soo Kim in his debut with K-1 Hero's(now Dream) with a takedown and ground and pound. He lost his UFC debut to Frank Mir, despite laying a beating on Mir for the first 1:15 of the fight. Unfortunately, Brock got a little overconfident and lost via kneebar. In his last fight he dominated veteran fighter Heath Herring in a decision.

Both fighters are legit wrestlers with power. Couture has a big advantage in terms of experience, but on the flipside is 45 year old and not getting any younger. Couture will look to use dirty boxing in the clinch to win. He will also have to be ready to fight off his back as Lesnar has excellent takedowns.

Lesnar will look to use his speed to get a takedown. From there he has to make his punches count and defend submissions against the cagey veteran. Lesnar will come in with a sizable weight advantage, probably 40+ pounds. Lesnar is also deceptively quick and athletic for his size.

Kenny Florian (10-3) vs. Joe Stevenson (29-8)- This fight will be for a shot at BJ Penn's 155 pound crown. Expect Florian to try to keep the fight standing where he has been improving his Muay Thai game. Expect Stevenson to attempt to get the fight to the ground where he can try to utilize his ground game. Stevenson received his BJJ black belt recently.
Florian is on quite a roll in his UFC career since his loss to Sean Sherk for the 155 pound title. He has beaten Dokonjonosuke Mishima, Alvin Robinson, Din Thomas, Joe Lauzon and Roger Huerta. Stevenson recently defeated Gleison Tibau via guillotine choke. Stevenson also holds wins over Yves Edwards, Kurt Pellegrino and Melvin Guillard and Luke Cummo in the UFC.

Gabriel Gonzaga (9-3) vs. Josh Hendricks (15-4)- Gonzaga is coming off a kimura win over Justin McCulley after back to back TKO losses to Randy Couture and Fabricio Werdum. Gonzaga is 5-2 in the UFC with wins over Cro Cop, Carmelo Marrero and Fabiano Scherner. Hendricks is a two-time All American wrestler who has won his past 10 fights. His best wins have come against Todd Brown (4-1) and Steve Conkel (13-4).

Demian Maia (8-0) vs. Nate Quarry (10-2)- This is the classic grappler v. striker match-up. Maia has some of the best BJJ on the planet. He has submission wins over Jason MacDonald, Ed Herman, and Ryan Jensen inside the UFC. Look for Maia to do everything in his power to get the fight to the ground.

Quarry on the other hand will look to keep the fight standing. Quarry is coming off a lackluster win over Kalib Starnes and a KO of Pete Sell. Quarry also has wins over Lodune Sincaid and Shonie Carter on his resume.

Dustin Hazelett (11-4) vs. Tamdan McCrory (9-1)- I'd really like to see this bout make the televised portion of the event. Hazelett is a BJJ black belt who is a master on the ground. He has submissions over Josh Burkman, Steven Lynch and Jonathan Goulet in the UFC. McCrory is a young up and comer, having beat Pete Spratt and Luke Cummo in the UFC.


Jorge Gurgel vs. Aaron Riley
Jeremy Stephens vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Mark Bocek vs. Alvin Robinson
Matt Brown vs. Ryan Thomas

Nick Catone (5-0) vs. Amir Sadollah (1-0)- Unfortunately, this bout was scratched as Amir Sadollah has a leg infection.

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