UFC 60 ‘Hughes vs Gracie’ – Preview and Analysis By Al Yu (Tokyudo@gmail.com)
Event Date: 05.27.06
Fight Card (In No Particular Order):
Jeremy Horn vs Chael Sonnen
Gabriel Gonzaga vs Fabiano Scherner
Alessio Sakara vs Dean Lister
Spencer Fisher vs Matt Wiman
Melvin Guillard vs Rick Davis
Diego Sanchez vs John Alessio
Mike Swick vs Joe Riggs
Brandon Vera vs Assuerio Silva
Matt Hughes vs Royce Gracie Jeremy Horn (76-14-5) vs Chael Sonnen (14-7-1)
Jeremy Horn is one of the most experienced active fighters today. The former Miletich fighter has fought in many different organizations including the UFC, PRIDE, and RINGS. Horn holds wins over Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Dean Lister, and David Loiseau. At UFC 56, Horn won a close decision over Trevor Prangley. Chael Sonnen is a wrestler who trains with Team Quest. Sonnen is coming off of a win over Trevor Prangley at Ultimate Fight Night 4. Sonnen is a late replacement for Horn’s original opponent, Evan Tanner.
This will be the third time that these two guys meet. Horn has already defeated Sonnen twice. I have been impressed with Sonnen lately as he has shown a lot of improvement. Even in his loss to Renato Sobral, he displayed good positioning and composure. On the other hand, Jeremy Horn has lost some of his luster of late. He was battered in a rematch with Chuck Liddell and arguably lost his fight against Trevor Prangley. As much as Sonnen has improved, I feel he still doesn’t possess what it takes to defeat Horn. Chael has got good takedowns but that’s the only advantage I see him having over Horn. Jeremy is more than comfortable fighting from his back and has favored that position in many of his previous fights. Sonnen will have a good first round against Horn but will fall victim to a submission in the second, possibly by heel hook. Hopefully it will be the last time these two need to face each other. Prediction: Jeremy Horn submits Chael Sonnen RD2 Gabriel Gonzaga (5-1) vs Fabiano Scherner (5-2)
Gabriel Gonzaga is a four time national BJJ champion and a veteran of Jungle Fight. At his UFC 56 debut, he knocked out Kevin Jordan in a heavyweight snoozer. Fabiano Scherner trains with American Top Team and is the current IFC Americas heavyweight champion. He is also a six time world champion in BJJ. In his UFC debut, Scherner was defeated by Brandon Vera.
Both fighters hold a black belt in BJJ so they are good on the ground. I’d have to give the edge to Gonzaga because I feel he’s a better grappler than Scherner, particularly without a gi. Scherner stated he was disappointed with his striking so he has been training with Melvin Manhoef, Lloyd Van Dams, and Thiago Alves. I don’t think training for such a short time will improve Scherner’s striking. Gonzaga is not known for his striking either but I think he will have the advantage on their feet. Aggressiveness, ground control and striking will be the key factors for the victor as I foresee a stalemate on the ground. Gonzaga should earn a decision in what could be a tactical but boring fight. Prediction: Gabriel Gonzaga decisions Fabiano Scherner Alessio Sakara (8-3) vs Dean Lister (7-4)
Alessio Sakara is a BJJ/Vale Tudo fighter who has fought around the world. He made his debut at UFC 55 against Ron Faircloth. Sakara was well on his way to winning that fight until an accidental kick to the groin ended his night. At UFC 57, Alessio bloodied Elvis Sinosic over three rounds to earn a decision. Dean ‘The Boogeyman’ Lister is a former King of the Cage middleweight champion and a PRIDE veteran. Lister is an accomplished grappler and holds many titles. In 2003 and 2005, Dean won the Abu Dhabi championship in the absolute weight division. This will be Lister’s UFC debut.
It’s good to see Dean finally make his UFC debut. They certainly picked a tough opponent in Sakara as Dean will have his hands full. A former professional boxer, Sakara has a big advantage when the fight is standing. I don’t think he’ll knock out Lister because Dean has a good chin. It’s no secret that Lister wants to take the fight to the ground. Dean may be an accomplished grappler but he has shown to be too passive and unable to effectively use his superior grappling against better opposition. At PRIDE Bushido 4, Lister struggled against UFC veteran Amar Suloev. Dean was unable to execute his game plan because of Suloev’s superior striking. In order for Lister to win, he must be very aggressive and not be afraid to exchange with Sakara. Dean doesn’t have the best takedowns so he may need to rely on takedowns from the clinch and utilize the fence.
As much of an advantage he has on the ground, I don’t think Lister will submit Sakara. Alessio trains with the Nogueira brothers and holds a brown belt in BJJ. He has a pretty good guard and I feel that he’s competent enough to avoid being submitted. In his last fight against Elvis Sinosic, Sakara took the match to the ground and stayed high in Sinosic’s guard. Sakara scored points with strikes while being safe from submissions. I think Sakara will use a similar strategy if the fight goes to the ground. The UFC has been standing fighters up to their feet more often. This could be a disadvantage for Lister as it may not allow him time to fully execute his ground game.
I think Lister's accomplishments as a grappler haven’t carried over into MMA well. Yes, all seven of his wins have come by submission. However, those submission wins were over sub par opponents (an arguable exception would be Akira Shoji). If Dean is going to win, he needs to take a page out of Paulo Filho's book and be very aggressive. I think that's easier said than done against an opponent like Sakara. Look for Sakara to execute a safe but effective strategy en route to a decision victory. Prediction: Alessio Sakara decisions Dean Lister Read more here: http://www.mmafighting.com/columns/t...0_preview.html