01-10-2008, 08:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
| | UFC 80: Rapid Fire Preview
MMAFighting.com - UFC 80: Rapid Fire Preview
UFC 80: Rapid Fire will come to us all on January 19, 2007 from the Metro Radio Arena Newcastle in Newcastle, England. The main event of the evening? |
How about a battle between a former TUF Champion in Joe Stevenson and a former UFC Champion in B.J. Penn for the UFC Lightweight Championship? But thatís not where the story ends on this card. Beyond the aforementioned will be a rematch between two very good heavyweight fighters in Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabricio Werdum. And then thereís always The Irish Hand Grenade.
So letís get to it.
B.J. Penn vs. Joe Stevenson
What Penn brings to the table: B.J. Penn sports an overall MMA record of 11-4-1 with four (T)KOís and four submission victories to his credit. In sum, heís defeated legends of the sport like Renzo Gracie, Rodrigo Gracie, Takanori Gomi, Matt Serra, Caol Uno, and Matt Hughes. Further, three of his four losses have come to fighters that were heavier than him in Lyoto Machida, Matt Hughes (he also defeated Hughes once as was mentioned previously), and Georges St. Pierre.
Pennís takedowns are good and his takedown defense is outstanding. His submission skills are simply some of the best in the business. The funny thing is that his stand up skills are actually underrated; heís upper tier in that regard as well.
Perhaps the only weaknessóand itís a somewhat mild oneóis that he has gassed against bigger opponents like Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre in the past.
Donít forget, though, that he was injured in the fight against Hughes.
What Stevenson brings to the table: Joe Stevenson possesses an overall MMA record of 28-7 with six (T)KOís and 12 submission victories to his credit. On one hand, Stevenson simply has not been in there with the same level of competition that Penn has. On the other hand, he has come through in big fights before like the TUF 2 Finale against Luke Cummo and in a bout against Kurt Pellegrino.
Stevenson is a big and strong lightweight. Further, he has very good takedowns, takedown defense, and ground control skills. His submissions are upper tier, which is punctuated by a guillotine choke that is the best in the game today.
Stevenson also has solid stand up skills.
Prediction: B.J. Penn is the better striker here. Heís also arguably the better submission guy and has more championship level experience. That said, Stevenson can play on the ground with anyone and has the kind of size that could give Penn some trouble.
Still, Penn can win this one in more ways than his opponent.
Penn via decision.
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Fabricio Werdum
What Gonzaga brings to the table: Gabriel Gonzaga sports an overall MMA record of 8-2 with three (T)KOís and five submission victories to his credit. In sum, Gonzaga is a very big, strong, and athletic guy.
Along with this, he has very good takedowns, solid takedown defense, and excellent ground control skills. Heís also a BJJ black belt, so heís got strong submission skills as well. In terms of technical striking, Gonzaga is above average.
In terms of explosiveness on his feet, just ask Mirko ďCro CopĒ Filipovic.
The only knock on Gonzaga is that he hasnít won any really hard fought victories at the highest level yet. By the way, heís also lost to Fabricio Werdum in the past at a Jungle Fighting event, adding to the intrigue of this encounter.
What Werdum brings to the table: Fabricio Werdum sports an overall MMA record of 9-3-1 with two (T)KOís and five submission victories to his credit. Before we start going into him, letís say one thing.
Heís beaten Gonzaga via TKO in the past in the past. Oh wait, we already said that.
Werdum has elite jiu- jitsu and submission skills. Weíre talking top of the food chain here, especially in the guard. His takedowns are good as is his takedown defense. However, his takedown defense is not impenetrable. That said, no one ever really seems to want to bring him to the ground due to fear of his submissions.
Werdumís technical striking skills are good as well, even if he doesnít necessarily bring much power into the equation.
Prediction: Werdum could win this fight on the ground. He could also win it on his feet as he did for a good portion of their first encounter. By the same token, Gonzaga won the takedowns/ ground control battle in their first fight for the majority of the competition and looks much bigger, stronger, and more experienced today. Thus, figure that Gonzaga will be able to take Werdum down and control him. Could he get caught in a submission? Yes. Will he?
That depends. If Gonzaga is willing and able to do the dirty work in this one, to win when the rounds get tough, he should win. This is a very hard one to call.
Gonzaga via a very close decision.
Marcus Davis (Interview) vs. Jess Liaudin
What Davis brings to the table: Marcus Davis sports an overall MMA record of 13-3 with four (T)KOís and seven submission victories to his credit. In sum, heís won his last 10 in a row. The reason?
This guy is getting very good.
Davis is very strong for this division. Along with this, he has solid takedowns, takedown defense, and ground control skills. Heís also improved his submission arsenal as displayed in his last bout against Paul Taylor. But thatís hardly the story on Davis.
Weíre talking about a guy that has boxed professionally before at a high level. Heís also one tough hombre.
What Liaudin brings to the table: Jess Liaudin brings an overall MMA record of 12-8 with three (T)KOís and eight submission victories into this contest. Like his adversary, Liaudin is also hot, having won his last five contests.
Liaudin is a very good submission/ jiu- jitsu fighter. Heís also improved on his feet. That said, heís been knocked out before.
Prediction: Jess Liaudin is a better fighter than people think. If this fight hits the ground and he gets on top, it could be over. However, Davis is very hard to bring down and is getting much better on the ground. On the feet, though, this one goes Davisís way big time.
Davis via TKO in round two.
Wilson Gouveia vs. Jason Lambert
What Gouveia brings to the table: Wilson Gouveia brings a 9-4 overall MMA record with three (T)KOís and five submission victories to his credit into this bout. Further, heís won his last three fights in the UFC.
Gouveia is a tough character with a well- rounded game. Along with this, heís got good wrestling, jiu- jitsu, and striking skills. Further, he has some power and hasnít been stopped in nearly four years.
Again, heís a tough guy.
What Lambert brings to the table: Jason Lambert sports an overall MMA record of 23-6 with 12 (T)KOís and seven submission victories to his credit. Heís won nine of his last 10 including a KO victory over Renato Sobral in his last match.
Lambert has solid technical striking skills. He also has reasonable submission/ jiu- jitsu skills. But when it comes to takedowns and takedown defense, heís well above average. Further, heís as strong as an ox and has been stopped only once in the last five years or so (by Rashad Evans).
Prediction: This is a very tough one to call. One could see Jason Lambert taking Gouveia to the ground and pounding his way to a victory. Further, you could see him landing a big punch on his feet.
Then again, Gouveia could beat Lambert in a technical sense on his feet and/ or submit him. But if Babalu couldnít submit Lambert, figure Gouveia wonít either. Does he have enough on his feet to win the fight? Can he take his opponent down and control him?
Itís certainly possible. But guess is no.
Lambert via TKO in round three due to ground and pound.
THE BEST OF THE REST
Jorge Rivera vs. Kendall Grove: Rivera is tough hombre on his feet. That said, Grove is better on the ground and has a reach advantage. Figure thatís what comes through in the end.
Grove via submission in round three.
Antoni Hardonk vs. Colin Robinson: Robinson is fighting close to home, but Hardonk has fought against more advanced competition.
Hardonk via TKO in round two.
James Lee vs. Alessio Sakara: Lee is very good on the ground. Sakara can bang and has more UFC experience. But experience isnít always the difference.
Lee via submission in round two.
Paul Kelly vs. Paul Taylor: Taylor looked well rounded and strong in a loss to Marcus Davis. Kelly is undefeated but hasnít fought against the same level of competition yet. Tough call.
Taylor via submission in round three.
Per Eklund vs. Sam Stout: Eklund is the better ground fighter. Stout is better on his feet. Who wins?
Usually itís the ground fighter. How about the striker this time?
Sam Stout via decision.
I didn't read all of it however they usually have pretty good reviews on the UFC events.
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