Luis Cruz Breaks Down Thursday's UFC Fight Night Card
Ultimate Fight Night 4-5-07 Breakdown
By: Luis Cruz of MMANews.com
I have to say how much I love MMA on free TV! Well not literally because I do pay a satellite bill, but you get the point. April is a huge month for UFC alone as there are three events, two of which are on Spike TV. There are plenty of other MMA events also in April, but for now we concentrate on the first event in April and it's the UFC's Ultimate Fight Night on Thursday, April 5th. It has a great main event with some interesting undercard bouts to start it off.
Prelims (Some may, or may not make TV)
Thiago Tavares vs. Naoyuki Kotani
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu takes on a more traditional Jiu-Jitsu when Tavares takes on the more experienced Kotani. Tavares has not had nearly the level of competition Kotani has had, but I will still give him the edge on the ground as he comes from a more experienced and talented pool of fighters. While I don't believe Tavares will pull off a submission because of Kotani's good ground game (being able to defend), I do think he will get a takedown that will lead to a ground and pound stoppage.
Prediction- Tavares via TKO round 2
Roan Carneiro vs. Rich Clementi
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master "Jucao" faces TUF 4 veteran and the man with "No Love," Rich Clementi - in this very intriguing match-up. This should be a very good fight. I see Clementi controlling the action while he keeps this fight standing early on. He will have to stay on top of his game and avoid being taken down. While Clementi is pretty polished himself on the ground, he won't want to test his ground skills against this man, one mistake and it's over. I believe at some point in the third round, Clementi will find himself on the ground and make the crucial mistake of giving up his back and "Jucao" will capitalize and catch him. This will be disappointing because Clementi will have won the first two rounds on the judges' scorecards.
Prediction- Carneiro via submission round 3
Seth Petruzelli vs Wilson Gouveia
Our good buddy at MMANews.com, Seth Petruzelli, returns to the octagon against a formidable opponent in Gouveia. Most people remember Petruzelli dropping a hard decision to Matt Hamill back in October. He had been pulled off a previous card because of his opponent becoming injured, no replacement was found. He then took a fight on very short notice for a promotion in Florida (UWC) to keep himself busy while he waited for the UFC's call. He was successful with a great knockout victory in that outing. The man he's facing will be remembered for his war with Petruzelli's TUF 2 fellow contestant and friend, Keith Jardine. They exchanged hard leg kicks, which had both men limping around throwing strikes. It was Jardine who came away with the deserved decision in that fight. Gouveia was able to rebound and put away Wes Combs at UFC 62 and now looks to keep that streak going. This is a tough fight to call, as the result will depend on how the fighters come out and with what game plan. I expect Gouveia to try and use his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills rather than take his chances with the wild and powerful kicks of Petruzelli. I believe one man will make the best of this opportunity and impose his will.
Prediction- Petruzelli via TKO round 1
Forrest Petz vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka
While I believe Petz is a good fighter, I also believe he will be over-matched against Hironaka who has faced some very stiff competiton in his career. Hironaka takes this fight to the ground and ends it early.
Prediction- Hironaka via submission round 1
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Jeff Cox
Replacement for Wander Braga, Cox finds himself in a tough bout. He will have to contend with the intensity of Pellegrino and find a way to control the tempo of this fight. Pellegrino should have a relatively easy night if he trained seriously for this fight. Any slips such as a lackluster training regimen for a fight could cost anyone dearly as we have seen in the past. With that said, I don't see this happening.
Prediction- Pellegrino via submission round 1
Keita Nakamura vs. Drew Fickett
This will be another close fight, as both men know how to win no matter the circumstances. I can see this going to the ground and becoming a bit of a stalemate with each man waiting for the other to make a mistake. Fickett could have a bit of a strength advantage and get most of the takedowns in this fight. After a couple moments of the referee standing the fight up because of inactivity, I see Fickett walking away with the nod because of the takedowns and positioning.
Prediction- Fickett via unanimous decision
Undercard (To be shown on Spike TV)
Dokonjonosuke Mishima vs. Kenny Florian
It's the return of "razor-bows"! Florian returns since his disappointing loss at the hands of UFC Lightweight champion, Sean Sherk. He must now attempt to climb the ladder in order to get another shot at the gold. Standing in his way of the first step is Mishima who is trying to make himself a name in the UFC Lightweight division. Florian will return with the elbows sharper than ever. I see Florian opening up a cut at some point in the opening round but not finishing the fight just yet. In the second round, as the blood becomes an issue for Mishima, he will get distracted and leave himself open for Florian's very good Jiu-Jitsu skills to come into play.
Prediction- Florian via submission round 1
Justin McCully vs. Antoni Hardonk
McCully makes his UFC debut against a tough Heavyweight. Hardonk is coming off of a knockout victory over Pendergarst at UFC 65 and looks to start a consistant career in MMA. He has been inactive as a fighter having only seven fights in over six years. A pupil of the great Rickson Gracie, Hardonk should make it two in row here. He has good stand-up and a good ground game, so wherever he chooses to go he can end it. This will be a tough night for McCully.
Prediction- Hardonk via TKO round 1
Joe Stevenson vs Melvin Guillard
In a battle of two very good Lightweights, this is a great main event for Spike, pitting Joe "Daddy" Stevenson taking on another rising Lightweight in Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard. Guillard has been a very exciting fighter with his explosive style. He comes to put on a show and never disappoints the fans. His last fight saw one of the better knockouts in recent history. He stopped TUF 5 contestant, Gabe Ruediger, with a tremendous and powerful body punch. Guillard is a very powerful striker with a definitive strength advantage against most people in the Lightweight division. This may not be the case against Stevenson. Joe "Daddy" has been around the game for quite sometime. He is a powerful fighter in his own right and uses his strong wrestling to control and throw his opponents around. The game-plans are obvious in this fight. If Guillard gets his way, this fight ends by knockout on their feet. If Stevenson chooses, this fight hits the ground where he will wear on Guillard with ground and pound until he's too tired to defend anymore. I believe for Guillard to win this fight, he will have to have his takedown defense in top form and the best it's ever been. He's had cardio issues in the past and that could be a big problem if he's not able to finish this fight early. Stevenson will get the takedowns at some point and he will get Guillard extremely tired from trying to stand back up. This could go on for a couple rounds but eventually I see Guillard tiring out to the point that he will leave himself open. Stevenson will take the opportunity to get a choke and end the fight, moving a step close to a possible title shot in the very near future.
Predicition- Stevenson via submission round 3
This card provides a nice warm-up to the UFC 69 PPV that follows just two nights later. As long as the UFC keeps it to one PPV a month, they can have as many cards as they want and the MMA fans will be happy and surely tune in. $40 a month and a free live Spike event would surely go over well in our MMA community. Hell, why not a weekly live show along with the monthly PPV? My wishful thinking, for the UFC, goes like this. UFC Unleashed on Spike at 7pm ET on Wednesday (airing previously un-aired fights), followed by a live UFN from 8pm-10pm ET also on Spike, and of course our monthly PPV. Unlike boxing which airs on ESPN and Showtime (Shobox) in seasons, this is one instance I would like them to follow suit of professional wrestling and make it all year round. Just my thoughts and ramblings, now UFC......MAKE IT HAPPEN! Peace!
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