UFC 70 Roundtable Preview (4 Writers Debate Top Matches)

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MMANews.com UFC 70: Nations Collide Roundtable Preview

It's that time again. This Saturday April 21st live (depending on what time of day you watch) from London, England, the Ultimate Fighting Championship brings us UFC 70: Nations Collide. This show will be available on some PPV outlets at 2pm EST Saturday afternoon or will be on Spike TV for free later in the day at 9pm EST. Here at MMANews.com we've decided to get together and do a roundtable discussion on what we believe could happen this weekend.

The list of fights that should be on TV is as follows:

Mirko “Cro-Cop” Filpovic VS Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga
Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski VS Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum
David Heath VS “Lyoto” Ryoto Machida
Michael “The Count” Bisping VS Elvis “The King of Rock N Rumble” Sinosic

So let’s get started and see what everyone thinks is going to go down at the PPV. The People involved with this are myself (Chris Howie, Howie3045 on the MMANews.com forums), Dan Hannan ( AfroSamurai ), Brian Havens ( Noob ), Jevon Haughton ( Harlem Hustler ) and The Sundance Kid.

NOTE: All opinions expressed are those of the individuals themself. Any beef can be taken up with them HERE.

Mirko CroCop VS Gabriel Gonzaga

Chris Howie – I can’t see this fight going any way other than the obvious and that’s Cro Cop by KO. Stranger things have happened as of late though. Gonzaga has a great ground game but Cro Cop has great takedown defense and has stated he’s comfortable fighting on the ground. Does this mean it will go to the ground? I doubt it. Gonzaga could catch Cro Cop due to the fact he does have somewhat of a striking game strike but his striking isnt near the level of Mirko's and the chances of Gonzaga catching someone with the level of striking Cro Cop has is basically slim to none. The winner of this fight gets a crack at Couture so i see Cro Cop being extremely focused as he wants to wear the UFC gold.

The Sundance Kid – Gonzaga is coming in to the fight with nothing to lose, although he has a 7-1 MMA record and a 3-0 in his last three bouts, all of which come in the UFC, no one really expects him to win this fight, and rightfully so. He has never faced a fighter with the skills of Cro Cop. Gonzaga is very skilled on the ground with a Black Belt in BJJ under Wander Braga, and having won the Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championships four times, but, it that enough to defeat the likes of Mirko? Mirko Filipovic needs no introduction, he is unquestionable the number two heavyweight in the world, and in my opinion will beat Fedor there next fight, which should happen with-in twelve months time. Mirko, when asked in a recent the recent press conference, “Do you think that anyone is as dangerous as you, in this sport?” Mikro simply answered, “No, I don’t think so”. I don’t know about you, but I tend to believe him. I really like the way Mikro presents himself, you won’t see him jumping around the ring like a mad man, or ever really get excited, he considers his fights going to work, and he is a damn good worker. I think If Gonzaga gets this fight to the ground he has an alright chance, but the only way I see Mikro going down is from a slip or either on top of Gonzaga. Mikro should make even quicker work of Gonzaga than he did Sanchez because I don’t see Gonzaga running away from Mikro, which will make for an entertaining fight. Look for the number of Cro Cop fans to explode after his first round knock out of Gonzaga on free TV which a lot of people will be tuning it to.

Noob – Battle of the HW's. Gonzaga has some formidable JJ, and has a chance (albeit not fantastic) of catching CC if he can get it to the ground. I honestly don't see this happening. I don't think Gonzaga has the takedown skills to cope with CC's sprawl, and I don't think he can survive in the striking range long enough to threaten. That being said, we've seen some whopper upsets lately, and maybe fate will smile on Gonzaga this Saturday.
Dan Hannan – Mirko Cro Cop Vs. Gabriel Gonzaga : Gonzaga is a good fighter with good BJJ skills who has finished all of his fights by either knockout or submission. Cro-cop has very good kickboxing, and very good takedown defense. Cro-cop has defended takedowns from Coleman, Fujita, and Barnett all fighters with better takedowns then Gonzaga. Gonzaga has been TKO'd before in his career by a lesser striker in Werdum. Cro-cop will win this fight via TKO in the 1st round, Gonzaga is good but doesnt matchup well vs Cro-cop, he wont be able to force Cro-cop into fighting his game.

Jevon Haughton – Very interesting match up. I think this fight will definitely prove whether CroCop has made the adjustment from the ring to the octagon. His last fight was fairly easy but Eddie Sanchez isn’t nearly the talent Gonzaga is. Gonzaga really impressed me with his striking, especially since he started as a BJJ practitioner. He has very good head movement, a stiff jab, and hits pretty hard as well, not to mention is a black belt in BJJ. With that being said, this is CroCop we’re talking about. He’s the total package. He’s arguably the best striker in MMA, his takedown defense is second maybe, only to Liddell, and his ground game has vastly improved, and not too many people can claim they beat the snot out of Josh Barnett. With that being said, CroCop by devastating left high kick decapitation.

Andrei Arlovski VS Fabricio Werdum

Chris Howie – This is the fight im looking most forward to.Two great fighters who have something to prove. This is Werdum's first fight in the UFC so he is relatively unknown to the American fans and the TUF fans. Arlovski is coming off a TKO victory or Pe De Pano Cruz and looking to get back in the title hunt. Both guys can strike although AA is going to take the edge in that category, Werdum does have a KO over Gabriel Gonzaga however. On the ground it goes to Werdum. He has sick submissions and should be able to submit Arlovski if this hits the mat, AA has a good ground game as well but Werdum is a BJJ black belt and brings a lot to the table that I don’t think AA will be ready for. This fight could go the distance but will definitely be a back and forth fight if that happens. It could go either way with an AA KO or a Werdum Sub but I’m going to have to go with what i feel.

The Sundance Kid – This is the fight that I am most looking forward to on this card. Both of these guys are A level fighters, and the fans will be in for a treat when the cage doors close. Werdum trains with Cro Cop so you know he is going to be good on the feet. Everyone knows that Werdum is a black belt in BJJ, but less know that he is a brown belt in Judo and I wouldn’t be surprised a bit to see him hip-toss AA to get him to the ground. Win or Lose I see this guy being a force in the UFC for a long time coming. Andre Arlovski is an exciting fighter with some disappointing losses. His two loses to Tim Sylvia should never of happened in my opinion but they did and he must deal with them. I look for AA to come out with a fire in his eyes; he can’t afford to lose this fight. This fight is really a coin-toss, it could go either way, but in my opinion Werdum has beaten better guys that Andrei has and also lost to better guys that Andrei has. So, I’m going to say Werdum by Sub in the second or third round, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Andrei took the win the first minute of the fight.

Noob – Probably my most anticipated match of the night but certainly the most competitive on paper. Werdum's got the ground department covered in this one, and AA likely has the standing advantage. We haven't seen much of AA's sprawl or takedown defense lately, so I imagine there can be some debate about how he will fair against Werdum's desire to take this to the mat. Arlovski's no slouch though, and I say he prepares smart and implements a strict and effective game plan of striking from the outside and takes this one.

Dan Hannan – AA is a monster on the feet, very good movement, explosive hands, good combos would be one of the best strikers in MMA if he wasnt so aggressive with a glass chin. Werdum is a great grappler, who can take a lot of punishment. AA was impressive in his last fight but the one thing that sticks out is he was taken down, by a lesser qualified ground fighter. Werdum has taken heavy shots from Big Nogs, taken down and sub'd Alexander Emelianenko, hes more then capable of doing the same to Werdum. If AA doesnt score a quick knockout or cannot find a way to keep the fight on the feet long enough to win, Werdum should have no problem taking AA to the ground and subbing him. AA may have good sub D or he may not but it wont be good enough to fend of Werdums sub game. Fabricio Werdum by Sub half way through Round 1.

Jevon Haughton – Now I’m anticipating this for even more than CroCop vs. Gonzaga. Werdum has been quite impressive as of late, beating Alistair Overeem and his most notable win against the Aleksander Emelianenko the brother of the recognized pound for pound best fighter in the world Fedor. Werdum is known to be a master on the ground, being a black belt in BJJ, but he has also been improving his striking as well. He has been training with CroCop and that can’t do anything but good for his Muay Thai, not to mention he has two knock outs to his credit. I’m really on the fence here about Arlovski. There’s no denying he has skills. His discipline is in Sambo, he has pretty good stand up, great power, but, I think he’s a little untested on the ground, and has that world famous glass chin. I know he has a ground game, but I would like to see how he would do against a BJJ master, and you can’t get any better than Werdum. I think this fight goes to the ground for a second but ends standing up. I don’t think Arlovski’s chin survives this fight, Werdum by KO in the 2nd round.

Michael Bisping VS Elvis Sinosic

Chris Howie – My opinion varies on this fight. I think Bisping should be getting tested instead of fighting guys like Sinosic. Maybe they were going for the different nations colliding deal to conincide with the PPV but lets get real. Elvis Sinosic? His last 5 fights in the UFC have been losses and the last time he won in the UFC was against Jeremy Horn at UFC 30! To his credit he has won his last 2 fights by submission. The way I see it, Michael Bisping should win this fight easily.

The Sundance Kid – I won’t say a lot on this fight, because I for one feel that it is pointless. I mean come on, what is Sonosic’s record? He is a whopping 8-9-2 in MMA and has an eye opening 1-5 record in the UFC. Bisping is 12-0 and has all the potential in the world. Honestly I don’t know what else to say, I don’t think the fight will be competitive, and isn’t going to show us anything about Bisping. I think James Irvin would have made a much better opponent for Bisping, but what do I know, Bisping by KO round 1.

Noob – Golden Boy Brit, versus the veteran from down under. Sinosic is a great guy, and by all accounts a gentleman, but the UFC seems content to use him as a gate-keeper for the up-and-coming and I don't see this example being any different. People argue about the UFC protecting their fighters, but I think it's pretty obvious that this is a not-too-challenging match-up for the poster boy of British MMA.

Dan Hannan – Michael Bisping is a standout british fighter, his striking is B level, he has a mystery of a ground game but his explosiveness helps him stay on the feet. Elvis Sinosic is a proclaimed striker, who cuts easy and was a big dissapointment in MMA. The fight should stay on the feet, Bisping has shown little defense in all his fights but a lot of offense, Sinosic has shown that he can be cut easily, and lacks a ground game. Sinosic could pull an upset on the feet but at his age, and the fact that Bisping has gone against better strikers before and done well I would say Bisping wins this by TKO.

Jevon Haughton – This fight is basically a chance for Bisping to showcase his skills against a pretty well known fighter. Bisping is definitely the real deal and this may be just the fight he needs to prove he’s ready for a title shot. Bisping has been running through the competition, never settling for a decision. To date he has knocked out 8 fighters and subbed 4 in his 12 fights so he definitely has some pop. Sinosic on the other hand might as well make an appointment to his doctor in advance. He has noly has a chance at all in this fight in my opinion. His most notable win was against Jeremy Horn. Now beating Horn is nothing to frown upon but let’s face it, Horn has become nothing more than a stepping stone. Bisping by KO 1st round.

David Heath VS Lyoto Machida

Chris Howie – With undefeated streaks on the line I think this will be a good fight. Machida holds wins over some of the best in MMA including BJ Penn and Rich Franklin. Heath hasn’t really fought anyone of significance so this should provide a good look into what kind of fighter he actually is. The winner will move up the ranks of the light heavyweight division and will be looking at a fight with some stiffer competition. Heath has a solid ground game and a good striking game. The majority of Machida's fights has gone to the judges, He does hold a submission win and 3 TKO's. I see this one going the distance in a hard fought fight.

The Sundance Kid – When this fight was first announced, it was Forrest Griffin that was supposed to be fighting Lyoto, but a nasty YouTube Video later, he is off the card. Although Forrest and Lyoto would have been a great fight, I like the UFC decision to let David Heath step up and take the fight. It should be a good one. Both of these fighters are undefeated and not going into this fight to lose. I love fights when both the guys have never tasted defeat but you know one will. Machida has a huge internet following after people learned that he had beat BJ Penn, Stephan Bonnar, and Rich Franklin. I, for one, don’t get it; I think the guy is given too much credit for beating a BJ Penn that was fighting a full 50 pound out of his class, and a Rich Franklin that ended up finding his home at 185. I think that Lyoto’s best win to date is the one over Bonnar, and to be totally honest, that’s not too damn impressive, sure Bonnar is a tough brawler that is a good fighter, but let’s face it, he isn’t in the league of any top light-heavyweight fighter. Heath is a solid fighter with a 2-0 record in the UFC that trains out of Mikey Burnett’s gym. I think that Heath is win defiantly try to keep the fight standing, although he can handle himself just fine on the ground. I think that this fight will be a lot closer than the odds indicate, Heath is a +325 underdog the last time I checked at Bodog. I think this is probably a good fight to through a couple of bucks at, if only because the payout is tempting. If Lyoto wins this fight it will be by decision. But I don’t think he will, I’m going with Heath by TKO round 3.
Noob – A relative newcomer in Heath who has shown some impressive potential in his two octagon appearances, he will be up against a heavily-favored Machida. Machida has, in my opinion, the much better skill-set and experience that will push him over the edge in this one. Look for it to be competitive, but with Machida favorably superior.

Dan Hannan – David Heath is a pretty good fighter, with pretty good striking. Lyoto Machida is a good up and comer, he can fight on the feet or on the ground. Both are undefeated, and both are relatively untested while Lyoto has fought better opponents, we have yet to see what kind of defense Lyoto possesses. His fight with BJ Penn was at a weight BJ Penn had no business fighting at, his TKO over Rich Franklin was impressive but David Heath can strike too. There is no telling what kind of chin either fighter has, or what kind of submission defense either fighter has. This fight can go either way, but the safe pick is Lyoto Machida by Unanimous decision.

Jevon Haughton – This should be a pretty exciting match. David Heath is definitely on the right track to becoming a star in this sport. He has good striking and a pretty good ground game. What I’m most impressed with is the fact that he has trained with world class up and comer Boxer Allan Green. I’m sure he’s learned a lot from his experience and I can’t wait to see how much it has paid off. The only problem I see with Heath is his inexperience. He hasn’t fought the type of competition Machida has and I think that will make a difference in this fight. Machida is a beast. He came right into the sport and fought some of the biggest names in MMA and won in exciting fashion. He’s fast, explosive with good punching power, and a decent ground game. In many peoples eyes he is already one of the best, if not the best in the LHW division. In my opinion Machida will win in the 3rd round by TKO.

Overall Thoughts

Chris Howie – Over all this is a solid card that has some big names on it. Cro Cop should easily win his fight with Napuo as should Bisping over Sinosic. I see the AA and Werdum fight being the fight of the night for sure but there is also some good undercard action that I hope gets to see air time. Winner of the main event goes on to fight Randy Couture in August, adding some intrigue to the main event. The match making is a little better on this card than the last although the last did provide a lot of surprises and good fights. I’m hoping for more of the same from UFC 70.

Noob – Overall I think this is a decent card. There is a good amount of star power, if not an abundance of intriguing match-ups. As a card, it was obviously put together with the international audience in mind, with only 1 of the 20 scheduled fighters hailing from the United States. Not that I think that is a drawback, but it does seem that more thought was put into having a laundry list of international fighters than having a laundry list of great fights. That being said, my M.O. for this card will be the same as it is for all others good or bad: sit back, relax, and enjoy some MMA. Free MMA at that. And who can't appreciate that? If such a person exists, I hope I never meet them.

Dan Hannan – Solid card, the UFC is getting better with there match-making. The Arlovski/Werdum fight is one of the best match-ups the UFC could put together, should be the fight of the night. The CC/Gonzaga fight is a bad matchup, not very exciting at all and doesnt reall showcase any of Gonzaga's talents, it’s a shame that the UFC is using Gonzaga just to elevate CC into title contention. Gonzaga should be fighting someone more on his level, and making his way up to the top he should not be used as CC's stepping stone. David Heath vs Lyoto doesn’t have the name value of Griffin/Lyoto but it is a better matchup between two undefeated fighters with countering skills, the winner could be unexpected. Bisping vs Sinosic, while on paper it looks like an easy win for Bisping but if Sinosic is half the striker hes proclaimed to be then he has a good chance, Bisping is clumsy on the ground and a wide-open striker, so Sinosic has a chance. Silva vs Kongo is an interesting matchup, both guys are C level fighters but they matchup well, should be a fun fight to watch. Overall the card is a borderline B grade, it’s not a great card but it certainly isn’t a bad one.

Harlem Hustler – I think this is a pretty good card and definitely worth buying on PPV. Luckily for us fans, it’s on spike, so considering that, this is a pretty good treat. I also think it’s pretty smart on Dana White’s part to make it free to the public so your casual fan can see who CroCop is. Many are anticipating on how Arlovski is going to perform and he’s one of the better known fighters in the UFC. Well done Dana!

Thanks for reading folks and make sure to check out the show this Saturday on SpikeTV.

Any comments or questions can be forwarded to [email protected] or [email protected]

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