J.C. Weyand Previews UFC 66 “Liddell vs. Ortiz 2” In-Depth

The following is a detailed preview of the upcoming UFC 66 “Liddell vs. Ortiz 2” show written by MMANews.com's own J.C. Weyand, writer here and webmaster of MMAFury.tv.

Preview of UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz
December 30, 2006
By J.C. Weyand

INTRO

The long awaited rematch between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell and former champion Tito Ortiz is upon us. Before the PPV this Saturday, I'll take a minute to make my picks for the main card of UFC 66.

Chris Leben vs. Jason MacDonald

This is a pretty interesting match-up. You have Jason MacDonald taking on his second “red-haired, potty-mouthed, TUF golden-boy from Team Quest.” MacDonald is coming off a huge win against TUF 3 runner-up, Ed Herman. Herman's teammate Chris Leben will definitely be out for revenge. That's why this match-up is so interesting. I see one of two scenarios happening: Leben comes out as aggressive as he's ever been and knocks MacDonald out cold, or Leben comes out as aggressive as ever, and is taken down because of his carelessness and submitted. I really don't see this fight going to decision. Chris Leben holds a win over Patrick Cote, who MacDonald lost to, if that means anything. I say Leben is the favorite to win, but I'm picking MacDonald. I think Leben will be just a little bit too anxious to avenge Herman's loss and get caught. If MacDonald wins, he'll have to change his nickname to Jason “The guy who beats obnoxious, red-haired, TUF Alumni who train with Team Quest” MacDonald… or maybe not.

Winner: Jason MacDonald by Submission

Michael Bisping vs. Eric Schafer

This is a scary fight for “The Count.” Schafer looked really impressive in his last fight against Rob MacDonald. With the recent success of TUF spoilers (Josh Neer beating Joe Stevenson and Jason MacDonald beating Ed Herman), Bisping should take this fight very seriously. If he doesn't, there's a very good chance Schafer could pull off the upset submission. Bisping's superior stand-up and take-down defense makes him a strong favorite in this fight. However, if he is taking this match-up lightly, he will lose. All things withstanding, I'll still take Bisping by knock out.

Winner: Michael Bisping by KO

Forrest Griffin vs. Kieth Jardine

Here's another really close fight. It's actually a great bet to take, because most fans aren't giving Jardine a chance. I'd give it 50/50 either way, but you can get like +300 odds on Jardine – that's ridiculous. On that note, I'll still pick Griffin to win. Even though Jardine recently gave Forrest's buddy Stephan a beating, I think Jardine will try and stand-up the whole fight. Griffin has a slight edge in boxing, so I think he'll probably take the decision. I don't see him getting the knockout. Both fighters are too tough and too good. One thing to watch out for is Jardine's leg kicks. However, unlike Bonnar, Griffin will be ready for them. Greg Jackon does a great job with his camp (look at Diego and Nate Marquardt), so don't count Keith out – anything can happen in this one.

Winner: Forrest Griffin by Decision

Andrei Arlovski vs. Marcio Cruz

Poor Marcio Cruz. He gets the biggest win of his career against Frank Mir, then they give him to Jeff Monson and now Arlovski. Even though “AA” is coming off two losses in a row to Tim Sylvia, he's still a force at heavyweight. This is my pick as the safest bet of the night. Cruz is not very good standing up, and Arlovski is a monster. He'll also be looking to end the fight in an exciting fashion to prove to the fans and the UFC he's still a contender. This will be very similar to Arlovski's battles with Justin Eilers and Paul Buentello – short and brutal.

Winner: Andrei Arlovski by KO

Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz

As much as some may hate to admit it, this is the biggest fight of the weekend (apologies to Fedor and Mark Hunt). Although I think it will be more one-sided than most fans think, it may be the most anticipated rematch in UFC history. In fact, due to this main-event, many people expect the UFC to break the 1 million PPV buy mark this Saturday. If that happens, over 1,000,000 people will witness Tito Ortiz getting viciously knocked out…again. I really don't see how people can think Tito has a chance, unless they don't watch much MMA and just know Tito as the cool coach from TUF 3. In their first fight, Tito didn't “just try to stand with him.” He tried to take Liddell down – failed, was forced to stand with him, and was knocked out. I just don't understand why people think meeting number two will be any different. Since the first time they met, Chuck has knocked out Randy Couture twice (ranked in the top 5 both times they met). He's also avenged his first MMA loss by brutalizing Jeremy Horn (who was ranked as a top 5 Middleweight at the time). Finally, he knocked out another top 10 fighter, Renato Sobral – in the first round. What has Tito done since their first meeting? He squeezed out two razor-thin, controversial decisions over Vitor Belfort and Forrest Griffin; he couldn't finish middleweight Patrick Cote in his first UFC fight; and he beat a past-his-prime Ken Shamrock twice. Liddell has only gotten better since their first meeting – Tito has regressed. This fight won't go past the third Round, and Chuck will knock out Tito again.

Winner: Chuck Liddell by KO

OUTRO

This New Year's weekend has some great fights with UFC 66 and the PRIDE Shockwave show. Liddell/Ortiz II will be one of the UFC's biggest shows of the year and maybe they're biggest show of all time. That's all from me. Enjoy the great weekend of MMA and have a great New Year's.

Be sure to check back for results from UFC 66 “Liddell vs. Ortiz 2” and the PRIDE Shockwave 2006 show.

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