don’t believe the hype

UFC 102 Predictions by caseyly16

While UFC 102 is not the most stacked card in recent times, it does offer some interesting matchups and I just placed my bets on it so now it holds value for me.

Thus, I’m going to provide a light breakdown of who I believe will win and why.

Brandon Vera vs. Krzysztof Soszynski

Honestly, Brandon Vera has not looked the same since wayyy back when he was competing against Frank Mir and the big boys. He’s been spotty at best, dropping a split decision to Keith Jardine and getting TKO’d by Fabricio Werdum, who is a less than proficient striker. His last two wins have been against relative nobodies, Mike Patt and Reese Andy. Krzysztof Soszynski is a big light heavyweight who specializes in BJJ and boxing. One of his past losses actually includes a split decision vs. Reese Andy. Although we know that using MMA logic (Transitive Property) is often very faulty, I believe that Brandon Vera’s intensity and quickness will give him an edge over Kryzsztof. Brandon Vera’s jiu jitsu and ground game are underrated and it is very unlikely that he will get caught with a submission. Therefore, Krzysztof will have to rely on his power to catch Vera and work for a TKO. Although a small play on Soszynski is still valid here, I believe that Vera will simply out strike and out class Kryzysztof and earn himself a unanimous decision. Brandon Vera by unanimous decision.

Nate Marquardt vs. Demian Maia

To me this fight is by far the most interesting of the night. At first glance, Nate Marquardt looks like he will simply overwhelm the smaller and less athletic Demian Maia, who is less than imposing. However, while Marquardt holds a black belt in BJJ, Demian Maia’s jiu jitsu is on a whole nother planet. He has some of the most fluid sweeps and trickiest submission moves in actual MMA. His sternest test to date was against a very game Jason MacDonald, who provided a back and forth battle for his third Submission of the Night award in a row.  Look for  Marquardt to keep the fight standing, where Demian’s chin has not been truly tested. Marquardt’s stand up prowess should easily give him an edge over the less experienced Maia, who has never really experienced a striker on Marquardt’s level. However, if Demian can get Marquardt down, either by a straight takedown or more likely, pulling gaurd, it will only be a matter of time before Nate finds himself in a vulnerable position and get choked. Overall, due to his strength and experience, the odds are stacked neatly in Marquardt’s favor. This fight will reveal how much heart Maia has and his overall MMA progression. He definitely has a shot at taking this, and I will be banking on it. Maia by submission (Rear Naked Choke) in the third round.

Chris Leben vs. Jake Rosholt

To me, this fight could swing either way. Chris Leben always has a chance of catching someone and putting the dude down due to his aggressive nature. However, Jake Rosholt’s very impressive wrestling pedigree (including a 105-20 College record and 3 NCAA championships) should nullify Leben’s striking and control him the entire fight. If Rosholt chooses to use his takedowns and wrestling rather than trying to stand with Leben, he will easily take this fight by decision. Leben has not shown his submission offense abilities (other than an armbar vs. Edwin Dewees back in 2005) to be able to give a strong wrestler such as Jake Rosholt any trouble. I see this fight going much like the Josh Koscheck vs Chris Leben fight from The Ultimate Fighter, where Chris was getting outwrestled and frustrated. Jake Rosholt by unanimous decision. (good play here, definitely worth a bet).

Thiago Silva vs. Keith Jardine

This is another fight that can swing either way. Thiago Silva is solid fighter who despite being 13-1 is still relatively unproven. His loss to Lyoto Machida really didn’t show us anything, except that Lyoto is the boss at 205 (although Anderson is here to stay?). Thiago’s primary skills are Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and being from American Top Team, aggressive Muay Thai. While Thiago certainly presents some problems for Keith Jardine and his questionable chin, I believe that Keith should have the upper hand due to his experience, wrestling, and boxing. Jardine has shown the discipline to stick and move effectively as well as stick to Greg Jackson’s excellent game plans. Unless he gets caught by a big punch Jardine should have this fight locked due to his boxing and wrestling skills. Keith Jardine by unanimous decision.

Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

This is actually one of the more intriguing match ups of the night because despite Big Nog’s seemingly lackluster performance vs. Frank Mir, he is still one of the heavyweight division’s top submission artists. His last lost was in part due to a staph infection and a knee injury, which slowed him down considerably during the fight. Also, another of Nog’s perceived weaknesses, his age, is also false. Big Nog is actually 33, which means he is more than a decade younger than Randy Couture and only a year older than Brock Lesnar. Finally, Nog has only lost 5 times in his entire career, and two of those losses coming to the unstoppable Fedor Emelianenko. On the other hand, the older and smaller Randy Couture has 9 losses in his career, most recently to the large Brock Lesnar. To me, the odds are definitely stacked in favor of Randy, who has not been submitted in the past 8 years. His wrestling abilities are able to control anyone (including Brock Lesnar until he got caught). Randy’s boxing abilities are also underrated. He has shown decent head movement and excellent dirty boxing throughout his career, which is enough to stifle Nog’s stiff stand up. The only way I see Randy losing this fight is if he gets caught with a punch or somehow leaves an arm hanging out for Big Nog. Don’t get me wrong, Nogueira is a viable play but I see Randy taking this fight by unanimous decision.

Submission of the Night: Demian Maia vs Nate Marquardt
Fight of the Night:  Demian Maia vs Nate Marquardt


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