Friday, November 18, 2005

UFC 56 predictions

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a big fan of Mixed Martial Arts competition, specifically the Pride Fighting Championships in Japan. Here in America, we have the Ultimate Fighting Championship leading the way. While my love for Pride runs deep, I'm also a fan of the UFC, which is presenting a new card tomorrow. There are three fights I find intriguing on the card so I thought I'd pick my winners.

Matt Hughes (pictured) is the greatest champion in the history of the UFC. He's also my favorite American fighter. He doesn't get the press that guys like Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell receive but neither one has been as dominant a champion as Hughes. Tomorrow night, he's fighting a guy named Joe "Diesel" Riggs, who likes his nickname so much he had it tattood in giant letters on his stomach.

The most interesting thing about Riggs is that he used to fight at 300 lbs and he's now fighting Hughes at 170. He's a legitimately tough kid but I don't think it's his time to shine yet. Hughes has lost before and he'll lose again but I don't think it's time to put money down against him. I think this one ends by TKO in the second round and Matt's hand is raised in victory.

The second fight worth talking about on this card is Rich Franklin versus Nate Quarry. I had never heard of Quarry before the Ultimate Fighter TV show and I've only seen him fight a couple of times. He's got heavy hands and likes to use them. I guess he's a good ground fighter, too...but I've never seen him grapple so I can't really say.

In the end, I don't think it really matters. Rich Franklin is a great fighter in his prime, he's the 185 lb champion and I predict he'll end the night with his belt still strapped around his waist. I'm going to pick him by KO in the third round.

Finally, probably the most intriguing fight to me personally on this card is Sean Sherk versus Georges St. Pierre. This one is a pick 'em. Really, either guy could take it. They're both top, top guys in the world and they're fighting to establish who the number one contender to Matt Hughes will be.

I'm a fan of both guys. St. Pierre is dynamic, fast, explosive, and well rounded. Sherk is strong, methodical, and forces his will on the other fighter until he wears them down and out.

I guess in my heart, I want to see Sherk win this one. He's been out of the game for a while and I'm rooting for him to come back and reestablish himself at the top of his weight division. As much as I like Georges (and I won't be disappointed if he wins, either), Sherk is in a strange sort of underdog position here; not because there's doubt that he could win the fight, he more than has the skill to get the job done. I guess it's because he's been more or less blackballed for a couple of years. I'm sure it's been a frustrating time for him and I'm hoping to see him make the most of this new opportunity and really shake up the weight division.

So I'm picking Sherk by decision after three hard rounds.

There are a few more undercard fights, including Jeremy Horn versus Trevor Prangley, that look good. Honestly, a lot of the UFC's cards fail to live up to the hype. So I've got my fingers crossed that these three fights deliver. If they do, it'll be a fine night of martial arts action.



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