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UFC 101 Preview and Predictions

UFC attempts to follow its biggest event of all-time with UFC 101 this Saturday. UFC travels to Philadelphia, PA for the first-time in UFC history. UFC will feature a lightweight title bout in the main-event. However it is the semi-main event on the show that has had everyone talking for three months.

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (24-4) will move up to light heavyweight and take on former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin (16-5). While the odds are stacked against Griffin, the odds are in favor of an exciting fight here. A victory by Forrest Griffin would put him into UFC history for ending the Anderson Silva era.

Silva has done nothing but dominate since coming into UFC. Overall Silva is 12-2 since 2004. One would assume that Silva’s dominance would warm into the hearts of MMA fans. Ironically Silva has turned into one of the most hated men in UFC. UFC fans and Dana White expect more from their fighters than winning.

[adinserter block=”1″]Silva has been heavily criticized for his performance in his last two fights. Silva was criticized for being boring and non aggressive. As a matter of a fact Dana White called Silva’s performance “embarrassing” following his win over Thales Leites. It almost appears that Silva is so good, that he appears boring in the octagon.

In most sports, someone like Anderson Silva would get a tremendous amount of respect from fans and UFC officials. Yet, there is a bit of a pardox in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Great fighters are often booed in favor of sloppy fighters who just go out there and brawl. Wanderlei Silva is a big UFC fan favorite, yet he has only won one UFC fight since returning. Dana White makes no bones about it, he likes exciting fighters period. Winning is only part of the game in being a successful UFC fighter.

This is what makes this the perfect match for Silva and UFC fans. Griffin will undoubtedly be Silva’s most aggressive opponent. Silva will have no choice but to engage Griffin. Griffin openly questions his own talent, yet trumps the heart he shows in fights. Griffin’s aggression paid off when he dominated Rampage Jackson and won the UFC light heavyweight title.

On the flip side, Griffin’s fighting style has worked against him. Griffin can get a bit jumpy in there and deviate from his game plan. Case in point would be his match against Rashad Evans. Evans is a very patient fighter, much like Silva. Griffin looked anxious and started pressing the fight. Evans took advantage of this with a TKO victory in Round 3 and won the title from Griffin.

I haven’t been this excited for a fight in a long time. This one is probably not going to see Round 3. Chances are these two are goingto come out flying after one another. Not too mention, this will be taking place in Philadelphia and Philadelphia fans like fireworks. Myprediction is a shootout with Anderson Silva taking the win. Silva’s title is not on the line. Yet a win by Forrest would put him into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Griffin is a +250 underdog on as of this writing. Considering the fact that it is extremely rare for all of the favorites to win on UFC shows, I’d roll the dice with this one. A Griffin win isn’t impossible and there is a good chance you may get better odds on fight night.

The actual main-event of the show features B.J. Penn(13-5) defending the UFC lightweight title against Kenny Florian (11-3). Living in Philadelphia, I am kind of surprised to see these guys featured on the local posters over Griffin-Silva. In my opinion, this fight is getting more hype than it likely deserves.

Penn was destroyed several months ago by Georges St. Pierre. I think too many people are using that fight to analyze this one. For one thing, losing to St.Pierre says nothing about how good or bad you are. Georges is arguably the best p4p fighter in the world. I think too many people are taking too much away from that fight.

B.J. Penn is still one of the best fighters in the sport. I am actually surprised that Silva is more favored to win his fight than Penn. Prior to the St.Pierre fights, Penn was on an amazing streak. Penn arguably had the toughest string of opponents than anyone in his last three fights. Not only did Penn win them, he destroyed and dominated his competition.

For Kenny Florian, I just don’t get it at all. I don’t understand all of the love that Ken Flo gets from MMA fans. He seems like a nice enough guy (and we are LinkedIn together), but I don’t think this guy has a prayer. I don’t know if I would even consider him the top contender in the division at this point.

Florian did dominate Joe Stevenson in his last fight. However, a deep look at Florian’s competition tells me he hasn’t been tested. Florian lost against his two most notable opponents in Diego Sanchez and Sean Sherk (although Sherk tested positive for enhancement drugs). I just don’t see what he is going to bring to the table here that will give B.J. fits?

I just don’t see what Florian brings to the table that is better than what Penn has to offer? They are both BJJ fighters, yet Penn is an expert. If Florian tries to go to the ground against Penn, he is going to be submitted or dominated. Penn showed his stand up brilliance in the Sherk fight. Florian doesn’t have much of a chance standing with Penn. The only one that will beat B.J. Penn is B.J. Penn on Saturday night.

I predict a five-round fight out of these two guys. I think Florian will be cautious and play the waiting game. For Penn, I would expect him to play the counter game as well early on. Penn is chomping at the bit to avenge his loss to St.Pierre. If Penn hasn’t gotten that fight out of his head by now, he could be in trouble. In the end, I predict a decision in Penn’s favor.

Florian is a +180 underdog as of this writing on I wouldn’t even bother. I would take a stab on one of the undercard dogs before placing a dime on Florian at +180 odds. I don’t see this one as being that close. I would expect Florian to have Griffin odds and vice versa. At -230 Penn is a great bargain in my opinion for you MMA gamblers out there.

[adinserter block=”2″]In closing, it should be pointed out here where two of the main-event fighters came from. Kenny Florian and Forrest Griffin both entered UFC through UFC’s reality competition, The Ultimate Fighter. Griffin won the first season while Florian finished second in his division. UFC really should be applauded for grooming two fighters off of a reality show into two bonafide main-event competitors. Maybe there is some hope for Kimbo Slice yet?

In other bouts;
Tamdan McCrory vs John Howard
Matt Riddle vs Dan Cramer
George Sotiropoulos vs Rob Emerson
Jesse Lennox vs Danillo Villefort
Kurt Pellegrino vs Josh Neer
Ricardo Almeida vs Kendall
Amir Sadollah vs Johny Hendricks

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Order a Cage Fighter Black BJ Penn Walkout shirt by clicking here.

Order Forrest Griffin’s book Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat by clicking here.



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