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UFC 109 Relentless: Preview and Predictions

UFC 109Saturday’s UFC 109 card is suffered from the afterbirth of The Fall Curse of 09, with the initial match up of Lil Nog vs. Brandon Vera being scrapped due to Nog’s ankle injury and Josh Koscheck withdrawing from his rematch with Paulo Thiago due to his own injury, so teammate Mike Swick has stepped in for Koscheck. Interestingly enough, the UFC main event featuring Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman (being jokingly referred to as “The Battle of the Old Geezers”) has made it this far without injuries. Their combined age is 91. Okay I promise no more jokes about their age since it’s been beaten like a dead horse around the blogosphere. With that said, let’s get down to it:

Matt Serra vs. Frank Trigg
I said I wouldn’t make jokes about Couture vs. Coleman’s age…but I did NOT say anything about Serra vs. Trigg (Combined age: 72). I’m kidding. They’re not old by conventional standards. They’re just approaching this fight on the backside of their careers. Serra just lost a long-overdue grudge match with Matt Hughes in a close decision at UFC 98 and Trigg recently got smoked by Koscheck at UFC 103 via first round TKO. Some say this fight might be their last shot at relevancy, but in my humble opinion, the winner is prolonging the inevitable: neither can hang in the current welterweight division. Despite Trigg’s superior wrestling, I think Serra’s jiu jitsu decides this.

[ad#336r]Jay’s Pick: Serra via submission, round 2

Demian Maia vs. Dan Miller
An interesting middleweight contest considering both men are coming off losses to Nate Marquardt and Chael Sonnen…who are fighting later in the night for a shot at Anderson Silva. Miller is the superior wrestler, but unfortunately if he tries to use that to control the tempo, Maia could sub him in myriad of ways due to his world-class jiu jitsu. Miller’s best bet is to keep it standing, but I think Maia will take it to the ground and provide us with a “Submission of the Night.”

Jay’s Pick: Maia via submission, round 1

Mike Swick vs Paulo Thiago
The AKA house refusing to fight one another has caused somewhat of a traffic jam at the top of the welterweight division. Fortunately, in this case, the UFC was able to use same-division teammates to their advantage as Koscheck’s teammate Swick steps in to avenge Koscheck’s KO loss to Thiago at UFC 95. Swick is coming off a decision loss to Dan Hardy at UFC 105 while Thiago recently won a decision over Jacob Volkmann at UFC 106. Odds give a slight edge to Swick at -200 to Thiago +160, but a lot of people are giving Thiago the advantage, citing his jiu jitsu and the KO over Kos. Without belaboring the controversial stoppage, I think Kos would win a rematch and in this case, I’m going to give Swick the TKO to avenge his teammate.

Jay Pick: Swick via TKO, round 3 (wouldn’t bet the farm on this one folks)

Nate Marquardt vs. Chael Sonnen
As a relative newcomer to MMA, I learned two things about this fight: Marquardt has evolved since his loss to Anderson Silva and is a HELLUVA lotta fun to watch as he’s torn through Kampmann, Gouveia, and Maia since his loss to Thales Leites in ’08. I’ve also learned that Sonnen talked some serious s*** leading up to this fight about EVERYBODY: Marquardt, Anderson Silva, and even Mark Coleman to get some solid press. With Sonnen’s unanimous decision over the constantly-overlooked Yushin Okami at UFC 104, the UFC brass have officially made this a title shot fight. Sonnen has not been putting people away and the bigger Marquardt is hungry after being passed over by Vitor Belfort for the shot at Silva. Simply put: he’s pissed off and if his 21-second KO of Maia was him screaming, “I WANT ANOTHER TITLE SHOT” then finishing off Sonnen will be his exclamation point.

Jay’s Pick: Marquardt via TKO, round 2

Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman
[adinserter block=”2″]Ah yes, the legend’s fight. The Godfather of Ground & Pound vs. the durable Captain America. If you count their 1989 Olympic Festival amateur wrestling match at OSU, Coleman is 1-0 against Couture. After a 3 year absence, Coleman came back to lose via TKO to a very out-of-shape ‘Shogun’ Rua at UFC 93 in the final round. Then he drew Stephan Bonnar for the company’s biggest night ever at UFC 100…and won at the age of 44. Couture, on the other hand, came back to the UFC after a contract dispute, lost his HW belt to some guy named Brock, and then put on one of the best fights of 2009 in a decision loss to Big Nog at UFC 102. Even though it was a highly contested and controversial unanimous decision, he bounced back down to the LHW division and got a win against Brandon “The Disappointing Truth” Vera at UFC 105.

Obviously both of these men come with superb wrestling credentials. On the ground, Coleman will be looking to pound out Couture but with age his power is definitely not what it used to be (in his prime, we’d be holding funeral services for Stephan Bonnar). Even if he gets top control, Couture is too smart and too tactical to let himself get blasted like he did against the (obviously) younger, larger, and stronger Lesnar. His dirty boxing is still great to watch as we saw with Nogueira and I think he’ll grind out another decision.

Jay’s Pick: Couture via decision

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