UFC 111: St. Pierre vs. Hardy (aka “The Fight in Newark That Will Hopefully Convince the NY Athletic Commission to Sanction MMA”) Preview
It has been less than a week since UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones on Versus and here is what we now know: Brandon Vera’s face is broken. Jone Jones is still ridiculous. Gabriel Gonzaga is struggling. Junior dos Santos is probably 1 solid fight away from a title shot. Oh, and apparently there’s a fight in Jersey this weekend with two titles on the line (granted, one is completely unnecessary but hey, who am I to complain?). That being said, here’s the main card:
Jim Miller vs. Mark Boceck
We start the PPV portion off with a pair of rising LWs in Jim Miller & Mark Boceck. Both are have a few things in common: they’re greatest strength is their ground games, both are riding three fight winning streaks, and both have faced Mac Danzig (Boceck lost by R1 sub, Miller won via UD). If this hits the mat, it should make for an exciting ground war, and frankly, it’s tough to call. For me, though, the hometown NJ native Miller showed improved striking in his most recent fight against Duane Ludwig shows he might be able to wear out Boceck more effectively to win it.
Jay’s Pick: Miller via TKO, R3
Jon Fitch vs. Ben Saunders
[adinserter block=”1″]In all seriousness, I hope Thiago Alves is ok. For those of you who are confused, his CAT scan came back with an irregularity and he was pulled from the card. Instead, Jon Fitch is now in a lose-lose situation, Ben Saunders has nothing to lose, and Jake Ellenberger just got free money. Saunders is taller than Alves and has a dangerous clinch (first guy to KO Marcus Davis), but isn’t quite as strong as The Pitbull. Saunders requested the fight and seems pumped up, but this is a noticeable jump up in competition on such short notice. Initially I had Alves pulling out a decision, but I think we can depend on the Decision-happy Fitch (3 for 3 since his loss to St.-Pierre at UFC 87, all going the distance) wrestling his way to another victory.
Jay’s Pick: Fitch via decision
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Fabricio Camoes
Goes to show that one injury can open up so many opportunities in MMA: Ben Saunders gets bumped up to fight Jon Fitch and now, New Jersey’s own Kurt Pellegrino & Fabricio Camoes get bumped up from the undercard. Pellegrino is riding a three-fight winning streak with wins over Josh Neer, Rob Emerson, and Thiago Tavares. He’s lingering in the middle of the pack in the LW division, having lost to upper tier fighters in Nate Diaz & Joe “Daddy” Stevenson. Camoes, on the other hand, is hoping to avoid having a winless record (which means a quicker exit these days) after a majority draw in his UFC debut against Caol Uno at UFC 106. Both men bring good ground games to the mix, with Pellegrino getting 4 out of his 7 UFC wins via submission and Camoes finishing off 2 out of his 3 previous fights via R1 submission under Strikeforce. Barring he doesn’t get too excited about the bump to the main card in front of his hometown crowd and fall to Camoes jiu jitsu, I give this one to hometown boy Pellegrino.
Jay’s Pick: Pellegrino via TKO, R2
Shane Carwin vs. Frank Mir
[adinserter block=”2″]Frank Mir carries a gun & a knife on him at all times, people. We learned this recently from his Fight! Magazine interview. Unfortunately for him, you are not allowed to bring a knife or a gun into the Octagon (Yup, checked the rule book on that one). This will be one of the biggest heavyweight co-main event fights we’ve seen this year both in terms of abstract magnitude and physical size (both guys walk around 10-15 lbs above the 265 limit). The winner, barring injury, gets a crack at Brock Lesnar’s heavyweight belt later this summer at UFC 116. In the meantime, the winner gets a shiny interim HW belt (see what I mean by a pointless title? I mean, it’ll be unified during Lesnar fight first or, if the winner sustains a significant injury, becomes completely useless while Velasquez gets his shot ad interim). Mir is the slight favorite in oddsmakers’ eyes after he bulked up his frame and choked Cheick Kongo out at UFC 107. He also has a longer career with a deeper arsenal. Having said that, he has not faced someone with Carwin’s power (other than Lesnar himself) in quite some time. I agree with many that Carwin, despite being 10-0, is a little UFC “green” for a title-shot fight and has not taken on the toughest opponents, but his grit in his last fight against Gonzaga (KO, R1), his DII wrestling skills and Tonka-truck sized hands have me convinced.
Jay’s Pick (here’s the wild one): Carwin via TKO, R2
Georges St.-Pierre vs. Dan Hardy
And now…the main event…of this completely subjective preview! The welterweight title fight: GSP vs. Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy. Oddsmakers have this as high as -1300 for GSP & +800 for Hardy. I’ll stop right there: if you are going to wager ANY money on this fight, unless you are incredibly wealthy, throw a few dollars on Hardy. He has better striking than Matt Serra (Upset alert) and the power to put GSP away…
Now that I’ve addressed the “He could catch him” argument, I’ll go back to why St.-Pierre will win this fight. In only discussing some of his most recent victories, he has outclassed stronger strikers (Alves and Penn) with his wrestling, he’s got insane cardio and gone five rounds with guys who have better chins (Fitch), and, scarily enough, he’s gotten bigger and stronger. Fortunately, this could set up a great fight between Hardy and the winner of Alves/Fitch…
Jay’s Pick: GSP via submission, R3
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