After watching a very entertaining Super Bowl weekend card in UFC 126 (beware of the Anderson Silva front kick of doom!) I will refrain from any “shrimp on the bar-bay” jokes from Dumb & Dumber this time as the UFC heads to Sydney for UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch. Did I make that promise last time? Can’t remember. Moving on.
With a plethora of local and international talent to round out the card, the UFC 127 main event pits former LW champ BJ Penn against perennial WW contender Jon Fitch in a match that could determine the next contender to Georges St-Pierre’s belt at a date TBD. Even though both men would love another crack at the #1/#2 (depending on who you talk to) pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, they may have to ‘settle’ for whomever the champ is IF GSP moves up to MW for a Super Fight with Anderson Silva. Oh the uncertainty of it all! Before we get to that, here’s a look at the rest of the card.
Marciej Jewtuszko over Curt Warburton
Chris Tuchscherer over Mark Hunt
Zhang Tie Quan over Jason Reinhardt (aired on Facebook)
Tom Blackledge over Anthony Perosh (aired on Facebook)
Nick Ring over Riki Fukuda (aired on Ion)
Alexander Gustafsson over James Te-Huna (aired on Ion)
Ross Pearson over Spencer Fisher (aired on Ion)
UFC 127 Main Card
Chris Camozzi vs. Kyle Noke – Middleweight Bout
You didn’t think the UFC would start off the main card without at least one Aussie, did you? Countryman Kyle Noke, a former TUF alum from season 11, started his career as a bodyguard for Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin and has not lost since Elite XC’s Street Certified card where he got KO’d by Scott Smith. Camozzi, also TUF season 11 alum (well sort of since he had to pull out early due to an injury) is also riding a four-fight winning streak, most recently out-pointing Dong Yi Yang at UFC 121. I’ll be honest, it’s not exactly a barn burner to start off the pay-per-view, but with Team Greg Jackson and the hometown crowd in his corner, I see Noke being able to grind this one out with a smart game plan. Come on: you think I’d bet against someone who used to protect his holiness, The Crocodile Hunter?
Jay’s Pick: Noke via decision
Chris Lytle vs. Brian Ebersole
Chris Lytle was originally supposed to take rising-contender Carlos Condit, but due to Condit’s knee injury, he draws UFC newcomer Brian Ebersole, who’s on a seven-fight winning streak and has fought under so many banners in Australia he could be considered a local. “Lights Out” always is a fun fighter to watch, having grabbed 7 fight bonuses, has never been technically knocked out and mixes his stand up to set up a solid ground game. Ebersole has a ton of experience with over 50 pro fights under his belt and a penchant for finishing (33 of his 46 wins were by strikes or submissions). Being a last-minute entry to the dance is not in his favor, however, so I’ll bite on the always-game Lytle.
Jay’s Pick: Lytle via TKO, R2
George Sotiropoulos vs. Dennis Siver – Lightweight Bout
In my humble opinion, this fight is either going to produce a KO of the Night or a Submission of the Night. Hometown boy George Sotiropoulos takes an eight-fight winning streak (5 by submission) into the Octagon against German kickboxer Dennis Siver, who’s won two in a row since getting outpointed by Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night: Florian vs. Gomi. Even though Siver’s legs are built like tree trunks and he’s been known to use his kickboxing/taekwondo background to produce spinning back kick KO’s (just ask Paul Kelly or Nate Mohr), Sot’s stand up has improved and his ground game is one of the best in the division. Again, he’s got a major boost from the hometown crowd and I think he’ll be able to get this fight to the ground and finish it.
Jay’s Pick: George Sotiropoulos via submission, R2
Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera – Middleweight Bout
Since losing a somewhat debatable decision to Wanderlei Silva (which he laments about in the press frequently), Michael Bisping has outpointed Dan Miller and Sexyama and now draws Jorge Rivera, who’s gone 5-2 in the UFC since his stint on season 4 of T.U.F. Always looking to stand and bang, Rivera rarely lets fights go the distance, having stopped 4 out of those 5 by strikes. At 38, he’s not getting any younger, however, and EVEN though I still think Bisping is overrated in the UFC’s eyes, I still stand by the fact that the bell-ringing KO he suffered from Dan Henderson at UFC 100 in July ’09 drilled home the message (literally) to not leave your chin up.
Jay’s Pick: Bisping via TKO, R3
If hooking up with the same woman (or man, to all our female readers) at different points in life makes you Eskimo brothers (or sisters) with another person, then Penn and Fitch are the Eskimo brothers of getting your ass beaten by Georges St-Pierre. Still, that does not make them shy away from going back for seconds (or in Penn’s case, thirds) since the winner of this fight was announced to have earned a title shot.
After dropping two in a row at LW to Frankie Edgar, Penn, a former WW champ, returned to the heavier division and gave the ol’ One-Two to Matt Hughes in their rubber match, knocking him out quick at UFC 123. I’m not going to debate the whole “is his heart in it” etc. etc. that accompanies any discussion about BJ, but I will certainly say that Jon Fitch’s heart is always in it. Simply put: he’s one tough, tactical beast at 23-3-1 with a five-fight winning streak since his last loss to GSP back in August 2008. Penn is faster and very much the superior boxer, but I would be shocked if Penn did to Fitch what he did to Hughes. Fitch has a rock solid jaw and with his noticeable size and fantastic wrestling, I foresee Decision-fest continuing for the best welterweight not from Canada.
Jay’s Pick: Fitch via decision
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