UFC 61: Bitter Rivals Preview

The Main Card

  • Heavyweight Title Fight: Tim Sylvia (258.5) vs. Andrei Arlovski (234)
  • Too much, too soon? It was only a few months ago that Tim Sylvia defeated Andrei Arlovski for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. I realize that there isn’t a hell of a lot of competition in the Heavyweight division right now, but this rubber match feels a little rushed to me. We know what both of these guys are capable of. We know how badly both of them want the title. Perhaps a longer build-up would’ve made it more exciting, but I guess the UFC has to do what’s in the best interest for the company when two of their champs are still out with injuries. Sylvia, as usual, is looked at as the underdog. While I don’t think it was a “lucky punch” that took out Arlovski at UFC 59, I don’t think Andrei will lower his defenses like that again. Look for Arlvoski to attempt to bring this one to the ground if his punches don’t take the big man down. Winner: Arlvoski.

  • Light Heavyweight Fight: Tito Ortiz (206) vs. Ken Shamrock (206)
  • This is the fight that I think everyone wants to see. It’s a classic grudge match between two of the UFC’s biggest names. Ortiz bitched that Shamrock weighed in one pound over the weight limit yesterday, only to wind up weighing in at one-and-a-half pounds over the limit himself. These guys are itchin’ something fierce to get in the Octagon tonight. I don’t think Shamrock has what it takes to take out Ortiz, but I do expect the old man to give Tito a run for his money. Look for at least two rounds of hard hitting action, but look for Tito to keep this out of the judges’ hands. Winner: Ortiz.

  • Heavyweight Fight: Frank Mir (262) vs. Dan Christison (264.5)
  • I don’t even know how to begin predicting Mir’s actions after his bout with Marcio Cruz. I’m also not familiar enough with TUF 2’s Christison to know his style all too well. He is a solid fighter, from what I’ve seen, but he could have trouble with Mir’s ground game. Winner: Mir.

  • Lightweight Fight: Yves Edwards (154.5) vs. Joe Stevenson (155)
  • Edwards is looking for redemption after his UFC 58 loss to Mark Hominick, and Stevenson is looking to avenge his loss to Josh Neer at UFN 4. It’s a must-win for both competitors, but it’s a very important win for Stevenson and UFC. If Stevenson loses it would begin a losing streak, and it would be extremely bad PR for UFC to have to cut one of their TUF winners loose. This is Stevenson’s first fight as a Lightweight, and while Edwards got caught off guard by Hominick’s quickness, he is very experienced at 155. Winner: Edwards.

  • Welterweight Fight (Swing Bout): Josh Burkman (169) vs. Josh Neer (170)
  • Neer is two-for-two in UFC, with his most recent win, as mentioned before, against Stevenson. TUF 2’s Josh Burkman is two-for-three in UFC, losing his most recent fight against Jon Fitch. Both of these guys are young and hungry, but Neer is the more experienced fighter. Burkman’s Team Quest training will be put to the test tonight. Neer’s tough, but I like what I see in Burkman. Winner: Burkman.

    The Undercard

  • Heavyweight Fight: Jeff Monson (236) vs. Anthony Perosh (224)
  • Welterweight Fight: Hermes Franca (158.5) vs. Joe Jordan (164)
  • Welterweight Fight: Drew Fickett (171) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (168.5)
  • Heavyweight Fight: Gilbert Aldana (251) vs. Cheick Kongo (229)
  • I’ll have my thoughts on the aftermath of UFC 61 next week, but then I’ll be M.I.A. for a few weeks. My wife is scheduled to be induced into labor on Wednesday, so my kid will more than likely be born on Thursday. It’s our first, so some bonding time will be needed, and there won’t be shit going on in UFC. I’ll be back in time to preview Ultimate Fight Night 6, which airs on August 17th on Spike TV.

  • The power of the Devil compels you…
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