My Two Cents: UFC 72 Victory

Every UFC PPV event I do a break down giving my thoughts and opinions about the fighters and the match ups. This time around I’ll be discussing the up coming fights of UFC 72.

Clay Guida (21 – 4 – 0) vs. Tyson Griffin (8 – 1 – 0)

I really hope this bout gets televised. I haven’t seen many of their fights, but their reputations precede each other. Tyson Griffin is a 155lb surge of strength. Up until his last fight at UFC 67, Griffin was undefeated. His recored was additionally impressive because of his ability to finish all his opponents one of which being current WEC champ Urijah Faber (Griffin is the only fighter to hold a win over Faber).

Clay Guida is a warrior with a history of waging wars in the cage. He’s an aggressive wrestler who constantly pushes the pace and always moves forward. He made headlines in March of 2006 at Strikeforce with his dominating win over Josh Thompson. But since then he’s lost 3 of his last 5 fights, his most recent being a decision loss to Din Thomas.

My Call: I expect this to be a very action packed bout, possibly fight of the night.

Rory Singer (12 – 7 – 0) vs. Jason MacDonald (19 – 8 – 0)

Jason MacDonald has gotten a new moniker as “The Ultimate Fighter Killer”. He’s already defeated Ed Herman (TUF3) by submission and Chris Leben (TUF1) by choking him unconscious. He came up short in his last fight against TUF2 coach/former middleweight champ Rich Franklin. MacDonald fought with much heart attempting many submissions but Franklin’s striking game was just too much for him. On June 6, MacDonald looks to get back on the winning track and add another TUF notch to his belt.

Rory Singer is the tough fighter who is best known as the neurotic clean freak from season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter. Singer has many submission victories to his credit. He won his first two fights in the UFC beating fellow TUF3 participants Ross Pointon and Josh Haynes. He lost by way of submission (strikes) to Yushin Okami but has won a fight since then. He is looking to make a win in the octagon again.

My Call: Since both these guys are submission savvy, it will be an interesting match up to say the least. I’d like to give this to Jason MacDonald though because he has the better submission pedigree. Then again when two good grapplers go at it, the deciding factor usually is who has the better stand up.

Hector Ramirez (6 – 2 – 1) vs. Forrest Griffin (13 – 4 – 0)

Fighter Forrest Griffin needs not introduction. He’s the goofy, laid back, beloved winner of The Ultimate Fighter season 1. Since his win over Stephan Bonnar at the Ultimate Fighter finale, Griffin has had impressive wins over Bill Mahood and Elvis Sinosic. He lost a controversial decision to Tito Ortiz and then won his rematch with Stephan Bonnar. Last December, Griffin faced off against TUF2 competitor Keith Jardin and lost brutally via TKO from strikes. Griffin, clearly disappointed in his loss, left the octagon in tears saying, “I got knocked the f@#% out!”. He was scheduled to face Lyoto Machida at UFC 70, but was forced to pull out due to a staph infection. He looks to get back to his winning ways by defeating Hector Ramirez.

Ramirez is a fighter with heavy hands and strong wrestling. Many of Ramirez’ wins have come either by KO or TKO. In his UFC debut, he was knocked out by James Irvin in the second round. But what needs to be noted is that prior to that, Ramirez was clearly winning the match. He bullied Irvin with his stand up and dominated him on the ground. Ramirez has much potential in the light heavyweight division. There is no question that a win over Griffin would catapult his career.

My Call: I think what people are going to notice most about this fight is the difference in Forrest’s mindset. In every commercial I’ve seen promoting this fight, I’ve seen a look on Griffin’s face that I think most have never seen before: a serious one. He got beat and embarrassed by Jardin and I think it’s really affected him mentally, but in a good way. One thing that many have criticized about the TUF guys is that of their abrupt (and sometimes undeserved) celebrity status. As a result of said status, many of them become complacent and lose their edge. I think this was the case with Griffin. And having lost to Jardin the way he did I feel he’s finally gotten that fire back. He’s currently training hard with Randy Couture and it looks like he means business. But I can’t completely call this in favor of Griffin because this is not an easy comeback fight. Ramirez is a hungry up and comer currently training at Big Bear under Juanito Ibarra (the guy who coached Rampage Jackson into a KO over Liddell). Furthermore, since Griffin is a fan favorite, a loss here could prove devastating to his career. This has got to weigh on his mind and I wonder how the pressure will affect him come fight time.

Rich Franklin (23 – 2 – 0) vs. Yushin Okami (21 – 3 – 0)

The main event of UFC 72 features a battle between two middleweights with the winner possibly fighting for the title. Former UFC Middleweight Champion, Rich “Ace” Franklin is continuing his quest to regain the title. But to get that chance he needs to win over strong Japanese fighter Yushin Okami.

Franklin is what I like to call a true MMA fighter. Meaning that no matter where the fight goes (standing, ground, or clinch) Franklin is going to be a threat. He’s a 205lber that cuts down to 185lbs, which gives him a considerable size and strength advantage. Franklin’s work ethic is renowned in MMA circles. And of his 23 wins only one of which ever went to a decision. A five round shut out against David Loiseau which Franklin fought with a broken hand.

Yushin Okami is on a four fight win streak in the UFC with wins over Kalib Starnes, Alan Belcher, Rory Singer and Mike Swick. Okami’s style is one that involves wearing down his opponents. Though he may not look it, he hits hard. He has good takedowns and, unlike his Japanese counterparts, prefers ground and pound over submissions. Okami is also very patient and this works well in his fight strategy.

My Call: During his bouts with Starnes and Swick, both fighters went back to their corners overwhelmed by the strength of Okami. In fact, Swick was so taken back by being overpowered that he is seriously questioning whether or not he wants to continue fighting at 185lbs. This begs the question as to how will Rich Franklin be able to deal with a fighter who he cannot out muscle. And if you think this point has not substance to it then I suggest you rewatch Franklin’s fight versus Anderson Silva. As for Okami, he has a tendency to take some pretty hard shots during his fights and Franklin is the better striker of the two. Though he has a tough chin, if there’s any fighter that can test it it’s Franklin. The only thing I can say for sure about this bout is that it’s a must win for Franklin.