One crappy fight card with two sets of crappy predictions.
UFC 83 takes place in Montreal tonight and only two Inside Fights staffers were able to drum up enough interest to make picks for the event. Without further ado, Kevin Wong and I go head-to-head.
Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre
Kevin: You can call this a title unification bout if you want, but GSP doesn’t consider himself the champion (the only reason there was a interim title to begin with is that Superdick Hughes wouldn’t fight St. Pierre otherwise), and thus neither will I. Thus Matt Serra finds himself in the awkward position of having his first tile defence being his first fight in a year in the home province of the challenger. That’s not a position I would like to find myself in. But then again I haven’t been a perrenial underdog like Serra has been through most of his career, so you can’t discount the possibility of Serra coming through. He’s got some heavy hands (thanks to Ray Longo) and he’s still a top BJJ Black Belt, so it’s not as if he’s an incapable fighter. In addition, GSP seems to have problems finishing fighters without a wrestling pedigree – virtually all of those fights have gone to a decision, so as long as Serra hangs in there, he’s got a chance.
GSP, meanwhile, would seem to have a lot of pressure coming into this fight. He needs to avenge his loss to Serra. He needs to put on a good show in front of thousands of Canadians. And he needs to prove that he’s overcome those mental issues he’s had in the past. The past two fights have given us a different GSP, and you have to figure that this trend will continue. But he needs to set the pace in this fight. If St. Pierre allows Serra to dictate the pace, he’s not going to be able to fight his game. It’s doubtful that Serra will be submitted, so ground and pound will be the order of the day. GSP needs to push the pace, set up the takedown, and utilize control for the five round decision or a ref stoppage.
Of course, being that this is a PPV in Montreal, I am obligated to raise the possibility of Serra attempting a submission and Dana White yelling “Blow the frakking air horn”, but I’m kinda doubting that’ll happen. GSP, TKO R3
Trent: I picked Matt Hughes to beat GSP and some dude made fun of me via email after the fight. While I won’t get into the weakness of calling me out AFTER the fight, I will admit to being a sucker for peer pressure. That said, there is no way I could even consider Matt Serra in this fight. GSP will be more cautious this time around. Serra doesn’t get submitted so the finish will likely be a 2nd round TKO for St. Pierre.
Rich Franklin vs. Travis Lutter
Kevin: On paper, I don’t think Lutter is in the same league as Franklin. In reality, the grappler could give Franklin some difficulties, especially after Ace was again destroyed by Anderson Silva. I see Franklin being tentative overall, and if Lutter sees an opportunity to take advantage of that, it could be an upset win for the Texan. Based on the Okami fight, you have to think that Franklin will bounce back here, but even if he does, it will take Silva moving up in weight before he gets another title shot. I don’t know if that’s enough motivation for Ace. He should win, but I don’t see him being able to out Lutter away. Franklin, Decision.
Trent: So Rich Franklin can’t beat Anderson Silva. Travis Lutter isn’t Anderson Silva so Rich Franklin can beat him. Hopefully Lutter makes weight. Or not. I really don’t care about watching him fight. Franklin would prefer to keep it standing but he’s no slouch on the ground. Lutter is great on the ground but he’s boring. Here’s the Middleweight division folks! Franklin will score a third round TKO, because he hates decisions.
Nate Quarry vs. Kalib Starnes
Kevin: I can’t say I’ve ever been sold on Quarry’s ability, but I’m impressed with his heart and his demeanour. He’s matched up with Kalib Starnes in what should be an entertaining standup fight, although the fact that this is on the live portion of the card speaks to the lack of star power for the PPV. Nothing against Starnes – who is another likeable guy – but one of the two undercard lightweight matches might make for better TV than this middleweight matchup. Neither guy is really over, nor in a position to contend for the middleweight title, so why have this on live as opposed to Clementi/Stout, which should get a great pop based on Stout’s tenure in TKO? “Home field advantage” dictates that I call this one for the West Coaster from Canada, so: Starnes, Decision
Trent: Quarry has had a hard-luck MMA career and is easy to root for. I liked Starnes from Ultimate Fighter and a win for either would quickly elevate them near the top of this thin middleweight division. From all I have seen of Quarry, he’s good at knocking people out and getting knocked out. Not familiar with a ground game for him. Starnes is well-rounded so I’ll give the nod to Starnes via decision.
Michael Bisping vs. Charles McCarthy
Kevin: Bisping’s debut at 185 is preceded by him doing what he does best – talk and belittle his opponent. If this was Matt Hughes talking, we’d be calling Bisping a dick, but there’s something in the way he phrases things that makes you think that he’s something other than a dick. Then again, Bisping does actually come across as a nice guy other than when he’s talking about his opponent, so maybe he’s not really an ass. Anyways, his opponent is Captain Miserable, Charles McCarthy, who is making a comeback of sorts after being out with an xCL injury (geez, Serra, Quarry, Lutter, and McCarthy. Maybe this PPV should’ve been called “Back from the DL”). McCarthy just got his Brown Belt in BJJ, so he’s got an advantage on the ground. Standing is another story. McCarthy alleges that his standup game has improved, but we really haven’t seen him utilize anything in his televised fights. Let’s just assume that it’s better than when he got beaten by kickboxer David Loiseau. Still, this is a fight that Bisping should win, and if this even goes to a decision, Bisping’s stock will drop to the point where he’s fighting Kendall Grove just to stay in the UFC. Bisping, TKO R2
Trent: The UFC is obviously trying to push the middleweights on this card, hoping that someone or two will stand out to make a meaningful matchup down the road. I don’t know what McCarthy has done since Ultimate Fighter, which means it probably isn’t anything good. I like Bisping but it’s time he wins some fights convincingly. He’s a smart fighter and he should definitely be able to outsmart McCarthy. Bisping by choke in the first round.
Marc Bocek vs. Mac Danzig
Kevin: Bocek has BJJ skills, but that’s probably not gonna help against Danzig. Danzig overwhelmed opponents during his run on The Ultimate Fighter, and I can’t imagine that things will be any different now that he’s dropped to 155. To be honest, I think Bocek is here primarily because the fight’s in Canada, and they didn’t want to risk Danzig potentially losing against a striker such as Sam Stout (doubtful, but still possible). A dominating stoppage will really enhance Danzig’s standing in the lightweight division. A decision will probably relegate him to fighting Rob Emerson. Danzig, Sub R1
Trent: Danzig steamrolled through the competition on Ultimate Fighter and Bocek is his first test since winning. Danzig’s experience is well-documented so the UFC can bring him along quicker than most TUF winners. Bocek won’t pose a threat to Danzig as Mac will methodically work for a rear naked choke and end things towards the end of the first round.
Tags: Mixed Martial Arts