Tuesday, July 04, 2006

UFC 61

Thanks to my man, James, I'm going to be sitting at Octagon side on Saturday Night at the press table for UFC 61. This brings James into a tie for my favorite person in the Los Angeles area (sorry Houston, you no longer occupy the spot on your own). I'm really looking forward to the show. Some people talk about UFC's rise being a problem for WWE. To me it's been a real positive for WWE, because I would be so much grumpier about WWE's monumental creative collapse were it not for the likes of UFC & Pride, and ROH & PWG. Here's a quick look at the card:

Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock. Yes, I think Ortiz is winning handily. But I don't see it as being a worse beating than their first fight. People have focused on the fact Shamrock is a lot older and on the decline. But they ignore a key factor: Tito Ortiz' motivation. Ortiz was more motivated for that Shamrock fight than I think any other fight he's had, and as such he was really dangerous. I don't see this being the same Ortiz, so I think Shamrock might be able to get out of the first round. How's that for a bold semi-prediction?

Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski. One of fighting's great trilogies, this ain't. But I am really interested in seeing how this goes, because I like Arlovski and don't care much for Sylvia. Arlovski in his UFC.com interview looks like an angry man, and has grown out his beard, which is a good sign. I give Sylvia a much better chance this time than I did at UFC 59, but I still like Arlovski to win via KO. Arlovski got reckless going for the finish, and he paid for it. I don't see that happening again this time. A key to the fight is the fact that both guys rely on their reach with their striking, and Sylvia has that weapon when they go one-on-one and Arlovski doesn't. Still, I think Arlovski has more skills.

Dan Christison vs. Frank Mir. I don't have much interest in seeing Frank Mir post-accident. He looked like a shell of his former self against Pe De Pano, and this could be the end of the road if he can't beat what should be an easy opponent for him. I don't think Mir does have anything left, so I'll take Christison in an upset, but I'm just guessing. Only those close to Mir know how good of a shot he has here.

Josh Burkman vs. Josh Neer. Now this is a fight! I love this matchup between tough young fighters. They really aren't giving either of these guys any breaks, as they both have been matched up against a bunch of tough fighters and thus nobody knows how good they are. This has fight of the night written all over it, and I favor Neer.

Joe Stevenson vs. Yves Edwards. This is another fight that should be really good. I'm surprised Edwards is favored fairly heavily, because this is a good matchup for Stevenson, who can dominate and control with his wrestling and muscle mass. My head says Stevenson, my heart says Edwards.

The undercard isn't packed with exciting matchups, but it has some good individual fighters. It will be nice to see Hermes Franca back in the UFC. Jeff Monson is one win away from a HW Title shot. I think he's really good, but he'll have a tough time with either Arlovski or Sylvia. Drew Fickett's another fun fighter to watch, but he'll be tested again. And Aldana vs. Kongo looks to be a fun brawl. UFC should make 1 fight like that on every card.


Blogger Swain said...

Have you read the article on Monson on the UFC homepage? A fighter with a sense of social justice, an intriguing combination, and one that makes me want to find out more about this guy.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Dave Ling & Franchise said...

The Snowman is a pretty interesting guy, although it always seems like he's "one win away from a HW title shot", hopefully he gets his shot in 2006.

After a pretty good Pride show last weekend, hopefully UFC can put together a good show to compete. It's not that UFC is afraid of losing its audience to Pride, although recently found I've been enjoying the Pride way more given the huge talent disparity between the TUF fighters and the guys Pride brings out during it's PPVs.

Sure TUF guys have good fights with guys on their levels but the same could be said if I put two hobos on the street and let them fight.

I guess I'm slowing finding that UFC is drawing closer to a WWE mentality that if UFC doesn't "make" a fighter then they're not really interested in featurning anyone from outside the traditional UFC circle.

I want to see the best fighters in the world competing at the highest level. I don't like that the UFC is starting to hand out coal and promotes it as a diamond. Chris Leben learned the hard way that those guys who have fought in Japan hit hard... very hard.

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Great point Dave. Ultimate Fighter was great to introduce a wide audience to UFC and the first season produced some decent prospects. But there were a finite number of prospects readily available and almost all have been exhausted now. I don't need to see a repeat of Nate Quarry: number one contender any time soon.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Thanks for noting that article. I hadn't noticed it. To me it was a little disappointing from the standpoint of what the writer said, because he didn't really go into what exactly Monson believes. It seems kind of weak to write the article and then duck out on really tackling the subject. The rumor is Monson gets his shot in November at UFC 65.

As far as UFC/Pride, UFC has high enough level competitors that what you're talking about doesn't bother me, but it's definitely there. The thing I like about it is UFC generally goes after entertaining fighters, as opposed to keeping around a Ricardo Arona who is skilled but mostly has boring fights. UFC is too stingy though when it comes to bringing people in. It's like they'll only bring in guys who take a really low amount or were in UFC before. To me a guy like Rampage has so much potential that it's worth taking the risk on him at a high dollar contract. But it's hard to argue what UFC is doing right now, as they are having tremendous success and putting on what is largely an excellent product.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Oh come on, Phil! Nate Quarry may not have deserved a title shot, but any matchup that resulted in a knockout that spectacular was worth making!

9:14 AM  
Blogger Houston Mitchell said...

What? Who is this James guy? We need a special loser-leaves-town match.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous James said...

Houston, I only cover MMA/Pro Wrestling, I don't participate. If Todd's that important to you, then, by all means, I'll settle for No. 2.
Hahaha. I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into, here.

4:39 PM  

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