Tonight is the big night and I can't wait. Rich 'ace' Franklin vs David 'the crow' Loiseau, BJ Penn vs Georges St Pierre. That alone is worth more than the PPV. In addition to that we have the return of the lightweights and one of my favorite fighters, Yves Edwards! This has already been an exciting year for MMA, and it just keeps getting better. Bigger fights, better competitors and more PPV's to compliment the growing UFC and PRIDE tv shows.
The Undercard. - If you read about the card on the python earlier this month you will notice some changes. Both Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian had to back out of there fights. Diego with a stomach illness that put him in the hospital and Kenny with some kind of back injury during training. Christophe Midoux was also replace after taking a knee to the stomach and suffering a hernia last night (or the night before). Iccho Larenas will step in and fight in his place. Luckily these were slated to be the undercard fights and the show will go on as originally planned. Those in attendance will undoubtedly be a little dissapointed to miss out on Diego and Kenny who are still riding their popularity from the SPIKE TV show The Ultimate Fighter. Spencer Fisher Team USA
VS Sam Stout Team Canada
Spencer Fisher (17-1 with 9 KO's and 7 submisions) is a last minute replacement for Kenny Florian which brings on 2 important question. What will this do to the mental game planning of Stout (8-1-1 with 6 KO's)? What kind of shape is Fisher in? As a fighter you prepare yourself for you big fight by not only getting in shape and training what you are good at, but observing your opponents fights and building a game plan around what you think is your best opportunity to win. 1/2 of Stout's training has more than likely been focused around an opportunity to counter stike take down attempts from Florian. Now he's go a fighter in Fisher who will probably go in and swing for the fences and be a little more aggressive than Florian would have. Fisher is also a little bigger than Stout.
I'm going to go with the good ole American in this one and call it for Spencer Fisher. He needs to press the action early and try to get it done in the 1st. Stout should probably try and take this into the 2nd and 3rd rounds to try and test Fishers cardio since he came in at the last minute, although that would not play into his strengths as a brawler. Look for this one to be fast and furious and end with a KO. Tom Murphy Team USA
VS Iccho Larenas Team Canada
The same predicament faces Tom Murphy (4-1) as he is facing a last minute replacement in Iccho Larenas (3-1). These Heavyweights should both come out and throw blows, Murphy should have a decent fan base coming from The Ultimate Fighter show. After losing to Rashad Evans (the TUF season 2 Heavyweight champ) he claimed to have not put forth his best effort as he was hampered by injuries.
I'm going with the USA again in this one and give Tom Murphy the benifit of the doubt with the knee injury. I don't know much about Larenas, I will say that all his fights have ended in a KO, the 1st fight was him getting knocked out, all the ones since have been his opponents. Jason Lambert Team USA
VS Rob MacDonald Team Canada
Another last minute match up will pit Lambert (19-5 with 9 KO's) agains MacDonald (3-0 with 1 KO). MacDonald is an up and rising star who lost to Brad Imes during the taping of The Ultimate Fighter. Note- losses on TUF do not count against your record as they are not sanctioned fights (it's a long story but trust me). Lambert has been in with a couple of big names for a relatively unknown fighter. The big named fighters; Sylvia, Sonnen, Ruas and Correira all defeated him but those were a while back.
Trust me when I say all of my predictions won't be for the USA but this one I'm sticking with the Red White and Blue!!!!! I'm picking Lambert because he's been in with the better opponents and has a lat more experience. MacDonald has promised a 1st round knock out so he's not just gonna roll over and tap. Should be another good one.
That's it for the undercard, on to what we are all going to see on the TV tonight. Yves Edwards Team USA
VS Mark Hominich Team Canada
Wahoo! Those who know me know that I'm excited for this one. If you haven't seen Yves (28-9-1 with 12 KO's and 10 Submissions) fight take my advice, DON"T BLINK. He's fast and furious and I love his style. Yves is the founder of his own martial arts style, he calls it ThugJitsu. A blend of this and that really, he does it all as you can see from his balanced record. His 1 loss out of his last 8 fights came via split decision loss to Joachim Hansen over in PRIDE. I don't know much about Hominick but I do know this, he's gonna loose! That's right I said it. ThugJitsu forever!
I think you've probably guessed this one but just to make it official I'm going to call this one for Team USA and Yves Edwards. Mike Swick Team USA
VS Steve Vigneault Team Canada
Mike "Quick" Swick (9-1) likes to follow his nickname and end fights quick. His last to have been brutal KO's over Gideon Ray and Alex Schoenauer. Those two fights together totalled 42 seconds, you read it right. Swick is another former TUF contestant who's making quite a name for himself. Vigneault is a good fighter who's been around the block. I really would put him in a category I put a lot of fighters in, and this is not a bad thing. He's a top 2nd tier guy. I don't think he belongs in the UFC or PRIDE but he's a good fighter, he's tough and he will bring it tonight. I just don't think he's good enough to compete on that top top level. Good thing for him is he has a chance to prove me wrong. As I've said before, there is a reason the fight the fights.
I got Team USA sweeping this thing as I take Mike Swick with a 'quick' KO. Nate "the great" Marquardt Team USA
VS Joe Doerksen Team Canada
Marquardt (20-6-2 with 4 KO's and 11 Subs) is a Pancrase veteran who's UFC debut at The Ultimate Fight night was unimpressive at best. He did clearly beat Ivan Salaverry in a decision but he did not press any action and it was a yawn fest. Doerksen (32-8 with 4 KO's and 25 Subs) will definately press the action. It will be interesting to see Marquardt in this type of fight to see what happens. These guys are definately ground guys by nature but Doerksen is more than willing to stand up with anyone.
Here it is, my 1st prediction for Team Canada.....Joe Doerksen. BJ "the prodigy" Penn Team USA
VS Georges "rush" St Pierre Team Canada
Alright, give me a moment to catch my breath......whew, this is a very anticipated fight. Penn (10-2-1 with 3 KO's and 4 Subs) has been out of the UFC game for just over 2 full years. He's had 4 fights since then, just not in the UFC. And what about that last UFC fight you ask, he only beat Matt Hughes, current UFC Welterwegiht god, I mean champ. Beating Hughes is no small feat. Penn all but dropped off the face of the Earth after that fight, confusing many of his fans. His only 2 fights in 2005 were MMA exhibition type mounts at K-1 events. (K-1 is a kickboxing tournament) I felt like both his performances in the K-1 events were lackluster and not a normal Penn like fight. You may be looking at those pictures up there and thinking this will be an easy fight for St Pierr, Penn just doesn't look like a fighter. Trust me, he is. He will come to fight. Georges 'rush' St Pierre is 11-1 with 5 KO's and 4 Subs. His 1 loss, Matt Hughes. In that fight St Pierre was controlling the action and I had him beating Hughes in the 1st round. Unfortunately for him Hughes landed an armbar with 1 second left in the 1st round. That 1 second has haunted him ever since. St Pierre is a complete package who will take you down and ground and pound you till you are done. If you are unfamiliar with the term ground and pound, watch and learn cuz he may be the best at it.
OK, I'm gonna take some shit for this I know it.......I'm picking Team Canada for the 2nd straight fight and going with St Pierre. This will be a great fight no doubt!
And now for the main event of the evening..... Rich "Ace" Franklin Team Captain USA
VS David "The Crow" Loiseau Team Captian Canada
Another great match up. Rich Franklin (19-1 with 10 KO's and 9 Subs, 4 of the 9 submissions were submissions due to stikes. Basically, he was about to KO them.) just doesn't like to leave it up to the judges, he's never gone the distance. He has been Knocking people out for a while now. Franklin is a very smart fighter who stirkes and grapples well. He's tough to take down and even tougher to strike with. On a quick side note I will say that Franklin has fought at 185 and 205, I'd love to see him go up to 205 and take on Chuck Liddell, I think that would be a great fight. Ok, back to this fight. David Loiseau (14-4 with 9 KO's and 2 subs) is not afraid to stand with anyone. Known for his incredibly dangerous elbows that change a fight in a second. Loiseau is exciting to watch because he tries some risky moves, flying and spinning kicks, punches and knees are all a part of his arsenal.
I'm getting back to Team USA and Rich Franklin for this prediction. I think this will be a great fight but Franklin is just to good for him. But do watch for those flying moves of Loiseau, they can change the fight in an instant.
All in All this will be another great night of fights.