The UFC is back again on The Lake Erie Soldiers. It has been a while since we last covered it, since the first UFC event back in early January. UFC 108 was huge, much better then expected, and I had a pretty good night with my predictions. I picked all but 1 fight right on the main card. UFC 109 is looking to be a pretty awesome card if nothing changes between now and Saturday. There are definitely some names on the main card that casual MMA fans would not recognize, and the main event might not be the most exciting of the year, but it pits 2 legendary fighters against one another in the main event of what should be a great night. Before we get to the main fight card, lets look at a few of the fights on the preliminary card.
The first prelim fight that really pops out is the first one of the night. Rolles Gracie takes on Mostapha Al-Turk in a heavyweight bout. Gracie is coming along well as a developing fighter, he is 3-0 in his brief career, while the older Al-Turk is 6-5. Gracie follows in his family footsteps and is an awesome BJJ fighter, and this is his first UFC fight. He is not known for much at this point and at 31, is getting a late start. Al-Turk has not had much luck so far in his UFC career, losing his only 2 fights to Mirko Cro Cop and Cheick Kongo, but he might have the upper hand with his well-rounded skill set over the inexperienced Gracie. This should be an interesting bout, and Gracie is definitely a heavyweight to keep your eyes on. Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard is a 26 year old fighter taking on the 18-1 Ronys Torres. Guillard has 50 fights under his belt and is only 26, incredibly fast and athletic and has great striking abilities. Torres is also young, 24, and is known for his grappling and submissions, and has had a very impressive career thus far. The Brazilian is making his UFC debut, while Guillard has had 9 UFC fights and is 5-4, he is coming off a tough loss to Nate Diaz. Both of these guys are young and exciting prospects in the 155 pound weight class, so it will also be a very interesting and fun to watch fight. On to the main card.
Matt “The Terror” Serra (16-6) vs Frank “Twinkle Toes” Trigg (19-7)
I don’t think Matt Serra has ever been in the first fight on a card, but that won’t stop him from coming out and delivering an awesome fight. I have never been a big fan of Frank Trigg and I usually enjoy seeing him get knocked out, but you have to give him his props on having a solid UFC career and coming out of retirement the way he has. He is 5’8” and weighs 170, but he is 37 and coming off of a rough performance in his first fight back. But he is a good wrestler and he has great conditioning. Serra is 2 inches shorter, but he is arguably a much better fighter. 2 years younger, and a former champion who has actually beaten GSP! Serra has a much more aggressive style and has great grappling and submission skills. He should be able to win this fight, his first since a loss to Matt Hughes last May. Serra wins by TKO in the 2nd round.
Demian Maia (11-1) vs Dan Miller (11-2-0- 1 no contest)
This 185 weight class fight promises to be a good one. The 32 year old Brazilian Maia is 5-1 in the UFC and his only loss was to Nate Marquadt, and that was the only fight that he did not submit his opponent. His 5 wins were in a row and all of them ended when choked out his opponent. Maia is one of the better submission experts in the 185 weight class and he is facing a very tough challenger. Dan Miller is a supremely well rounded young fighter, who is 3-1 in his UFC career, his only loss was in his last fight, last May. He has good wrestling, jiu jitsu and muay thai background and that should really complicate things for Maia who will obviously try and get the fight to the ground and work him into a submission. Miller will not go down easily, he has really good takedown defense and can cause problems when his opponent comes in close. Miller is also good with submissions and has a better condition regime then Maia. Miller wins in a split decision.
Mike “Quick” Swick (14-3) vs Paulo Thiago (12-1)
The most exciting fight of the night by far. Both are hungry young fighters looking to challenge for the 170 pound title. Swick, 30, is known for his speed, striking and aggression in the octagon, and he will use his length as an advantage to keep Thiago a good distance away and alow himself some room to work. Swick’s last fight was a loss to Dan Hardy, in a fight that determined the #1 contender for GSP’s title, and Swick is convinced that he is the better fighter, an d even though he took this fight on short notice, he is ready to bring the pain to Thiago. Thiago has fought 1 of Swick’s training partners in the past, beating Josh Koshcheck, which is a pretty impressive feat in and of itself. He has also beat Jacob Volkmann, with his only loss coming against John Fitch. I am picking this one to be the Fight of the Night and go the distance, all 3 rounds, of non-stop action. Both guys want this fight and it could set them up for bigger things, like a title shot after Dan Hardy takes on GSP later this year. My pick is a split decision for Swick, I think he wants it much more since he feels he was robbed in the Hardy fight last year.
Nate “The Great” Marquadt (32-8-2) vs Chael Shonnen (25-10-1)
One of the best fighters in the 185 pound weight class, Nate Marquadt, takes on a tough challenge in the 2nd to last fight of the night. The 30 year old Marquadt is on a 3 fight, KO only, win streak, and has been looking very impressive the last year. His last fight was against Demian Maia, and it took him 21 seconds to knock him out. Marquadt is a very well rounded fighter, and can defend takedowns as well as he can get them, and has good knockout power. Sonnen is a little bit older, but he is a great wrestler, and applies constant pressure to his opponents. He is also hot as of late, with a 2 fight win streak, including a win against Dan Miller, but prior to that he was beaten by Demian Maia. They have fought a lot of the same competition, and Marquadt has come out looking better. Shonnen will be a very tough challenge for Marquadt because of his strength, speed and wrestling skills. KO of the night in this one, Marquadt scores it in the 1st round.
Randy “The Natural” Couture (17-10) vs Mark “The Hammer” Coleman (16-9)
Two of the best fighters in the history of the UFC square off in this main event. While each man is a little past their prime, they are out to prove that their skills have not diminished with age. We all know the legend of the 46 year old Couture, he is a UFC hall of famer, who has come out retirement to revive his career. 1-2 since his return, losing his heavyweight title to Brock Lesnar and losing to Minotauro Noguiera before dropping back down to the 205 pound division where he has always been more dominant. Mark Coleman returned to the UFC last year after a 10 year hiatus, to try and re-establish himself in the game. The Hall of Famer, known as the Godfather of the Ground and Pound, was the first UFC Heavyweight champ, and won the tournaments at UFC 10 and UFC 11. In his heyday, in the late 1990’s he was probably the best fighter in the organization and helped establish it as a mainstream organization. His 16-9 record does not do him justice, he is a dominant ground and pound fighter and a world class wrestler. He is 45 years old and he is a Columbus, Ohio native, and a good athlete. He will give Couture his best, and it will be a great fight. It might not be the most fast paced bout, but it will be a very well rounded, well fought and fundamentally sound match. My prediction is Couture in a split decision, as the two will try and stay away from the other one’s strengths and it will be hard for either fighter to exploit their opponents weaknesses. It’ll be a solid fight, maybe not Main Event caliber, but it is pitting 2 of the best ever against eachother, this is a fight I have been waiting 15 years to see.
There’s the predictions for UFC 109. We will have the results for you Saturday night, and then start coverage for UFC 110 later in the month of February.