June 11, 2009

UFC 99: Preview

UFC 99 is special for two reasons.

First this is the last UFC PPV leading up to UFC 100. UFC 100 is going to be the biggest MMA card ever. With the Heavyweight and Welterweight Championships on the line. Brock Lesnar will look to imprint his name in the legacy of the UFC at this event. And Georges St-Pierre looks to continue his domination. But this card won't take place until next month.

The second reason why UFC 99 is special is because the card will take place in Germany. In the UFC's attempt to broaden their product, the UFC 99 will be the first UFC event held on mainland Europe. There had been previous UFC events held in England and Ireland, but never close to mainland Europe. Also there had been controversy surrounding this event because the German government has been sceptical about holding an UFC event in their country. They believe MMA is bare-knuckles, fight to the death sport. And if UFC wants to continue to broaden their sport across Europe, this event has to be a huge success.

Main Card of UFC 99:

Catchweight (195 LB) bout: Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva
This fight should be spectacular. You have two of the most aggressive fighters in the UFC. Franklin usually punishes opponents while Silva became the most feared man in MMA because of his brawling style.

They are fighting at a catchweight because Franklin usually fights as a middleweight while Silva fights as a light heavyweight. Whoever wins this fight will produce a lot of hype concerning the fighters weight class.

Silva though really hasn't been at his best lately. He is 1-2 since joining the UFC. While Franklin has enjoyed much more success going 3-2 in his last five fights including a controversial loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 93.

This looks like it will be a great fight because of their contrasting styles. Silva is a heavy puncher who usually brawls than fights. Also it will be interesting to see if Franklin can hold up. He is known to have a weak chin. Franklin though is a much more well-rounded fighter than Silva. Also he has a longer length than Silva and he is a much better ground fighter than Silva. Definitely the most interesting fight on the card.

Heavyweight Bout: Cheick Kongo vs. Cain Velasquez
Velasquez is seen as the next big thing in the heavyweight division. He is young and has scary talent. Since joining the UFC, Velasquez has been dominate in three fights. He faces off against the French kickboxer Kongo who can throw very powerful strikes. Kongo wants a title shot and he will have to expose the younger Velasquez in this fight to earn it.

Welterweight Bout: Mike Swick vs. Ben Saunders
This fight will most likely determine who gets a title shot at either Geroges St-Pierre or Thiago Alves after their showdown at UFC 100. Swick has won four straight bouts since transitioning to a welterweight from a middleweight. Saunders is undefeated, tall, and rangy.

Welterweight Bout: Marcus Davis vs. Dan Hardy
To say their is bad blood between this two doesn't even describe. They down right hate each other. Watch this video and you will see why. Davis has a huge fallowing in the UK after he has beat numerous UK fighters. And Hardy is actually from the UK and might be a little jealous of the recognition Davis has in the UK. Both are stand-up specialists, and I expect a great fight between these two.

Lightweight Bout: Spencer Fisher vs. Caol Uno
This is a showdown between two fighters who haven't won a match in a while. Uno lost two title matches in the UFC and then moved on to Japan. Fisher is coming off two-straight loses. These two will look for redemption here.

Heavyweight Bout: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Mostapha Al-turk
Al-turk actually lost to Kongo in his last fight. Al-turk is a grapler who is still very inexperienced in the octagon. Cro Cop on the other hand was very underwhelming in his UFC debut back in 2007. He went to Japan performed well and now he is back. Cro Cop mental game has been known to fluctuate, so he will need to be at the top of his game to beat Al-turk.

Preliminary card

Lightweight bout: Terry Etim vs. Justin Buchholz
Lightweight bout:
Dennis Siver vs. Dale Hartt
Welterweight bout:
Paul Taylor vs. Peter Sobotta
Lightweight bout: Paul Kelly vs. Rolando Delgado
Heavyweight bout:
Denis Stojnic vs. Stefan Struve
Welterweight bout:
John Hathaway vs. Rick Story

Like always the UFC puts together an interesting fight card. You have fighters looking for redemption and fighters looking to end grudge matches. I can't wait.

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