The 2010 year is about to draw to a close, much like the wonderful WEC company, but not without some classic memories on its final night. UFC 125 is also next weekend, and a star studded Japanese card has also been pieced together for this week!
Anthony Pettis is your new WEC Lightweight champion, after defeating former champion Ben Henderson in impressive fashion, going the distance through all five rounds and ripping the title from the grip of Mr. Henderson. After the fight however, it seems as if the only thing people can talk about is this…
Obviously with good reason, that is the most absurd, impressive thing I’ve ever seen pulled off in the cage. Pettis says he actually trains that move, but to have the grapefruits to attempt it in the fifth round of a title fight? Just imagine what he’d to to unify the UFC and WEC titles, which is just what he’ll have the opportunity to do. Pettis will meet the winner of next Saturday’s Frank Edgar/ Gray Maynard bout at UFC 125 for the UFC Lightweight title.
For excitement’s sake, I’m really hoping Edgar pulls out the victory. Things don’t look to optimistic for him though, as Maynard is undefeated in official bouts, and has wrestled his way through the division, including Roger Huerta, Nate Diaz, Kenny Florian, and Edgar himself. I’m all for wrestling being utilized in MMA, because I’m an amateur wrestling fan, but Maynard doesn’t seem to try to finish fights, leading to seven straight decision victories. He has ran into some trouble against Diaz and Huerta, and for his short frame, Edgar has quite an impressive 72 inch reach to utilize. But facts are facts, Edgar should be fighting at featherweight, and may do that if he loses on Saturday, but for the sake of matchups, I’m hoping (and expecting) Edgar will pull off his third consecutive upset victory. Plus, Gray Maynard looks like Lance Armstrong, only less exciting. Edgar needs to employ a similar strategy as he did against BJ Penn, and stick and move. If he winds up on his back against Maynard, he may not get up until time has expired on his championship reign.
With Jose Aldo being knocked off the card, Chris Leben and Brian Stann have been elevated to co-main event status, and with good reason. Chris Leben gained thousands of fans with his eleventh hour victory over Akiyama this summer, after fighting just two weeks before. Stann is the type of matchup that Leben loves, a boxer that loves to stand up. This fight could easily go either way, but I don’t see Stann knocking out Leben, as that just doesn’t happen for anyone who isn’t Anderson Silva. Leben has a taste of success and popularity again, and I’m hoping despite his recent DUI, he won’t let it go to waste. Look for Leben to put away Stann in the second round.
Clay Guida is taking on the legendary Takanori Gomi, in what will be an exciting fight. Clay Guida could fight a broom stick and it’d be an exciting fight, though, so it really comes as no surprise. After dominating the Japanese Lightweight scene for four years, Gomi ran into some trouble, and is finally testing himself in the UFC, including a recent win over Tyson Grffin. It sounds cliche, but this fight will come down to heart. Guida has it, and if Gomi doesn’t, Clay Guida will rip it out and throw it against the cage. Gomi is a great talent, and can probably negate Guida’s wrestling ability and make it a stand up fight, but there is no quit in Clay Guida.
I’m not going to enter the intricacies of the Brandon Vera/ Thiago Silva fight, as I’m expecting it to simply be a stand up war that Silva should take handily. These are two of the most renowned muay thai practitioners in the UFC, but neither is a slouch on the ground. Vera is too tall and long to take Silva down however, so he’ll be forced into a stand up war that I don’t think will pay off well for him.
Other fighters I look to take home victories are the unbeaten Dong-Hyun Kim, Mike Brown, and Marcus Davis. Particularly I am excited to watch the 40 year old Antonio McKee debut in the UFC. 17 straight victories gave the UFC no option but to give him a shot, especially when he started finishing people in brutal, violent fashion, after being harassed about wrestling his ways to victory. McKee rubs some people the wrong way, but he has a great work ethic, and even at age 40, may be able to compete with the UFC’s elite in the division. He’s taking on Jacob Volkmann, whom is 2-0 since moving to lightweight, and is a Division 1 NCAA wrestler. Of late, McKee has faced mainly brazilian fighters, some with no wrestling, but McKee has been wrestling since he was fourteen years old. Look for him to take home the victory.
Before I wrap things up, I wanted to mention the huge DREAM card on at 4 am on December 31st (you can watch live on HDNet). On this card is Kawajiri vs. Josh Thomson, Overeem vs. Todd Duffee, a welterweight title match between Marius Zaromskis and Japanese legend Sakuraba. Also on the card are Satoshi Ishii, Sergei Kharitonov, Jerome Le Banner, Bob Sapp, Shinya Aoki, Gegard Mousasi, Sakurai, Minowama, Caol Uno, Jason High,, as well as a featherweight title match. So a packed card for sure. Look for Duffee to be regulated to getting his jaw wired shut by Overeem, first or second round. I will cover this card on my Twitter and bring highlights to the column next week!
Along with that I will also cover the UFC 125 card. If you would like live updates on that, I’ll be covering the event on my twitter with updates all night long next Saturday!!