UFC 100 is now behind us. Let us look ahead to UFC 101 which includes some interesting bouts. And let us hope my predictions are better than my abysmal 5-6 record from UFC 100.
Lightweight Championship Fight - B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian
Lots of fans are already crowning Florian as the new Lightweight Champion, but don't be too quick to count out "the Prodigy".
Yes, Florian is a great mixed-martial-artist, but so is Penn. Penn is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world when he fights at lightweight. He won't be as easy to defeat as many people believe.
BJ Penn's last performance against Georges St. Pierre, ("Canada's Golden Boy," as described by Matt Serra), was the case of being up against a bigger and stronger competitor at the top of his game. It is no excuse for BJ, but it doesn't mean he can no longer be respected. All it means to me is that Penn should stay at his natural weight class of 155 lbs.
If Florian is to be victorious he must do what he says in the promo ads and "finish the fight". I see this contest going to a decision, and unlike the Jackson vs. Griffin razor-thin decision, I see the reigning champion on top.
Penn by decision
Light Heavyweight Fight - Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin
Forrest has been called upon to "kick-start" the Spider in the Octagon. Silva's last two fights have been very uneventful so Dana White needed to put a brawler in the cage with the Middleweight Champ. Forrest can never be counted out of a fight, but he lacks the skill that Anderson possesses.
If this doesn't re-ignite Silva, then I don't know what can. Forrest should win a round, but not the fight.
Silva by decision
Welterweight Fight - Amir Sadollah vs. Johny Hendricks
June 21, 2008: That was the date in which Amir forced C.B. Dollaway to tap and give Sadollah the crown as The Ultimate Fighter for Season 7. That is also the date on which Amir last fought. It is tough to comment on injury-plagued Sadollah unless you have access to fight tapes (which I lack unfortunately).
Hendricks comes from the WEC with an undefeated record of 5-0. He is an extremely talented wrestler, and wrestlers do very well in the UFC. A round of applause goes to matchmaker Joe Silva because this should be an evenly matched fight.
My prediction is Hendricks by TKP but I wouldn't be surprised if Hendricks submits to Sadollah.
Middleweight Fight - Kendall Grove vs. Ricardo Almeida
With his last victory over Canadian Jason Day, Kendall Grove sent a message that he is not done. Rumors swirled that with a loss he could be only the second TUF winner to be released from the UFC (Travis Lutter being the only one), but after a first round KO he is still with the organization. But for how long?
Almeida is a submission guy who should have his way on the ground against Grove. With Kendall's huge reach advantage, the ground is where Almeida can win the fight. Almeida was rushed to a number one contender spot (in which he lost to Patrick Cote), but his skills are for real.
Almeida by submission.
Lightweight Fight - Josh Neer vs. Kurt Pellegrino
With the war of words between the two fighters, you would think it's a classic "Batman vs. arch-villain" match-up. Neer looks the part too. If Kurt can keep up with Neer's incredible pace, then he has the strength and experience to win.
My gut is with Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino to save Gotham City and win the fight.
Pellegrino by decision
Thanks for reading. Here are my prelim picks to close it off. Enjoy the fights.
Aaron Riley vs. Shane Nelson
Tamdan McCrory vs. Josh Howard
Thales Leitesvs. Alessio Sekara
Dan Cramer vs. Matt Riddle
George Sotiropoulos vs. George Roop
Danillo Villefort vs. Jesse Lennox