UFC 88 Breakthrough – Cageplay.com Breakdown
On Saturday, September 6, the UFC will hold its first ever event in Atlanta, Georgia. The card has been assembled in a consistent matching of veteran fighter vs newer fighter as the UFC hopes to re-establish old stars like Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, and Chuck Liddell. Of course, if an up ‘n comer like Rousimar Palhares, Matt Hamill, or Rashad Evans knocks off their veteran opponent, then then UFC could have a Breakthrough star on its hands.
Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans
Acclaimed author and owner of the looping hooks, Chuck Liddell, has compiled a 21-5-0 record and has had a popular run as the light-heavyweight champ. Chuck has lost two of his last three and looks to build on his win over Wanderlei Silva with a victory against Rashad Evans. This looks to be a favourable matchup for Chuck as he has the ability to keep the fight standing with his excellent sprawl and scramble as shown in his bouts with Olympic alternate wrestler, Randy Couture.
Rashad Evans trains with famed trainer Greg Jackson and Keith Jardine, who previously beat Liddell. Jackson is all about game planning and Rashad will need to follow an excellent game plan to beat Chuck. Look for Rashad to frustrate Chuck while standing by moving away from Chuck. This will force Chuck to chase him as Chuck always goes for the kill. When Chuck chases, look for Rashad to try for the takedown. If Rashad attempts to do any striking with Chuck, look for Rashad to get knocked out.
Cageplay.com Prediction: Chuck Liddell by KO. Look for Chuck to catch Rashad at some point in the fight with strikes that will slow Rashad down and make his wrestling even less effective than it will be with Chuck’s wrestling defense. Once Rashad is slowed down, look for Chuck to knock him out.
Rich Franklin vs. Matt Hamill
Former Middleweight champion Rich Franklin is returning to the Light-Heavyweight division to face ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ star Matt Hamill. Hamill and Franklin are both from Cincinnati and Hamill has been a previous training partner for Franklin who used Hamill for wrestling training. Franklin is a versatile mixed martial artist who can win the fight anywhere in the cage. He has good hands, jiu-jitsu, ground ‘n pound, and a very good clinch. He is very experienced and has fought at light-heavyweight on previous occasions so the additional weight should not be a factor. As Dana White claimed, “Rich Franklin is the best middleweight on the planet – he just can’t beat Anderson Silva.”
Matt Hamill is a former collegiate wrestler with an obvious wrestling advantage. For Hamill to win, he will have to take Rich down early and often throughout this fight on his way to a decision win. Although Hamill has tremendously improved his standup, he just is not versatile enough to try and do anything but what he does best against Rich Franklin. Against Boetsch, Hamill took a lot of knees and strikes in the clinch on his way to victory. Against Franklin, that is a sure-fire way to losing.
Cageplay.com Prediction: Franklin by TKO. Franklin should pick apart Hamill throughout this fight and win by referee stoppage. Franklin is the fighter that Hamill respects and admires the most and that will weigh on Hamill. As well, Hamill has only had 5 fights. Franklin has had 5 title fights.
Dan Henderson vs. Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares
After being crowned PRIDE’s 185 and 205 pound king, Dan Henderson, 38, lost his first two UFC fights to Rampage Jackson and Anderson Silva. His last three fights have been title fights. He now faces submission specialist Rousimar Palhares. Dan Henderson needs a win as it could be ‘three losses and you are out’ of the UFC for the aging Henderson. A great wrestler and the owner of a set of powerful fists, Henderson will dominate if the fight stays on the feet.
Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from Brazilian Top Team. Training under Murilo Bustamante, who has lost in a PRIDE middleweight tournament finals to Henderson, will provide Toquinho with first hand knowledge of Henderson’s game. Palahares will not keep this fight standing and will try to find an exposed limb of Henderson’s and submit him.
Cageplay.com Prediction: Henderson by TKO. Henderson will try to keep this fight standing as it is obvious advantage over Palhares. However, Henderson could win this via Ground n’ Pound just as easily. Rousimar Palhares will suffer the same fate as his trainer Bustamante has suffered twice – a loss to Dan Henderson.