Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 122
Get your sauerkraut and schnitzels ready because UFC 122 will be hosted on German soil! This is the UFC’s second attempt at winning over continental Europeans by offering us a card that can be categorized in the upper echelon of mediocrity. I am not whining. This card is sandwiched between two star studded events and still offers some interesting matchups. When the UFC travels overseas, it forces them to include local fighters and allows them to expand their international wings. This is a breath of fresh air because I will not be subjected to chants of “USA!” Instead, I can sit back with beer in hand and let ze Germans cheer in unison as if they were at a soccer game.
Nate Marquardt vs. Yushin Okami
The stakes for this fight are high because the winner is said to face the winner of Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva. With the Sonnen fight still fresh in our minds, Marquardt still needs to convince us that he’s championship material. While Okami has been unable to manufacture the same kind of excitement akin to witnessing a rabid Armenian violently hurling a napkin at the wall, his fights have gotten progressively entertaining, and his newly developed boxing skills will threaten his American counterpart. Had this fight occurred twelve months ago, I would have predicted an easy sprawl and brawl victory for Nate. Now he’ll need to mix things up if he wants to crack the Okami code.
And mixing things up is what Nate is going to do, or at least attempt to. Look for Nate to stay on the outside range and come in with short spurts of ones and twos. When he thinks he tagged his opponent, he will attempt to take him down. Yushin is far too experienced to be jazzed by the Greg Jackson veteran, however. Yushin will force some tie ups and press the American against the cage. This back and forth battle will remind of what happens in MMA when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object: a split decision. And this decision will favor Nate “The Great”
Prediction: Marquardt by Split Decision
Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara
I know Rivera isn’t Persian but this fight reminds me of the battle scenes in 300. These two middleweights are enjoying some recent success and a win would help them climb the divisional ladder and closer towards title contention. Rivera is an old dog of the sport with some fight left in him, but I see this fight as a precursor to his demise. Meanwhile, Sakara is on an upswing with quality wins over Thales Leites and James Irvin.
We’re going to see two experienced technical strikers lock horns and offer us a muay thai seminar for the modest price of $44.95 with Rivera teaching the clinch and with Sakara teaching low kicks and punches. Here’s what I think: Rivera has a knack for charging forward with a punch in hopes of synching the thai plumb but the Italian will not allow this to happen. Legionarius will eventually get a feel for his opponent’s openings and finish the fight with a right hook followed by strikes for a TKO victory in the second round.
Prediction: Sakara by TKO (Strikes) in Round 2
Denis Siver vs. Andre Winner
Once again the UFC is giving us a striker versus striker match to quench our thirst for blood and violence. Though a win over each other won’t significantly raise their stock, Winner has a lot more to lose (pun intended) since he is coming off a loss. With the addition of the WEC and their lightweight division as well as the disappearing need for more British fighters in the UFC’s stable, I fear Winner might get the boot. Siver will be fighting on home land and with friends in family in attendance, he will not want to disappoint.
Winner is taller and lankier than what Siver is used to facing at Lightweight but Siver, to me, is the better fighter. Winner will bait Siver to press the action hoping to land an overhand right and put the German to sleep. Meanwhile, Siver has an equally effective weapon in his arsenal: a heat seeking spinning back kick. What’s unique about this technique is it can cover a lot of range even if you’re built like a fire hydrant. A back and forth battle will ensue due to Siver’s relentlessness and willingness to push the action. He will subsequently hand the Brit the first TKO loss of his career sometime the third round.
Prediction: Denis Siver by TKO in Round 3
Amir Sadolla vs. Peter Sobotta
What is a UFC card without a TUF alumnus? While I let you ponder this existentialist query, let’s take a look at these two fighters’ run in the UFC. Despite having no professional bouts prior to entering the TUF house, Amir surprised millions of viewers with his heart, determination and sense of humor. Not only did he put on an MMA clinic on the show, but he’s been doing fairly well in the bigger show by compiling a respectable 4-2 record against half decent opponents. Sobotta, on the other hand, hasn’t fared all that well against average UFC level opponents by going 0-2.
Amir is very aggressive off his back and his sense of timing and his kinetic fluidity have served him well thus far. If Sobotta is the better grappler on paper, then he should have technically beaten Paul Taylor. Unfortunately for him, Sobotta is not the better MMA fighter. It may have something to do with the fact that his team’s name is “Planet Eater.” Lord I hope it’s not an error in translation cause that is freakin’ hilarious. Amir will make Sobotta put the lotion in the basket with an easy unanimous decision victory.
Prediction: Sadolla by Unanimous Decision
Krysztof Soszynski vs. Goran Reljic
In this fight we get to see the sole Canadian representative take on the Croatian prospect. Reljic has shown flashes of brilliance against the very tough Wilson Gouveia, but his talents have faded over time. I suspect the serious back injury he sustained has slowed the fighter considerably and who knows what kind of effect it is having him. I believe Goran is back where he belongs at 205 where his speed and agility will throw his opponents off guard. Krysztof is coming off a devastating loss to Stephan Bonnar and will look to bounce back.
Krysztof will fare better in the early exchanges and land some crisp jabs and crosses. He will also bully his smaller adversary around with his superior size and strength. However I’m a proponent of technique over strength. I don’t want to come across as though Krysztof has no technique, but I find Goran to be more polished in all areas. I see the Polish Experiment getting rocked in the second round with Reljic securing the victory by rear naked choke. Sorry Canada.
Prediction: Reljic by Rear Naked Choke in Round 2