Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 128

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MMA BettingThe UFC will be taking place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on March 19th and will feature a Light-Heavyweight title bout between Jon “Bones” Jones and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

Main event fights will be aired via PPV and the televised portion of the prelim card will be aired in Canada on Spike TV and in HD on Rogers Sportsnet.

Here is the Top MMA News breakdown:

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (+145) vs. Jon “Bones” Jones(-208)
Despite the fact that Jones has yet to face any of the very top echelon fighters in the Light-Heavyweight division, I think the timing is right for Jones in this fight. He proved in his recent win over Ryan Bader that he may possess the very best wrestling in the division. He stays loose, calm and composed in the octagon which makes him a perfect tool in the hands Jones’ trainer and master strategist Greg Jackson. Jon has shown weakness in his conditioning during his fight against Stephan Bonnar, so it will be interesting to see how well he performs if Shogun can take him into the championship rounds.

Shogun has defeated elite strikers in Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Alistair Overeem; elite wrestlers in Kevin Randleman and Mark Coleman; and elite jiu-jitsu practitioners in Ricardo Arona and “Little Nog”. His crowning achievement, however, was back in 2005 when Mauricio won the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix tournament which, to this day, remains one of the greatest mixed martial arts tournaments of all time. Shogun does not have any weaknesses in technique but he will be facing a size and possibly a speed disadvantage against Jones.

I think an early finish for Jones in this fight is extremely unlikely against a veteran like Shogun. The key for Jones here is to use his wrestling to nullify Shogun’s Muay Thai in the early rounds. If he can exhaust Shogun, his unorthodox striking will be a lot more effective and he may finish this fight by TKO. Shogun needs to defend Jones takedown attempts and punish Jon early with leg and body kicks. If Shogun can slow Jones down and get in his head mentally, Shogun will dominate the later rounds with his crisp and disciplined Muay Thai technique.

This is an awesome match up and it will be an incredibly interesting fight no matter what the outcome. I think raw young talent of Jon is entertaining and exciting but will it falter against an experienced well rounded champion like Shogun?
Prediction: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua by Fourth Round TKO

Urijah Faber (-500) vs. Eddie Wineland (+305)
Former WEC Featherweight champion Urijah Faber is finally making his octagon debut against Eddie Wineland and I will be shocked if this bout does not earn Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night honors. Urijah’s speed at this weight is off the charts. He also proved in his recent fight against current Featherweight champion Jose Aldo that no amount of punishment will break him mentally in a fight.

Wineland, a former WEC Bantamweight champion, is a durable boxing specialist with excellent head movement and heavy hands. Eddie is riding a four fight win streak but has yet to face someone the caliber of Urijah Faber in his mixed martial arts career.

I have a feeling that Urijah accepted this fight against a fellow striker because he wants to show off just how fast and crisp his hands are at this weight. Expect a war with both fighters dealing damage as well as they can take it.
Prediction: Urijah Faber by Third Round Choke

Jim Miller (-263) vs. Kamal Shalorus (+180)
After his last victory over submission artist Charles Oliveira, Jim Miller made it clear that he wants a shot at the Lightweight title. Jim has racked up a six fight win streak and the only two losses of his career were at the hands of current champ Frankie Edgar and number one contender Gray Maynard.

Kamal is a ground and pound fighter with excellent wrestling. Shalorus is undefeated and recently earned a draw against former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner at WEC 49 despite being docked one point for repeated groin strikes.

After asking for a title shot, the UFC instead gave Miller every fighter’s worst nightmare: An elite wrestler with no name recognition. I think this will be a close fight with Miller’s relentless pace eventually tiring out Kamal in the third round.
Prediction: Jim Miller by Third Round Arm Lock

Nate Marquardt (-357) vs. Dan Miller (+235)
Dan Miller has been brought in as a late replacement opponent for Marquardt after Yoshihiro Akiyama withdrew from the fight after hearing news of the disastrous earthquake that struck his homeland of Japan. Coming in as a late replacement is a risky move for athletes fighting at this level but Miller is a gritty, well rounded and experienced fighter who is getting an incredible opportunity with this fight to jump up the Middleweight rankings.

Marquardt, who is coming off a decision loss to Yushin Okami, will probably have an advantage in both striking and wrestling against Miller. I think this fight will go the distance with Nate heavily out striking Miller for all three rounds.
Prediction: Nate marquardt via Unanimous Decision

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović (+210) vs. Brendan Schaub (-312)
I think this is a very tough match up for Ultimate Fighter 10 alumnus Brendan Schaub. Brendan has put together three wins in a row since his knockout loss at the hands of “Big Country” Roy Nelson, including an impressive decision win over veteran Gabriel Gonzaga. Brendan has fast hands for a Heavyweight and I expect that his game plan will be to use those hands to knock out Mirko.

Cro Cop walked away with a loss in his last fight against Frank Mir but in that fight he did prove that he still has great takedown defense. I do not think Brendan will be able to take Cro Cop down even if he wants too. This fight could go either way but I think Mirko’s striking is still a few levels higher than the relatively inexperienced Brendan Shaub’s.
Prediction: Mirko “Cro Cop” by Second Round KO

Be sure to watch Edson Barboza vs. Anothony Njokuani on the televised undercard. Barboza has been tearing through his opponents in the Lightweight division flaunting an extremely elite level of Muay Thai proficiency.

7 Responses to “ Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 128 ”

  1. BigBoi says:

    Let’s be honest when we’re talking about ShoGun and recognize that his best years are behind him. I love him and will still break out copies of old Pride events when I need to remember how awesome he was but the ShoGun that beat Overeem like he rented him is gone. Maybe he had access to better trainers, doctors, nutritionalists etc… when he was in Pride but he sure hasn’t shown that ability since.

    1. He lost to Forrest and then threw a laundry list of excuses at the press. Everything from ‘my knee was broken’ to ‘I couldn’t remember if I left the oven on’.

    2. He beat Coleman. Barely. I think I left the room during that fight because I remembered that I hadn’t sorted the whites from the colors in my laundry basket and that I needed to clean the toilet.

    3. He KO’d a sleepwalking Liddel. Chuck might as well have tapped his hands together for all the defensive advantage they gave him in that fight. Chuck stumbled toward Rua like he’d just been hit over the head with a bat.

    4. Machida x2? He lost the first fight (and I don’t care that ‘leg kicks win fights’ because he was getting peppered by Machida in the stand up) and then he evened it in the second.

    Shogun’s best chance is a KO in the first round because only 4 of his 19 wins have come after the first stansa (oh and for the Pride geeks in the room only 3 of those first round wins came after the 5 min mark).

    I agree that Jones won’t KO him in the first but he’s going to stretch him out in the 2nd.

    Jones by KO rnd2.

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  2. kev says:

    Shogun via TKO round 3 or 4 after jonny bones gases out

    Faber via choke Rd 2

    Miller via Decision

    Marquardt via Decision

    Shaub via KO (Hoping cro cop will win) WAR CRO COP

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  3. Cody Bargholz says:

    Shogun Jones is really tough to call. Both fighters have shown plenty of talent and weakness in the past. It’s easy to pick Jones over anyone after watching his recent fights. I picked him originally. Another factor that I thought a lot about before picking Shogun was conditioning for Jones based on the timing of this fight. Jones really only had three weeks to train for his first 5 round fight. I doubt even a superb athlete like Jones can physiologically adapt that fast.

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  4. Jeff says:

    I disagree, if Shogun doesn’t KO Jones in the 1st or 2nd round Jones will most likely take it. I see Jones as the favourite he can wrestle, KO, or choke Shogun out with superior strength, even possibly beat on him for 5 rounds for the unanimous decison. He has a significant height and reach advantage that he uses well with strikes(especially with kicks) and keeping range. Also close range his inside elbows are really dangerous. If Shogun wins it will only be a quick explosive knee or punch in the first couple rounds or catching Jones with a submission from the bottom. I don’t think conditioning will be a big factor, you mentioned Jones showing fatigue in the Bonnar fight which he won convincingly and early in his career. I believe Jones conditioning will be much improved now. Shogun on the otherhand isn’t old but isn’t young so youth isn’t on his side. After two knee surgeries he’s proven he’s had the ability to come back from which is amazing it does take affect. He showed a lack of conditioning in the Griffin fight which he lost and a lack of conditioning Coleman fight which he barely one. His conditioning has returned but I’d say is about equal to Jones’. I could go on and on like this all day but in the end I think Jones is likely to win. Experience against Jones has shown to have no effect in the Vera and Matyushenko fights and that’s because of his positive proffessional and calm approach towards fights and training. Shogun is a proffessional and has a challenger/warrior approach to his fighting and training. Neither is reckless or cocky, both are confident, I think their attitudes equal out.
    What matters is who comes down to be the better fighter physically that night and I believe that to be Jon Jones.

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  5. Jones was almost a 3-1 favorite so I put my $5 on Shogun to win $14. I figure Shogun wins 4 out of 10 of these fights.

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  6. The Dude says:

    Shogun is one of my top 3 favorite fighters but I’m going with Jones.

    The reason for that is Jones just had a fight so he has momentum, mental focus and the conditioning acquired from his last training camp behind him.

    Shogun just had (another) knee surgery and hasn’t fought in nearly a year. Don’t forget that over the last year he had to rehab his knee so it’s not like he’s been shadowboxing while waiting for Joe Silva to ring his manager for a fight.

    Jones has just enough stand up ability to avoid some of Shogun’s strikes. He will have the wrestling ability to take shogun down at will and he has enough of a ground game to grind Shogun out over a couple of rounds before finishing it in the fourth with a (gasp!) TKO victory – ref stoppage.

    It will be an ugly fight for Shogun I’m afraid even though he will most likely tag Jones once or twice when Jones will be stepping in for a takedown.

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  7. Jeff says:

    Good call Dude, I think your right.

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