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UFC 86: Preview and Predictions...By Jay Graziani
UFC 86: Jackson vs. Griffin
Saturday, July 5th, 10 PM ET
Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas
Weigh-in: Friday, July 4th, 7 PM ET, live on UFC.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Las Vegas this weekend after a fairly lackluster event in London last month. UFC 86 marks the traditional face-off between coaches of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series, in this case a light heavyweight championship bout between current champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and fan-favorite Forrest Griffin. Five lightweight bouts round out the card to bring some clarity to that division.
Here's a preview of Saturday night's fights, with current odds from Bookmaker.com.
Corey "The Real Deal" Hill (2-0-0) vs. Justin Buchholz (7-2-0)
Current Odds: unavailable
Corey Hill didn't get to fight in his TUF 5 finale, pulling out due to rib injury, but displayed some raw yet unpolished talent during the show. He is extremely lanky, 6'4" and fighting at only 155 lbs.,and should be able to use his long reach to his advantage. That is somewhat neutralized against a-tall (6'0") opponent in Bulchholz. Buccholz's UFC debut in January was spoiled by a triangle choke from Matt Wiman. Prior to that fight, he worked his way up through smaller promotions to Icon and then EliteXC. Buchholz will likely prefer to take this to the ground, but Hill showed good execution in stuffing takedowns during his UFC debut at Fight Night 10. Hill also has a better wrestling background than many would expect and can handle himself on the ground. Hill will have had a year to refine his skills since going pro (and since most of the tape on him), and I expect him to be very dangerous in this fight. Prediction: Hill, 2nd round TKO.
Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard (21-7-2) vs. Dennis Siver (11-5-0)
Current Odds: unavailable
The "young" assassin has sure had his share of action in his short 25 years on Earth - 30 fights' worth, to be exact. However, he has few quality wins and is coming off a 2-fight UFC losing streak via losses at the hands of Joe Stevenson and Rich Clementi, the latter seeing Guillard as a 5-to-2 favorite. Guillard is strong in the wrestling and striking departments, but his jiu-jitsu leaves much to be desired, having not notched a submission victory in over 5 years, yet being submitted 6 times in his seven losses in that span Siver is a disappointing 1-2 in the Octagon, most recently losing to Gray Maynard. Guillard is much more talented in both stand-up and the ground game, and barring a crucial mistake, should roll to an easy win. Prediction: Guillard, 1st round KO.
Jorge Gurgel (12-3-0) vs. Cole "Magrino" Miller (13-3-0)
Current Odds: Gurgel +115; Miller -145
Miller is a TUF 5 veteran, collecting a 2-1 record in the Octagon since. Gugel's 5 forays into the Octagon have all gone the distance, giving him a 3-2 record in decisions. Gurgel has kept a light schedule, fighting only twice per year since his reality show run (on TUF 2), but his jiu-jitsu is top notch and should pose a real problem to his much less experienced opponent. Gurgel's inability to finish is a concern, but I'll lean his way in the underdog role. Predcition: Gurgel by decision
Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga (8-3-0) vs. Justin "The Insane 1" McCully (8-3-2)
Current Odds: Gonzaga -600; McCully +400 (Bodog)
Gonzaga, recent (and brief) UFC heavyweight contender, has now been relegated to "May not be broadcast" fights. He has dropped two straight since the head-kick to Mirko "Crocop" Filipovic that sent his stock skyrocketing. He matches up well size-wise with McCully, who won in his UFC debut against Antoni Hardonk in April. Gonzaga has the edge in every aspect, but you have to be a cautious laying big chalk on a guy in the midst of a losing streak. Prediction: Gonzaga, 1st round submission.
Tyson Griffin (11-1-0) vs. Marcus" Maximus" Aurelio (16-5-0)
Current Odds: Griifin -350; Aurelio +280
Griffin is coming off three straight decision wins in the Octagon. He is definitely one of the poster boys for the lightweight division, but hasn't yet had the big win necessary to catapult him to a title shot. Aurelio has won his last two since migrating from PRIDE and dropping his UFC debut to Clay Guida. Both are skilled, well-rounded fighters, but Griffin takes the talent edge and is your likely winner. Prediction: Griffin, 2nd round submission.
Josh "Kos" Koscheck (10-2-0) vs. Chris "Lights Out" Lytle (25-15-5)
Current Odds: Koscheck -300; Lytle +240
Since being stymied in his title shot against Georges St-Pierre, Koscheck made short work of Dustin Hazelett, and is still among the top contenders in the welterweight division. Lytle, despite plenty of appearances, hasn't made much of his chances and continues to grind out fights against mid-level opponents. The talent edge and style matchup favor Koscheck, and this should be just a stepping stone on his way to another title opportunity. Prediction: Koscheck, 2nd round TKO.
Joe "Daddy" Stevenson (28-8-0) vs. Gleison Tibau (15-5-0)
Current Odds: Stevenson -205; Tibau +165
The 5th of these PPV's matchups in the lightweight division pits former contender Joe Stevenson against up-and-coming Gleison Tibau. Stevenson last saw the Octagon in January, losing a one-sided fight to now-champ BJ Penn. Tibau was moving up the ranks with 3 straight UFC wins before dropping a unanimous decision to Tyson Griffin. Both fighters are ground specialists, and while Stevenson deserves to be in the favorite role, this fight is a little closer than the odds would allow, calling for a lean towards the underdog. Prediction: Tibau, 3rd round submission.
Patrick "The Predator" Cote (12-4-0) vs. Ricardo "Big Dog" Almeida (9-2-0)
Current Odds: Cote +110; Almeida -140
Cote is on a 3-fight UFC win streak since his loss to Travis Lutter at the TUF 4 finale. In the meantime he won (and still holds) the middleweight title in TKO, Canada's largest MMA organization. He'll hold the edge in stand-up but will struggle on the ground with Almeida's superior jiu-jitsu, attested to by his 4 Brazilian National Championships among other honors. Almeida amassed an 8-2 record in PRIDE, UFC, and Pancrase events from 2000 through 2004 before retiring to establish his own gym. He made his return this February at UFC 81, where he submitted Rob Yundt in just over a minute. His time off and age are negatives, and Cote's ground game is underrated, meaning he may be able to weather the storm when on the mat. I'll lean towards youth and the better stand-up. Prediction: Cote, 2nd round TKO.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (28-6-0) vs. Forrest Griffin (15-4-0)
Current Odds: Jackson -265; Griffin +215
As usual, the TUF reality-show run on Spike TV is followed up by the battle of the coaches. While Forrest receives more than his share of praise, we unfortunately have not always seen the best of him in big fights. He fell short in two of his biggest, against Tito Ortiz and Keith Jardine, bringing him to 3-2 in his last five. He fought a stellar fight against highly-regarded Mauricio Rua last September, but that was as a 3-to-1 underdog, and one has to wonder if he can repeat that level of performance. Rampage, meanwhile, has been tested extensively. Recent wins over Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson have cemented his place in the division, but, ironically, his last loss was to the same Mauricio Rua stopped by Griffin. This will come down to who sets the pace of the fight, and Griffin should come in with an effective game plan that may allow him to pull off yet another upset. We've seen Griffin make huge strides in technique with each subsequent fight, and if he continues to step it up, he should be well-positioned for the win as a decent underdog. Prediction: Griffin, 3rd round TKO.
Picks (2008: 14-12 +2.25 units; Best Bets: 4-2, +2.00 units)
(Odds will be inserted when they become available for the above)
Forrest Griffin +215
Josh Koscheck -300
Opinions (2008: 21-14 +10.85 units)
Jorge Gurgel +115
Justin McCully +400
Tyson Griffin -350
Gleison Tibau +165
Patrick Cote +110
...these were 1st openers on the extra bouts you mentioned....Melvin got bet up pretty good early as did Hill. You were on the money anticipating the line moves on thes e two fights. I think one of them gets beat 2mmrow. Silvers pretty tough and Buchholz has some losses, but more experienced than Hill. Historically tough to bet against the TUF talent though..
Melvin Guillard Vs. Dennis Siver
Melvin Guillard -150
Corey Hill Vs. Justin Buchholz
Corey Hill -200
was waiting for those lines to come out, the numbers I posted were the first I saw at CRIS this morning
really like Guillard at -150 still think he is a decent bet at -200
who you liking in the main event?
i don't see why forest is getting so much love in this fight. He seems to be the trendy underdog I honestly don't see it being very close at all. With the exception of cardio rampage is better in every facet of the game. Rampage can be beaten by fighters like the ax murderer in his prime but forest is not close to that level. Not saying rampage is a lock but i would cap the fight at -300 meaning that in my imho opinion if they fought 10 times rampage would win atleast 7
I would be shocked if Griffin beats Aurelio by submission, that guy's BJJ is really on a different level and as good as Griffin is I don't think he'll be able to tap him out.
Griffin is overall the more complete fighter, his wrestling base is outstanding and while he doesn't have powerful strikes he's got fast hands and isn't afraid to sit in the pocket and let them go. His downside is his size, that guy is really really small even for 155. And because of his size and lack of power in the strikes area, in the UFC he's had to rely on fights going to decision and for the most part outpoint his opponents. And if he doesn't do that hopefully get a gift from the judges (see his fight with Guida).
So it's probably going to be Griffin by decision.
I think the same can be said about Tibau catching Stevenson with a sub. Personally I think Joe Stevenson is actually the better fighter when it comes to submissions. Tibau's style personally reminds me more of a wrestler who comes out and uses his takedowns, keeps position and uses G&P to win.
Also, Tibau's ground game is good when he's able to secure the top position but when he's on the bottom that's where the holes in ground game start to appear. And if he gets stuck, I don't know if he'll be able to withstand many elbows from Stevenson or be able to stop them.
I wonder about Tibau's heart, will he be able to grind it out against Stevenson. But I've got the same questions about Joe Stevenson as well, this is his first fight after that crushing loss to BJ Penn. Where is this guy at mentally?
I think Stevenson but it's going to be close by decision.
If Forrest is to win, I think he'll win by decision as well. He's the better striker technically while Rampage has the advantage with power. The last thing Forrest wants to get into is situations where he'll have exchange with Rampage for extended periods. He can get KO'd or at the very least get cut, he tends to cut very easily. It will be interesting if it goes to the ground, Forrest's guard is pretty damn good and very underrated. While he pretty much schooled Shogun down there I'm wondering if he'll have the same success with Rampage.
I think Forrest's game plan is get in and out quickly with his strikes always keeping on the move forcing Rampage to follow and chase.
Forrest by decision here as well.
I think all three fights are very very close and the only fight I'll be betting on tonight will actually be Melvin Guillard's fight.
The house doesn't beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself. ~Nick Dandalos
I had feeling Hill or Melvin would go down 2nite..
-Justin Buchholz vs. Corey Hill
R1 – Within the first minute, Hill starts utilizing his lankiness and lands several hard boxing combinations. He manages to catch several of Buchholz’s kicks throughout the round and take him down, but not do enough significant damage on the ground to stop it. Buchholz scored several times with individual knees and punches, but not much by way of combinations. Hill seized the round with a damaging knee and another takedown just before the bell sounds.
MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Corey Hill.
R2 – Hill again starts strong with a jumping knee and hard right hands, bloodying Buchholz’s left temple. About two minutes in, Buchholz lands a hard right head kick that stuns Hill, but he starts firing back in a furious exchange that has both fighters scoring. Hill takes Buchholz down midway through the round and passes to side control, doing some damage with elbows. Somehow Buchholz manages to escape and transition to Hill’s back and locks on a fight ending rear naked choke.
Justin Buchholz def. Corey Hill by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:57, R1
1 of the anyways...
-Melvin Guillard vs. Dennis Siver
R1 – Guillard connects and puts Siver down immediately, the crowd smelling a finish. But it would take about another 15seconds for the true end to come. Back on their feet, Guillard connects with another right cross that leaves Siver sprawling to the canvas, then follows up with 5 or 6 unanswered, hard blows before referee Herb Dean steps in to call a halt to the bout.
Melvin Guillard def. Dennis Siver by TKO (Strikes) at 0:36, R1
Lightweights: Cole Miller (14-3) def. Jorge Gurgel (16-4)
How: Triangle choke at 4:44 of the third round
Key moment: Gurgel was in Millerís guard and let his arm hang free. Miller took advantage and slapped on the triangle choke to record the most significant win of his career.
Analysis: An American Top Team purple belt, Miller advanced his career significantly by submitting a highly regarded Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. A former competitor on The Ultimate Fighter, Millerís win over the perennial gatekeeper at 155 pounds should move him nearer top competition in the division. Ė
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Justin McCulley is up now.
McCulley is Joanie Laurer's former tag team partner in New Japan Pro Wrestling. McCulley throwing low kicks. Gonzalaga put him down with a low kick as McCulley lost his balance. Full mount by Gonzaga. He's throwing hammer punches. More hammer punches by Gonzaga. Gonzaga with a wristlock submission early in round one.
Marcus Aurelio vs. Tyson Griffin
Crowd started booing in 40 seconds. Now we're at 90 seconds of this Zbyszko start. Griffin threw Aurelio down. Aurelio trying something from the bottom. Griffin punching out of an armbar attempt. Now punches out of a triangle attempt. More punches by Griffin and Aurelio looking for an opening. Griffin is just beating on his ribs. Aurelio back to his feet. Good body punches by Griffin. Some low kicks by Griffin. Aurelio tried a takedown late but Griffin blocked it as time ran out. Griffin 10-9.
Crowd chanting "Tyson." Good low kicks by Griffin. Aurelio tried for a takedown but Griffin has him bearhugged against the cage and is kneeing his thigh and stomping on his feet. Both trying knees but nothing telling. Griffin with a high slam. Nice reverse on the ground by Aurelio. Aurelio has his back with 1:25 left but Griffin esdaped and is now on top, punching the ribs. Aurelio wnt for a triangle but Griffin escaped. Griffin with an elbow to the face. Hard round to call because Griffin won most of the round but the most telling move was the triange by Aurelio. Still, Griffin 20-18 at this point.
Both trading. Good left uppercut by Griffin. Kick and punch combo by Griffin but not substantial. Good low kick by Griffin and he followed moving in with a punch. Griffin with some body punches. Aurelio shot but Griffin easily avoided the takedown and connected with more punches. Griffin now hurt him with a kick and punch combination. Aurelio firing back. Another kick to the thigh by Griffin. Griffin connecting with looping rights. Aurelio with a nice punch. Fans are starting to boo and Griffin took him right down. Aurelio working for an armbar but Griffin escaped. Aurelio working for a triangle and armbar with 30 seconds left. Griffin is out of trouble. Griffin with body punches as time ran out. 30-27 Griffin.
All three judges had it 30-27 for Griffin.
Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle is up now.
Crowd doesn't like Koscheck. Koscheck wants to box. We'll see about that idea. Nice high kick by Lytle. Koscheck tried the killer high kick but missed bad and fell down. Koscheck got the takedown and Lytle went for a guillotine. Koscheck is on top doing little. A few body shots and a short elbow. Koscheck got a hard elbow in. Koscheck is just outwrestling Lytle. He threw a few hard shots at the buzzer. Not much of a round. I guess Koscheck close at 10-9.
Koscheck took Lytle down again. Hard knees and elbows by Koscheck. Lytle going for a guillotine as Koscheck went for another takedown. Koscheck wasn't in trouble. Koscheck thrwoing some punches from the top. He's busted Lytle's left eye with elbows. Blood is all over the camera lense and the mat. There is a lot of blood. It's actually a puddle of blood. They may have to stop this. Lytle's right eye is cut and starting to swell badly. Crowd cheered the round heavy. The cut on the right side looks awful. I don't know about this one. continuing. Koscheck 10-8.
Lytle is coming out for three. Lytle punched Koscheck as he stuffed the takedwon. Lytle is working for an armbar and now a guilltone, a choke, and another guillotine. Koscheck escaped. Great moment. Now Koscheck using more elbows from the top. Methodical working of the cut by Koscheck. They ordered a stand-up. Corwd going jnutws for Lytle because he's covered with blood coming from the right eye and maybe the left ear. Lytle camein punching. Loud Lytle chant. 30 seconds left. Trading punches. Koscheck is an awesome heel, you had to see the finish. 10-9 Koscheck so 30-26 is the score I've got.
The two hugged when it was over. 30-26, 29-27, 30-28 for Koscheck. Man did they boo Koscheck.
Joe Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau is next. Tibau came out to "Iron Man." If you think that was old school wrestling, Tyson Griffin came out to "Eye of the Tiger."
Tibau connected with a a punch. Stevenson rushed him and got him down. Now it's the Stevenson guilltoine but Tibau got out. Tibau has his back working for a choke. Stevenson knows he's in a fight right now. Tibau got another takedown. Elbow by Stevenson leading to a slam. Uma plata by Tibeau. Tibeau has Stegvenson in the hold. Stevenson is relaxed acting like he's bored and it doesn't hurt him, trying for a stand-up. Steve Mazzagatti is 100 yards away making no move to stand them. Stevenson's facials aren't helping his case because the ref sees it as being challenged. Time ran out in the round. 10-9 Tibau.
Stevenson charged looking for a takedown. Another taekdown by Tibaue. A f ew punches by Tibeau but nothing connecting. Strong takedown by Tibaeau. He's got Stevenson pinned. Stevenson is trying to bridge out. Full mount now by Tibeau. High kick. Tibaeau took him down but Stevenson grabbed his guillotine and this time Tibau couldn't get out. Once again the guy winning ont he scorecard got submitted.
Believe it or not, the UFC poll has 53% thinking Forrest Griffin will win and 47% for Jackson. That's just shocking.
Patrick Cote vs. Ricardo Almeida is up.
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