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UFC 94: Preview and Predictions...By Jay Graziani
UFC 94: St-Pierre vs. Penn 2
Saturday, January 31st, 10 PM ET on PPV
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas
Weigh-in: Friday, January 30th, 7 PM ET, live on UFC.com and ESPN.com
Current odds from Bookmaker.com
Matt "No Regard" Arroyo (3-2-0) vs. Dan Cramer (0-0-0)
Current Odds: Arroyo -170; Cramer +140
Arroyo has appeared in the finales of both The Ultimate Fighter 6 and 7, most recently falling to a 1-1 record at the hands of Matt Brown. He has a strong jiu-jitsu background, but little professional experience. Cramer has yet to notch a professional fight despite appearing on TUF 7. He came in with a 3-0 amateur record, but was injured before his planned professional debut against Cale Yarbrough at the TUF 7 finale. Cramer has the better standup, but his lack of experience will be his downfall against a more experienced submission specialist. Prediction: Arroyo, 1st round submission.
"Irish" Jake O'Brien (10-2-0) vs. Christian "The Hungarian Nightmare" Wellisch (8-4-0)
Current Odds: O'Brien -275; Wellisch +215
O'Brien, a former Purdue wrestler, is coming off back-to-back TKO losses to Andrei Arlovski and Cain Velasquez. He hasn't tasted victory in over two years. Wellisch, meanwhile, caught a mean right cross en route to a 44-second KO loss his last time out. Both are moving down from heavyweight, so how each handles the weight adjustment may play a major role. There may be value in Wellisch at this high of a line. Prediction: Wellisch, 2nd round TKO.
Chris "The Professor" Wilson (14-4-0) vs. John "Doomsday" Howard (10-4-0)
Current Odds: Wilson -355; Howard +285
Wilson lost but went the distance against Jon Fitch in his UFC debut, then followed that up with a decent showing in a decision win over Steve Bruno. He has solid striking, a good submission game, and great takedown defense. Howard is making his UFC debut after bouncing around smaller promotions, including the IFL. He is also more of a standup guy, but has notched a number of submission victories. Wilson's reach should keep Howard at bay; look for this match to end early. Prediction: Wilson, 1st round TKO.
Manny "The Anvil" Gamburyan (8-3-0) vs. Thiago Tavares (13-3-0)
Current Odds: Gamburyan -110; Tavares -120
Judo expert Gamburyan was on a roll since his TUF television appearance, but then was KO'ed by fellow reality show star Rob Emerson in 12 seconds. Tavares lost his last two as a very heavy favorite, but he joins the majority of Brazilian fighters in being excellent in submissions. Tavares should also have the edge in stand-up, especially considering his reach advantage. Look for Tavares to finally prove deserving of the favorite role. Prediction: Tavares, 2nd round submission.
Jon Fitch (17-3-0) vs. Akihiro "The Japanese Sensation" Gono (29-13-7)
Current Odds: Fitch -725; Gono +525
Fitch is surprisingly relegated to the undercard even though his decision loss to Georges St-Pierre was his first since 2002. Gono most recently lost a decision to Dan Hardy which saw him enter as a 7-to-2 favorite. The PRIDE veteran has been in the fight game for nearly 15 years and the wear has shown in his last 2 fights where he was virtually ineffective. Nonetheless, I can't advocate laying this much chalk against an experienced fighter with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. I don't see Gono winning, but the odds here are too high to back Fitch. Prediction: Fitch, 3rd round TKO.
Nate Diaz (10-2-0) vs. Clay "The Carpenter" Guida (24-9-0)
Current Odds: Diaz -140; Guida +110
Diaz is 5-0 since formally entering the UFC after his TUF 5 championship run. He is a talented up-and-comer, though this will be his first UFC pay-per-view appearance. Guida has also been flying under the radar with his last 3 fights broadcast on free TV. The lanky Diaz will have a significant reach advantage on Guida, and his lankiness will add to his submission danger as well. While Guida has been through some wars, Diaz's jiu-jitsu seems to be a terrible match-up for him; and despite his heart and willpower, Clay will have to pull out all the stops to even manage to take this to the scorecards. Prediction: Diaz, 3rd round submission.
Karo "The Heat" Parisyan (18-5-0) vs. Dong Hyun "Stun Gun" Kim (11-0-1)
Current Odds: Parisyan -285; Kim +225
Parisyan was once seen as the paragon of judo in the UFC, but he's been unable to finish fights, managing only one stoppage in the last 5 years and 11 fights. His last fight against Thiago Alves showed that a good striker with an ability to defend grappling can pick him apart. Unfortunately for Kim, his strength is judo and he has yet to face competition on the level of Parisyan. Kim struggled in winning a controversial split decision against Matt Brown in September, and the step up in class will pose big problems for him here. Parisyan has been flat lately, but this is a great spot to start a comeback run. Prediction: Parisyan by decision.
Stephan "American Psycho" Bonnar (11-4-0) vs. Jon "Bones" Jones (7-0-0)
Current Odds: Bonnar -175; Jones +145
Bonnar has only four blemishes on his record, all at the hands of elite opponents. Three of his losses ended in decision (Forrest Griffin twice, Rashad Evans once) and one ended by stoppage due to cuts (vs Lyoto Machida way back in 2003). All those opponents are currently top contenders in the light heavyweight division. However, Bonnar hasn't fought since October 2007, pulling out of a March bout against Matt Hamill due to knee injury. He is 2-0 in the Octagon since losing the second time to Griffin, but against lower-tier opposition. Jones is a hot up-and-comer, compiling a 7-0 record just four months after his professional debut in April. Jones decisioned an undefeated yet unimpressive Andre Gusmao in August, and while he held his own in standup and in the clinch, his ground game left a lot to be desired. Against a strong jiu-jitsu game like Bonnar's, Jones will have to hope to keep it standing. Bonnar, however, has better standup than Gusmao, and that, coupled with his experience, should lead The American Psycho to a decisive victory. Prediction: Bonnar, 2nd round TKO.
Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (13-0-0) vs. Thiago Silva (13-0-0)
Current Odds: Machida -280; Silva +220
Lucky number 13. Both Machida and Silva sport perfect 13-0 career records, and the winner here should vault themselves into title contention. This fight was originally slated for October, but a back injury to Silva caused a postponement. Machida is considered a top light heavyweight, recently notching a hard-fought, but ultimately boring, victory over Tito Ortiz. His resume is stacked, with wins over Penn, Franlin, and Bonnar, though the latter two victories came over 5 years ago. Silva's record isn't as impressive, with no particular standouts in the list of his fallen opponents, though 3 of his 4 UFC bouts have ended in the first round. Silva has only gone the distance once, which may spell trouble against Machida, 7 of whose last 9 fights went to the scorecards. Machida's style has frustrated strikers like Silva; he will likely continue his game plan of slowing the pace and wearing down his opponent. Silva just doesn't have the experience to out-strategize Machida and score the KO, his only real shot at victory. Prediction: Machida by decision.
Georges "Rush" St-Pierre (17-2-0) vs. BJ "The Prodigy" Penn (13-4-1)
Current Odds: St-Pierre -175; Penn +145
St-Pierre is perhaps considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, with his only losses coming by fluke TKO to Matt Serra and a submission to Matt Hughes back when Hughes was relevant. He's fought a virtual "who's who" of lightweight and middleweight fighters and has rarely looked bad, or even beatable. Penn and St-Pierre have faced off before, a split decision that went to St-Pierre. Penn rebounded from that defeat to win 3 of his next 4 and the lightweight title. He'll move back up in weight here, though that shouldn't be much cause for concern given his history of bouncing around divisions. Both are top-notch, elite fighters with plenty of big-fight experience and deep records against quality opponents. While GSP is a deserving favorite in this role, don't write off Penn, who has looked much better since his move to lightweight. Penn will give GSP a run for his money, and is impossible to pass up at plus money. Prediction: Penn, 5th round submission.
Picks (2009): 2-2 -0.05 units; Best Bets: 1-0 +1.00 units
Nate Diaz -140
Stephan Bonnar -175 (Best Bet)
BJ Penn +145
Opinions (2009): 1-5 -5.75 units
Matt Arroyo -170
Christian Wellisch +215
Chris Wilson -355
Thiago Tavares -120
Akihiro Gono +525
Karo Parsyan -285
Lyoto Machida -280
i have been puzzled with the odds for the thiago silva fight, i understand how hard machida's karate style is to deal with for any opponet but the +220 has got to be worth a shot,also thinking about putting a little on the maniac clay guida, gl with the bonnar pick jon jones greco clinch scares the sh*t out of me going into that fight but i wouldnt count out a bonnar ko
YouTube - UFC 94: Thiago Silva look to be aggressive against the undefeated Lyoto Machida
should be some live weigh-ins on spike tonight
I'd be shocked if Silva was even able to land one clean shot on Lyoto. Silva likes to bang but Lyoto will pick him apart if he decides to strike.
I like Guida a lot but he's still pretty one dimensional when it comes to MMA, meaning he's looking to take you down and outwork you for three rounds. So his fights will usually go the distance which will give his opponent the maximum amount of tries to either sub him or ko him. Look at his fight with Herrerra I believe. He was in control of that fight only to get caught with a knee in the final round.
And if it does goto decision, well who knows what could happen. He got robbed in his fight with Griffin.
Though I wonder if Diaz can stay with Guida and his high motor style for three rounds.
As for Manny, don't underestimate his knowledge of the ground game and submissions his Judo background has left him very well versed in that area. He's looking to get it to the ground and if you've watched any of his previous fights that should be pretty obvious. It's when he tries to strike, is when you've seen him get into trouble.
nice write up. gsp will outweigh penn by close to 20lbs when the fight starts. too big, too strong and the constant gnp that gsp will come with is going to be too much for penn. biting off more than he can chew by moving up to this weight imo. gl
UFC 94 official weigh-in results | MMAjunkie.com
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Jan 30, 2009 at 6:20 pm ET
LAS VEGAS - MMAjunkie.com was on scene for today's "UFC 94: St. Pierre vs. Penn II" weigh-ins at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and lightweight champion B.J. Penn made their 170-pound title fight official, as did undefeated light heavyweight contenders Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva.
Amid an apparent record gathering for an MGM Grand weigh-in ceremony, a decidedly split crowd stood and cheered as both St. Pierre and Penn expressed their excitement for tomorrow's main event.
"I'm ready," Penn said. "I've got nothing else to say. Let's fight. Let's go."
After the intense staredown, St. Pierre said he's never wanted a victory as bad as he hopes to see his hand raised on Saturday night.
"I've never been so excited for a fight," St. Pierre said. "I've never wanted to win so bad.
"Tomorrow, don't blink. It's going to be an exciting fight."
Today's weigh-ins preceded Saturday's historic event for the UFC. St. Pierre and Penn will meet in a rematch of their epic 2006 tilt. The bout will represent the first meeting in UFC history between two current titleholders.
The full weigh-in results included:
Welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre (170) vs. lightweight champ B.J. Penn (168) -- for welterweight title
Lyoto Machida (206) vs. Thiago Silva (206)
Karo Parisyan (170) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (171)
Nate Diaz (156) vs. Clay Guida (156)
Stephan Bonnar (206) vs. Jon Jones (206)
Jon Fitch (171) vs. Akihiro Gono (171)
Manny Gamburyan (155) vs. Thiago Tavares (155)
John Howard (171) vs. Chris Wilson (170)
Jake O'Brien (205) vs. Christian Wellisch (206)
Matt Arroyo (171) vs. Dan Cramer (171)
Matt Arroyo vs. Dan Cramer
Arroyo is keeping a distance. Cramer shoots in and scores a takedown. Arroyo latches on an armbar. Cramer defends well. Cramer escapes and is in arroyo's guard. He lands several punches. Arroyo tries a triangle. Cramer defends and lands more punches. Round ends with more punches from Cramer. Sherdog.com scores the frame 10-9 for Cramer.
They stand and circle. Arroyo tries a shot, but nothing. They clinch. Cramer drags him down. In Arroyo's guard, Cramer lands more punches. Not much action. A few more strikes from Cramer in Arroyo's gusts. The crowd is growing restless. Round ends with Aramer landing strikes from within Arroyo's guard. Arroyo's face is swollen. 10-9 for Cramer.
Arroyo shoots in but is stuffed. He trips Cramer and falls into his guard. Cramer tries a gogoplata. Arroyo defends. Arroyo sweeps out and seizes his back. Arroyo sinks the hooks and tries a rear-naked choke. Cramer defends and scrambles out. He's now in Arroyo's guard and lands a few punches. Not much action. Referee Steve Mazzagatti stands them. Cramer takes him down. Crowd boos. Arroyo tries another armbar, but he can’t secure the arm. The round ends. 10-9 Arroyo.
The official scores are: 29-28 Cramer, 29-28 Arroyo and 29-28 for Cramer.
Jake O'Brien vs. Christian Wellisch
Christian Wellisch walks to the cage to "Do you Really Want to Hurt Me" by Culture Club. The crowd roars with laughter.
Wellisch lands a right hand immediately. O’Brien stumbles down and turtles. He's okay. He's up and tags Wellisch with a right. Wellisch drops and turtles while O’Brien tees off. Wellisch scrambles toward the fence and pulls guard. O’Brien backs away after a stalemate. Good left hook by Wellisch, but O’Brien is unfazed. Terrible double leg attempt by Wellisch. Wellisch pulls guard. Very little action. Referee Yves Lavigne finally stands them. Both measuring each other. They clinch and Wellisch tries to pull guard again. 10-9 O’Brien.
They paw jabs early. They fight at a measured pace. Nothing clean lands a minute in. The crowd is starting to boo. O’Brien tries a takedown, but is stuffed. O’Brien scores a double leg and scoop slams Wellisch. O’Brien is now in Wellisch's guard against fence. Nothing is happening. O’Brien stands and backs away. Little action on the feet. Good double leg takedown by O’Brien with less than a minute left. Wellisch is now bleeding from his nose. Wellisch scrambles up. Decent right cross by Wellisch at the bell. 10-9 O’Brien.
They circle and jab immediately though nothing lands cleanly. O’Brien scores a quick single leg takedown. Wellisch scrambles back up. They trade left jabs. Wellisch's nose is bleeding pretty badly again. Another strong double leg takedown by O’Brien. He stands and backs away. They box again. Very little action. Decent left hook by O’Brien. Blood is pouring out if Wellisch's nose. Blood is sprayed all over the matt. O’Brien scores another big takedown. O’Brien stands and Wellisch scrambles up. Wellisch stuffs a late takedown attempt. 10-9 O’Brien.
The official scores are: 29-28 Wellisch, 29-28 O’Brien, 29-28 O’Brien. The crowd boos.
Chris Wilson vs. John Howard
The fighters circle. Right leg kick by Howard. Howard scores a quick takedown. They're back up. They swing for the fences but miss. Howard is pressing forward. Right leg kick by Wilson. Pace slows. They clinch and Wilson pins him against fence. They break free and both miss wild hooks. Howard slips from a leg kick but he's up. Wilson latches on a standing guillotine but it’s not deep. Howard slithers out and pulls guard. Hard right hand by Wilson, but Howard smiles and trash talks. After a mad scramble, Howard reverses and scores a takedown. Referee Herb Dean quickly stands them. Huge slam by Howard from the clinch late. Very close round. 10-9 Wilson.
A huge right leg kick staggers Wilson seconds into the round. Howard explodes but can't finish him. Wilson falls and Howard jumps onto him, but Wilson able to pull guard. Howard lets him back up. Howard scores another takedown. In Wilson’s guard, Howard lands a few punches. Wilson is able to stand back up. Howard brings him back down. Wilson’s face swollen. Howard lands two more right hands. Pace slows. Howard looks tired late. Howard misses a right and a left haymaker and is slammed down. Wilson hammers in some elbows and gusts from with Howard guard. Both men look very tired. Howard explodes and sweeps Wilson. Good round; very close. 10-9 Howard.
A flying knee by Wilson is blocked. Wilson tries a takedown but Howard scrambles and takes his back. Wilson postures for an escape. They scramble but Howard locks on a rear-naked choke. It’s deep. Wilson is defending well. He breaks the choke but can't escape Howard’s body triangle. Wilson scrambles and sweeps him, reversing positions. Howard pulls guard but quickly sweeps his opponent. Wilson thinks about a heel hook, but Howard scrambles back up before he can latch it. Howard scores a takedown very late. Round ends with Howard in Wilson’s guard. Very close round. 10-9 Howard.
The official scores read: 29-28 Howard, 29-28 Wilson and 29-28 for Howard.
Manny Gamburyan vs. Thiago Tavares
Both fighters are very intense and ready to go. Manvel lands a straight right hand 45 seconds in. It forces Tavares down. Manvel pulls guard. Manvel tries a kimura but Thiago defends. Manvel has the kimura deep again and Thiago lifts him up with the it sunk. He drops him and the lock is broken. Thiago back in Manvel's guard. Gamburyan scrambles up and from a clinch scores a wizzer. But Thiago still has his back and stands back up. Gamburyan turns around and has his back against the fence. Hard takedown by Tavares. Some decent hammer fists from Thiago. 10-9 Gamburyan.
Good takedown by Thiago. They stand after a scramble. Gamburyan scores a takedown and is in Thiago's guard. Not too much action. Some good punches by Gamburyan. Referee Josh Rosenthal finally stands them. Both guys miss wild hay makers. Gamburyan stuffs a takedown. Thiago fighting for a single-leg takedown. 10-9 for Gamburyan.
Gamburyan has a takedown stuffed. And another. Thiago is fighting for another single, but Gamburyan defends. They swing for the fences but miss. A big right hand by Thiago rocks Gamburyan. Thiago can't finish him. It’s turned into a kickboxing match. A big knee from Thiago after he stuffed a takedown. Gamburyan is desperate. He's swinging wildly but misses them all. Good jab by Thiago. Thiago is backing away to disengage. Round ends with Gamburyan stalking him. 10-9 Thiago.
All three official judges score it 29-28 for Thiago Tavares.
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