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UFC 103: Preview and Predictions...By Jay Graziani
UFC 103: Franklin vs. Belfort
Saturday, September 19th, 10 PM ET, live on pay-per-view
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Weigh-in: Friday, September 18th, 4 PM ET, live on UFC.com
Current odds from Bookmaker.com
Rob "The Saint" Emerson (9-7-0) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (11-4-0)
Current Odds: Emerson +100; dos Anjos -130
Emerson tore off 7 fights without a loss until being choked out by Kurt Pellegrino in February, his only fight in the past 13 months. He's filling in here for an injured Matt Wiman. Dos Anjos made his UFC debut in November and promptly lost two straight. While dos Anjos looked solid in defeat against the always tough Tyson Griffin, Emerson has surprised before in the underdog role. Prediction: Emerson by decision.
Vladimir "The Janitor" Matyushenko (22-4-0) vs. Igor Pokrajac (21-5-0)
Current Odds: Matyushenko -280; Pokrajac +220
Matyushenko last saw Octagon action nearly 6 years ago, spending the meantime in a number of promotions including IFL and Affliction. The ex-Soviet wrestler has won 9 of his last 10, the sole loss coming to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and he was IFL light heavyweight champion before that promotion's collapse. Pokrajac also holds an impressive recent record, winning 11 of his last 12, fighting primarily in Croatia and training in the CroCop Squad gym. Both fight from wrestling bases, so this may be a slow affair with The Janitor's talent giving him the eventual edge. Prediction: Matyushenko by decision.
Eliot "The Fire" Marshall (7-1-0) vs. Jason "Hitman" Brilz (17-1-1)
Current Odds: Marshall +115; Brilz -145
Marshall has won two straight since a subpar showing on TUF 8, though he looked less than impressive his last time out in a decision over Vinny Magalhaes that could have gone the other way. Brilz last tasted defeat over 8 years ago, accumulating a 12-0-1 record since. Brilz will certainly want to take this to the mat, and despite Marshall's submission skills, Brilz has proven to be potent on the ground. Prediction: Brilz, 3rd round TKO.
Rick "The Horror" Story (7-3-0) vs. Brian Foster (12-3-0)
Current Odds: Story -140; Foster +110
Story was decisioned by John Hathaway in his UFC debut in a close, if unmemorable, fight. Foster is just coming up from the minors, winning 5 of his last 6 fights with none of them even reaching the second round. Story is fighting on a mere 2 weeks notice after injuries caused the fight card to undergo some major adjustments. Both come from wrestling backgrounds, and though Story has the better standup, he's not worth making a play on due to his poor showing last time and the short prep time for this bout. Prediction: Story, 1st round TKO.
Rafaello "Tractor" Oliveira (9-1-0) vs. Nik "The Carny" Lentz (16-3-1)
Current Odds: Oliveira -275; Lentz +215
The Brazilian-born Oliveira was set to face fellow ex-Affliction fighter Dan Lauzon in what would have been both's UFC debut. Instead, Nik Lentz is stepping up on about 3 weeks notice. Lentz has twice as many fights as Oliveira despite a slightly shorter career. Neither has much of a fight history to look at with all their action coming in minor promotions. While Oliveira has the better pedigree, Lentz's wrestling may keep him out of trouble on the ground and give him a chance to win it in standup. Prediction: Lentz, 2nd round TKO.
Jim Miller (14-2-0) vs. Steve Lopez (12-1-0)
Current Odds: Miller -435; Lopez +335
Miller's 3-1 since debuting in the Octagon, with the lone mar on his record a decision loss to Gray Maynard. He was scheduled to face the now injured Thiago Tavares, but instead steps into the Octagon against UFC-newcomer Steve Lopez. Fighting his way through minor Midwest promotions, Lopez managed to go 13 fights with just a single decision loss. Miller, though, is more than a step above in both talent and experience. Predcition: Miller, 1st round submission.
Drew "The Massacre" McFedries (8-5-0) vs. Tomasz "Gorilla" Drwal (16-2-1)
Current Odds: McFedries -110; Drwal -120
McFedries needed only 37 seconds to knock out Xavier Foupa-Pokam, though that was his first victory in three tries. Drwal likes to punch as much as McFed and is coming off two straight first-round TKOs. This could be a short fight, but McFedries' history gives him a good shot in what should be a stand-up brawl. Prediction: McFedries, 1st round TKO.
Efrain "Hecho en Mexico" Escudero (11-0-0) vs. Cole "Magrinho" Miller (15-3-0)
Current Odds: Escudero -170; Miller +140
Escudero not only sports an 11-0 record, but also holds the title of TUF 8 champion. Miller is a fellow reality contestant who has gone 4-1 since his run on TUF 5. Both are excellent ground fighters, but Miller should have an exploitable edge in standup if he can manage to keep the fight off the mat. Prediction: Miller, 1st round TKO.
Tyson Griffin (13-2-0) vs. Hermes "The Unreal" Franca (19-7-0)
Current Odds: Griffin -315; Franca +255
Griffin is 6-2 the past 3 years, and despite being unable to finish a fight (his last 7 went to the scorecards) he has notched Fight or Submission of the Night Honors in 6 of those 8 appearances. Franca is a former WEC lightweight champion, but holds only a 1-1 record since falling to Sean Sherk in a bid for the UFC Lightweight title. Both are well-rounded, experienced fighters who have only been stopped a total of once between them. The high odds justify a value play on Franca. Prediction: Franca by decision.
Josh "Kos" Koscheck (12-4-0) vs. Frank "Twinkle-Toes" Trigg (19-6-0)
Current Odds: Koscheck -420; Trigg +320
Kos has struggled to get back on track since his failed bid for Georges St-Pierre's Welterweight title, losing 2 of his last 3. His last fight saw him TKO'ed for the first time in his career when he walked into a huge uppercut courtesy of Paulo Thiago. Trigg hasn't fought in the UFC in over 4 years, leaving on a sour note with back-to-back losses to Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre. He's won four straight in other promotions, with the most recent three victories coming by decision. Both are excellent wrestlers and overall fighters, but Trigg is on the decline and Koscheck has the edge despite his recent history of poor showings. Prediction: Koscheck by decision.
Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann (15-2-0) vs. Paul "Semtex" Daley (21-8-2)
Current Odds: Kampann -350; Daley +280
Kampmann was supposed to battle Mike Swick for top-contender status in the welterweight divsion. Unfortunately, Swick has bowed out due to injury and Daley finds himself in the unenviable position of facing an elite cage veteran in his UFC debut, and on just two weeks notice to boot. Daley has plenty of experience, but not against the kind of opponents that would prepare him for Kampmann. Prediction: Kampmann, 1st round TKO.
Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic (25-6-2) vs. Junior "Cigano" Dos Santos (8-1-0)
Current Odds: Filipovic +100; Dos Santos -130
CroCop entered the UFC to much fanfare, only to lose two in a row to make for a short-lived Octagon stint. After a short hiatus where he won bouts in both DREAM and K-1, CroCop returned to the UFC to dismantle Mustapha al Turk this past June. Dos Santos has two first-round TKOs under his belt since signing with UFC, victories over Stefan Struve and Favricio Werdum. The real question is: has CroCop's time passed? While dos Santos looks to be a very talented up-and-comer, he's not ready to face an in-his-prime CroCop, if that fighter shows up. The old CroCop would win handily; a CroCop performance like in the Octagon circa 2007 is, unfortunately, something to worry about. Yet Filipovic should still have a few good fights left in him, especially when he can be had as an underdog. Prediction: Filipovic, 1st round TKO.
Rich "Ace" Franklin (25-4-0) vs. Vitor "Phenom" Belfort (18-8-0)
Current Odds: Franklin -130; Belfort +100
Franklin is 2-1 since moving up from middleweight, including a 195-lb. catchweight decision over Wanderlei Silva. Despite his recent successes, he doesn't seem like quite the same fighter since a pair of brutal losses to Anderson Silva. Belfort's last visits to the Octagon were at UFC 49 and UFC 51, consecutive losses to Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz. While Belfort was certainly a "phenom" when he won his first fight at age 19, his recent efforts have been uninspired and he doesn't semm ready for the level of competition Franklin has to offer. Prediction: Franklin by decision.
Picks (2009): 19-27 -16.45 units; Best Bets: 5-4 -0.15 units
Cole Miller +140
Hermes Franca +255
Martin Kampmann -350
Mirko Filipovic +100 (Best Bet)
Rich Franklin -130 (Best Bet)
Opinions (2009): 27-36 -16.8 units
Rob Emerson +100
Vladimir Matyushenko -280
Jason Brilz -145
Rick Story -140
Nik Lentz +215
Jim Miller -435
Drew McFedries -110
Josh Koscheck -420
When one of the headliners of UFC 103 also fought in UFC 12, you might have a problem
Depending way too much on the reality show guys to make up these cards anymore
I was considering Franca as well, even though he has struggled with wrestlers i think Franca has the perfect style to pull off the upset, Rafael dos Anjos had Griffen in a few troubling positition in their fight, if you go back and watch the first round he almost finished Tyson wish some type of awkward leg compression, I remember thinking if Dos anjos was just a lttle stronger he probably would have won, have to think if Franca is able to lock up most of those same submissions he probably finishes the fight, just waiting for the weigh-ins in a few hours right now
Last edited by Fuzzyxlogikk : 09-18-2009 at 03:01 PM.
weigh-ins are relevant, but I've seen guys like Alves have a miserable time trying to get down to weight and still come out and whoop some ass. Same thing happened with Southworth, Carano and probably countless others.
Dos Anjos, from a southpaw stance, lands a nice leg kick to open the fight. He shoots but Emerson defends well and gets back to the center to the cage. Emerson fighting more of a counter-striking style while dos Anjos is initiating more of the action. Dos Anjos lands a nice left hook to the jaw of Emerson but he shakes it off. Emerson defends another shot by pushing dos Anjos head down and retreating from danger. Dos Anjos is in on a single but Emerson grabs a whizzer trying to stave off the attempt but this time dos Anjos gets it. With only a few seconds left in the round, dos Anjos grounds and pounds to the bell. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 for dos Anjos.
Dos Anjos kicking to the legs of Emerson, they are starting to take a toll. Emerson finally checks a kick and lands a straight right hand and another. Emerson has found an effective attack and scores with yet another right. Dos Anjos shoots but Emerson defends. Emerson defends another takedown, dos Anjos ducked under a right hand but Emerson sprawled. A big inside leg kick to Emerson’s lead left leg from dos Anjos backs up the Californian. Dos Anjos presses him against the cage as the 10-second warning sounds. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 for dos Anjos.
After a brief exchange to start the third dos Anjos gets in deep on a shot. Emerson sprawls but he cannot defend and is pulled to the canvas along the cage. Dos Anjos tries to take his back and gets a hook in before attempting a choke that Emerson defends by turning back into him. Emerson gets his guard back but dos Anjos is dropping punches and elbows from the top. Emerson pushes dos Anjos back with his legs and tries to stand but the Brazilian dives back into his guard before passing to half and then side-control. Emerson escapes back to his feet but dos Anjos grabs double underhooks and presses him against the cage. Emerson frees himself from dos Anjos’ clutches but finds himself on the receiving end of yet another brutal inside leg-kick. An exhausted Emerson is throwing single right hands looking for the finish but dos Anjos keeps landing the inside leg-kick to Emerson’s lead leg before circling away. The round comes to a close with Emerson still chasing the elusive dos Anjos. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 dos Anjos.
All three official judges score it 30-27 for dos Anjos, who takes the unanimous decision.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Igor Pokrajac
Pokrajac throwing leg kicks early and after a couple Matyushenko gets the timing down and blasts the Croat with a big right hand over the top. Matyushenko, standing upright, doubles up on the jab. Pokrajac wades in with punches and stuns Matyushenko with a combination. He rushes after him hoping to finish but the veteran wrestler ducks under and takes him to the mat. Matyushenko stands and controls the legs of Pokrajac before jumping back to the ground. He quickly moves to mount but Pokrajac gives up his back. Matyushenko tries for the choke but is bucked off and mounted himself as the round closes. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 for Matyushenko.
Matyushenko lunges in with a jab and finds his mark. Pokrajac answers with punches of his own. Matyushenko, bleeding from the nose, lands a nice straight right-left hook combo that rattles the Croat. The fighters are exchanging heavy blows in the center of the cage with Matyushenko getting the better shots in. He takes Pokrajac to the mat and punches from the top. He pins his arm with a leg and punches to his defenseless opponent. Pokrajac defends the position but has his back taken. Matyushenko cannot sink the choke and Pokrajac gets back to his feet but has to defend a guillotine. The one-sided round comes to an end with Sherdog.com scoring it 10-9 for Matyushenko.
Pokrajac throws a sloppy right leg kick to Matyushenko’s lead leg and pays for it when he is clipped with a big right hand. Matyushenko shoots and is briefly stuffed before finishing the takedown. With little action, referee Leon Roberts stands the fighters up. Matyushenko grinds Pokrajac up against the cage but again the referee breaks them after a lull. Pokrajac gets his first takedown from another clinch but Matyushenko sweeps him right away. The fight ends with Matyushenko on top. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 for “The Janior.”
Matyushenko takes a unanimous decision with scores of 30-27 on all three of the official judges' scorecards.
Story and Foster and slugging it out right from the get go. Foster lands a right hand that stumbles Story but he manages to stay on his feet. Foster throws him to the mat but Story takes top position when Foster misses on a guillotine. Story passes but Foster manages to get to his feet. Story will not let go of a body-lock and takes him back to the mat. Story is bleeding from the nose pretty good. Story trying to pass from half to mount but he is denied. Story punching from the top as he continues to try to advance his position. Foster gets his guard back but Story lands a punch that starts the blood flowing from his nose now. Foster is back up for a second but Story takes it back to the mat. Foster makes it back up again and the fighter exchange heavy shots once again. Both fighters are bloody as the round closes. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 for Story.
hit my first big play
Round 2 - Nice applause as the round opens. Story lands a jab and Foster misses with a high kick. More toe-to-toe, and Story earns a takedown. Foster pulls an open guard, though Story pops quickly out to half. Story pushes Foster's left arm over and drops in the head-and-arm choke, despite being in full guard. Foster tries to briefly push down on his arm to buy time, but it's a temporary fix. Story squeezes and Foster is forced to tap. Rick Story def. Brian Foster via submission (arm-trinagle choke) - Round 1, 1:09.
I will be on the lookout for a good stream,
The fighters trade leg-kicks and Oliveira adds another one. Oliveira hurts Lentz with a punch and rushes in. He has to defend a guillotine but Lentz cannot get his guard making it academic for Oliveira. With the fighters back on their feet, Lentz stops a takedown and jumps to another guillotine. Oliveira slams him to the mat and breaks the hold. Lentz finding his range on his punches now, he lands a nice combination that has Oliveira reeling. He pushes him against the cage and takes him to the canvas with a double at the horn. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 for Lentz
Lentz, feeling more comfortable as the fight wears on, begins round two with a pair of right leg-kicks, one to the body and one to the head of Oliveira. Lentz pushing the pace this round, he pushes Oliveira against the cage and pops him with a nice right hand. Oliveira answers with a right of his own. Oliveira takes Lentz to the mat along the cage and tries to wrest control of the fight back from his opponent. Oliveira trying to mount but gets put back in guard. Lentz takes top position in a scramble only to be put back on bottom by Oliveira. Lentz is back on his feet but looks to be tiring. He is bleeding pretty good from his mouth. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 for Oliveira
Lentz still charging forward as the third gets under way. Oliveira changes levels and grabs hold of the wrestler taking him to the mat in sloppy fashion. Oliveira goes to work in the guard, landing punches and looking to pass. Lentz uses the cage to get back to his feet and resumes his forward movement. Oliveira stops him dead in his tracks with a stiff right hand but Lentz is undeterred. He takes Oliveira to the mat, again sloppily. The men trade punches with Lentz firing down to the body and head while Oliveira counters with backfists. Lentz punishing Oliveira from half-guard with both right and left hands while trapping his opponent’s left arm with his leg. Oliveira lands an upkick in the rounds closing seconds but it should not be enough to sway the judges. Sherdog.com scores the round 10-9 for Lentz.
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