UFC 101 Predictions
You could say that I’m a little late to the party as far as getting up my predictions for tonight’s UFC event that will be taking place in Philadelphia, PA. Many of the MMA websites have had theirs up since Wednesday or Thursday, but the way I look at it, late is better than never, so here goes:
BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian – UFC Lightweight Title Bout
The timing couldn’t be better for Florian to get this opportunity as he is riding a very solid wave of momentum having won his last six fights inside the octagon including victories over Joe Stevenson, Roger Huerta and Joe Lauzon. Florian has looked more impressive with each win.
Meanwhile UFC Lightweight Champion, BJ Penn has seen his aura of invincibility shaken after a humbling defeat at the hands of UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 in which he was throroughly dominated to the point where he didn’t come out for round 5. Along with the “grease gate” controversy that was part of the fall out of that defeat, Penn has seen his image as one of the top all around fighters take a little bit of a hit.
I see Penn as a very prideful fighter with a wounded ego and because of that I believe that he will be coming into tonight’s title defense against Florian as someone who is highly motivated with many doubters to prove wrong. Although Florian will give Penn his toughest challenge to date in the lightweight division, Penn will remind everyone why his nickname is “The Prodigy” and emerge victorious. My prediction is Penn by submission in the fourth round.
Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin – Light Heavyweight Bout
Without a doubt the most intriguing match up on tonights card is UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva moving up in weight to take on former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin.
Silva is regarded by many as the best pound for pound fighter in the sport and enters tonights contest on a nine match win streak inside the octagon. However in his last two victorirs over Thales Leites and Patrick Cote, Silva has looked anything but impressive causing some to question his place in the pound for pound argument.
Griffin enters the octagon tonight for the first time in eight months not having fought since losing the Light Heavyweight Title to Rashad Evans last December at UFC 92. Preceding the loss to Evans was a win over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and an impressive come from behind victory Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Griffin has proven time and time again that he is not afraid to get down and dirty and take the fight to an opponent.
There could be a number of reasons why Silva has not looked like his dominant self in recent fights. Leities, his most recent opponent did not seem like he wanted to engage at any point in the fight constantly running and sometimes dropping to the mat while hoping to entice Silva to engage in a ground game.
I believe that Griffin’s aggressive style will play right into the hands of Silva who has proven time and time again that he is at his most dangerous when forced to engage. If Griffin has shown us anything in his career, its that his fights are anything but boring and this fight will certainly be no different. When the dust has settled, Silva’s win streak will reach 10. My prediction is Silva by knockout in the second round.
Amir Sadollah vs. Johnny Hendricks – Welterweight Bout
The Ultimate Fighter Eight welterweight winner will be making his return after a year on the sidelines thanks to a broken clavicle and staph infections. Hendricks is a solid wrestler but Sadollah showed a strong ground submission game during his run on the UFC’s reality show. Because of his time on the sidelines, I think he’s had plenty of time to further progress his submission skills. My prediction is Sadollah by submission in the second round.
I don’t really have a strong opinion on the other two main card fights but since I’m giving my predictions I have to pick a side so here goes:
Middleweights – Kendall Grove defeats Ricardo Almeida by third round TKO
Lightweights – Josh Neer defeats Kurt Pellegrino by second round TKO