UFC 100 is now just a day away, and promises to bring a number of entertaining and relevant bouts, including two title fights and a fight that will likely decide the next contender for Anderson Silva’s middleweight crown. From top to bottom, you have to hand it to Zuffa for putting together a great card, even if we have actually had many more than 100 UFC events by now. Nit-picking aside, here are some thoughts and predictions on what will transpire tomorrow night.
CB Dollaway vs. Tom Lawlor
Another UFC event, another battle of “The Ultimate Fighter” cast members. This time around, Lawlor should be in for a thrashing, albeit one that may be a bit plodding and deliberate in nature. Dollaway, who is an excellent wrestler, should be able to put away Lawlor, who is excellent in nothing, by putting him on his back early and often. I could see this going to a decision, but I’ll give Dollaway the benefit of the doubt and predict a stoppage for the former Division I wrestling standout.
Prediction: Dollaway by TKO, Round 2
Shannon Gugerty vs. Matt Grice
This one is a sleeper for “fight of the night”, even without the marquee names that are provided by several of the other bouts on the card. Gugerty is coming off a submission loss to Spencer Fisher, while Grice has lost two of his three UFC bouts thus far, so both need a win badly here.
It’s hard to say that either fighter has a sizable advantage here, even though each has a clear advantage in one area (Gugerty in submissions, Grice in ground control and ground striking). This one could really go either way.
Prediction: Gugerty by submission, Round 3
Dong Hyun Kim vs. TJ Grant
Kim is undefeated in his pro career, thanks to the NSAC overturning the result of his decision loss to Karo Parisyan at UFC 94. Meanwhile, Grant’s two losses came earlier in his career, and he made a successful debut against Ryo Chonan at UFC 97. Both are skilled on the ground, so I don’t know that Grant will get an opportunity for the submission here. As with many bouts between equally-skilled fighters, this will probably come down to cardio, and Kim’s looked suspect against Parisyan.
Prediction: Grant by decision
Mac Danzig vs. Jim Miller
Danzig and Miller will provide another great lightweight matchup, as Danzig looks for a big win that will get his career back on track. It will be hard for him to get it against a stronger wrestler like Miller, even though Danzig will have the advantage in striking and slightly in submissions, as well. This is one of those fights where I think one fighter (Danzig) needs to finish the other (Miller) to avoid a decision loss. While Danzig could do so if Miller is foolish enough to stand with him at length, I don’t see that happening.
Prediction: Miller by decision
Jon Jones vs. Jake O’Brien
Jones is the best prospect in the light heavyweight division (and maybe in the UFC overall), while O’Brien is looking to revitalize his career after losing a couple of bouts earlier in his UFC stint at heavyweight. While Jones promises to continue with highlight reel throws and strikes, O’Brien is your usual wrestler-turned-fighter with a meat and potatoes attack. O’Brien will probably look to control Jones, but an athlete as explosive and unpredictable as Jones is not easily controlled. Eventually, Jones will make something happen and end up finishing O’Brien.
Prediction: Jones by TKO, Round 2
Mark Coleman vs. Stephan Bonnar
I was almost as surprised to see Coleman brought back to face Bonnar as I was to hear that he would be coming back to the UFC to face Mauricio “Shogun” Rua months back. With that said, if you’ve seen one Mark Coleman fight, you’ve pretty much seen them all. I’m not sure if Coleman has had trouble evolving due to a lack of effort or just a lack of ability, but he’s by and large the same fighter that he was ten years ago. With that said, he could easily win the first round against Bonnar on the strength of his wrestling and ability to control an opponent on the ground.
After that, though, his infamously small gas tank will betray him, and he will soon be a sitting duck for pinpoint strikes from Bonnar, who is a technical striker at a much higher level than Coleman, which almost goes without saying. Coleman can take a lot of punishment, so I think Bonnar will end up finishing with a submission rather than a finish via strikes here.
Prediction: Bonnar by submission, Round 3
Alan Belcher vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Akiyama debuts in the UFC as a hardcore MMA fan favorite, largely based off the strange admiration that many of his fans have of him (calling him “Sexyama” and what not). Now, he’ll bring his click all-around game to the States, where Alan “The Talent” Belcher and his Johnny Cash tattoo await. Belcher may not be the better striker, but he is very competent on his feet and will be best served when the fight is not taking place on the mat.
The problem is, the fight will find its way there, and when it does, Akiyama will have the “definitive advantage”, as Mike Goldberg would put it. Akiyama is strong and dynamic enough to find a way to get the fight to where he’s at his best, and then will end up tapping Belcher out in relatively short order. If it goes long enough though, this could be a great fight.
Prediction: Akiyama by submission, Round 2
Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago
Thiago gets on the main card based off of his ridiculous knockout win over Josh Koscheck, and now he will get to face Koscheck’s teammate, Jon Fitch. Fitch, unlike Koscheck, will not dwell in any foolishness and will be all business on Saturday night, which is why a Fitch win is a pretty sure bet. Thiago’s only real asset against Fitch is his submission game, but Fitch has always proven to be more than able to control jiu-jitsu specialists while staying out of trouble.
Meanwhile, Fitch will pound away on Thiago while controlling him with relative ease, leading to a TKO finish, although if Thiago shows heart, a decision isn’t out of the question. Even if Fitch is tempted to stand with Thiago here and there, it’s highly unlikely that Thiago will be able to put away a fighter that absorbed Georges St. Pierre’s best shots for five rounds.
Prediction: Fitch by TKO, Round 1
Later on today, we’ll have part two of Fightmania’s UFC 100 predictions, with analysis of the three main events of the evening. Be sure to check back to catch my take on the supposed grudge match between Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping, along with the night’s two title fights.
by Jon Hartley for Fightmania.com