UFC 106

A week ago, I was surprised by how quickly UFC 105 had shown up, and now here we are with just a couple days remaining prior to UFC 106.  The events aren’t typically this close together, but with UFC 105 being a free-tv offering to counteract Strikeforce’s event on CBS, I can understand the timing.

The big match on this card is a rematch from a split decision back in 2006, and if it’s anything like the last one, Ortiz vs Griffin II will be something you won’t want to miss.

Preliminary Card (untelevised)

Lightweight bout:
George Sotiropoulos vs Jason Dent
Sotiropoulos is 10-2, with one of those losses to Shinya Aoki – widely accepted as one of the best fighters in the weightclass.
Jason Dent is 19-9, and won Submission of the Night honors the last time he was in the octagon five months ago.
They’re both alumni of The Ultimate Fighter, so I’m mildly interested to see who wins this fight, and since both are capable of winning with an impressive submission, this fight has the potential to become a “time filler” on either the SPIKE TV broadcast or the PPV itself.  Tough decision, flipping a coin…
Winner:  George Sotiropoulos by submission (coin landed on heads)

Lightweight bout:
Caol Uno vs Fabricio Camoes
Caol Uno has an interesting history and a ton of experience (record of 27-11-1, with the Draw occurring in his second fight with BJ Penn), but not a great record in the past three years – losing 4 of 7.
Fabricio Camoes makes his UFC debut at UFC 106, and despite a rocky start to his career, Camoes is 7-0 in the past three years.
I’m going with momentum, not history.
Winner:  Fabricio Camoes by submission

Welterweight bout:
Brock Larson vs Brian Foster
Quick analysis on this one, since I don’t remember ever seeing either of these two guys fight.
Both guys lost their last fight, both having fought back in September – Foster tapped, Larson lost by decision.
Larson has a professional record of 26-3 with his last three fights happening in the UFC and a few more happening in WEC prior to that.
Foster is 12-4, with a record of 0-1 in UFC.
Winner:  Larson by submission

Welterweight bout:
Paulo Thiago vs Jacob Volkmann
Suffering his first (and only) loss back in July at UFC 100, Paulo Thiago is 11-1 in his career, though he’s only had 2 fights thus far in UFC (the only two fights he’s had outside of Brazil).
Volkmann is set to make his UFC debut, and thus far the Minnesotan is 9-0 with plenty of submissions on his resume, most of which occurred in the first round.  This one should be interesting to watch – if it makes it onto the PPV as an “added match” / “time filler”.
Winner:  Volkmann by Submission

Preliminary Card (Spike TV)

Welterweight bout:
Ben Saunders vs Marcus Davis
These guys lost to Mike Swick and Dan Hardy (respectively) at UFC 99, putting the victors into their UFC 105 fight last weekend to determine the #1 contender to the Welterweight Title.  This fight definitely helps determine the ranks in the division.
Ben Saunders has only one loss – UFC 99 in his first fight in Europe to Mike Swick – a loss via TKO due to a poor punch-defense.  He has three UFC victories on his resume – one by knockout, one by submission, one by decision.  None of them are signature victories, however.
I was very impressed by Marcus Davis’ resiliency and skills in the fight I watched from UFC 75 when it was aired on SPIKE TV last weekend.  Since then, Hardy has lost to both Dan Hardy and Mike Swick (both by decision, losing to Hardy by split decision in his last contest), beat Chris Lytle by split decision, submitted Paul Kelly, and knocked out Jess Liaudin in 64 seconds prior to that.
I’m making my prediction for this one strictly based on my familiarity with the two, so it’s surely bound to be wrong.
Winner:  “Irish Hand Grenade” Marcus Davis by decision

Middleweight bout:
Kendall Grove vs Jake Rosholt
I will admit, I hold something of a soft spot for Kendall Grove because he was the last person to defeat one of my all-time favorites – Evan Tanner, though I try not to be biased in his favor after watching that highly entertaining fight.  Grove doesn’t have a great record (10-6), but he went the distance with Ricardo Almeida in his last fight to lose by decision, and had a first round victory prior to that.
Other than a loss to Dan Miller back in February, Jake Rosholt is undefeated, earning Submission of the Night at UFC 102 back in August as he defeated Chris Leben.
Neither fighter looks to have a huge advantage, and since I like superlatives, I’m going to have Kendall Grove try to prove me wrong.
Winner:  Jake Rosholt by decision

Main Card

Welterweight bout:
Karo Parisyan vs Dustin Hazelett
Returning from a 9 month suspension due to the use of banned substances, Karo Parisyan probably has something extra to prove when he gets back into the octagon, but with 5 of his last 6 fights going to decision, I have to wonder if he’s got the skills to put an opponent away in the given duration of a fight.  From what I’ve found out about his opponent, he might need to find a way to end it, since it probably won’t get to the judges decision.
Dustin Hazelett, who is apparently nicknamed “McLovin”, has won 5 of his past 6 fights by submission, including his last two fights which received superlatives – with Sherdog.com saying that his armbar used to defeat Josh Burkman was the Submission of the Year for 2008, and his inverted armbar used to defeat Tamdan McCrory was Submission of the Night at UFC 91.
Parisyan’s 9 months of rest during suspension shouldn’t serve as an advantage, since Hazelett hasn’t fought in the past year either.  Both apparently had nagging injuries over the past year and a half, so the question does come up as to how much those injuries affected previous performances (primarily for Parisyan).  I know which way I’m leaning.
Winner:  Dustin Hazelett by submission

Light Heavyweight bout:
Luiz Cane vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Very VERY interested in this fight.  Watching The Ultimate Fighter and doing a little bit of research, I’m a fan of Minotauro Nogueira, so I’m looking forward to seeing what his brother – Rogerio – can do in this fight – his UFC debut.  He’s got a pretty good record at 17-3, with one of the losses to Shogun Rua, one to Sokoudjou in the opening minute of the first round, and one from back in 2002 to Vlad Matyushenko (which he has since avenged).
Luiz Cane is somewhat undefeated, and I state it that way because in his UFC debut, he lost via DQ when he gave James Irvin a knee to the head while Irvin was on the mat.  Since then Cane is 3-0, scoring two knockouts and one unanimous decision.
I don’t like to question a Brazilian’s knowledge of BJJ, especially when they have formal training in it, but Luiz Cane hasn’t ever submitted someone, whereas Rogerio Nogueira has done it more than a few times.
This one is going to be exciting to watch and difficult to predict.
Winner:  Rogerio Nogueira by submission

Welterweight bout:
Amir Sadollah vs Phil Baroni
I got to watch Amir Sadollah in The Ultimate Fighter, and while he wasn’t extremely impressive, he was able to win the tournament, so that says something.  In his only other UFC fight, Amir lost in the first round when the referee controversially stopped the fight due to a flurry of punches, but apparently if you watch in slow-motion, Sadollah was attempting to get back up and continue fighting.  The UFC brass must see something in Sadollah, since this is a somewhat high profile spot, especially given his opponent.
With a record of 13-11 including losses in 4 of his last seven (none of which were in the UFC), I’m very curious to find out what the front office saw in Phil Baroni to cause them to re-sign him to compete in UFC after being gone for 4.5 years, and his previous UFC stint ended in 4 straight losses – and apparently at that time Dana White said Baroni should retire.
I think Amir is probably a better fighter than I give him credit for (though I’d like to see him change the color on his white belt in BJJ), and he IS from Richmond in my home state of Virginia.
Winner:  Amir Sadollah by decision

Welterweight bout:
Josh Koscheck vs Anthony Johnson
I really look forward to seeing this fight, because I’ve heard tons about Anthony Johnson’s knockout power, and Josh Koscheck is a name I’ve heard plenty since he joined the UFC 4.5 years ago.
Koscheck has some decent victories – Diego Sanchez, first-round knockout of Frank Trigg back in September, Yoshiyuki Yoshida by first-round knockout.  His losses include then-undefeated Paulo Thiago, Thiago Alves(unanimous decision), and Mr Welterweight himself, George “Rush” St Pierre (unanimous decision).
Johnson has three straight knockout victories in the past year, and four of his last five victories haven’t even made it out of the first round – three of them not making it out of the first MINUTE.
I’m sure someone else is better suited to comment on this one than I am, but I’ll go with what I’d like to see.
Winner:  Anthony Johnson by first round knock out

Light Heavyweight bout:
Tito Ortiz vs Forrest Griffin
Tito hasn’t fought in a year, and when he was last in the octagon, he lost by unanimous decision to Lyoto Machida, a fight he felt as though he was a moment away from winning on more than one occasion.  Prior to that he had a draw back in 2007 against Rashad Evans, and he lost to Chuck Liddell six months prior to that.  It’s tough to tell how he’s going to look upon his return.
Since his bout with Ortiz, the road for Gryffin has been interesting as well.  He defeated Stephan Bonner again with another unanimous decision, lost to Keith Jardine in the first round by TKO, then got victories over Hector Ramirez, Shogun Hua (by submission), defeated Rampage Jackson by decision to win the Light Heavyweight Title, then lost the belt to Rashad Evans by TKO and got knocked out by Anderson Silva.
This is a really tough fight for me to predict, and I’d really like some way to know whether Tito Ortiz is back to form or not, but given that he recently had twins with (former pornstar) Jenna Jameson and made amends with Dana White to get back into the UFC, I think the one-time great Tito Ortiz has plenty of motivation, and he’s going to want to finish this fight early, which doesn’t bode well for the winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Winner:  Tito Ortiz by Knock Out