UFC 91: Couture vs Lesnar will emanate live from the MGM Grand Las Vegas this Saturday. It is being billed as the biggest fight in UFC history.
Frankly, it is up there, depending on how you’re measuring. Dana White says it is the biggest fight because they expect 1.2 buys on PPV. This would break the old record of 1.05 million that Ortiz-Liddell II did. It would actually shatter that record. I thought it to be conceivable that UFC 91 gets close to 1 million PPV buys but 1.2 is a big difference. There is precedent here though. Lesnar’s first fight carried UFC 81: Breaking Point to 650,000 buys. At the same time a better UFC 87: Seek and Destroy card did about 625,000 buys. This means that to achieve what the UFC’s research has predicted–they will be doubling Lesnar’s average buy rate.
The thing that this card has that the others did not is another huge name across the octagon from Lesnar. Although Mir and Herring are two of the best they are not marketable in the way Couture is. In fact, Couture is one of America’s favorite fighters all time.
I recently re-watched the Couture-Silvia fight and that place exploded during and after Couture’s victory. I expect the same for whoever the victor is this Saturday.
Here is a look at the main card; later this week a look into the undercard and the betting lines which are slowly developing as of Wednesday afternoon.
Dustin Hazelett Vs. Tamdan McCrory
This one has been bumped up to the main card due to an injury to Amir Sadollah. I’m glad too; Dustin Hazelett has some of the tools to be a great Welterweight. He is only 22 and has 6 fights in the Octagon under his belt. His only loss in the last two years was to Josh Koscheck. McCrory is also 22 and has a 2-1 record in the Octagon. At 6’4, he is a tall guy at 170.
The one place that one of these fighters should have a definite advantage is Hazelett on the ground. Dustin has world-class BJJ skills. Assuming that he can get the fight to the ground I would look for him to finish from there.
Prediction-Hazlett (Submission, R2)
I’ve been waiting for Hazelett to get a shot at the main card for several months; that Koscheck lost set him back a bit. This is his shot to fight in front of a huge audience.
Nate Quarry Vs. Demian Maia
These guys have 9 combined fights in the Octagon. Only 1 of those 9 fights has gone to the judges. These guys are finishers.
I really like Maia to continue he streak of 3/3 submission finishes in the UFC. Both this and the Hazelett fight have Submission of the Night written all over them.
Prediction-Maia (Submission, R1)
The UFC will have to increase to competition for Maia.
Gabriel Gonzaga Vs. Josh Hendricks
Gonzaga has stepped in the Octagon with the likes of Mirko Filipovic and Randy Couture. He upset Cro Cop but lost to Couture. His only other two losses; both to Ferbricio Werdum. I think Gonzaga would rip Werdums arm right off his body currently. Josh Hendrickshas been around, although this will be his first time in the Octagon.
From what I have heard Hendricks is no stranger to the ground. He knows some good BJJ and is a very good wrestler. Gonzaga is likely both a better striker and still better yet on the ground than Hendricks. When you break the fight down to areas like this; I give Gonzaga the edge. Hendricks has nothing to lose and everything to gain with a big victory hear. A scary though for Gonzaga.
Prediction-Gonzaga (Submission, R1)
Gonzaga has to win to once again be taken seriously in the Heavyweight picture but Hendricks is no joke. Gonzaga will still have work to do before he get a real quality name opponent again but this would be a start.
Kenny Florian Vs. Joe Stevenson
Florian and Stevenson are the two number one contenders for the stap at 155. Technically, Kenny could have had a title shot before this fight but due to Penn-GSP II that has been put off. Not only has Kenny been okay with being put on the back burner but he has even taken an extremely tough when he could have pushed for a cake-walk leading upto an eventual title shot.
Stevenson is an extrodinary talented figher. He might be underrated still. The line for this fight has continuously moved to favor Florian more and more. The mauling at the hands of BJ might still be in peoples minds.
Stevenson has publicly stated that he cannot believe that he is the underdog in this fight. I can’t help but agree that it is shocking at how much of a dog he is. I am a Florian fan–being that he is from and has a school outside of Boston. That can always through a wrench into the thought process when it comes to making educated picks.
Alot of time it is easy to just pick a guy and say that he will win by decision but as you can see from my picks so far all of these main card fights have a great chance of being finished in one manner or another. I believe this one to be no exception.
I will take Florian here; he trains not only as hard as anyone but also as smart.
Prediction-Florian (TKO, R2)
If Florian doesn’t show well it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities that he could lose his title shot. Certainly Stevenson would be very public about wanted a rematch with Penn if he does win on Saturday.
Randy Couture Vs. Brock Lesnar
Too much to fit here. It’s the old school Hall of Famer against the new, young upstart beast.
Two world-class wrestlers who both have no problem throwing punches. Couture took down a 6’8 Tim Sylvia seemingly with ease. Lesnar is a way better wrestler than Sylvia and has a much lower base. Lesnar is also stronger than Syvlia but much less experienced.
Couture can game-plan with the best of them, probably better. If Lesnar’s camp get it in his head that he needs to take Randy down and control him on the ground then he has a shot. I can’t see Randy getting TKO’d on the ground, he is just too experienced and talented but Lesnar can still win rounds from that position.
On the other hand Couture could pick Lesnar apart on the fight and expose his stand-up or he could take a similar ground and pound approach that I mentioned Lesnar should take.
Prediction-Couture (Unanimous Decision)
This fight is essential one side of a four man tourney. The other side being the Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira-Frank Mir fight at UFC 92. Those are four of the most dynamic heavyweights in the world. I don’t know who would make the best title unification bout.
Lesnar can silence all the critics that say he doesn’t deserve to be in this title mix with a mix and Couture can salitfy himself as the greatest ever with another huge win.
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