ITS A BUMPER weekend for MMA followers as Gray Maynard and Clay Guida headline the Atlantic City card on Friday night, before Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva collide in Brazil tomorrow.
It is a measure of how far the organisation has come as it prepares to stage two different events in two different countries on consecutive nights for the first time in the UFC’s history.
It was originally thought that the show in Brazil on Saturday would be the bigger of the two events but after Vitor Belfort was forced to pull out of his scheduled fight with Silva, an offer to refund tickets was made to the Brazilian fans, the first time that the UFC has ever had to do this.
Exciting start to the weekend’s action.
Clay Guida has long since been the UFC’s go-to man if they want to pep up a fight card with some guaranteed fast paced action. Guida brings a tireless work ethic into the Octagon and that coupled with his incredible chin means that Gray Maynard has the task of beating a man that has never been KO’d in any of his 41 professional fights.
This has all the hallmarks of a fight that will go the distance as both men are extremely durable and of Maynard’s 10 professional wins, 8 have come by way of a decision. Maynard should be wary of utilizing his wrestling skills to take Guida to the ground however, as 15 of Clay’s 29 wins have come by way of submission.
If the fight stays standing, Maynard would have the striking advantage but will need to have the cardio to take him into the latter rounds as “The Carpenter” will not be easily dispatched. Chances are, it could be left to the judges to split them regardless of where the fight ends up.
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Elsewhere on that card Brian Ebersole will look to extend his 10-fight winning streak by testing the questionable chin of T.J. Waldburger. Ebsersole has won all three of his UFC fights to date while Waldburger put the disappointment of his defeat to Johny Hendricks behind him to win back-to-back fights. Expect the experienced Ebersole to win this one.
Sam Stout and Spencer Fisher face off against each other for the third and final time with each fighter having one win and one loss against the other while Sunderland’s Ross Pearson takes on Cub Swanson in a fight that has “Fight of the Night” potential all over it.
Wanderlei Silva may have lost some of his vicious reputation over the years but it takes a brave man to fight him in his own backyard of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and that is why Rich Franklin is such a popular fighter. Having stepped in to replace the injured Vitor Belfort, Franklin faces the unenviable prospect of being only one of two Americans on a Brazilian dominated fight card.
If this fight can manage to live up their first fight at UFC 99, then this could be a special night indeed. While both men are nearer the end of their careers than the start, the hunger and desire to win is still very much alive in both and that was very evident with Silva as he beat Cung Le last time out.
Silva had been seemingly heading for retirement and that win has spurred him to resurrect his career and he was rewarded with a coach’s slot on TUF Brazil as well as the chance to fight in front of his adoring Brazilian fans once more.
“The Axe Murderer” still believes he won the fight the first time round and while he brings a lot of emotion into every fight, this could work against him as the level-headed Franklin will always look to counter. It’s hard to call this one but despite the fact that he has been away from action for over a year, Franklin looks most likely to spring an upset and leave the Brazilian fans disappointed.
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Elsewhere on that card, Fabricio Werdum takes on Mike Russow as the latter faces the biggest test to his unbeaten UFC record to date. Werdum has one eye at a shot at the title but must first prove his worth in the organisation and has all the skills to overcome the 35 year old Chicago native.
Russow has heavy hands but hasn’t faced a fighter of Werdum’s calibre before and if the Brazilian gets him to the canvas, he could make short work of the American.