Preview By: Eric Hostetter
Preliminary card (Spike TV)
Brendan SchaubÂ 5-1-0 (5 (t)ko)Notable Recent Matches Chase Gormley (TKO Win), Roy Nelson (TKO Loss)
Chris TuchschererÂ 18-2-0 (7 (t)ko, 6 submission, 5 decision). Notable Recent Matches Tim Hague (Decision Win Majority), Gabriel Gonzaga (TKO Loss).
Brendan Schaub,Â Â after coming off a very vicious knockout loss against Roy Nelson in the Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale, looked convincing in his TKO win against Chase Gormley. Too bad he’s not catching a break here facing off against Brock Lesnarâ€™s teammate, Chris Tuchscherer. Â This will be theÂ firstÂ of two times match up that pit a Greg Jackson fighter (Schaub) against a Â Minnesota Martial Arts Academy fighter (Tuchscherer). From what I have been able to watch, Tuchscherer seems to protect himself well in the stand up game. If has not improved in this area, Schaub is going to pick him apart on his way to victory.
My Pick: Brendan Schaub TKO
Seth PetruzelliÂ 12-4-0 (10 (t)ko, 1 submission, 1 decision). Notable Recent Matches Ryan White (Submission Win Armbar), Chris Baten (TKO Win), Kimbo Slice (TKO Win)
Ricardo RomeroÂ 10-1-0 (4 (t)ko, 5 submission, 1 decision). Notable Recent Matches Silmar Rodrigo (Submission Win Keylock), Rich Lictawa (Submission Win Kimura), James McSweeney (Submission Win RNC).
I’d be taking the easy way out if I pick the man that crushed the Kimbo Slice hype-train and gained instant fame/notoriety. So with that, I’m going to go opposite of a hype-train and go with a fighter that is relatively unknown, with a balanced win:loss record that holds a rear naked choke win over TUF 11 contestant James McSweeney.
My Pick: Ricardo Romero
George SotiropoulosÂ 12-2-0 (1 (t)ko, 7 submission, 4 decision). Notable Recent Matches Joe Stevenson (Decision Win), Jason Dent (Submission Win Arm Bar), George Root (Submission Win Kimura)
Kurt PellegrinoÂ 16-4-0 (2 (t)ko, 10 submission, 4 decision). Notable Recent Matches Fabricio Camoes (Submission Win RNC), Josh Neer (Decision Win), Robert Emerson (Submission RNC)
George Sotiropoulos absolutely destroyed “Big Daddy” at UFC 110, and showed very good hands in his match against Joe Stevenson. Even though the match was split between stand up and being on the ground, I honestly believe that he will continue to use his stand up game until he needs to fall back to his go to card on the ground. Though his last match five months ago ended up in decision, the Greek-Aussie was impressive none the less. Look for him to continue his 6 fight win streak against the submission specialist in Pellegrino by keeping the fight standing
My Pick: George Sotiropoulos Win
Krzysztof SoszynskiÂ 21-9-1 (8 (t)ko, 10 submission, 1 decision, 2 other). Notable Recent Matches Stephan Bonnar (TKO Win), Brandon Vera (Decision Loss), Andre Gusmao (KO Win)
Stephan BonnarÂ 11-7-0 (2 (t)ko, 7 submission, 2 decision). Notable Recent Matches Krzysztof Soszynski (TKO Loss), Mark Coleman (Decision Loss), Jon Jones (Decision Loss)
This is a return match from the bloody encounter these two had at UFC 110. Bonnar is amidst an unfortunate 3 fight losing streak and I fear that it is going to continue on. Krzysztof was outclassing Bonnar at 110, and I see no reason why he won’t continue to do so in this rematch. I really hope that this does not spell the end of Stephan Bonnar in the UFC, but one thing that we have observed from Dana White is that he does not tolerate a losing fighter for very long. If I’m right, and Bonnar loses, could we see Dana cut 1/2 of the greatest fight ever in UFC history?
My Pick: Krzysztof Soszynski
Chris LytleÂ 28-17-5 (4 (t)ko, 18 submission, 5 decision, 1 other). Notable Recent Matches Brian Foster (Submission Win Kneebar) , Kevin Burns (Decision Win) , Marcus Davis (Decision Loss Split)
Matt BrownÂ 11-8-0 (6 (t)ko, 5 submission). Notable Recent Matches Ricardo AlmeidaÂ (Submission Loss RNC), James Wilks (TKO Win), Pete Sell (TKO Win).
Chris Lytle is a fighter that is on an absolute role. He has won, or been a part of, fight, knockout, or submission of the night honors 7 out his last 9 UFC fights. Furthermore, this match is another repeat these two ultimate fighter alums had from a UFL fight that took place in August 2007, in which Lytle won the match via guillotine. Matt Brown will make this fight interesting in the stand up side of things. He loves to stand and bang with his opponents, so it will be interesting to see who ends up having their lights turned out.
My Pick: Chris Lytle (Fight of the Night Potiential)
Yoshihiro AkiyamaÂ 13-1-1 (5 (t)ko, 7 submission, 1 decision). Notable Recent Matches Alan Belcher (Split Decision Win), Denis Kang (KO win), Melvin Manoef (Submission Win Armbar)
Chris LebenÂ 20-6-0 (11 (t)ko, 4 submission, 5 decision). Notable Recent Matches Aaron Simpson (TKO Win), Jay Silva (Decision Win), Michael Bisping (Decision Loss).
This is a very intriguing match that pits a fresh off of a fight fighter in Leben vs. the not so fresh from a fight Akiyama. Leben is taking this match 14 days removed from his 2nd round, Knockout of the Night, win over Aaron Simpson in the TUF 11 Finale. He is also replacing the injured “Axe Murder”, who was originally slated to face Akiyama. While his knock out was impressive, Leben looked a little sloppy with his hands staying pretty low the whole fight. Akiyama will make him pay if he doesn’t keep his hands up this time.
Akiyama, just like Lesnar, has not seen action for 357 days when this match takes place on Saturday, July 3rd. His win against Belcher, at UFC 100, was less than convincing, however, he does possess some nasty leg kicks that he will probably employ again to take away Leben’s striking power and mobility. But Leben will be all over Akiyama like white on rice, pressing the pace with continued, unrelenting, striking.
My Pick: Chris Leben (TKO)
Brock LesnarÂ (UFC HW Champion) 4-1-0 (2 (t)ko, 1 submission, 1 decision). Notable Recent Matches Frank Mir (TKO Win), Randy Couture (Title Match, TKO Win), Heath Herring (Decision Win)
Shane CarwinÂ (Interim UFC HW Champion) 12-0-0 (7 (t)ko, 5 submission). Notable Recent Matches Frank Mir (Interim Title Match, KO Win), Gabriel Gonzaga (TKO Win), Neil Wain (TKO Win).
(Both fighters hold a win over a common opponent, Frank Mir. Both won in similar fashion, with overpowering and controlling Mir with brute strength to get the tko win.)
This is the heavyweight match up that dreams are made up of the almost unstoppable force (Lesnar with 1 loss) defending his title against the current unstoppable force (Carwin is undefeated). TheseÂ Two massive human beings possess superior strength, athleticism, and hands the size of canned hams that are packed in with enough C4 to make a very large hole into whatever they connect with. The big questions surround this fight are, Â is Brock fully recovered from hisÂ diverticulitis, and will the 357 days of collected octagon rust effect his performance? The only that is for certain the winner of this match will be the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World.
Keys for Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is a man that possesses an titan-like power that very few men can even come close to equaling. He is undeniably, an absolute freak of an athlete. In his matches against Heath Herring and Frank Mir (part 2), Lesnar exploited his size advantage. Â He’s also a Division I NCAA Wrestling Champion and so expect him to quickly begin to work for the take down. Brock is going to do all that he can to get this fight to ground so that he can smother Carwin with his behemoth size and GNP.
However, Lesnar is coming off a almost a year lay off from the octagon, so his cardio is going to be the biggest question mark for him, but also his strongest ally. Shane Carwin has never been out of the first round. That unknown might be something that Brock can use to his advantage as he holds a total of 9 rounds 32:34 minutes of time in the ring/octagon over the course of 5 fights, while Carwin only has a grand total of 12 rounds and 14:17 minutes of total ring/octagon time in 12 fights. Brock’s gas tank is going to be the telling point of this fight because Carwin likes to push the pace. If Brock is not able to control the pace of the fight in the first round, he going to have to weather the storm, andÂ Â then try to drown Carwin with his sheer mass and force in the following rounds to see if Shane can keep up that high intensity and end the fight much like he did against Mir. The longer this fight goes the more it plays into the hands of the champion.
Keys for Shane Carwin
This is beyond a shadow of a doubt, Shane Carwin’s most important fight of his career. Thankfully for him, he trains out of Greg Jackson’s Gym in New Mexico, which houses current UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, and 7-time Pancrease Champion Nate Marquardt. If there is anyone in the world of MMA that could create an effective, match winning gameÂ plan, it is the Yoda of MMA. It is all a matter of Shane being able to execute that plan against the leviathan Brock Lesnar.
The one strategy I think Greg Jackson will come up with for Carwin is that he has test Brock’s chin early. No one has ever laid good hands onto Brock’s jaw at all, with the exception of Randy Couture. When Randy did actuallyÂ catch Brock with a strong right straight, in 3:47 seconds in round 1, again at the beginning of round 2 and 4 minutes left into the round 2, Brock seemed a bit phased by those strikes. Now with all due respect to Randy “The Natural” Couture, his hands are now where near as potent as Carwin’s bear claws. Will Brock’s chin be able to withstand the patented straight forward guns-a-blazing Carwin attack? We will all find out soon enough.
My Pick: Shane Carwin (TKO) (Knockout of the Night Potiential)
Carwin has a great shot to win this match. As recent history has shown us with octagon rust with Rampage and Chuck absolutely plays a huge role in deciding the winner of a match. Combine that factor with a chin that has not really been tested by a true heavyweight striker that has a hands made of dynamite, and it could be a great night for Team Carwin. I do not think that Brock will be able to handle the 1-2-3- flurry of strikes from Shane Carwin’s short precise bombs that will land in combination.