All the dust has settled. All the talk is done. It’s put up or shut up time for Chael Sonnen. Almost two years ago, he had Anderson Silva on the brink of defeat. One error in judgment cost him the title and he’s been trying to get Silva back in the cage ever since. And now is that time.
1. Mike Easton vs. Ivan Menjivar
Pretty even first round and fairly inactive first round. The round may lean toward Menjivar because of leg kicks, but Easton landed the best kick, which was right to the face.
Easton closed the second well, giving him another close round. The crowd has been patient with them so far. The story of the fight is Easton stalking Menjivar and Menjivar throwing counter shots going backward. Chael had full mount for the last 48 seconds.
Oof, I’m not sure why Menjivar didn’t think that he had to go out and win that third round. He was nearly as passive. Easton got a takedown and was just more active. He should win the fight.
Winner: Mike Easton by way of unanimous decision
He won 30-27, 29-28, and 30-27.
2. Cody McKenzie vs. Chad Mendes
Mendes put McKenzie down with a shot right to the bottom of his stomach and McKenzie was done.
Winner: Chad Mendes by way of 1st round TKO
3. Demian Maia vs. Dong Hyun Kim
I don’t think this one needs much introduction. It’s probably going to be the UFC’s biggest fight of the year. All of talking is just about done and soon enough, Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva will finally get back in the cage.
The FGB crew along with Stevie J from Angrymarks and friend of the site JP, give their predictions for both the main event and Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin, which is supposed to be Ortiz’s retirement fight.
Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin
Alan: Ortiz by decision
Duan: Griffin by decision
Stevie: Griffin by 2nd round TKO
Big D: Griffin by decision
JP: Griffin by decision
GG: Griffin by decision
I don’t have much faith in either of these guys to be honest. I think if they both are motivated 100%, Griffin should take it. However I think Tito will be the more up for this of the two and I think he might just be able to get it done despite his limitations. I think he’ll land early and shake Forrest, winning Round 1 in a 10-8 manner. Griffin will come back into it but not enough to take the decision.
I’m reluctant to completely write off Ortiz because Tito nearly always does better than you expect. You can say what you want about him, but the guy comes to fight, and I expect no less here. I’m sure he will want desperately to leave on a win, but I just find it hard to see where it’s going to come from.
Whatever tricks he has for beating Forrest, I think we have probably already seen them in the six rounds that have gone before. And even though both those fights were close, I felt they were that way largely because Griffin made hard work for himself. He was clearly the better fighter in the second fight and I imagine, if anything, the gap between them has widened since then. I expect the judges cards will be required once more, but this time there will be no debating the verdict.
Surprisingly, fans are giving Yushin Okami more of a chance that I would’ve ever thought. Or maybe, they’re just trying to predict the day that Anderson Silva finally falls atop his perch of greatest fighter alive. In a poll I conducted on the Fight Game Blog Facebook page, Silva was clearly winning the poll, but out of 25 votes, 7 thought Okami was going to win. I’ll update the poll if it changes by fight time.
1. Stanislav Nedkov vs. Luiz Cane
Nedkov is just winging punches. Cane is too good of a stand-up fighter to to not take advantage of the sloppiness. Nedkov started off quickly and aggressively, but after being hit solidly a bit, he’s being more patient. And just like that, Nedkov blitzed him. He hit him with an overhand right and then a left and Cane was out on his feet. His legs were wobbly and he was trying to do the stanky leg. Nedkov then connected again and put his lights out. Wow.
Winner: Stanislav Nedkov by way of 1st round TKO.
2. Brendan Schaub vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Schaub looks a little soft while Big Nog looks a little thicker than usual. Looks like he wanted to have strength for Schaub. Schaub looked like he wanted to test Big Nog early and felt his power and decided to fight more cautiously. He’s trying to land an upper cut. And just like that, Big Nog put his lights out. That’s back to back wows for me.
This is the first show after the huge Fox announcement and who better to main event their latest show than the best fighter in the UFC, Anderson Silva. Silva is facing Yushin Okami, the man who holds the last victory over him, albeit by disqualification. It’s a loss that Silva doesn’t even recognize.
On the undercard is a rematch between Shogun Rua and Forrest Griffin. Griffin beat him in an upset in their first fight, and both guys really have a lot to gain from a victory. Both are former champions who are kind of in limbo in the light heavyweight division. Big Nog faces young tiger Brendan Schaub in Nog’s first fight since the blitzing he received at the hands of now heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
The FGB crew has predictions has predictions on all three fights.
Brendan Schaub vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Duan: Schaub by 3rd round TKO
Alan: Nogueira by 2nd round submission
JP: Schaub by 2nd round TKO
Stevie J: Schaub by 1st round TKO
Cactus Jim: Nogueira by 2nd round submission
GG: Schaub by 2nd round TKO
This is really a test of how far Nog has fallen. If he can’t win at this level there really is little point in him fighting on. He’s done everything he could have done in the sport and for me at least, the time has come for him to bow out. I don’t really believe Schaub is a great fighter, so it will be kind of sad if he is to go out on this note, but I think that’s what is going to happen. Physically, I just don’t think it’s there anymore.
I give Schaub a good bit more credit than Duan. He has a lot going for him – he is really athletic, he’s big, he’s young and he trains at one of the better camps in the sport. He has shown improvement in every fight and at his stage, that’s probably the most important thing. He’s far from the finished article though and gives up a big edge in experience to Nog. The experience factor, and what should be a partisan crowd, are the two biggest things Big Nog has in his favour in this fight and I actually think they might be enough to see him through. He has to be real careful on the feet as Schaub has shown good power, and Nog has a dodgy chin at this point. I think he’ll be careful enough to stay out of trouble and use his guile to get Schaub in a bad position on the ground.