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UFC 57 Preview

By jasonadams | February 1, 2006

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By Jason Adams

UFC 57 – Las Vegas, Nevada
February 4th, 2006

Super Bowl weekend also plays host to the “Super Bowl” of Mixed Martial Arts, The Ultimate Fighting Championshps. The UFC is gaining in popularity across the country and the UFC brass hope that this pay per view broadcast, UFC 57:Couture/Liddell III, will boost that popularity even more.The highlight of this card of course is the rubber match between two of the UFC’s biggest stars, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell. The last time these two icons got together was UFC 52, which had by far the highest PPV buyrate of any UFC since the company was purchased by Zuffa. Liddell defeated Couture by KO in the 1st round and took the UFC Light Heavyweight title in the process. Earlier in their careers at UFC 43, Couture had defeated Liddell by TKO in the 4th round. That fight was the debut for Couture in the light heavyweight division, and considered an upset. This third and most likely final fight is one of the most, if not the most, highly anticipated fights in UFC history.

As compelling as the main event is, there are several other fights to look forward to. The return of former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Babalu takes on Mike Van Arsdale in a solid fight. Up and coming fighter Brandon Vera tries to move up the UFC ladder. Welterweight contenders Nick Diaz and Joe Riggs battle it out. And more.

Light Heavyweight Championship:
Chuck Liddell(17-3)
Randy Couture(14-7)

We’ve seen how each of these fighters can beat the other. Now it comes down to who executes their gameplan more effectively. Chuck Liddell has explosive power in both hands but deep down, I think Randy Couture is too smart to get caught the same way twice. Age may be Randy’s fiercest competitor. If he has lost a step, Liddell will catch him with a big shot. But I think Couture will weather the standup storm and get Liddell to the ground. Couture has the gas to go all five rounds, something which Liddell has yet to prove. I’ll take Captain America by decision, but I’ve gone back and forth with this one and won’t be surpised if I’m wrong.

Paul Buentello(19-9)
Gilbert Aldano(5-0)

Paul Buentello looks to get back on track after his quick knockout loss to champion Andrei Arvlovski. Buentello has very heavy hands and loves to stand and trade. Aldano makes his debut in the UFC after a successful run in Rage In The Cage where he has won all five of his fights by KO or TKO in under two minutes.

This is a big step up in class for Aldano, but this has all the makings for classic slugfest. I think both men will stand and swing until one falls down. Some first timers don’t respond well to the pressure of the UFC so I’m going with Buentello by KO. Part of me hopes Aldano proves me wrong and becomes a player in the heavyweight division.

Light Heavyweight:
Renato “Babalu” Sobral(26-5)
Mike Van Arsdale(8-2)

This is a fight I am really looking forward to between two very skilled fighters. Babalu has been on a roll lately, winning nine fights in a row with victories over tough guys like Jeremy Horn and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, who recently won the PRIDE 205lbs. tournament. Babalu has greatly improved his submission skills lately working at Gracie Barra and puts that together with his already formidable striking and wrestling skills. Mike Van Arsdale is a dominant wrestler who’s only losses come to stars Wanderlei Silva and Randy Couture.

I think Babalu is a little too well rounded for Van Arsdale. Mike will likely be able to take this one to the ground, but I think Babalu can defend and look for submissions from his back, and also have the advantage standing.

Justin Eilers(9-4-1)
Brandon Vera(3-0)

Promising newcomer Brandon Vera makes his second appearance in the Octagon, taking on Justin Eilers. Eilers is a tough brawler and wrestler who really needs a win here to stay in the picture at Heavyweight in the UFC. Vera showed some impressive skills in his UFC debut, and a win here would push him into a bigger fight later this year.

I think Vera has sharper striking, but Eilers will likely have an advantage in power. I think both will test the waters with some standup, then whoever is getting the worse end of that will work the takedown. I think Vera is a little too athletic for Eilers and will work a ref stoppage or a submission in round 2 or 3.

Brandon Lee Hinkle(13-6)
Jeff Monson(18-5)

Another very interesting fight. Hinkle is a member of the Hammer House and has been around the fight game for quite some time. He believes he is better than ever now and will look to use his wrestling skill to ground and pound Monson. Monson is a master grappler with world class submission wrestling skills. But he feels his time spent working on his standup recently will give him an advantage in striking over Hinkle.

Hinkle is a tough wrestler but I don’t think he has enough ways to win in this one. If Monson can indeed control the stand up like he thinks he will, I think he will win this fight.

Frank Mir(8-1)
“Pe De Pano” Marcio Cruz(1-0)

Mir was the champion when he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident that forced him to give up the title. Now, almost two years after his last UFC fight, Mir returns and looks to head down a path to reclaim the title. Standing in his way is world class grappler “Pe De Pano” Marcio Cruz. Cruz is a champion jiu-jitsu fighter who made his UFC debut this past October with an impressive win over Keigo Kunihara by rear naked choke. Cruz is 6’4″ 245lbs., and has a world class ground game.

This is a stiff test for Mir in his return. The winner of this fights propels themselves into title contention.We’ll see whether or not Mir is back 100%. I think he should control the standup in this one and use his strength to keep position if this goes to the ground. I think Mir will win a decision.

Mike Whitehead(9-5)
Keith Jardine(9-2-1)

Both Whitehead and Jardine were heavyweights on TUF 2 but will fight at light heavyweight in this match up. Jardine has always been the size to fight light heavyweight but Whitehead was 250lbs. during the show. It will be interesting to see how the big weight loss affects him as a fighter. A lot was expected of Whitehead on the show and he put in a disapointing performance.

Jardine is a tough fighter that will bang with you. Whitehead didn’t show great stand up against Rashad Evans. Unless he comes in as a new fighter for this one, I’ll have to give the edge to Jardine.

Alessio Sakara(9-3)
Elvis Sinosic(6-8-2)

After a no contest in his last fight, Alessio Sakara returns to try and add some new flavor to the light heavyweight division. Elvis is a tough guy who is dangerous but has fallen short in most of his fights at the highest level. You have to figure the loser of this fight may not get another opportunity for a while so they will both be at their best.

Sakara was looking impressive in his last fight before the low blow. I believe he will be too athletic for Elvis and be able to stop this fight or win a decision.

Joe Riggs(23-7)
Nick Diaz(11-4)

Riggs is back at welterweight again and taking on the always tough Diaz. Both these fighters are coming off losses and needs wins here to begin to move back up the rankings at the crowded welterweight division.

Riggs is very powerful at welterweight and I believe will use that advantage to control the standup fighting. On the ground, Diaz is slicker, but we will have to see how he handles the power of Riggs. I think Riggs will be a little too much for Diaz, and manage to win a decision, but Diaz has a shot at pulling off a submission.

Topics: All Topics, Jason Adams, MMA, UFC | 2 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

2 Responses to “UFC 57 Preview”

  1. Rob Sayers says:

    Aside from Diaz/Riggs, I agree with your predictions.

    Assuming Babalu wins Saturday, I’m curious as to where he stands for a title shot.

  2. Jason says:

    Riggs/Diaz is a close call. There were several fights I can see going either way.


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