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UFC 59 ‘Reality Check – Preview and Analysis

By Al Yu | April 11, 2006

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By Al Yu

Event Date: 04.15.06

Fight Card:

Evan Tanner vs Justin Levens
Thiago Alves vs Derrick Noble
Jason Lambert vs Terry Martin
Karo Parisyan vs Nick Thompson
David Terrell vs Scott Smith
Jeff Monson vs Marcio Cruz
Nick Diaz vs Sean Sherk
Tito Ortiz vs Forrest Griffin
Andrei Arlovski vs Tim Sylvia

Evan Tanner (31-6) vs Justin Levens (7-1)

Evan Tanner is the former UFC Middleweight Champion. He claimed the vacant belt by defeating David Terrell at UFC 51. Tanner is currently on a losing streak, losing his title to Rich Franklin at UFC 53 and subsequently to David Loiseau at Ultimate Fight Night 2. Justin Levens is the replacement for Tanner’s original opponent, Jeremy Horn. At WEC 17, the Marco Ruas trained fighter stunned WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Scott Smith with a right hook and almost secured a rear naked choke before being knocked out himself. This will be Levens’ UFC debut.

Levens is a young fighter with a lot of potential. He usually fights at light heavyweight and will be cutting weight to make the middleweight limit. Tanner brings a wealth of experience with 14 fights in the UFC under his belt. I don’t think Levens is completely ready for Tanner yet as pressure from debuting in the UFC can affect him mentally. Though Levens may be the better striker of the two, Tanner brings an all-around game and has an almost uncanny ability to get a full mount on his opponents. Tanner has a lot on the line and will use his experience to potentially weather an early storm. A loss can mean the end of his UFC career but a win will put him back into the contender list. Tanner must be careful if he chooses to exchange punches as he is susceptible to cuts. The former champion will take Levens down, possibly push him up against the fence and stop him with strikes from the mount in the second round.

Prediction: Evan Tanner TKO Justin Levens RD2

Thiago Alves (7-2) vs Derrick Noble (15-6-1)

Thiago Alves is a member of American Top Team and recently stopped Ansar Chalangov at UFC 56. In his UFC debut at Ultimate Fight Night 2, Alves controlled his fight with Spencer Fisher before falling victim to a triangle choke. Derrick Noble has fought in many organizations and serves as the replacement for Alves’ original opponent, Drew Fickett. In 2003, Noble defeated Alves via rear naked choke at AFC 6. Derrick Noble is coming off a decision victory over Carlo Prater. This will be Noble’s UFC debut.

Noble is the more experienced fighter and the result of their first fight may have been indicative of that factor. A lot can change in three years and Alves has improved since his loss. Though he was submitted by Fisher, Alves did display good submission defense. Hopefully he has been polishing his ground game with friend, teammate and accomplished grappler Marcus Aurelio. Alves is looking for revenge and I believe he will redeem his loss. Thiago’s superior striking and aggressiveness will help him finish Noble in the third round.

Prediction: Thiago Alves TKO Derrick Noble RD3

Jason Lambert (20-5) vs Terry Martin (12-1)

Jason Lambert is the current WEC Light Heavyweight Champion and a veteran of many MMA organizations. He is coming off of a big KO victory over UFC veteran Travis Wiuff and also holds wins over Matt Horwich and Marvin Eastman. At UFC 58, Lambert submitted TUF2 contestant Rob MacDonald with a kimura in his debut. Terry Martin made his debut at UFC 54 where he suffered his only professional loss to James Irvin via a flying knee. Since then, he has rebounded with two victories.

Terry Martin dominantly controlled James Irvin in the first round. At the beginning of the second round, Martin ducked right into a flying knee that ended his night. Lambert is more of a well-rounded fighter than Irvin and controlling him is going to be much tougher for Martin. Though Martin is physically stronger, Lambert will use his experience, wrestling and better striking to keep Martin at bay. Look for Lambert to wear Martin down and finish him with strikes in the third round.

Prediction: Jason Lambert TKO Terry Martin RD3

Karo Parisyan (14-3) vs Nick Thompson (24-8-1)

Karo ‘The Heat’ Parisyan is a UFC veteran and a Judo practitioner. He was scheduled to face Matt Hughes until an injury forced him to withdraw. Prior to the injury, he had won three fights in a row, defeating Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle and Matt Serra. Nick ‘The Goat’ Thompson is coming off his UFC debut victory over Keith Wisniewski at UFC 56. He is currently training with Sean Sherk in preparation for this fight. Prior to his UFC debut, Thompson submitted Josh Neer at Extreme Challenge 64.

Though he may have had more fights, Thompson’s quality of opponents can’t compare to Parisyan’s. Thompson is a good all-around fighter and is well-versed in submissions. His striking is better than Parisyan’s but that’s not going stop Karo from pressuring Thompson like his past opponents. Parisyan may be an accomplished Judoka but he’s also very slick with submissions. I have never seen a fighter use submission attempts as defense against strikes (example: when Karo fought Georges St. Pierre, he turned a punch into a kimura attempt with ease). Parisyan shouldn’t stand with Thompson for too long as that’s where Thompson wants the fight stay. In order for Parisyan to win, he needs to control Thompson on the ground. Karo isn’t known as a takedown artist but he’s very good from the clinch. This fight should be very competitive and Parisyan will win a close decision, possibly even a split decision.

Prediction: Karo Parisyan decisions Nick Thompson

David Terrell (5-2) vs Scott Smith (9-1)

David Terrell is a Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter. The ‘Soul Assassin’ is making a return to the UFC after being sidelined with an injury. The last time Terrell fought was at UFC 51 where he was stopped by Evan Tanner. Prior to that fight, Terrell recorded the biggest win of his career with a TKO over Matt Lindland. Scott Smith is the current WEC Light Heavyweight Champion. At WEC 17, he was victorious in a small 4-man tournament. Smith is coming off an exciting win over Justin Levens at WEC 18. This will be his UFC debut.

There’s no doubt that Smith is an exciting fighter who likes to finish his fights quickly. With his nine victories, none of the fights have gone past the first round. However, that may be about to change as Smith faces his toughest challenger to date. Not only is Terrell dangerous on the ground, but he also has a pretty solid yet underrated stand-up game. Though Terrell can throw a punch, he would be foolish to trade with Smith. Once Terrell gets a taste of Smith’s power, I foresee him taking Scott down and working his ground game. Smith may be the physically bigger guy but that won’t be an advantage he can rely on once he’s on his back. Having never fought past one round, it’s hard telling if Scott will have the discipline or stamina to make it to the later rounds. It should be an entertaining fight and I have a feeling Terrell will pull off a submission victory.

Prediction: David Terrell submits Scott Smith RD2

Jeff Monson (20-5) vs Marcio Cruz (2-0)

Jeff Monson is a UFC veteran who has fought in many organizations. ‘The Snowman’ is the 2005 ADCC Champion in the 99 kg division. Most recently, Monson made a successful comeback in the UFC, choking out Branden Lee Hinkle in the first round. Monson has won 14 fights in a row. Marcio Cruz is a six-time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion and the 2000 ADCC Champion. Cruz made his MMA debut at UFC 55 when he choked out Keigo Kunihara. At UFC 57, the Gracie Barra fighter stunned the MMA world by defeating former UFC Champion Frank Mir, spoiling his comeback.

These two fighters have a history in ADCC, each holding a win over the other with a third fight ending in controversy. In 2005, both entered the tournament but never faced each other. Monson went on to win the tournament. Cruz may be the more decorated of the two in BJJ but fighting without a gi in full MMA rules against a skilled veteran like Monson may prove to be very difficult for him. Cruz’s stand up is almost non-existent and lacks any technique. Monson isn’t known as a phenomenal striker himself but he has improved over his career, even partaking in some professional boxing matches. These two are seasoned grapplers and I can’t see one submitting the other. Monson’s advantage in striking will set the pace of this fight. I don’t think Monson is going to have a hard time taking Cruz down as Marcio will probably pull guard often (not that his takedown defense is that great anyways). Look for ‘The Snowman’ to pound out a decision and take one step close to a title shot. On a final note: Neck cranks are legal in the UFC.

Prediction: Jeff Monson decisions Marcio Cruz

Nick Diaz (11-5) vs Sean Sherk (29-2-1)

Nick Diaz is a Cesar Gracie fighter and a UFC veteran. Diaz surprised many fans when he knocked out hard hitting Robbie Lawler at UFC 47. Diaz lost a decision to Diego Sanchez at the Ultimate Fighter Season 2 finale. Most recently at UFC 57, Nick came up short against Joe Riggs. Sean Sherk has long been considered an underrated fighter and is on many fan’s pound-4-pound welterweight rankings lists. He last fought at UFC 42 and didn’t return to the octagon until UFC 56 where he faced rising star Georges St. Pierre. St. Pierre executed a perfect game plan that neutralized most of Sherk’s offense and stopped Sherk with strikes.

This is pretty much a ‘must win’ situation for Nick Diaz as he is on a two fight losing streak. As I’ve stated before, I think Diaz has the best ground game in the UFC today. In order for Diaz to win, he has to really work on his sprawl and wisely use his superior striking and reach advantage. Sherk is a much better wrestler than Diego Sanchez and I feel that Diaz won’t be able to stop Sherk’s takedowns. Though Nick is probably the most dangerous ground fighter Sherk has yet to face, I don’t see Diaz pulling off something that hasn’t been done in Sherk’s 32 career fights. Having shorter arms will also aid Sherk in avoiding Diaz’s submission attempts. Styles make fights and this is a bad match-up for Diaz. Look for Sherk to get takedown after takedown and win a workman-like decision. For Diaz, it may be the last time we see him in the octagon.

Prediction: Sean Sherk decisions Nick Diaz

Tito Ortiz (12-4) vs Forrest Griffin (12-2)

Tito Ortiz is the former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and is making his long awaited return to the octagon. After a bitter contract dispute with UFC president Dana White, the two parties have finally come to terms. Forrest Griffin is the winner of the Ultimate Fighter season one. At UFC 55, Forrest stopped veteran Elvis Sinosic. Griffin holds wins over Jeff Monson, Chael Sonnen, and Stephan Bonner. This fight is a PPV goldmine. These two fighters appeal to the old school MMA crowd and the new fans who were introduced to MMA by watching the Ultimate Fighter reality show.

“The crowd is on their feet as the bell rings and round one begins. The fighters touch gloves and begin to circle around, trying to feel each other out. Tito and Forrest engage in a trade with Forrest landing the better of the strikes. Tito is smiling and acknowledging Forrest. Big high kick from Forrest misses. Ortiz goes for a takedown and Forrest sprawls. They stand up and Tito takes Forrest down from the clinch. Ortiz is now in Griffin’s guard, raining down punches and elbows. Forrest goes for a triangle choke but is unsuccessful. Ortiz takes advantage of the missed submission attempt and advances into side position. Tito is now throwing elbows and knees to the body. Forrest rolls and attempts to escape and Tito tries to get his back in hopes of securing a RNC. Forrest escapes and the two fighters are back on their feet. The crowd is going insane now. Forrest lands a combination followed by a nice kick. Tito is stunned for a moment but regains his composure. Forrest goes for another high kick but over commits himself and Ortiz gets another takedown, this time in Forrest’s half guard. Tito is landing punches and elbows while Forrest is trying to suppress the strikes. Tito manages to land a nice elbow that opens a cut over Forrest’s eye. After some more punishment, the ref brings the doctor in to check on Forrest’s cut. The crowd boos at the possibility of the fight being stopped. The doctor clears Griffin and the fight is restarted in the middle of the octagon. 30 seconds left and Forrest lands a left hook, followed by a straight right. Ortiz answers back with a nice right of his own. The bell rings and the crowd are on their feet.

The bell rings and round two begins. Forrest is showing some fatigue as the two meet in the center of the octagon. Ortiz goes for a double leg takedown and gets it. Tito is being relentless now, throwing punch after punch. Another elbow lands and the cut over Forrest’s eye has gotten bigger. The ref brings in the doctor again to check on the cut. The fight is over, the doctor calls an end to the bout. Tito is doing his ‘shoveling dirt’ impression and then calls out Ken Shamrock.”

Prediction: Tito Ortiz TKO Forrest Griffin RD2

Andrei Arlovski (9-3) vs Tim Sylvia (20-2)

Andrei Arlovski is the current UFC Heavyweight Champion. He has not lost in the octagon since UFC 36, compiling a streak of six victories. At UFC 55, The ‘Pitbull’ dispatched of Paul Buentello in just 15 seconds. Tim Sylvia is the former UFC Heavyweight Champion. Sylvia lost his heavyweight title at UFC 48 when Frank Mir broke his forearm with an armbar. Subsequently, Sylvia would lose his next fight to Andrei Arlovski at UFC 51.

Personally, I’d rather see Arlovski fight Frank Mir but it is apparent Mir hasn’t fully recovered from his injury, mentally and physically. Sylvia doesn’t deserve a rematch so soon but then again, who is there for Arlovski to fight? The champion has defeated every opponent offered from the barren wasteland that is the UFC Heavyweight division. Look for Sylvia to come out more cautious than their last fight. Nothing has really changed from their first meeting and I can see Arlovski finishing Sylvia off with strikes this time. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that Sylvia survives the first round. The search for a credible heavyweight opponent continues…

Prediction: Andrei Arlovski TKO Tim Sylvia RD2

Topics: Al Yu, All Topics, MMA, UFC | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

6 Responses to “UFC 59 ‘Reality Check – Preview and Analysis”

  1. Dr J says:

    I’ve got Terry Martin over Lambert in an easy 1st round KO by strikes.

    Karo over Thompson by submission in the 2nd round.

    Scott Smith over Terrell by decision (welcome to a long stay in the UFC Scotty)

    Jeff Monson over Cruz by 1st round submission as well.

  2. rabies says:

    So will Arlovski/Sylvia be the last match and THE main event for the night? Would this be the first time Ortiz not be the last match of a show in how many years?

  3. Roadblock says:

    If UFC is smart Arlovski/Sylvia will be the Last Match on the card. Ortiz fights have a terrible habit of being boring and sending a crowd home pissed. Fans stormed out of his fights with Cote and Belfort in a foul mood after what were both tremendous nights of fights.

    Arlovski/Sylvia is a guaranteed war (though it may only take AA 30 or 40 seconds to clean up). That will guarantee a big finish and should allow for 1 or 2 of the prelim fights to be shown to the PPV crowd.

  4. Dr J says:

    Arlovski/Sylvia is the final match. It is a title match and is the “showpiece” of the night. Tito-Griffin is the 2nd to last fight.

  5. I can’t argue with many of your picks, but Tito will not stop Forrest. If Tito wins (and I’m picking Forrest) it will be via decision.

  6. Al Yu says:

    I’m picking Tito to win via cuts. Forrest has a pretty good chin though.

    Regarding Arlovski/Sylvia being the main event – it should be (and as far as I know, it still is). It would be disrespectful to Arlovski for him not to be the main event when he is the heavyweight champion.

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