Saturday, October 8, 2011

UFC 136 Preview: Champs, Chokes and Chael

The fourth installment of the four week UFC extravaganza of thrilling cards, UFC 136 is, literally, coming to an arena near me Saturday, October 8 at Houston's Toyota Center. Where the question of "who is the best lightweight in the world" will surely be answered, as Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard maneuver in the cage for a third time. An intense, brutally close match is damn near guaranteed with both fighters being determined to be the King of the lightweight division Saturday night.

By the way, how about one of the top five pound for pound fighters in the world to go along with a trilogy bout at the top of the card? Jose Aldo, UFC 145 pound champion, will look to show that a bad weight cut is the only thing to prevent him from looking unstoppable in the octagon as he faces Kenny Florian as the co-main event of the night. This is Kenny Florian's last chance to show MMA fans that he isn't, like Dana White says, a choke artist and is an actual champion of MMA.

Then there is Chael Sonnen.

Main Card: 9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. CT

UFC Lightweight Championship
(c) Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) vs. Gray Maynard (10-0-1)

The trilogy is 0-1-1 for the champion Frankie Edgar, as Gray Maynard had won the first fight a few years ago before Edgar would defeat the kingpin of the lightweight division B.J. Penn for the belt last year. Following their New Year's Day draw earlier this year, both fighters have been 1a and 1b of the lightweight division for all of 2011. Can Gray Maynard actually finish Frankie Edgar this time with his powerful punches? Can Frankie Edgar ignore those power shots with his speed and damage Maynard enough to get the victory? Will one fighter decide to want to wrestle his way to a victory?

Prediction: Edgar by decision (Won't be woozy after the first round)

UFC Featherweight Championship
(c) Jose Aldo (18-1) vs. Kenny Florian (14-5)

All the expectations in the world is that Jose Aldo is going to pick apart Kenny Florian from the moment the fight begins. He is superior in all ground and standing aspects, and even wrestling arguably. All signs point that Jose Aldo had a better weight cut than his last fight when he struggled to put away Mark Hominick.

Prediction: Jose Aldo by TKO rd. 2

Middleweight Bout
Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) vs. Brian Stann (11-3)

Over a year of public mockery of Chael Sonnen (R) has finally come to this, a fight to see if he is worthy of another shot at, what he believes, his already owned Middleweight Championship. Which is held by Anderson Silva for the time being. Brian Stann is the up and comer, who is one step away from earning his first shot at UFC glory if he can defeat Sonnen on Saturday. Chael Sonnen is hard to predict these days when it comes to his fighting. Some say his wrestling is fantastic, but, personally, I believe it was just highlighted by his opponents lack of defending it. (Demian Maia took him down, it can't be that amazing.) Although, Brian Stann will most likely need to land some powerful punches to win this fight no matter what.

Prediction: Sonnen by decision

Lightweight Bout
Melvin Guillard (29-8-2) vs. Joe Lauzon (20-6)

Melvin Guillard is, arguably, the best lightweight fighter in MMA right now. His hot streak over the past few years has shown that he is next in line for a title shot, unless Gilbert Melendez receives his wish to fight in the UFC from Strikeforce. Guillard's only weakness is an elite wrestler with submissions. Joe Lauzon has submissions, but lacks the wrestling skills to take Guillard down.

Prediction: Guillard by TKO rd. 1 (Speed kills.)

Featherweight Bout
Nam Phan (16-9) vs. Leonard Garcia (15-7-1)

Punches, Kicks, Punches, Kicks. This is how the fight will go for three rounds. Judges will rule the winner, so every UFC fan knows what that means.

Prediction: Garcia by split decision (It happens.)

Spike TV Card: 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT

Middleweight Bout
Jorge Santiago (23-9) vs. Demian Maia (13-3)

Santiago goes to the ground, he loses by submission. Santiago stays on his feet, he has a good chance to win.

Prediction: Maia by decision.

Lightweight Bout
Jeremy Stephens (18-5) vs. Anthony Pettis (12-2)

If it remains a stand-up fight, Pettis has some flashy and powerful strikes to easily win the fight. Expect Stephens to try to take him down or hold him against the cage to steal some rounds in front of the judges.

Prediction: Pettis by decision

Prelims: Facebook

Middleweight bout: Steve Cantwell vs. Mike Massenzio
Middleweight bout: Aaron Simpson vs. Eric Schafer
Featherweight bout: Zhang Tie Quan vs. Darren Elkins
Heavyweight bout: Joey Beltran vs. Stipe Miocic

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