UFC 1 took place on November 12, 1993. If you don’t know who won the eight-man tournament, stop reading this and choke yourself. And don’t stop until I tell you to. More than 5,700 days later, here we are at UFC 100.
We’ve lost some teeth, the gis and Jim Brown. We’ve added mouthpieces, board shorts and Joe Rogan. Progress has been made. More importantly, the sport of mixed martial arts continues to grow. UFC 100, at Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 11, is the pudding of that proof, and I hope it will live up to its billing. Ok, stop choking yourself and check out the fights.
BROCK LESNAR VS. FRANK MIR: Heavyweight Title
Both men have something to prove in this rematch of UFC 81. Was Mir on his way to a severe ass beating before referee Steve Mazzagatti stepped in and broke up the action to penalize Lesnar for strikes to the back of the head? Has Lesnar evolved into a more well-rounded fi ghter? Were Mir’s victories over Lesnar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira flukes? What’s up with that phallic tattoo on Lesnar’s chest? Is Mir’s name actually pronounced “Murr”? So many questions, and I want answers to all of them. However, I will settle for a decisive outcome to this fight.
This fight has turned into a bit of a grudge match, with both fi ghters taking some verbal jabs at one another along the way. Mir has fl ourished as the underdog in his last two fights and will enter this fight again as the signifi cant dog. Lesnar is a 265 pound freak of nature with a fi st the size of a small child. Two beasts, two belts (kinda), and in the end, one champion. Who could ask for anything more?
GEORGES ST. PIERRE VS. THIAGO ALVES: Welterweight Title
If St. Pierre is considered a big welterweight, then Alves is the “Andre the Giant” of this weight class. Alves is a beast, but he will need to turn this fi ght into a brawl if he hopes to beat the well-rounded Canadian. Currently riding a seven-fi ght win streak that includes victories over Karo Parisyan, Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck. Alves is not to be taken lightly. His knees are as deadly as they come-just ask Parisyan or Hughes.
GSP is the most elite fighter in the world who’s not named Fedor, Kid or Silva. His last five victories include wins over BJ Penn, Jon Fitch, Matt Serra, Matt Hughes, and Josh Koscheck. That’s just freaking impressive. GSP is well-rounded in every sense of the term. In addition, he knows what it’s like to fi ght in the championship rounds. Look for St. Pierre to keep Alves guessing for most of the night with great movements, pinpoint strikes and occasional takedowns.
DAN HENDERSON VS. MICHAEL BISPING: Middleweight
USA vs. UK. Old Glory vs. Union Jack. Hot dogs vs. fi sh ‘n’ chips. Yeah, we get it. The TUF 9 coaches go head-to-head in this matchup of national pride. First, let me say that Bisping is a tough fighter with a lot of charisma. It makes sense that Dana White is giving him a push to become the next big superstar in the UFC. It’s a global thing. However, Bisping will have a tough go at this one against the 12-year-vet Henderson.
Bisping has recent wins over Chris Leben, Jason Day, and Charles McCarthy. That’s great. However, none of those guys are Olympic wrestlers with an iron chin and a solid right hand. Dan Henderson is a living legend. He has wins over guys like Rich Franklin, Wanderlei Silva, Vitor Belfort, Babalu Sobral, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira… the list goes on and on. If Hollywood can get the fi ght to the ground, it could be a long night for the Brit.
JON FITCH VS. PAULO THIAGO: Welterweight
How good is Paulo Thiago? This fi ght should tell us. Thiago has posted an 11–0 record in his career, including six submission victories and two KOs, and he knocked out Josh Koscheck in his February UFC debut. He also is a police offi cer in Brazil, so I give him added props for toughness.
Meanwhile, Fitch’s only loss in 10 UFC fights came at the hands of GSP. Fitch does not play nicely. The former Purdue wrestler has the ability to give Thiago a violent tutorial in the importance of keeping your hands up. Look for Fitch to use his experience in the Octagon and superior wrestling to hand the Brazilian his fi rst pro loss.
YOSHIHIRO AKIYAMA VS. ALAN BELCHER: Middleweight
Before the Greasegate confl ict between GSP and Penn, Akiyama was the most famous slickster in MMA. He came under scrutiny at K-1 Premium 2006 Dynamite after defeating Kazushi Sakuraba in the main event. Video footage showed Akiyama liberally applying lotion to his body prior to the fi ght. The outcome was later ruled a no-contest, and Akiyama was suspended. When he’s not being disqualifi ed for greasing up, Akiyama is a dangerous submission artist who possesses KO power.
Belcher is a tough Southerner who likes to throw down. If he can turn this contest into a brawl, he can end it. Otherwise, Akiyama should come out on top.
MARK COLEMAN VS. STEPHAN BONNAR: Light Heavyweight
What toll does it take on Coleman to make the cut to 205 at age 45? Bonnar’s superior conditioning should be the deciding factor.
MAC DANZIG VS. JIM MILLER: Lightweight
Danzig needs a big win to stay relevant. Jim Miller is looking to bounce back from a loss to Gray Maynard.
JON JONES VS. JAKE O’BRIEN: Light Heavyweight
O’Brien looked good in his first fight at 205. But not good enough. Jones wins.
DONG HYUN KIM VS. JONATHAN GOULET: Welterweight
Goulet was demolished by Mike Swick his last time out. Kim’s elbows could make the difference as both fi ghters attempt to rebound after poor performances.
CB DOLLAWAY VS. TOM LAWLOR: Middleweight
Dollaway, riding a two fi ght win streak, will force the takedown’s all day. In the end, it will be too much for Lawlor to handle.
MATT GRICE VS. SHANNON GUGERTY: Lightweight
Remove a coin from pocket. Flip it.