UFC 76: Knockout
Saturday, September 22 at 10 p.m. EST
The Honda Center in Anaheim, California
Chuck Liddell (20-4) vs. Keith Jardine (12-3-1)
Both Chuck and Jardine are coming off devastating losses and both fighters are primary strikers with Liddell having a wrestling background and Jardine training with one of the best ground guys in the game, Greg Jackson. I going to go with Liddell, because of his natural talent for banging with other strikers, but if either fighters rushes the Knockout, we might see a repeat of UFC 73 with Liddell or Jardine getting KOed early. I’m expecting a slow start to the fight as the fighters fell out their opponents. Prediction: Liddell by KO in the first.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (16-2) vs. Forrest Griffin (14-4)
Griffin is a though SOB, before the Jardine fight, I never would have guessed that he would get knocked out in any of his fights. That said Griffin is good, but I just don’t see him being at the level of UFC light heavyweight contender. Shogun on the other hand is proven himself durable against some of the best fighters in the world. I’m expecting Shogun to take Griffin down and work for submissions. Prediction: Shogun by Submission in the second or third round.
Diego Sanchez (17-1) vs. Jon Fitch (14-2)
Both these fighters are going to have great success in the UFC, but Sanchez is amazing. He is one of those fighters that goes all out from bell to bell. His recent shenanigans in his personal life, made me question his commitment to the sport, but in recent interviews he seems back on track in his personal life. If you are one of those Sanchez haters, go to Youtube and watch some of his early KOTC fights. No matter how you feel about the fighters, this fight is probably the most even fight on the card. Prediction: Diego Sanchez by Submission in the first or second round.
Tyson Griffin (9-1) vs. Thiago Tavares (13-0)
I have to go with Tyson Griffin in this one, he has beaten a who’s who of good fighters. His only loss came by way of Frank Edgar and you know how good Edgar is. Tavares is one of my favorite up and coming fighters, but Griffin is just more well rounded. Prediction: Tyson Griffin by KO/TKO in the first or second round.
Ryoto Machida (10-0) vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura (11-6)
I have Machida winning this all the way. He has defeated a number of UFC champions, including BJ Penn, Rich Franklin, Stephan Bonnar and David Heath. Machida is not the most exciting fighter to watch, but he finds ways to get the decision. Prediction: Ryoto Machida by Decision.