This Saturday the UFC treats us with another loaded card. The event on Saturday is filled with past champions and future stars. The night begins with an elite featherweight bout between Jung Chan-Sung AKA “The Korean Zombie” versus Mark Hominick who will be looking to honor his late coach and mentor Shawn Tompkins who passed away earlier this year. Following that featherweight contest we can sit down for a Nogueira brother double-feature. Lil’ Nog will be facing off against Dana White’s best friend Tito Ortiz. Tito is coming off a tough loss to Rashad Evans but seemingly saw career resurgence with a previous victory over up-and-comer Ryan Bader. In a match-up of former heavyweight champions, Big Nog and Frank Mir face off to see if either has another title run in the tank. The evening culminates with a light heavyweight title fight between Jonny Bones Jones and Lyoto The Dragon Machida. Talent versus Practice. Style versus Stability. This one already has Fight of the Night written all over it. On to the previews…
Mark Hominick (20-9) v. Jung Chan-Sung (11-3) a.k.a. “The Korean Zombie”
Hominick is coming off a decision loss to Jose Aldo in a title bout in early 2011. Last time out, The Zombie pulled off a ‘twister’ submission that he states he learned from watching Eddie Bravo’s Youtube videos. After his fight with Aldo, Hominick’s coach and mentor Shawn Tompkins died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 37. Rightfully so, Hominick was crushed. Many in the cutthroat world of the MMA internet community are questioning his focus entering the bout with Chan-Sung on Saturday, but I was truly impressed with Mark during his fight with Aldo and expect him to truly honor his mentor when he enters the cage on Saturday.
Prediction: Hominick will have extra incentive to defeat the Korean Zombie on Saturday and I believe he will do all that he possibly can to have his hand raised after the bell rings. Mark can finish fighters in a variety of ways, as he has gained 9 of his 20 wins by KO and another 7 by submission. Though, Chan-Sung has earned his nickname for being able to take ridiculous amounts of punishment (a la Chris Leben) and continue fighting; therefore I believe Mark may have to grind this one out. Hominick by Decision.
Tito Ortiz (16-9) v. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-5)
These two athletes have been prominent names in the light heavyweight division for well over a decade now. This fight was originally booked to happen in March of 2011, but Tito had to withdraw due to injury. Booking this fight again seems to serve the purpose of testing if either of these fighters has anything left to offer while competing in the upper echelon of the division. Mr. Jameson, The Huntington Beach Big Head, Tito Ortiz is coming off a beating at the fragile hands of Rashad Evans. Prior to that, Ortiz had fans claiming, “Tito is back!” after he submitted the young slugger Ryan Bader. Tito then took the Evans fight on short notice and it showed. Rashad was quicker, stronger, and better conditioned than Tito and finished the fight in the second round. Lil’ Nog is coming off two decision losses to Phil Davis and Ryan Bader, the first consecutive losses of his historic career. After facing off against two of the young, promising stars of the division, Lil Nog will be relieved to touch gloves with another member of the old guard on Saturday. The pace brought to the ring by the young guns clearly hindered Lil’ Nog’s plans in the ring. The two should be ready for a war, as their chances for one last shot at glory are on the line.
Prediction: I was one of the many MMA fans getting all sorts of nostalgic when Tito submitted Bader earlier this year. With a well-needed break from injuries and public feuds, Tito has been able to focus on adapting his style to fit today’s state of MMA. He did the UFC a major favor in taking the Rashad fight on short notice, and it ended up hurting Tito in the end. But I was seriously impressed with Tito’s performance against Bader, while Lil Nog has looked lackluster since he came to the UFC. The former Pride great has been a shell of himself since he came stateside. I think Tito will use his newfound energy to ground and pound his way to victory. Ortiz by TKO.
Frank Mir (15-5) v. Antonio Minotauro Nogueira (33-6-1, 1 NC)
And now it’s Big Nog’s turn. This is another match up of fighters that have seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the UFC. It is also one heck of a rematch, as Mir was the first fighter to ever knock Big Nog out. When it is all said and done, that may legitimately be Mir’s greatest MMA achievement, as I feel being the first to KO one of the legends of the sport is much more significant than being a one-time heavyweight champ. Mir has put together two impressive wins against Roy Nelson and Cro Cop, while Big Nog had a Tito Ortiz-like revival when he put the ‘Golden Child’ of the division, Brendan Schaub, on his butt at UFC 134. When both looked like they no longer belonged in the UFC, each of these fighters has climbed from the depths of the sport to see themselves back in the elite class of the heavyweight division.
Prediction: Even though Vegas thinks that Frank Mir is a favorite here, I think Big Nog will avenge the first knockout of his career. Watching his bout against Schaub, I thought I was in Saitama, Japan watching the Pride version of Big Nog run through anyone that came in his path. If the fight ends up on the ground, we all know Nog has the advantage, as his Jiu Jitsu is the best in the division and possibly the entire UFC. Though, I think this fight will be a slugfest, and standing up the scales still tip toward Big Nog. Big Nog by KO.
Light Heavyweight Title Fight
Champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones (14-1) vs. Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida (17-2)
*DISCLAIMER* I do not like either of these fighters! *DISCLAIMER*
Neither of these fighters have done anything in their MMA careers to endear themselves to me. Jones is a cocky kid who recently messed up my favorite fighter’s chances of “GETTIN’ HIS BELT BACK!!!” and Machida’s… interesting… fight style has never earned him any points from me. That being said, I have no idea how the pace of this fight will be set. Neither fighter looks to really push the pace in the ring, both prefer to pick their spots and counter strike. So worst-case scenario, the two fighters will circle each other for twenty-five minutes without a strike thrown and Dana White will jump off the tallest structure in Toronto. Best-Case-Scenario, the fighters switch up their styles and push the pace as two gifted strikers engage in one heck of a war and Dana White wipes the sweat from his brow in relief as this odd booking worked out. This fight was not White’s first choice, nor his second choice. A streak of injuries to more marketable opponents essentially forced these two fighters into the ring together on Saturday night. Many questioned whether “The Dragon” was worthy of a title shot (even one of his biggest fans that finds his home here at Moai Martial Arts!) and if other any more deserving fighters were passed over for the whiny Machida. [Editor’s note: Since ALar doesn’t like either fighter, we can take his musings with a grain of salt, right?]
Last time out, Machida defeated the elderly legend Randy Couture. Now don’t get me wrong, Randy is one of the greatest the sport has ever seen, but defeating the forty-seven-year-old isn’t anything to write home about. Prior to that Machida experienced consecutive losses to Shogun Rua and QUINTON “RAMPAGE” JACKSON. We all know Jones has absolutely steamrolled everyone he has faced and seems to be unbeatable in the ring. His combination of unorthodox striking and an uncanny Andre Drummond-esque combination of size, strength, and athleticism has proved to be an equation for domination in the cage.
Prediction: I know the Webmaster here has already picked his winner, so now it is the resident MMA writer’s turn. I have an odd outlook on this fight. I really don’t have a personal favorite here: neither fighter has won ALar over as a fan. Therefore, I look into the future to pick a winner. Dan Henderson will likely face the winner of this fight, and I am one of the biggest Hendo fans around if you didn’t know already. That being said, if I looked out for Hendo’s best interest, I feel as though he would have the best shot at defeating Machida and earning a UFC title for the first time. In turn, the MMA fanboy inside me would pick Machida to win this one. BUT… I have a sound head on my shoulders and it is impossible for me to pick against the phenom at this point. Machida has faltered against top competition in recent years and had to take a trip to the old folks home to get back into the win column. Unless Machida “sweeps the leg” on Jones, there is no way I can pick against Bones. Jones by KO.
I know I will be watching this card on Saturday, and I expect a ton of KO’s so I highly recommend you check it out. If you think you can make me a Jones or Machida fan before Saturday, feel free to plead your case in comment section. Enjoy the fights!
[Editor’s Note: That’s not me in the picture. It’s my brother. I swear! Also, ALar sucks!]