UFC 99: The Comeback
In Depth Preview
By J.C. Weyand of MMAFURY.TV
Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva both weighed in at 194 lbs. for their catch weight fight, Saturday at UFC 99 in Germany. As one of the UFC's most well rounded cards in several months, UFC 99: The Comeback has the potential to be filled with lights out excitement.
Nothing too wild happened at the weigh-ins this morning, but there were a few notables. Probably the most talked about happening from the event was that Cro Cop came into the fight looking huge at 233 lbs. The PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix winner had previously been fighting in the soft 220s - not ideal for a heavyweight. To see him bulk up a little, might be a good sign for Cro Cop fans. Also, like his last few fights, Rich Franklin is entering the match with a black eye. Keep your hands up in sparring, Ace!
Check out a fight-by-fight breakdown of the main card below:
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Mostapha Al Turk
Cro Cop makes his UFC return on a handshake deal with Dana White, Saturday. Although Uno and Silva are definitely overseas draws, the event really needed one of two other big names to draw a good German crowd. With Cro Cop, they get two big names in the world of global MMA - Right High Kick and Left High Kick.
Al Turk was defeated by Cheick Kongo and his last fight and will likely have trouble with Cro Cop. Despite a decision loss to Kongo, Cro Cop is thought to have much superior knock out power and takedown defense than his French rival. Al Turk wants this fight to be on the ground, but I doubt he can keep it there. I see this fight ending in a highlight knockout and reestablishing Cro Cop as a top UFC Heavyweight.
Predicted winner: Mirko Cro Cop
Spencer Fisher vs. Caol Uno
This fight is going to be a barnburner. Both fighters love to bang and both fighters are Top 20 lightweights. Fisher is hoping to use his fast hands and tenacity to reestablish himself as a top lightweight, while Uno makes his UFC return after making it to the semi-finals of the Dream Grand Prix last year. Fisher has looked good in his last two fights against Jeremy Stephens and Shannon Gugerty, but Uno has been impressive as well. Fisher has traditionally done very well against accomplished strikers, so I have to give him the edge in this fight. You have to wonder, though, if fighting overseas will give Uno an advantage.
Predicted winner: Spencer Fisher
Marcus Davis vs. Dan Hardy
This is about as gimmicky of a fight as you can get. However, it should be entertaining. Both fighters like to box, so there should be fireworks. What makes this fight more interesting is the seemingly bad blood between one another. Hardy has called Davis a "Fake Irishman," and Davis has fired back. During the pre-fight interviews this may escalate to full-scale "Yo Mama" Rap-Off. Davis has been great across the pond, so I have to take him in this one,
Predicted winner: Marcus Davis
Mike Swick vs. Ben Saunders
This is yet another fight on the card filled with strikers. Swick, now fighting at 170 lbs., has seem to lost some of his "Quick Swick" punching power, but is still an accomplished striker. Saunders, on the other hand, has looked devastating with knees and pinpoint attacks. It may sound crazy, but I think Saunders' Muy Thai may be too much for Swick to handle, and see Killa B taking this one by knock out or TKO.
Predicted winner: Ben Saunders
Cain Velasquez vs. Cheick Kongo
Cheick Kongo has had much better wrestling in his last few fights than early on his career. In fact, he actually out-grappled Heath Herring when they fought last year. However, the French striker's has struggled mightily against good wrestlers; and Cain Velasquez is not a good wrestler. He is an ELITE wrester - an elite wrestler with a good chin, I might add. When you combine Brown Pride's wrestling and good chin with Kongo's poor ground defense and general lack of one-punch knockout power, you get a nearly un-winnable fight for the Frenchman.
Velasquez is also coming into the fight almost 10 lbs. heavier than Kongo and is undefeated. His last five wins all came in the form of ground 'n' pound TKOs. Since Kongo has developed a decent guard, I shudder to think of how long the beating will go on. I see this fight being bloody enough for an NC-17 rating.
Predicted winner: Cain Velasquez
Wanderlei Silva vs. Rich Franklin
When this fight was announced any person who has been a fan of MMA for longer than three years peed a little. It's the kind of fight that usually only takes place in the form of debate on the Sherdog forums. However, Wanderlei Silva really will battle Rich Franklin in less than 24 hours.
This fight will be at a catch weight of 195 lbs. After the war, Silva, known for his domination at Light Heavyweight, will be moving down to Middleweight and Franklin, known for his domination at Middleweight will be moving up to Light Heavyweight. The moves make sense for both fighters, as Silva has lost much of chin and his recovery ability and Middleweights don't hit as hard as Light Heavyweights. Franklin, on the other hand, is just trying to get in any weight class not dominated by Anderson Silva.
This fight is extremely interesting for three reasons. One, of course, is the star power that both these fighters bring to the table. Like I said before - this is a dream fight. The second is the fact that they're both primarily strikers. Not only that, but the two icons are strikers known for their brutal knockouts. Simply put - any battle between the two HAS to be exciting.
The final x-factor that makes this fight so interesting is the match-up itself. Franklin's biggest weakness is definitely a fighter with a great Muy Thai clinch game. Anderson Silva absolutely dominated him with just that. The Axe Murderer, however, has recently struggled with great counter strikers, with one punch knockout power; Franklin is just that. From the pocket, Franklin possesses what would seem to be the exactly skills needed to take out Silva. So what will be the x-factor? Will Silva dominate in the clinch or will Franklin get in the pocket and get the knock out? Either way, I see the fight, being one of those delicious violent bouts that go down as one of the greatest in UFC history.
Predicted winner: Wanderlei Silva