Fight News

Thursday, May 24, 2007

UFC 71 Undercard

Light Heavyweights: Keith Jardine (12-3-1) vs. Houston Alexander (6-1-0)
Jardine Last UFC Appearance: December 30, 2006 - Defeated Forrest Griffin via TKO with punches at 4:41 of the first round.
Alexander Last UFC Appearance: UFC debut.
Alexander Last MMA Fight: March 31, 2007 - Fought Todd Allee to a no-contest in 3:23 of the first round at Extreme Challenge 76.

Speaking of a challenger that might push Liddell, Keith Jardine is lining up to be that man. Following decision wins over Mike Whitehead and Wilson Gouveia, and a decision loss to Stephan Bonnar that many felt could have gone to him, Jardine did what no one else has been able to do, out strike Forrest Griffin, picking up an impressive first round win and leapfrogging him on the list of potential challengers for the Iceman. His opponent, Houston Alexander, is an unknown quantity, looking to play spoiler in his UFC debut. His lone MMA loss was in 2001, so he has been successful on smaller shows. He is obviously looking to make a big splash in the Light Heavyweight division, but given Jardine's popularity, I can't see UFC sacrificing a potential main event (Jardine vs. Griffin II or Jardine vs. Liddell) here. I'll pick Jardine to win, but that's with practically no knowledge of Alexander, so I wouldn't put money on it.

Middleweights: Terry Martin (17-2-0) vs. Ivan Salaverry (12-4-1)
Martin Last UFC Appearance: February 3, 2007 - Defeated Jorge Rivera via knockout at 14 seconds of the first round.
Salavarry Last UFC Appearance: August 6, 2005 - Lost to Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision.
Salavarry Last MMA Fight: July 22, 2006 - Defeated Art Santore at 4:18 of the second round at WFA: King Of The Streets.

Terry Martin seemed to be floundering in his attempts to impress in UFC. He was racking up wins on other MMA shows, but his first UFC appearance saw him lose to James Irvin due to a flying knee in 2005. In 2006, he got another chance in UFC, this time against Jason Lambert, but lost again. Still he kept winning on other shows, so UFC brought him back again this past February, where he wowed fans with a 14 second destruction of Jorge Rivera, catching an attempted kick and shoving him to the ground before landing a few punches and knocking him out. Suddenly, Martin had new life in UFC, and a chance to impress on PPV against K-1 and UFC veteran Ivan Salaverry, who scored submission wins over Tony Fryklund and Joe Riggs before losing a decision to Nate Marquardt. Martin is a better striker, but Salavarry is no slouch in that department (he beat Art Santore on the WFA show with a high kick and a slew of strikes that busted open Santore), and has superior submission skills. I doubt Salavarry will charge out with a kick like Rivera, and Martin is in for a fight, and fight I don't think he will win. I'm picking Salaverry to win.

Middleweights: Kalib Starnes (9-2-1) vs. Chris Leben (16-3-0)
Starnes Last UFC Appearance: October 14, 2006 - Lost to Yushin Okami via TKO at 1:40 of the third round.
Leben Last UFC Appearance: December 30, 2006 - Lost to Jason MacDonald via submission to a guillotine choke at 4:03 of the second round.

A fight between two well known competitors (thanks to SpikeTV) who are trying to get back on track in the Middleweight division. Leben came back from the highlight reel knockout loss to Anderson Silva by knocking out Jorge Santiago with a punch in the second round. Then he encountered Jason MacDonald, aka "The TUF Killer". Leben avoided MacDonald's takedowns in the first round, but in the second, MacDonald finally scored with one after a punch and sunk in a guillotine choke to hand Leben a loss. So, it was an up and down 2006 for Leben, who faces Kalib Starnes, who came off his reality show stint to beat Danny Abbadi with a rear naked choke in round one (which surprised no one) in his first UFC fight. A big step up in competition for his second fight saw Starnes on the losing end against Yushin Okami when Starnes was taken down and just couldn't stop Okami from pounding him in the third round. Both men need this win if they want to line up behind Nate Marquardt, Rich Franklin, MacDonald and Okami for a shot at Anderson Silva's Middleweight Title. I'm thinking Leben is more determined, and knows that another high profile loss is something that could really be detrimental to his career at this point. However, Starnes beat Jason MacDonald on a NFC show once, and took Okami to the third round, so I'm picking him in what could be a close fight.

Welterweights: Josh Burkman (19-3-0) vs. Karo Parisyan (24-4-0)
Burkman Last UFC Appearance: January 25, 2007 - Defeated Chad Reiner via unanimous decision.
Parisyan Last UFC Appearance: December 13, 2006 - Defeated Drew Fickett via unanimous decision.

This is probably the fight I am most looking forward to on the show. Parisyan has been "Mr. Stamina" since losing to Georges St. Pierre via decision in 2004. He's picked up six wins since then, five via decision (he also had one decision loss, to Diego Sanchez), beating Shonie Carter, Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, Nick Thompson, and current Welterweight Champion Matt Serra. His last fight saw him survive a nasty cut in round two against Drew Fickett before using takedowns to take the third round and the fight. Josh Burkman had some impressive first round wins over Sam Morgan (KO with a slam in 21 seconds) and Drew Fickett (submission with a guillotine in 1:07) before suffering a loss to Jon Fitch. Since then, he has picked up decision wins over Josh Neer and Chad Reiner, proving he can go the distance when neccesary. His strategy again Chad Reiner in his last fight was simply to keep taking his opponent down over and over, picking up each round on the way to a unanimous decision. He won't be able to do that against Parisyan though. Burkman will have to be at his best against Parisyan, and ready to go the distance again, because you know Parisyan will be. I'm picking Karo in what could be the "sleeper fight" on the show.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home