I’m suddenly excited about UFC 72 this afternoon. I think a lot of it has to do with the 3 p.m. ET start time. Growing up, I remember watching boxing in the afternoon on TV. The caliber of fighters were actually pretty good, from what I remember. I have to go to work soon and do my radio show on ESPN 920 here in Philly and the idea of coming home and being able to watch a live UFC event is pretty intriguing. Paying for the card when the intent was for it to be free on Spike TV is a bit of a downer, but you know what? I like the fact that we’re not going to get pelted with sponsorship plugs and that we won’t have to wait five minutes between rounds.
The card itself doesn’t work for me as a prime time event. But as an afternoon show, it’s solid and I expect some pretty good fights. It could be a sleeper show, much like this past Tuesday night.
Okay, here’s my quick rundown…
Ed Herman vs. Scott Smith - Both guys are tough and aggressive. Herman cannot afford to trade with Smith because Smith has too much punching power. He needs to set up his shot, get Smith to the mat, and ground and pound his way to a decision. I’m going with Herman via TKO in the second round.
Jason MacDonald vs. Rory Singer - I’m calling the upset right here. MacDonald has great Jiu-Jitsu, but Singer is the better wrestler. If he makes a mistake, MacDonald will catch him in a submission. But I just don’t see Singer getting caught. And if it stays standing, I think Singer actually has the better standup, even though he’s not a big time striker. I expect Singer to win via unanimous decision.
Tyson Griffin vs. Clay Guida – Both are strong wrestlers who made names for themselves with the Strikeforce promotion. They’ve never fought, but they know each other well. Griffin is a little more well rounded so I’m going to go with him since I believe he has the striking advantage. This is my pick for fight of the night.
Forrest Griffin vs. Hector Ramirez - I’m going with another upset. Griffin sounds like a guy who still hasn’t gotten over his devastating knockout loss to Keith Jardine at UFC 66. He admitted he took Jardine lightly, might he do the same with Ramirez? Griffin also publicly questioned his own chin last week, which makes me think he might not be as aggressive as he normally is. A tentative Forrest Griffin just doesn’t get it done in my eyes. I think Ramirez will feel Griffin out early, but will try and jump on him late in the second and KO Forrest.
Rich Franklin vs. Yushin Okami - This will be a very tough test for Okami. He’s a very technical fighter with great ground and pound. However, I still think Franklin wins this match via decision. Okami is strong, but he’s not going to have a strength advantage. Yes, he manhandled Mike Swick but Swick barely even cuts to 185 pounds. Franklin cuts around 20 pounds for his fights, so he’s going to be just as big as Okami, and possibly bigger. Franklin also has good take down defense and if he keeps it standing, he’ll carve Okami up with superior technical boxing skills.