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UFC 101 Preview and Predictions: The Main Card

UFC 101After more than a week of Fedor-Hysteria that has left the mixed martial arts community in a state of recovery, FiveOuncesOfPain is here to clear your head of all things Emelianenko while we dive headfirst into what promises to be an exciting night of fights in the first event of the new age of the longest running promotion in the business, UFC 101.

The event is set to take place this Saturday night, August 8 from the Wachovia Center in Philedalphia, Pennsylvania and will air live on Pay-Per-View.

Come along as I take a closer look at the main card match-ups from this highly anticipated card that features a lightweight championship bout between B.J. Penn and Kenny Florian, and a 205 pound showdown between former UFC light-heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin and current middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian

The only way B.J. loses this fight is if B.J. beats himself. Not taking anything away from Kenny Florian. The guy’s an absolute stud that has done nothing but impress me more and more with every passing bout. Penn is just a little better in every area.

If they had a straight up submission match, B.J. wins. Boxing? Penn has the edge there too. Florian may have the more technical kicks but the power B.J. carries in his fists at 155 pounds should be able to neutralize that. The wrestling has to go to Penn just based on the fact that he has a history of being nearly impossible to take down. In my mind, no other fighter has the sense of balance in the cage that Penn has. The man is like a cat. His dexterity makes him nearly impossible to drag to the canvas and I can’t imagine Florian will be the guy solve the physical riddle that is B.J. Penn.

Ken-Flo’s best chance in this fight would be to keep this fight on the feet and somehow try to outpoint Penn with kickboxing in the same manner that he did to Roger Huerta. I feel like B.J. is intelligent enough to take the fight to the canvas if the going gets tough, but I don’t think it’s going to get that tough on the feet to begin with.

Penn is just one of those guys. He’s part man, part alien. The only lightweight that will beat him in the next two or three years will be himself. It’s always been like that for the uber-talented pride of Hawaii.

Winner: Penn via Unanimous Decision

Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin

While I don’t expect for this fight to be nearly as boring as Silva’s last two fights, I do expect for Griffin’s exciting and aggressive style to play right into the spider’s web. The UFC made this fight for a reason. They wanted to be absolutely sure they forced Silva to fight this time around, and who better way to insure the middleweight champion entertains the paying fans than matching him up against a very dangerous and much larger Forrest Griffin in a non-title affair.

Griffin has two decisive advantages in this bout: He’s a light heavyweight, and he’s a MASSIVE light-heavyweight. As big as they get for men that compete at 205 pounds. However, it’s not about size alone for Forrest, as he’s displayed in the past against similarly large men such as Quinton Jackson and Mauricio Rua. Size will only get you so far though, and one could never discredit the fact that Griffin is extremely tough, talented and well-rounded.

It’s this combination of factors that should place Silva smack dab in the middle of the toughest fight of his mixed martial arts career. Luckily for Anderson, he’s every bit as gifted as everyone says he is, and the difference in this bout will come down to technicality. I expect for Silva to utilize his clinch game as much as possible. Eventually Griffin will become aggressive and that should be his downfall.

Winner: Silva via TKO

Amir Sadollah vs. Johny Hendricks

Let’s be real folks, this card takes a tremendous drop-off in so many ways prior to the previously analyzed bouts. I’v e said it, and I’m done with it. Moving on…… So we have The Ultimate Fighter Season 7 middleweight winner Amir Sadollah with a career record of 1-0 facing off with former Division I wrestling champion Johny Hendricks, who sports a career record of 5-0.

Hendricks will be making his UFC debut at 101 with his last bout being a unanimous decision over Alex Serdyukov at WEC 39 on March 1 of this year, while Sadollah will be fighting for the first time since beating C.B. Dollaway to win the Ultimate Fighter crown back in June of 2008.

This is an incredibly tough fight to call, and a fight I feel comes down to one factor: How is Hendricks’ submission defense. It’s going to be up to him as far as where this fight ends up, and the smart thing would be to take the more experienced kickboxer to the canvas. If Hendricks can avoid an Ultimate Fighter armbar he should be able to grind out a unanimous decision.

Winner: Hendricks via Unanimous Decision

Kendall Grove vs. Ricardo Almeida

Grove is a talented guy and his reach makes him extremely dangerous when he uses it like he did in his last fight with Jason Day, but Almeida’s much improved stand-up in his previous victory over the unpredictable Matt Horwich has left me confident that the “The Big Dog” will be able to stay out of danger on the feet. At least long enough to get the fight to the ground where the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt will have a ridiculous advantage in the submission department over Grove.

Look for Almeida to take the top position early in the first after setting up the takedown with his much improved boxing. From there it shouldn’t be long before he takes one of Grove’s extremely long limbs home with him.

Winner: Almeida via Submission

Kurt Pellegrino vs. Josh Neer

This is one of those classic fights you just hate to call. I’d possibly give Pellegrino a slight edge in the wrestling department, Neer an edge in the submission category, and I’d say the striking is a wash. Two very tough lightweights that consistently bring a style in the Octagon that’s impossible not to love. If the two headlining bouts disappoint in the least, this fight is a shoe in for fight of the night.

I really don’t know what to expect in this fight outside of tons of action, and possibly a good amount of bloodshed. I know I can’t predict a draw, that would be insanely lame,but I would if I could get away with it in this instance.

Winner: Josh Neer via Split Decision

Be sure to check back in the coming days as I take a look at the undercard scheduled for UFC 101 which features the likes of Thales Leites, Tamdan McCrory, Alessio Sakara, Matt Riddle and many more.

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