Wednesday, December 9, 2009

UFC 107 Preview

UFC 107 is among the most stacked cards of 2009. With a title fight and at least five other legit contenders appearing on the main card, if you aren't excited to see UFC 107 then you're just not a fight fan.

The main card starts off with the octagon return of heavyweight striker Paul Buentello (27-10). He's 6-1 against reasonable competition since losing his bid to claim the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 55 against Andrei Arlovski. Buentello will have an obvious experience advantage against lanky, Dutch, submissions fighter Stefan Struve (18-3), but Struve has been on the comeback trail since getting blitzed in his debut against Junior Dos Santos at UFC 95. He'll go for three wins in a row against Buentello and attempt to prove in the process that he can hang with elite heavyweight strikers.

Perennial welterweight #2, John Fitch (20-3) makes an appearance at UFC 107, but not in the type of blockbuster fight he had hoped for. After better-known opponents Ricardo Almeida and Thiago Alves both pulled out of the fight, Fitch is left with Mike Pierce (10-2) who is making his second appearance in the UFC. Much like Frankie Edgar's match against Matt Veach at the TUF 10 Finale, the established fighter has everything to lose here and very little to gain. Obviously, the opposite is true for the challenger, which makes this a tense fight if not a particularly fair one.

After that it's the trio of big fights that everyone should already be aware of. First, former number-one-contender Kenny Florian (11-4) will battle it out with the always-scrappy, ever-competitive Clay Guida (25-10). Both men have revamped their training since loses in their last fights, so it will be interesting to see who has improved most. In the co-main event, Frank Mir (12-4) looks to begin blazing toward a rubber-match with Brock Lesnar. That road starts with fearsome, French striker Cheick Kongo (14-5-1). It seems doable for Mir, given Kongo's substandard ground game, but Cheick has had more time to prepare than for any other previous opponent, has been desperately trying to shore up his weaknesses, and is always a threat on the feet.

The main event needs little introduction, BJ Penn (14-5-1) has clear power, striking, and experience advantages, but Diego Sanchez (21-2) has the edge in feral intensity. As such, he'll probably attempt to overwhelm "The Prodigy" with a aggressive approach from bell to bell. It should be an electrifying scrap if nothing else for as long as it lasts and, if it helps, it's also the only UFC title fight scheduled between now and the middle of March.

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