I was turned on to UFC and mixed martial arts a few years ago by my son Nick, who is right in that 18-25 year old demographic that has captured so many young fans.
He was the one who told me about Kimbo Slice, who I wrote about before ESPN the magazine or anyone else in the mainstream media had discovered him. And he has always been my advisor when it comes to MMA, which I figure gives me a leg up on most of my colleagues who haven’t figured out this is not a fad and it is not going to disappear.
I will be at UFC 101 tonight in Philadelphia, and will be blogging live from the event on Lovey Land. This will be my third live UFC show, having been at UFC 61 in Las Vegas and UFC 68 in Columbus, Ohio. They were both remarkable events, and I would think in a fight town like Philadelphia, UFC will be a rousing success.
Here is the breakdown I got from Nick about the two main bouts and two others of note on the card:
Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin — Silva looked unbeatable in his last couple of fights. But the jump from 185 pounds to 205 pounds might put some physical stress on his body. Griffin is a tough guy who likes to bang it out with opponents. Anderson is too strong stragetically and too difficult to fight for Griffin to beat.
B.J. Penn vs. Kenny Florian — Penn is coming off a loss to St. Pierre, so he is very hungry for a win again. He will come into this fight in great shape, and going for submissions and throwing knockout punches every chance he gets. Florian is coming off six straight wins, but is his conditioning good enough to stay around for five rounds if it goes that far? Penn will use everything he has, including his great dexterity, to win via submission or knockout in less than five rounds.
Thales Leties vs. Alessio Sakara —Leties is coming off a loss to Anderson Silva where Leties sat on his back as a strategy for the whole fight. He did not execute it well. But it was his first loss after five straight wins, including victories over Nate Marquadt, Pete Sell and Drew McFedries. Sakara has lost to McFedries. Sakara has been up and down in his past couple of fight, and this is a make or break fight for him to determine if he stays in the UFC.
Kendall Grove vs. Ricardo Almeida — Grove is 6-foot-6 and Almeida is 6 foot. Grove is very dangerous on the ground, but can he get there against Almeida. Grove’s ability to weather a storm has been questioned. He has the reach, but maybe not the power to strike against Almeida. Grove’s height may work against him if Almeida throws a submission attempt.
See you all later tonight.