Wednesday, April 27, 2011

UFC 129: St. Pierre vs Shields

It's the time for the first Pay-Per-View since the devastation that was Shogun/Jones, and this event is huge in a bunch of different ways. Aside from having a super fight, the first ever UFC Featherweight Championship match, two belts on the line, top pound-for-pound fighters GSP, Jose Aldo, and Jake Shields on the Main Card, the UFC debut of Ben Henderson, and the epic match up that is Machida/Couture, UFC 129 is also the first UFC arena show, and with the Rogers Centre capacitiy at 55,000 people, it's the biggest UFC event to date. It is also the first event set to start at 9 pm ET which is 7 pm our time as opposed to the usual 8 pm start time. So yes, it's going to be epic.

For the Main Event, it's UFC superstar and Welterweight Champ Georges 'Rush' St. Pierre set to defend his title once again, this time against Strikeforce Middleweight/EliteXC Welterweight/Shooto Middleweight/Rumble On The Rock Welterweight Champ, Jake Shields. Though kind of unknown up until recently (to most people, at least), Jake Shields is the solid Number 2 at Welterweight. He's got some of the best jiu jitsu in the world and unlike most JJ players who cross into MMA, Shields has the wrestling to force the fight to his world. Regardless of punching power, wrestling background, or even ground expertise, Shields always takes his opponent to the mat and works them, and if he doesn't get a submission, his awesome control and seamless transitions to dominant positions guarantee him the decision. GSP is the most well-rounded fighter known to man. He's got arguably the best wrestling in MMA, great jiu jitsu, awesome striking, speed, explosiveness, and a great mental approach, which really leaves no holes in game. Shields is on a 15-fight win streak. GSP has successfully, and dominantly, defended his belt 5 times. Jakes Shields is more than worthy of his shot but GSP is just on another level and it's Shields streak that's going to come to an end. GSP says he's not afraid to go to the ground with Shields but GSP isn't known for fighting to his opponent's strengths, and the huge difference in the stand up between Shields and GSP is going to be what loses Shields the fight. Just like with Koscheck, I see GSP putting a stand up clinic on Shields and without the threat of an explosive, powerful right hand, he'll probably finish this one by TKO.

For the Co-Main Event, it's deadly Jose Aldo defending his UFC Featherweight belt against fellow striker Mark Hominick. Jose Aldo is super flashy and super exciting. He's got nasty kicks, KO punching power, crazy accurate flying knees, and the takedown defense and ground game needed to use his striking effectively. Mark Hominick is a decorated striker who has won several kickboxing tournaments, and though Aldo has never really faced a striker as technical as Hominick, I still see Aldo as the better striker. Hominick is going to put up a better fight than people expect and an upset wouldn't really surprise me but I think things are going to happen almost as they should and Aldo finishes the fight in the 3rd or 4th.

It's the return of 'The Dragon' as Lyoto Machida faces Randy 'The Natural' Couture in his last fight in the Octagon. Machida is coming off a 2-fight losing streak but he's still as dangerous as people thought he was when he knocked out Rashad Evans. He's fast, accurate, elusive, and super technical with his striking. Couture is the master of the upset, an expert at "imposing his will." His striking is above average and he uses it effectively to close the distance and work his greco-roman wrestling and dirty boxing. Couture is great at executing gameplans and I'm pretty sure he wants to press Machida up against the fence and work for the take down while doing damage but Machida's sumo background makes him hard to get a hold of. Add to this Machida's speed and high-level striking, and it's going to be a horrible last fight for Randy Couture. I never go against 'The Natural' but Machida is Machida and I say he finishes with a 2nd round TKO and gets on his way back to his belt.

Also on the Main Card, Jason Brilz takes on Vladimir Matyushenko. Both are mirror images of each other, alright stand up with good wrestling and solid ground game, but Matyushenko is on his way out while Brilz is barely getting started and I see Brilz being able to edge a decision. Ben Henderson makes his UFC debut against jiu jitsu whiz Marc Bocek, and though both are well-rounded, Henderson's superior wrestling and stand up get him the win.

On the Spike TV televised Undercard fights, it's young prospect Rory Macdonald facing dangerous Nate Diaz. Both are young guys who go out and bring the fight and I'm split. It's a fight that could definitely be fight of the night, and one that I give the super slight edge to Diaz, just based on experience. Jake Ellenberger takes on Sean Pierson on short-notice and though Pierson is a solid fighter, I think Ellenberger is the future and his aggressive, well-rounded approach, a mix up of takedowns and power punches, gets him the win

The rest of the undercard fights are going to be aired on Facebook, so you don't have to miss a single fight come Saturday if you're a hardcore fan.

915 Sports Bar & Billiards, located at 4025 N. Mesa St, is the place to watch all the UFC action. For more info, you can contact 915 Sports Bar & Billiards at (915)542-3134. Don't forget this event and every event from now on airs an hour earlier than usual.

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