UFC 66 and K-1 Dynamite have really sh!tty lineups. So Pride NYE looks like a real diamond in a pile of turds. Pride is not on regular TV in Japan because of the whole Yakuza thing, and while that may not be good financially, it's great for MMA purists, because the lineup actually looks great. No freakshows, no TV personalities-turned-fighters, just real fighters. So far here is the lineup:
Fedor vs. Hunt
Hunt really has little chance whatsoever. Fedor will probably sub him within the first three minutes. But we get to watch Fedor. So yippee.
Kawajiri vs. Melendez
This may be the fight of the night right here. Just an awesome matchup. Melendez is a big time up-and-comer with tons of energy, but Crusher is just too experienced and just plain good. Crusher in a high energy match.
Aoki vs. Hansen
Excellent matchup between the unorthodox Hansen and submachine Aoki. Hansen is far better at standup, but Aoki is just too damn good a grappler to let Hansen tee off on him. I gotta go with Aoki by sub.
Nakamura vs. Shogun
I like Nakamura a lot; he just seems to get better every match, and might be a future champ. He's very underrated, kinda like Carlos Boozer before the season. Shogun is the best 205er in the world IMO however, so…yeah.
Gomi vs. Ishida
Why this isn't for the title I don't know. Gomi must give some good head. Ishida is a real style matchup problem for Gomi, as he's just a wrestling and GNP machine. Gomi is a pretty good wrestler too, but he's not in Ishida's league. He's far bigger and still has those deadly fists though, and he showed that he's willing to win ugly against Aurelio. This is a tossup to me. I'll say Gomi by a hair in a snoozer of a fight.
Barnett vs. Nogueira
The first fight was maybe the fight of the year. And now we get five more minutes. If Kawajiri-Melendez isn't fight of the night, this will be. Just like the first fight, I'll go with Barnett in a close one.
Gono vs. Kondo
Dammit, I wanna see the old Yuki Kondo. He's past his prime, but I think he's still got one good fight in him. So nice entrance Gono, but I am going with Kondo.
Minowa vs. Tamura
Holy crap, Minowa's fighting a guy his own size! Tamura was a great fighter when he was younger. Too bad he's not younger. Mullet by flying dropkick to elbow off the turnbuckle.
Fujita vs. Olympic wrestler dude
The wrestler is some hairy Eastern European who's like 5'5" and 230. Kinda like Monson but from Borat's town. Fujita will not be able to outwrestle this guy, so hopefully he just goes nuts and tees off on him. Fujita KOing people = awesomeness.
And one of the rumors for the last fight is Arona vs. Yoshida, which would be kinda boring although very even. Who knows, maybe Pride will spring a surprise on us and announce something crazy. Although that will probably happen in February in the US show.
Great match-ups for the most part, though Shogun and Fedor will likely have easyish wins. Kinda pissed Pride withdrew so many fighters they claimed would be fighting but hey, this card still has more talent than just about any single event before it.
Aoki vs Hellboy should be epic but I see it going a lot how Aoki vs Mach went. Aoki's just too one-dimensional. Hellboy by laser-guided knee to the face.
Ishida vs Gomi should be good stylistically. Hopefully Gomi can regain his wild aggression Aurelio seemed to have taken from him. Ishida by lay-n-pray or Gomi by TKO.
Melendez vs Kawajari should be a nice test for the former, a chance for the latter to regain #1 contender status. Melendez by hurricane.
Probably most excited about Nog-Barnett though. The two best grapplers at HW going head-to-head again after having the fight of the year? thank you sir, may i have another.
And UFC 66 isn't thaaaaaaat bad. I mean, it's pretty bad vis-a-vis Shockwave, but you get 2 top 10 LHW going at it, Griffin-Jardine should be a bloodbath, and Arlovski gets to **** some guy up. Throw in the long-awaited debut of Michael Bisping and it's a decent card by UFC standards. Still not paying for it though.
Tubbs, bravo on the analysis of the fights. You know these fighters well. I'm interested in the outcome of the Fedor/Hunt match. Maybe Fedor will take it upon himself to keep it standing and try to knock him out. That would make a more interesting fight.
I'm still a UFC fan though. I don't know, maybe it's cause of the exposure plus I have a relationship with the guys from Xyience. Yes there is a hype card on Liddell/Ortiz but to UFC fans, this is a very intriguing match-up. These two IMO have gotten better since they've fought last. Plus I've personally talked to Chuck and he really hates this guy. He actually said Tito is the only guy he has no respect for in this sport. This adds to the fuel.
I'm way down with the Rampage signing. That guy is too exciting to be fighting in third-class organizations. Wonder if he can beat Chuck down again.
Indeed. I don't think Dana White really wanted him, but after Babalu just got slapped silly, I think even he realized he had to get another big name for 205. Chuck and Tito is pretty much it in that class, and Tito isn't anywhere near as big as he used to be.
Yes there is a hype card on Liddell/Ortiz but to UFC fans, this is a very intriguing match-up. These two IMO have gotten better since they've fought last.
I don't think they have really gotten much better at all, especially Tito. Tito's standup and grappling hasn't really looked any better to me at all. Chuck just kinda looks the same too, he's still a sprawl-n-brawl guy.