UFC 87: Seek and Destroy Preview & Picks
Posted by DoTheMMAth Saturday, August 2, 2008 12:00 AM
UFC 87: Seek and Destroy Preview & Picks By Matthew Brothers
The UFC is back with their August offering, UFC 87: Seek and Destroy, and we’re back with an info-filled preview to help you make up your mind on who to pick for your high-dollar fantasy wagers. This time around we’ve got a welterweight championship bout between the champ Georges St.Pierre, and the challenger Jon Fitch, who is currently undefeated in the UFC. Brock Lesnar makes his return to the octagon in front of his hometown Minnesota crowd to take on Heath Herring, and the #1 contender for BJ Penn’s 155lb. title will be decided when Massachusetts native and “TUF” season 1 alumni Kenny Florian takes on Roger Huerta, who is also undefeated in the UFC. As folks sometimes say, the “O” must go, and by the end of this preview, I’ll try to convince you why I think a few “O’s” are going to go on August 9th, when the UFC comes to the Target Center in Minnesota. Let’s get started.
Ryan Thomas (8-1) vs. Ben Saunders (5-0-2)
Saunders is long and lean and will need to keep this fight standing to deal with the awesome wrestling ability of Ryan Thomas. The ground advantage goes to Thomas so Saunders should avoid grappling with him, although don’t count out a submission from the guard position for Saunders. Saunders needs to use his reach and stay on the outside to successfully strike with Thomas on the feet. In the end, I don’t see Saunders being able to stop the takedowns but I think he’s tough enough not to get ground and pounded. Expect a long grinding fight ending in with a decision.
Ryan Thomas def. Ben Saunders via Unanimous Decision
Steve Bruno (11-3) vs. Chris Wilson (15-5)
Chris Wilson was supposed to be dominated by Jon Fitch when they fought in March, instead what happened was Wilson pushed Fitch to a decision, and although he lost, Wilson certainly raised some eyebrows in the process. At one point in the fight, it even looked as though Wilson had Fitch pretty rocked with a head kick. Steve Bruno has some dangerous stand-up as well, with 5 of his last 6 wins coming via T/KO. The American Top Team trained Bruno is currently the Spirit MC Middleweight Champion, although he will be fighting at welterweight in his UFC debut against Wilson. This has all the makings of a war, with both fighters being well rounded and well trained. Although he looked great against Fitch, I’m going with the new kid on this one.
Steve Bruno def. Chris Wilson via T/KO in Round 3.
Jon Jones (6-0) vs. Andre Gusmao (5-0_
Both men will be making their UFC debuts in this war of 205lb. warriors. Gusmao comes from the IFL and has used his capoeira and gracie jiu-jitsu to remain undefeated. Jon Jones would be smart to stand with the Brazilian, who currently holds a brown belt in BJJ. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the former Iowa State wrestler and current USKBA light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones fight live, and believe me when I say that this kid is a beast. Vegas will probably give him long odds, but if you’ve got kids to out through college invest some money in Jones. I think he’s going to shake things up in the UFC’s LHW division when he takes a T/KO victory in this fight.
Jon Jones def. Andre Gusmao via T/KO in Round 2.
Dan Evensen (10-2) vs. Cheick Kongo (11-4-1)
It’s a battle of the big men when Norwegian Dan Evensen takes on one of the most impressive physical specimens the UFC has ever seen (ring girls not included), Cheick Kongo. Kongo is coming off a decision loss to Heath Herring that disappointed the many MMA fans who had pegged Kongo as a legitimate threat to the heavyweight throne. Joe Rogan summed it up when he said, “Somebody needs to kidnap Kongo and take him to wrestling school.” He’ll look to get back on the path to gold when he battles the UFC newcomer Evensen. As a kickboxer, Evensen will look to stand and bang with Kongo. I seem to remember another great kickboxer named Mirko something or other trying that as well, it didn’t work out for him. Although his ground game needs vast improvement, the Frenchman Kongo does have the skills on the feet to stand and bang with just about anyone in the UFC’s heavyweight division. This might actually be a decent fight in the heavyweight division for a change. I’m going with genetics on this one.
Cheick Kongo def. Dan Evensen via Unanimous Decision
Luke Cummo (6-5) vs. Tamdan McCrory (8-1)
Cummo will be the smaller man when these two lock it up on Aug. 9th. McCrory is long and lean and likes to bounce his feet off of other guys’ faces. Cummo is a fairly crisp striker who enhances his training by eating freshly harvested stem-cells. Okay, so that might be an exaggeration, but have you seen what that dude eats? It’s going to go like this, Cummo will come out and start to kick the hell out of McCrory’s legs, but he’ll get too close and McCrory will make him pay. If the fight ends up on the ground, I see McCrory locking up an arm or securing a triangle. Either way, expect “the barn cat” to win this fight.
Tamdan McCrory def. Luke Cummo via Submission in Round 3
Jason MacDonald (20-9) vs. Demian Maia (7-0)
I am 100% riding the Demain Maia war wagon and I can’t wait for this fight. MacDonald will have the advantage standing up but is no slouch on the ground either. Expect the submission machine Maia to want to take this fight to the ground asap. Although he is the “athlete”, MacDonald is going to be severely outclassed on the ground and he doesn’t have the takedown defense needed to keep this fight standing for 15 minutes. Maia will eventually catch him in a submission. I’d say late in the second round.
Demain Maia def. Jason MacDonald via Submission in Round 2
Rob Emerson (7-6) vs. Manny Gamburyan (8-2)
Although Vegas has the line on this fight set incredibly lop-sided in Gamburyan’s favor, I see this fight as being a little more competitive than you might think. Manny’s game is to take you down and beat you up, Emerson would prefer to stand and bang with his reach advantage. This will be a classic match-up of striker vs. grappler. I’m definitely picking Manny to walk away with the win, but I don’t think this will be a murder. I think Manny will exploit the long legs of Emerson and possibly finish him with a foot or leg lock. Contrary to popular belief I could also see this fight going deep. Manny is a monster and Emerson doesn’t have any quit in him either.
Manny Gamburyan def. Rob Emerson via Submission in Round 2
Kenny Florian (9-3) vs. Roger Huerta (25-1-1)
How can you not love the 155lb. division? Kenny Florian and Roger Huerta are both unbelievable athletes and incredible mixed martial artists. Huerta looked like the “terminator” against Clay Guida, who no matter what he threw at Huerta, the man just kept on coming. Kenny Florian is a MMA machine who is excellent on the feet and very dangerous on the ground. Just ask Joe Lauzon’s skull if Kenny has a mean ground game. This is a very tough fight to call. Kenny has fought for the belt before and been pushed to the limits and never gassed out. Huerta has only lost one fight in nearly 30 pro bouts. Kenny’s got the jiu-jitsu, but Huerta has great jiu-jitsu defense. I don’t see either man getting finished in this fight. I am absolutely expecting a decision. As great as Huerta looked against Guida, Crane, and Garcia, I have to go with Florian on this one. He’s just a little more technically skilled than Huerta is and that will be the deciding factor in this fight.
Kenny Florian def. Roger Huerta via Unanimous Decision
Heath Herring (28-13) vs. Brock Lesnar (1-1)
I will admit that I was as giddy as a school girl to learn that Brock Lesnar was coming to the UFC. I’m not a pro wrestling fan at all, but I knew of Lesnar from his college wrestling days and anyone who looks at the man can clearly tell he is a freak of nature. I picked him to win against Mir, and I was wrong. I stupidly let my heart make the pick instead of my brain. In Lesnar’s fight against veteran Heath Herring, I’ll be using my brain. That’s exactly why I am once again picking Brock Lesnar to win. He’s just too big and too fast! Mir was only able to neutralize him because of his ridiculous jiu-jitsu skills that not all big men have, and certainly not Heath Herring. I like Heath, but I see him getting brutalized in this match. I may very well be sitting in my chair in disbelief when the ref raises Herring’s hand, but I just can’t imagine that happening. Is he the “next big thing” or is he the “next big disappointment”? We’ll know on August 9th.
Brock Lesnar def. Heath Herring via T/KO (mauling) in Round 1
Jon Fitch (19-2) vs. Georges St. Pierre (16-2)
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I think this will be a great fight because I don’t. I think GSP is going to out-strike and out-wrestle Jon Fitch on his way to victory. Yes, that’s right; I said GSP would outwrestle Jon Fitch. If you have any doubts about St. Pierre’s wrestling prowess, I kindly suggest you go rent a copy of UFC 74. On that night he fought Fitch’s training partner Josh Koscheck, who is a wrestling powerhouse. In that fight GSP had his way with Koscheck on his way to a unanimous decision victory. I see this fight being very similar. I’m not saying that Jon Fitch is a bum, because he certainly isn’t, I just think that St. Pierre is a bad match-up for him. Breaking it down piece by piece, the striking goes to St. Pierre, the jiu-jitsu goes to St. Pierre, and the wrestling might not be as one-sided as the striking, but there’s no way Fitch will manhandle GSP in the manner in which he would need to win this fight. This fight will most likely end by decision, if not a TKO for your winner and still champion, Georges “Rush” St. Pierre.
My Big Money Parlay Pick:
Tamdan McCrory (-120)
Steve Bruno (+245)
Demain Maia (-120)
If You’re Feeling Tough (and I am):
Jon Jones (+390)
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