Saturday, July 11, 2009

UFC 100 preview

By Rick Morris

The night that has been labeled the "Super Bowl of MMA" has arrived as UFC 100 emanates live on pay-per-view from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The UFC has certainly come a long, long way.

As always, AOL Fanhouse is on top of the UFC proceedings with liveblogging and full coverage here.

Both ESPN and Fox Sports have excellent previews posted.

While the Brock Lesnar/Frank Mir heavyweight title unification match (BTW, just how goofy is the idea of an "interim champion?") is the appropriate headliner for such a huge card, the undercard is also stronger than usual, including a title defense by welterweight champion (and contender for the "best pound-for-pound fighter in the world") Georges St. Pierre against the man who might be his toughest current foe, Thiago Alves. GSP is "the man" in that division until proven otherwise, but he will have to work perhaps like never before to hang on tonight.

Lesnar is trying to avenge his loss to Mir in his UFC debut in February '08. Since then, he shocked MMA purists by capturing one claim to the heavyweight title and has shown that while he was best known for being a WWE champion, he also shouldn't have to remind anyone that he was an NCAA grappling champ before that. His game is more refined now, but Mir has already proven that he can exploit flaws in the physically superior yet significantly less experienced fighter.

While Lesnar is the favorite, opinions on the fight vary wildly based on anticipated action. Those who expect Mir to win believe that Lesnar will commit a fatal flaw, perhaps on the ground as he was almost a year and a half ago. Those who expect Lesnar to come out on top believe that he will just steamroll Mir killdozer-style as he did to Randy Couture last November when he took the title.

The guess here is that Lesnar has learned enough to avoid a repeat of his awful entrance into the UFC world. For a man who floundered professionally between the time he left WWE in March 2004 and the Couture win 4 1/2 years later, he should have all the incentive in the world in terms of not wanting to go back to no-man's-land in the eyes of the public. Look for the ref to stop the fight in Lesnar's favor in the third round.

Couture has his own very interesting analysis on the UFC 100 card and can be seen here:

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