Why I’m excited about UFC 117

1. Chael Sonnen: In another life, Sonnen would be a pro-wrestler. He’s hyped what most would assume an easy win for Anderson Silva. Yet, Sonnen’s promotion of the match has elevated the interest in the match and the interest in Sonnen. Its a little hard to determine who is the “heel” in this match. Is it Silva, who seems bored with the middleweight division…or just the opponents that the UFC put in front of him. Or, is it Sonnen. Up until this week, many folks had been behind him. However, Sonnen went one step too far by claiming that Lance Armstrong caused his own cancer in a 45 minute interview. Then, went overboard when he vehemently denied having done the interview on the Jim Rome Show, even when Rome played an audio clip from said interview. Despite the evidence, Sonnen denied, denied and denied that the audio was him. Too bad, I think many would have rooted for him to beat Silva.

Expect Silva to revive his competitive spirit and knock Sonnen out.

2. Big Country v. Dos Santos: The beer bellied winner of Tough Enough fights the man with the mangled ear. This will be an interesting fight as Nelson is underestimated due to his physique. Dos Santos is on a hot streak and has looked unstoppable in his last couple fights. Expect a short fight ending in a knockout by either combatant. But, Junior looks sharper and he’s my pick.

3. Clay Guida. You forget that the hyper-energetic lightweight is on this card. Although he’s been up and down of late, expect a solid performance against Rafael Dos Anjos.

4. Gracie Hunter? HOF Matt Hughes is on the card too. Although not a favorite of mine, you kind of get nostalgic about Hughes since each fight could be his last. He had an impressive showing in Abu Dhabi, of course, his opponent was in his 40s. Now, he’s up against another Gracie descendent in Ricardo Almeida – a sharp jiu jitsu specialist. It will be interesting to see how Hughes handles the jiu jitsu game of another Gracie trained practitioner.

Although I think Almeida has what it takes to beat Hughes, I think Hughes pulls it off. The win, not an arm.

5. Fitch/Alves fight. I am not too thrilled with the 170 lb division. This December’s GSP-Koscheck fight does not excite me since we saw the boring, GSP dominated win a couple years back. Now, the winner of this fight gets a 2nd run at GSP (really, no one else to step up). Alves has had all kinds of problems, including not making weight.

Look for Fitch to win this fight as Alves will likely be weak due to his recent health issues and the weight cut.

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