UFC 66 Pre-Fight Analysis and Picks
Main Card Bout
Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz II (LightHeavyWeight Title)
Jason MacDonald vs Chris Leben
Andrei Arlovski vs. Marcio Cruz
Forrest Griffin vs Keith Jardine
Micheal Bisping vs. Eric Schafer
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Carmelo Marrero
Yushin Okami vs Rory Singer
Anthony Perosh vs. Chistian Wellisch
Thiago Alves vs. Tony DeSouzatitle
Tito vs. Chuck
I honestly believe (and not just because I always wish Chuck's demise) that Ortiz can and will get the belt back. In one comercial he says he doesn't care about the belt, in the other, he says it is his life. I believe the latter. Tito has turned into a class act with all he does for the military and his students as their coach. He has always proved to be one of the hardest workers. The only issue I see with him against Liddell is his conditioning. He faded too early against Forrest Griffin, thinking he would put him away early. The one thing he will NOT do is beat Chuck in the first round. He needs to be ready.
From Chuck's side, I am not sure what his plan will be. It is always to knock everyone out, but in the last fight Ortiz proved to have a good chin and good defense against Liddell's punches until the eye gouge. I think Liddell needs to go for the ground and pound over Tito, or try to let Tito wear himself down by escaping Tito's clinch until Tito tires, and then knock him out if possible. !!Or just eye gouge him again
Jason MacDonald vs. Chris Leban
This is the exact type of fight I was refering to with "great." Leban came into the middleweight division full of fire and tore off win after win, then when running into the eventual champ, he showed how his lack of discipline holds up to proffesional skilled fighting. I think he has a chance to win this fight, but I see MacDonald taking it. I think he will do just enough to hold him off for a while, but MacDonald should get the submission vistory. Leban has a lot of raw brawling ability with enough skill to keep him near the top of the Middleweight division to date, but if anyone studies his lack of discipline in fighting style, they should be able to win.
Andre Arlovski vs. Marcio Cruz
This is a soft fight in the comeback of Arlovski. I do not see him losing by any means. A submission victory is possible, but I think this win will come from a first or second round TKO. They will work Andre up the chain a bit until Silvia is no longer champ, and then give him another shot at the belt. No one wants to see Arlovski vs Silvia 4!
Forrest Griffin vs Kieth Jardine
I am no Forrest fan. I think he is funny, I think he is near the top of the Light Heavyweight Division, but I think he will never be champ. That being said, having to fight Jardine is an insult. Many people thought he came close to beating Tito. Some people insist he did (I do not). Either way, Forrest has enough talent and fan fare to warrent a fight with the undefeated Rashad Evans, not a sorry looking Jardine. It seems the UFC has resigned to believe that Jardine and Forrest will never hold the belt and are brawlers at best, and therefore belong in the ring against other brawlers only. I think there is something to be said about that, but I still believe Forrest has earned the right to fight Evans, or maybe even be the first to face Quinton Jackson next year. Maybe that is what the winner of this fight will recieve. Who knows.
Michael Bisping vs Eric Schaffer
This is the second most interesting fight for me for two reasons. Bisping needs to come in and prove himself in the first UFC PPV of his career, and second, he is facing a very talented Schaffer. I saw schaffer fight once and he took every advantage given to him and showed impressive grappling skills. I think it is a beautiful first test for Bispings first time into the ring and I think he will prove himself worthy of the fan fare given to him thus far.
As I said previously, I hope this UFC turns out to be in the great category. It will be hard to compete with the prior UFC which was outstanding in every way. If Tito wins I see a matchup with Chuck and Quinton Jackson and Tito probably will defend his title against Rashad Evans. If Chuck wins I see no one else ready. Rashad may get the fight anyway. Enjoy the UFC on Saturday!