On February 21st, the UFC is back in action this time taking it’s show on the road. UFC 95 Sanchez vs. Stevenson will be held at the O2 Arena in London. While the card does feature some UFC veterans it appears that none of the organization’s marquee fighters will make the trip abroad. As a fan I am quite disappointed because the fight card for the night just isn’t worth the $45 pay per view fee. Despite the lack of big name fighters the event will most likely have some interesting fights.
The main event pits Joe “Daddy” Stevenson up against Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez. This fight looks to be a match of striker versus submission artist. Stevenson who holds a record of 34 – 9 has finished 3 of his last 5 victories with submissions. He has victories over quality opponents such as Gleison Tibau, Kurt Pellegrino, and Melvin Gullard. Stevenson has even been a contender for the light weight title, however he was submitted by BJ Penn in the match. On the other side of the cage Diego Sanchez will look to move up the ranks and improve his 21 – 2 record. Sanchez, a striker, holds victories over Joe Riggs, Karo Parisyan, John Allesio, Nick Diaz, and Kenny Florian (who most recently beat Stevenson). The match will be good and most likely be very close. If it goes to ground I’d give the nod to Joe “Daddy”. I think that he is too powerful for Sanchez and would wear him out before submitting him. If Sanchez can keep it standing then he could capture the win. My prediction is that Joe “Daddy” wins via TKO.
UFC veterans Nate Marquardt and Wilson Gouveia will also square off in the cage. Both middleweight fighters have decent records and victories against quality opponents, but neither has yet to claim a “W” over any of the organization’s big fish. Marquardt, who is 30 – 8 – 2, has wins against Martan Kampmann, Jeremy Horn, and Dean Lister, with 15 of his total victories coming by way of submission. Wilson Gouveia, who is 12 – 5, has defeated Jason MacDonald, Jason Lambert, and Seth Petruzelli (the ex-UFC fighter who took down Kimbo Slice last year). Of Gouveia’s 12 wins 7 have been by way of submission. This fight seems to be pretty even and will probably go the distance. My prediction is that Marquardt wins the match by unanimous decision.
Another veteran on the card is TUF season 1 contestant Josh “Kos” Koscheck who will be taking on UFC newcomer Paul Thiago, who puts his perfect record of 10 – 0 on the line. While Koscheck is a good fighter with wins over Diego Sanchez and Jonathan Goulet I am going to go out on a limb and predict the newbie Thiago will claim the victory. Call it a gut feeling, but I think this BJJ black belt/ cop (who has been training in martial arts since age 5) has got more in his arsenal than “Kos” and he will more likely be motivated to keep his perfect record the way it is. Koscheck isn’t going to roll over though and I’d expect this to be one of the more interesting fights of the night.
The final vet rounding out the night is undefeated Demian Mia who will face WEC vet Chael Sonnen in his UFC debut. Mia, a submission specialist, holds wins over Nate Quarry, Jason MacDonald, and Ed Herman. His opponent Chael Sonnen, who has a record of 23 – 9 -1, has victories over Paulo Filho and Bryon Baker. He was a tough middleweight contender over in the WEC and is just what the UFC needs in this weight class (which sucks, with the exception of Anderson Silva ). Despite his ring experience I am going to give this fight to Mia who I predict will submit Sonnen.
The final fight on the main card is between a couple of UFC rookies who each have 1 fight in the octagon. Both Dan Hardy and Rory Markham are by no means new to the sport of mma it’s just that they are both still trying to make a name for themselves in the UFC. Both Hardy and Markam appear to be bangers and each have 10+ KO’s so expect this fight to remain standing. On paper this fight looks pretty even, but I am going to lean toward Rory Markam, a former IFL fighter, to knock out Dan Hardy.
Fan’s can expect an action packed night this February 21st as many fighters work toward title contention while others look to make a name for themselves. As a fan I hope that future events will hold more big name fighters and make it worth paying the $45 for pay per view. If you really want to see this event, but don’t want to shell out the cash check your local sports bars to see if any might be showing the fight that night.
Sources: www.ufc.com, www.wikipedia.org