UFC 83: Matt Serra vs. Georges St. Pierre 2 will be coming to us all live from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on April 19, 2008. So that takes care of the headliner, but what about the rest?
Well, there's this bout between guys that go by the names of Rich "Ace" Franklin and Travis Lutter that you may have heard of. Interested? Good.
Let's get it going.
Matt Serra (9-4) vs. Georges St. Pierre (15-2): We all know what happened back on April 7, 2007 at UFC 69: Shootout. But just in case you're living in an MMA bubble. . . Georges St. Pierre, fresh off of a victory over longtime UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes, got knocked out by this TUF Champion named Matt "The Terror" Serra. So, here's the question: Could it happen again?
Answer: Yes. But the real question is will it?
Georges St. Pierre is the most explosive and athletic welterweight fighter in the history of the game. Heck, he may even be the most explosive and athletic MMA fighter of all time in any weight class. Beyond that, St. Pierre is also an extremely large and powerful welterweight that possesses outstanding takedowns/ takedown defense and always comes to fight in shape. Further, his submissions/ jiu jitsu skills are now above average and his striking is well above average in both a technical sense and in terms of power.
Oh yeah, and St. Pierre has only lost to two guys: Matt Hughes (avenged) and Matt Serra. So he really wants to avenge that fight with Serra. Want some reinforcement? How about the fact that he told Fight! Magazine he threw an actual brick with Matt Serra's name on it into Montreal's South Shore, following the advice of a sports psychologist to get rid of the baggage that was holding him down. St. Pierre also had this to say concerning the fight.
"If Serra wants to fight me again, again, and again (then) I will fight him again, again, and again. And the result will be the same thing every single time that I fight him."
Guess is, he thinks he's going to win.
Of course, Matt Serra has knocked out St. Pierre previously and is the current UFC Welterweight Champion for a reason. Namely, the striking skills and power that always looked good but never really finished things for him came through in a big way last year. Furthering that, Serra is a very strong and powerful fighter with more than solid technical striking skills, particularly of the boxing variety. However, despite his knockout victory over St. Pierre, he's truly known for his jiu- jitsu and submission skills. Along with this, he's an elite jiu jitsu fighter. That is the one clear advantage that he olds over his Canadian opponent.
People just seem to forget that Matt Serra has never been destroyed by anyone. Sure, he's lost. But this guy has been in there with some very good fighters and has always looked good, even in losing.
Prediction: Matt Serra is an underrated fighter. Further, he has some confidence coming into this one, having defeated St. Pierre previously. That said, St. Pierre is just on another planet when it comes to athleticism next to everyone else in the division (not just his opponent at UFC 83). Serra will fight hard and be tough, but in the end expect St. Pierre to beat him on his feet by utilizing his longer reach and well placed kicks, and on the ground with a furious ground and pound assault.
Georges St. Pierre wins in a clear decision. That said, don't be surprised if his elbows end up winning the fight via TKO or KO.
Travis Lutter (9-4) vs. Rich Franklin (22-3): The last time we saw Travis Lutter back on February 3, 2007, he looked like he was on his way to upsetting UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. But it was not to be. Still, he showed a lot in that fight.
Leaving aside the fact that he didn't make weight.
Travis Lutter possesses well above average takedowns, takedown defense, and ground control skills. Further, he's an outstanding jiu- jitsu/ submission fighter. His only real weakness seems to fall in the striking department; he's not bad in that arena, but the power and results just aren't there (Lutter only possesses one TKO to his credit).
That said, once you hit the ground with him, Travis Lutter is one dangerous fighter.
Rich "Ace" Franklin is one of the most well rounded fighters in MMA. He is solid, though unspectacular in terms of technical striking (rather unorthodox) with excellent power. He also has excellent takedowns, takedown defense, ground control, and submission/ jiu jitsu skills. In other words, he's the entire package plus outstanding cardio.
The only knock on him may be that he can be knocked out. Is he tough? Yes. But he doesn't have one of those stone jaws.
Prediction: Here's the thing: On their feet this one goes to Rich Franklin. Can Lutter get him to the ground? Well, not easily. But even if he does Franklin may be able to survive long enough to get back to his feet. And as this fight goes into round three, expect Franklin's always outstanding cardio to take over.
Rich Franklin wins via decision.
Nate Quarry (9-2) vs. Kalib Starnes (8-2-1): This fight represents a battle between two former TUF fighters that were injured on their prospective shows (Starnes while in a fight). Regardless, this is an interesting match up.
Kalib Starnes is an excellent submission- jiu jitsu fighter that has improved his striking skills in a big way since he participated on the show. In terms of size, power, and athleticism he is solid but not dominant.
A terrible, career threatening neck injury had sidelined Nate Quarry for almost two years before he came back in one of the best fights of 2007 to defeat Pete Sell by knockout. Along with this, Quarry is one tough hombre that hits very hard and possesses extremely strong takedowns/takedown defense/ and ground control skills. Though solid on his feet, he is not an overly technical fighter there.
In terms of weaknesses, his opponent has a definitive advantage in terms of submissions.
Prediction: If Starnes can keep this one on the ground for any length of time, he has a good shot at winning this fight. But you've got to figure that he's going to have a tough time doing that. Nate Quarry is a tough guy to take down, and even if you do he may have the stuff to get back up.
In a stand up fight, Quarry is just a tough guy to deal with unless you're name is Rich Franklin.
Nate Quarry wins via TKO in round two.
Charles McCarthy vs. Michael Bisping: Bisping is big for this division and has much better stand up skills.
Michael Bisping wins via KO in round one.
Mac Danzig vs. Mark Bocek: This one could go either way. I like Danzig's experience and well roundedness.
Mac Danzig wins via TKO in round three.
Kuniyoshi Hironaka vs. Jonathan Goulet: Interesting fight here.
Jonathan Goulet wins via decision.
Jason MacDonald vs. Joe Doerksen: Two awesome fighters, but Jason MacDonald is just a freak athletically.
Jason MacDonald wins via third round submission.
Jason Day vs. Alan Belcher: Will the Canadian win?
Alan Belcher wins via TKO in round three.
Sam Stout vs. Rich Clementi: After seeing Clementi against Guillard, I'm a believer.
Rich Clementi via submission in round two.
Ed Herman vs. Demian Maia: A very interesting fight. Going to give it to the guy with more experience in MMA.
Ed Herman wins via TKO in round three.
Cain Velasquez vs. Brad Morris: Morris has a lot more experience. But experience doesn't always win, and AKA puts out some good fighters.
Cain Velasquez wins via TKO in round two.