Monday, September 17, 2007

Breaking down the UFC welterweights

With all of the attention the light heavyweights are getting lately I figured I would take a good look at a different class. The welterweights are a deep bunch of talented fighters but with recent events things are very much up in the air.

What we do know is that Matt Hughes will be fighting Matt Serra to get his title back, December-ish. I look for Hughes to win the show and more certainly to win the fight. I think Hughes will gain a lot from his time off, time not gearing up for the next number one contender. His last fight was Chris Lytle. Not to dis Lytle but I doubt Hughes put in too much work before that fight. Hughes showed against Royce Gracie that his knowledge of BJJ is strong and the odds of him being tooled on the ground are slim. What else does Serra have? I'm sorry I am not ready to bank on his 'heavy hands' just yet.

After that Georges St. Pierre is clearly next in line for whoever holds the belt and will possibly have a layoff of himself with no real competition out there. Look for him to fight the winner of the Sanchez/Fitch fight, and win.

Speaking of that fight. Fitch is on a roll and has showed some striking ability to go with the incumbent wrestling he has. I would give him a slight edge in the stand-up though I have to say that Sanchez may have the heavier hands. Right, Joe Riggs? Does Fitch have a guard though? I think we'll find out. Even if Fitch wins the takedown battle, if he even wants to, Diego's jiu-jitsu is so good it won't be long before he sweeps him and takes superior position. The Nightmare is not one for submission attempts either. He'll bang Fitch out and only take a sub if Fitch runs up the white flag.

So a possible Diego against Georges match-up looms and I admit it has appeal. As long as Diego can get the fight to the ground, or get GSP to do it for him. If the fight stays on the feet, and with GSP's phenomenal takedown defense it probably will, it will be nothing pretty. Neither will Sanchez's face. A grappling match between the two presents a little danger for the Canadian despite his brown belt in BJJ. Diego is a cut above your usual grappler.

The other top tier fighter looking around for a dance partner is Karo Parisyan. St. Pierre is a possibility but I don't think a likely one. It would't seem to be fair for GSP to have to fight another top ranked fighter to prove he's next in line. I don't think that will be it. Mike Swick would be one option but he's injured his ribs reportedly, no telling when he'll be able to fight again. Unless that was bunk to get him out of fighting Goulet so he could go up against a contender of Karo's stature. I'm just sayin'. Who else is there really? Marcus Davis is the only other name that comes to mind. Karo against Marcus would be a damn fine fight. Both have strong all around games but predominantly have one area where they are among the elite. The idea is growing on me.

The other welterweight fight of note is the upcoming bout between Kuniyoshi Hironaka and Thiago Alves, who's just back from suspension. Alves looks to be, along with
Marcus Davis, the best striker in the division. Hironaka on the other hand has a black belt in judo and jiu-jitsu so should this get to the ground it could be his fight to win. Alves though is so athletic and at his best at range, I don't see him letting this spend much, if any, time on the mat. Sorry, Hironaka.

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