Off The Mat: A Look At UFC 127 and Upcoming Local MMA Fights

by Jeremy Hurtt, The T.J. Carpenter Show  on Friday, Feb. 25, 2011 11:30 am  

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UFC 127 is Saturday in Sydney, Australia. Though no belts are on the line this weekend, this card has multiple fights with title implications. UFC 127 brings us the greatest lightweight in MMA history fighting the perpetual No. 1 contender at welterweight, a Brit and a guy from the streets engaged in a war of words, a kickboxer against a jiu-jitsu monster, and a fight with 122 career contests between its participants. Though short on marquee, “name” matches, UFC 127 holds great potential for interesting and compelling contests.

In the prelims, look out for the promising Nick Ring in his comeback fight against Fukuda, what should be an extreme in explosion in Ross Pearson v. Spencer Fisher, and a fight of used-to-almost-be's in Mark Hunt v. Chris Tuchscherer.

Main Card
Kyle Noke vs. Chris Camozzi (185)

This fight features two cast members of season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter trying to make the next step up the ladder at middleweight. Noke is perhaps the more proven fighter, with a win over 155 phenom George Sotiropolous to his credit, but both contestants enter this bout on four-fight winning streaks.

This is a difficult fight to predict. Camozzi was injured in his opening round win on the Spike reality show, and has been impressive against marginal-at-best talent since. Noke has more quality wins and more quality fights, but has been incapable of capitalizing on his biggest opportunities. Camozzi is Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu, Noke prefers Boxing and Wrestling.

In fights like this, I often will ask “who is in which camp?” Noke comes from the famous Jackson camp, and I like him to get through to Camozzi early and often when they're on their feet, and finish him with some brutal ground and pound in the second.

Chris Lytle vs. Brian Ebersole (170)
As previously mentioned, these fighters have 122 fights between them. Each has 61 fights to his credit, with Lytle winning 40 and Ebersole 46. However, Lytle has the clear advantage in Octagon experience, and has won four straight in the UFC. Ebersole has fought across multiple weight classes and against name fighters, but he is facing a few hills to climb in this bout. He accepted the fight on two weeks notice. Lytle's original opponent, Carlos Condit, withdrew because of injury and Ebersole is facing a guy who can counter his strikes consistently.

Lytle's biggest problem in the past has been against fighters who could control from top position, which potentially makes this a difficult out for him. Ebersole, a wrestler back in college, trains with American Kickboxing Academy, and while he's not a wrestler of the caliber of teammates Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, he still trains with them on a daily basis. Lytle does have a pretty good ground game, and has shown the ability to stay active in the guard. If he can use his guard and takedown defense to stifle Ebersole's attack, the match will swing hugely Lytle's way.

And that's how I see this one going. Ebersole will likely get Lytle down a couple of times in the first, assuming Lytle doesn't get through with a show-stopping hook before that point. In the second, I like Lytle to start taking the advantage with strong counters, and I see him finishing a beaten and tired Ebersole in the third via submission.

George Sotiropoulos vs. Dennis Siver (155)
Sotiropoulos is a monster on the ground, using Eddie Bravo's famed 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu to overwhelm opponents. He clinches, he takes them down, he beats them up or submits them. I personally think the lanky Australian is the best fighter in the world at lightweight, and I expect that we will see his skills on further display in this fight. There is an argument to be made that this is the ultimate trap fight - hometown fighter against huge underdog for a chance to shoot up the rankings and into title contention - but I doubt this plays out in any surprising manner.

Siver is a game fighter, though. He has a variety of strikes, and his spinning back-kick is something to behold, a truly unique weapon of destruction. Sotiropolous, however, has fought top-flight talent on his way to 7-0 in the Octagon, and he has the answer to any particular advantage Siver can claim. He should, for example, be able to nullify the striking of Siver with his height advantage and ability to get in and out of range. This looks to be a good night for the hometown fighter, and a long one for the German challenger.

Siver's best chance is in landing a huge shot that ends the fight early – it may in fact be his only chance. Short of this happening, I see Sotiropoulos advancing slowly and surely, grabbing Siver and emasculating Siver. Let's say George in the second by submission.

Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera (185)
A war of words has erupted between the British Bisping and the Rowdy Rivera, but I'm not going to repeat any of it here – largely because I don't understand much that either says. Rivera has been the greater antagonist in this conflict, but still remains the more popular fighter. Outside of the UK, Bisping isn't exactly a fan favorite, known for his ego/bravado and for not waking up for one of his own fighter's matches while coaching on The Ultimate Fighter. Rivera, meanwhile, is the guy who lost his daughter at age 17.



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