UFC 73:Stacked Preview Pt. II
Once again I say hi to my fellow bloggers as I, Rampage23 return with Part II of a two part series covering UFC 73. This part will cover two very intriguing main events in Ortiz vs Evans and Silva vs Marquardt. Although people have already said in previous articles and blogs, that the Ortiz/Evans fight is THE main event of the evening but I beg to differ. I mean it's going to be a great fight but is it a title fight? I think not! I'm more anticipating the Silva/Marquardt title fight. But we will start with Ortiz/Evans.
Tito Ortiz vs Rashad Evans
It's no secret but Love Him or Hate Him, anytime Tito Ortiz steps into the Octagon everyone is watching. The former poster boy of the UFC during it's dark ages when the organization was owned by SEG and was barely shown on PPV, is a money maker. His last three fights have broken gate records and PPV buys. The guy is a cash cow and given credit where credit is due, his sure as hell entertaining. But Ortiz hasn't had a significant win since defeating Vitor Belfort at UFC 51. Dismembering a 43 year old Ken Shamrock three times doesn't cut it in the eyes of many. This fight is a make 'em - break 'em fight for Ortiz.
In his last bout with Chuck Liddell, Ortiz did his best and tasted defeat once again by the Iceman. And with the current injection of former Pride fighters Dan Henderson, Shogun and soon Wanderlei Silva; Ortiz's climb to get another shot is steep and Rashad Evans is the first step on the ladder to success.
Rashad "Sugar" Evans climb from Ultimate Fighter Champ to serious Light Heavyweight Title contender has been impressive to say the least. He was deemed another "lay and pray" fighter who solely depends on his superior wrestling ability alone and can't finish fights. Well, after pounding Jason Lambert's head six feet under and his ultra popular high kick KO over Sean Salmon, Evans has evolved. Evans knows that this fight is the coming out party for him and Ortiz is in his way.
This is really a toss 'em fight. It can literally go either way. In one aspect, I can see Ortiz stand and trade with Evans until he can shoot and get a takedown. And from there he could try and attempt to do the same thing he did to Forrest Griffin in their fight, which was the good ol' GNP with deadly elbows and strikes. The other aspect is Evans keeping the fight on the feet which he has an edge. Evans is easily the most athletic and explosive fighter Ortiz has ever faced.
Ortiz has this aura that once he knows he can't implement his gameplan he tends to get discouraged. It happened in both Liddell fights and it could happen against Evans. Evans just has to avoid the takedown and take Ortiz down and pepper him with shots until he can get it standing. From there he can possibly pick Ortiz apart. I feel Ortiz can take Evans down at will because although Evans KO's Salmon, He was on his back almost at will against Salmon. You can argue that Salmon won that first round, and Ortiz is a master of stealing a round or two in a fight (see Round 3 against Griffin). It's because of that, I see Ortiz stealing this one.
Pick: Ortiz by split decision
Anderson Silva vs Nathan Marquardt
This is the one fight I'm most looking forward to. This the one fight that will help reshape the Middleweight division. Will Rich Franklin get a rematch against Silva for the title or will Rich have to settle with getting the title back from Marquardt. It's obvious that since the UFC loves rematch everyone including myself is hoping to get a Silva-Franklin II but Nate Marquardt is no push over at all. He can spoil everyone's plans.
Nate Marquardt of Greg Jackson's camp is a seven time King of Pancrease Champion. He is a very well rounded fighter. He is also known as the same man who stunk up the joint against Ivan Salaverry at the very first UFC Fight Night. It was a fight so dull that when they run reruns of it on Spike that fight is edited out. It was also discovered after that fight that he tested positive for steroids which he appealed and won. That didn't **** any favors as he was relegated to being on fights that were not shown on PPVs. But he has made the most of it and earned himself a title shot after going 3-0 with his dominant victory over Dean Lister. It was in that fight where he showed his all round game and even outclassing the world class grappler Lister on the ground. Nate is the biggest threat to Silva and his most difficult title defense even though it's technically his first title defense.
Anderson "The Spider" Silva needs no introduction as he is simply known as the man who gave Rich Franklin a nose job on PPV en route to winning the Middleweight Title. It has literally taken Silva almost 8 minutes in two fights to stake his claim as a dominant 185 champion. Thanks to Travis Lutter's poor excuse in not making weight, Silva made Lutter pay at UFC 67. He outclassed the Jiu Jitsu expert in making him tap in a triangle choke with thunderous elbow strikes to the cranium of Lutter for the victory. Silva knows to win this fight he must keep it on the feet. He is the best striker in the middleweight division and if he keeps it on the feet, it will be a long night for Nate.
This fight will really be a chess match. For Nate he knows he has to strike when needed and get it to the ground to look for submissions. Although Silva is pure striker, he is suspect to avoiding submissions. A great example of that is to look at his fight against Ryo Chonnan in PRIDE. That fight is known as Silva dominating until the third round where Chonnan delivered the infamous "flying heel hook". And in the fight against Lutter, Lutter was able to take Silva down at will and even had mount towards the end of the first round. Silva cannot put himself in that position again with Marquardt and possibly against Franklin. Nate must take it to the ground.
For Silva, it's simple that he must avoid the takedown and keep the fight standing where he has the edge by a wide margin. Nate will never see a more explosive striker than Silva. Silva is well rounded in his strikes with his hands and feet. But the key in the fight for Silva is to get Nate in the clinch. Silva is deadly in the clinch and chop Nate down at will with knees to the midsection. It's because of that I see this fight going at least three rounds until Silva uses the clinch game and his muai thai to pick apart Marquardt. But make no mistake, Marquardt will make this fight interesting.
Prediction: Silva by 3rd round TKO
Well, there you have it guys those are my predictions for UFC 73. This is arguably the best card of the year, and one has to look forward to next couple of UFCs this upcoming fall. With Henderson-Jackson, CroCop-Kongo, Silva-Liddell (yes, it will happen) and of course the return of St. Pierre and Couture next month. It's a good time to be a MMA fan.