MMA  > General MMA  > Jake Rossen's 5 Questions about UFC 102 (pre-event)
August 29, 2009, 11:14 AM
www.sherdog.com/news/articles/5-questions-ufc-102-edition-1 9380


Is Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira done?

Nogueira is like something out of children???s television -- a leather boot that talks. Active since 1999, he???s taken more physical abuse than a crash test dummy. (Watch his 2002 fight with Bob Sapp, then marvel at how he can still dress himself.) A career in the trenches seemed to have caught up with him against Frank Mir last December; he???s had the better part of the year off to gather his bearings.

He can afford a loss -- a 2-2 UFC record isn???t cause for extradition -- but he can???t afford an ugly one.


Is Demian Maia the best jiu-jitsu artist in MMA?

There is a fluidity and arrangement to Demian Maia's jiu-jitsu that is often found in high-level grappling tournaments but not nearly as much in MMA. This is because intricate set-ups often fall victim to their orchestrator getting punched in the eye. Maia makes it work: he manages to fight his fight, manipulating opponents like a Rubik???s Cube while avoiding trouble.

Nate Marquardt is the most trouble he???s ever had: if Maia can lock him up, he makes a strong case for being the most enviable one-dimensional fighter in the sport.


Can a non-title headliner draw business?

The UFC does not release official buy rates, but plenty of conjecture gets thrown around. If recent numbers circulated are anywhere near accurate, events with non-title bouts (Franklin/Silva, Jackson/Jardine, Henderson/Franklin) drew homes in the 350,000 range; events with title cappers (Evans/Machida, Silva/Leites, St-Pierre/Penn) attracted a minimum 600,000 purchases. Champions usually get the bulk of attention and PR push: the fact that Nogueira and Couture have nothing on the line beyond intangible historical stroke may wind up selling them -- and the event -- short.


Can Brandon Vera live up to his own hype?

Swagger is nothing new to the sport, but Vera takes it to new strides: despite a mixed record in recent appearances, he???s still adamant he???ll hold two belts at once. Fighting Krzysztof Soszynski, a roughneck fighter with a perfect UFC record, puts him in serious danger of eating those words.


Age doesn???t matter for Randy Couture. Does size?

Couture???s senior discount at IHOP notwithstanding, he???s remarkably durable for a man of his age and experience. Considering Nogueira appears just as old due to battle wear, reflexes and agility may be a wash: physically, Couture will have to deal with the 20-25 lb. weight advantage Nogueira possesses. Standing, that???s not such a problem. On the ground, it may feel like 50.

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