First off…. wow, what a main event. For most of the fight Chael Sonnen did exactly what he said he was going to against the champion and pounded him into the canvas. What was most impressive was the resilance Anderson Silva showed during the entire fight. Not only was he getting beat but he was getting beat up. Sonnen controlled him for the better part of five rounds and just kept firing off strikes.  I remember at the start of the fourth round, Silva flashed a smile and motioned to the crowd as if he hadn’t just been pounded on for three rounds. Makes me think that he knew the entire time that  he had the triangle choke whenever he wanted. Maybe the showman in Anderson just wanted to give the crowd what they have been asking for the entire time, a fight.

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Lets just jump right into the final two fights on the card.

Thiago Alves vs. Jon Fitch

A rematch four years in the making pits the number 2 and number 3 welterweights in the world against each other. This fight holds more than just bragging rights as the winner could be looking at their second shot at the welterweight championship. What gets lost in all the hype is that Thiago Alves has not fought since his loss to Georges St. Pierre way back on July 11 of last year. Fitch on the other hand has kept busy winning his last four fights, all by decision.

What you need to know

Thiago Alves takedown defense is much better than how it appeared against GSP. If you want a better idea how hard it is to get this guy to the ground, watch his bouts against Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck. He repeatedly stuffed there takedowns and battered them on the feet.  GSP posseses a supersonic shot which Fitch does not have. Fitch relies getting his opponents in the clinch where he can wear them down and use a body lock to get the fight to the ground. If he gets this to the ground he will have the advantage but not by much. Alves showed a great defensive guard in his fight against GSP and posses just enough tools off his back to stifle the AKA product.

Whats worrying for Fitch is to get the takedown he needs to get inside on Alves which is a scary proccess in itself. Alves has lethal knees and the reflexes to uncorck them at lunging oppenent.  If Fitch tries to stay on the outside he has to worry about the world class strike Alves posseses. Lethal with both his hands and his feet, Alves has got a good deal of offensive skills that could put Fitch away early. Fitch will never be a world beater with his striking so he knows that he has to put Alves on his back and keep him there.  If he can’t than Alves massive frame might be enough to wear Fitch down and make him easy pickings in the later rounds.

What it might look like

A close fight that just wears on and on. Fitch will have the advantage in the early going by getting Alves down and keeping him there for awhile. Fitch though will not be able to ride out a decision in this fight and his lack of finishing skills will become apparent. Alves will start to slowly take advantage of the fight by keeping it a long range affair with his vicious leg kicks. Eventually Fitch will get desperate and start taking chances but that will just lead to him taking more punishment until the final bell goes. Alves takes the fight with a decision.

Anderson Silva (c) vs. Chael Sonnen

By now everyone has hear the trash talk Sonnen has been spewing since this fights was announced. The beautiful thing about saturday night is that is where the talking stops and the violence begins. While Anderson has kept quiet, he knows that all the pressure is on him to perform in what could be a career defining win and career already full of them. Sonnen will surely be looking to take the fight to him and won’t let “The Spider” dance around like in his previous engagements. 

What you need to know

Anderson Silva is still the most talented offensive  fighter in mixed martial arts. Dancing aside, when guys bring the fight to Silva there is nobody better at making an opponent miss and then countering with a brutal attack. Sonnen will most likely do that, trying to get inside early in often in attempt to get this fight to the ground. Sonnen has promised to put Silva on his back, but to do so he’s going to have to navigate his way around the rangy limbs of Silva and execute all the way through on his shots. Silva has showed great transition skills in the past from stuffing the takedown to immediately grabbing that thai plum to execute his trademark knee attacks. If Sonnen ends up caught in the clinch early his Greco-Roman skills might prove useful but Silva has proved an expert of leverage in the clinch and uses it to keep his oppenents off balance and on the defensive.

If Sonnen can’t give this fit to the mat and is forced into a battle on the feet he mights as well start getting his finances in order now and tell his loved ones goodbye. Sonnen has showed a remarkably improved stand up game as of late but to think he can hang in there with Silva is poposterious. Silva is levels above Sonnen in every department on the feet. He uses great head movement and slick footwork to set up his strikes. He also has knockout power in every limb and even when he’s backing up as he showed in his fight with Forrest Griffin.

So if this does turn into a ground affair Sonnen holds the advantage, right? Not completely. While Sonnen has great top control, he has never really possesed atom smashing ground and pound mostly relies on his wrestling to grind his opponents to decisions. Submission defense has also been a problem for him in the past and Silva’s lanky limbs make it easy for him to pull of submissions from different angles. The key for Sonnen will be to takedown, get half guard and wear Silva down in the first. If he can repeat that for four more rounds than we could possibly be looking at new Middleweight champion.

What to expect

The return of the most dangerous fighter on the planet. There will be no dancing in this fight, except in Silva’s celebration. Sonnen will get this fight to the ground in the first but will find Silva’s guard harder to navigate than the black sea. After being battered in the guard of Silva, Sonnen will wonder just what he has gotten himself into. At the start of the second is where it gets fun. Anderson takes advantage of disheartened Sonnen and batters him with strikes before managing to take Sonnen’s back in a scramble. Thirty seconds later Sonnen taps to a rear naked choke and the talks of a Silva-GSP super fight begin again.

Thanks for checking out my predictions and don’t forget that starting at 10pm est I will be live blogging and keeping you up to date with everything UFC 117 related.  Hope to see you guys back later tonight.

Take a break from your busy day and settle in cause it’s time take a look at the main card of UFC 117. Dana has offered enough fistic violence this time around to satisfy even the most die hard fanatics. The main card also has another cool twist to it as all five bouts feature brazilians vs. americans. So lets dive right in and see what country ends up taking the upper hand in this clash of nations.

Roy Nelson vs. Junior Dos Santos

Everyone favorite fatty gets the chance of a lifetime as he takes on Brazillian slugger Junior Dos Santos in what will decide who gets the next shot at the UFC Heavyweight championship. Santos has been on tear, ripping through big names such as Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga. Nelson has reeled of two straight victories since his stint of The Ultimate Fighter and looks to get a career win over Dos Santos.

What you need to know

Nelson has a great shot of winning this no matter what all the experts say. Yes, Dos Santos fists are probably the best the Heavyweight division has but there is a way to navigate around them. While Nelson will never be afraid to exchange with anybody, he probably realizes that a firefight on the feet does not bode well and will use his boxing to set up the take down. What will be key for Nelson is getting inside quickly enough so he can grab the body lock and use a slick trip to get it to the ground.

Dos Santos though has showed the ability to keep bouts standing and has kill shot power that could take out anybody. Nelson has a strong chin but Dos Santos has power to spare. While Nelson can survive on the feet for awhile, if he stays standing for long he will eventually end up eating one of Dos Santos’s trademark uppercuts.

Where this fight gets interesting is when in hits the mat. While Nelson has a solid ground game, his top control from guard and half-guard is not as great is it’s been made out to be.  If he can get Dos Santos the key will be for him to pass the guard as quickly as he can get into side control. Nelson is almost in possible to kick off once he gets to side control and has great submission and strikes he can utilize from there. You try to get the moon off of you.

What to expect

Your going to see a war. Both men know what’s at stake and will pull out all the stops. Dos Santos will give Nelson fits early with his fundamentally sound boxing and do some damage early. As the fight goes on though and Nelson is still standing and returning fire with everything he has Dos Santos will start to break mentally. Look for a second round takedown where Nelson manages to secure side control and do damage from on top. From there it’s only a matter of time before Nelson manages to secure the fight ending Kimura.

Ricardo Almeida vs. Matt Hughes

While Matt Hughes title hopes are long gone, this fight still holds importance as we see if Almeida can take one step towards title contention or if Hughes still has a couple more fights in him before it’s time to hang up his gloves. Hughes is coming of a victory over Almeida’s teacher and friend, Renzo Gracie where he used his stand up game to batter the aging grappler. Almeida will look to win his second straight since his drop to welterweight and a win here will certainly propel him to a fight against a top contender in the future.

What you need to know

Hughes isn’t the man he used to be. Aging in the cage can be a difficult thing to see. Chuck showed us how old one can look in a matter months. While Hughes style will not lead him to such a brutal fate, it will leave him in some rough fights. In the Renzo fight he struggled to find a takedown and was left to rely on his rag tag kickboxing to eventually stop the lethargic Gracie.

Finding a takedown against Almeida will be even harder as he has shown solid takedowns and defense in the past. Hughes could find himself on the other end of a double leg which Almeida loves to use to unleash his brilliant jui-jitsu top game. While Hughes can keep the bout standing it might not be in his interest to do so. While he does have some skill on the feet, he has slowed down so much in recent years that might be just to easy for Almeida to find the mark with his under appreciated striking.

Hughes hopes for victory soley rely on him flashing his wrestling ability that made him so dominant in the past. If Hughes can some how get the takedown he can do some damage from the top and possibly scramble Almeida long enough to get a stoppage.

What to expect

A mauling. This fight isn’t going to be even at all. Hughes extreme toughness will only prolong the beating he is about to take saturday night. No matter where this fight goes it favors Almeida. Hughes will manage mount a bit of a fight in the early going but mid way through the first is where it will take a drastic turn. From there Almeida will unleash a barrage of takedowns and strikes before eventually securing a third round rear naked choke to send the once great welterweight closer to retirement.

Clay Guida vs. Rafael dos Anjos

Everyones favorite cave man will return to battle for relevance in the lightweight division against grappling ace Rafael dos Anjos. Both are trying to break on through to other side in probably the deepest division in the UFC. A win here could put etheir man in line for a crack at a bigger name.

What you need to know

Clay Guida has made a career out of shutting down grapplers. While Guida may not be an absolute smashing machine from the top, he has the wrestling skills to get many lightweights to the ground and keep them for awhile. Anjos will most defiantly find himself under Guida at least once during the fight and will probably look to use his submission skills to coax a tap out. The only problem is catching Guida in a submission from your back is almost impossible. If Anjos can keep busy with strikes off his back, much like Diego Sanchez did, than he could possibly scramble Guida long enough to mount something off his back.

On the feet the fight plays a little differently. Guida loves to rush in and force his opponent to the cage where he can use his wrestling to tire his opponent out or throw a telegraphed one two. Dos Anjos might not be a sniper on the feet but has shown an improving standing game that could give Guida trouble. Dos Anjos will look to use the jab to keep Guida on the outside and slow the pace of the fight.  The last thing Dos Anjos wants is this fight turning into a track meet where cardio becomes the main factor. Guida’s conditioning is among the best in the UFC and if this fight wears on, it defiantly favors him.

What to expect

A back and forth battle that makes it to the judges score cards. This my pick for fight of the night. In the early going Dos Anjos will use his boxing to score point but Guida will eventually find a way inside and into the clinch. From there he will wear down Dos Anjos against the cage on the mat doing damage whenever he can. Expect a couple submission scares for Guida as the fight wears down but it won’t be enough as “The Carpenter” grinds out a unanimous decision.

Comeback tomorrow  for the final part of my UFC 117 preview as well as weigh in results. Also I will be live blogging during UFC 117 tomorrow to give you my complete thoughts. Don’t be afraid to comment and tell me your picks for the fights tomorrow night.

Welcome fellow cage fanatics to the first post by the cage whisperer. If your a fan of everything mma like me your going want to check this blog regularly and keep up to date with everything MMA. For my first post it’s time to dive right in and take a closer look at UFC 117 from top to bottom. Firstly, here are a few notes on some of the prelims fights

Dennis Hallman vs. Ben Saunders

After lambasting Marcus Davis with a knees that would Anderson Silva blush, Saunders stepped up on short notice to take title contender Jon Fitch in a fight that saw him get ground down for decision loss. Apparently stepping up on only a couple of days gets you know love as he finds himself stuck on the prelims against aging vet Dennis Hallman. A loss here for Saunders will send him back to the bottom in a ultra stacked welterweight division. A loss for Hallman…. well who really cares, this guy stopped being relevant years ago.

What you need to know

Standing with Saunder can be dangerous for you health. While Mike Swick showed that some hand speed and footwork can lead the way to win over Saunders, Hallman possesses none of those current day.  Saunders jab is improving and he uses to keep oppenents on the outside where can score with kicks and nice straight cross. Marcus Davis learned the hard way, even if you can get inside of his reach you have to worry about one of the more dangerous thai clinches in the division. His long limbs make it easy for him land vicious knees from the clinch that can leave you wondering what the hell just happened. 

Hallman though does have the ability to get this fight to the ground. Saunders has really never shown that great of wrestling ability and he sometimes leaves himself vunerable to quick double leg. While Hallman shot has slowed in recent years he still has enough in him to get this thing to ground and do enough damage. The only problem with this is Hallman sometimes tries to cash things in on the feet. As we in his fight with John Howard this can not always workout for him.

What to Expect

Hallman will get this thing to ground but Saunders guard will be enough to hold him off and force a standup. From there look for “Killa B” to where down Hallman snapping leg kicks and a quick jab before finishing him with his trademark thai clinch. Saunders gets the stoppage near the end of the first round.

Dustin Hazelett vs. Rick Story

I’m skipping right to the top of the prelims for a bout that features human pretzel maker, Dustin “McLovin” Hazelett taking on prospect  in Rick “Horror” Story. While this is battle of terrible nicknames it also give us a tasty matchup between Hazelett dangerous submission abilities and Story’s polarizing top control. Story is coming into this fight riding a three fight win streak while Hazelett is coming off a broken orbital bone in his one sided thrashing to UFC castaway Paul Daley.

What you need to know

Staying in Hazelett’s guard could leave looking like a piece of human origami. Hazelett’s long limbs allow him pull of submissions from angles other people simply can’t get into. If you want a good example just take a look at the slick omaplata he caught the “The Barn cat” in.

While Story has a great wrestling base he also has shown some decent boxing ability. While I feel his wrestling could put him in a dangerous situation against Hazelett is does give him the option of choosing wherever this fight is going to take place. Hazelett has never been a take down savant and usually relies on creating scrambles to end up in top control. This is where it gets dicey for Hazellett. It’s been well documented that his hands aren’t the greatest and I have the strong feeling that Story is going want to keep this fight standing so he can chin check him at the first chance he gets.

What to expect

Wild exchanges. Lots and lots of wild exchanges. While Hazellet will want to get this fight to the ground a keep it there, even if it mean he will have to pull guard, Story just has to much strength and wrestling ability to allow that to happen. This will force Hazellet to dig on the feet and test his luck. This won’t bode well for him as Story goes on to out strike him for unanimous decision win.

That’s part one folks. Part two will be later today as I will try to dissect the main card.