Although there is a surprising lack of mainstream coverage for Saturday’s UFC 86 event that will feature Quinton “Rampage” Jackson defending the UFC light heavyweight title vs. Forrest Griffin, the card is still one that has great appeal to hardcore MMA fans.We realize it’s a holiday weekend, but what better way to spend it than by watching some fights? The crew at 5 Oz. is back to give you a breakdown of what to expect this weekend.
Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin
Sam Cupitt: Forrest, in my opinion, has one way to win this fight and that’s by submission. I very much doubt he’ll be able to take Rampage down and because of that the only way for him to win will be to catch Jackson in something off of his back. I think that’s a lot more plausible than a lot of other people seem to think but I don’t think it will be very probable. When you compare Rampage’s attributes to Forrest’s, it becomes clear how many more ways Rampage has to win this fight than Forrest. Bigger puncher, stronger chin, better wrestling. All this adds up to an eventual 3rd round KO for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Rampage via 3rd round KO.
Adam Morgan: The only area where Griffin has the advantage in this fight is his size advantage. He’s a monstrous 205 lbs. fighter but I doubt that will make a difference. His chin is questionable, his muay thai is average, he doesn’t possess much power and his wrestling is less than stellar. Rampage has the advantage in all of these areas. As long as he can deal with Griffin’s size then the fight shouldn’t be an issue for him. I expect Griffin to put up a tough fight but I think Rampage will overwhelm him with all of his tools. Rampage via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: Forrest Griffin and Rampage Jackson are somewhat similar fighters. They are both looking to stand. Neither is looking to be overly technical, and neither is likely to lock in a submission. The x-factor that Griffin has is Randy Couture in his corner. No one – absolutely no one – gameplans better for a fight than Couture. Couture’s plans for Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga were flawless. Couture had a perfect gameplan for Forrest against Shogun as well. Even with Couture in his corner, Forrest’s only way to win is still by decision. I don’t think Griffin will take the necessary risks to knock out Rampage. The question is will Rampage get tired in the late rounds? I don’t know. He did hang in there with Dan Henderson and looked very good in the late rounds. Rampage has a lot of power and will look to finish Griffin early. Griffin has been caught early in fights (Jardine and even Tito to some extent).It’s not too hard to see why Rampage Jackson is the favorite in the fight. It’s hard to pick against him. So I won’t. Rampage by TKO in round 3.
Caleb Newby: Rampage has the technique, power, explosiveness, and chin advantages. That’s a lot of cards in one man’s deck. Forrest has a ton of heart and the ability to fight at a range, along with some somewhat under appreciated jiu-jitsu. Still, I can’t imagine Rampage getting caught in a sub here, and I HIGHLY doubt Forrest will KO the champ. That leaves a decision — with some astute game planning and execution may not be impossible. I fully expect Forrest to back peddle and throw leg kicks for the first couple rounds and avoid any prolonged conflict, stick and moving Little Mac style. That being said, Forrest can be hurt and has said several times how he doesn’t really get into fight mode until he is cracked a couple times. With Rampage, it may only take a couple to leave Forrest on “queer street” as they like to say. I personally hope Forrest makes a game of it, but I don’t think you can pick him as a favorite here. Rampage via TKO, round two.
David Andrest: Forrest Griffin comes into this fight off a successful season of The Ultimate Fighter 8. Unlike most I was not as impressed with his victory over a poorly conditioned and possibly injured Mauricio Rua. I like Forrest Griffin as a fighter, he does the right things, trains with the right camp, but barring a major improvement in his entire game I don’t know if he has enough to beat Jackson. There is nothing in his record that would indicate he can beat Rampage. Rampage KO round 2.
Paul Balsom: As much as I would like to implement some MMA math here (i.e. Shogun > Rampage, Griffin > Shogun = Griffin > Rampage), I don’t think this formula will work here. I think Rampage takes Forrest on the feet, in the clinch, in the wrestling aspect, and with his submission defense. I also don’t think Forrest is going to tire out Rampage with his pace, like maybe he thinks he will. I say that Forrest survives for a round or two, then eventually Rampage will do something similar to what Keith Jardine did to Forrest and pummel his with punches on the ground to warrant a ref stoppage. Rampage via TKO in round 3.
Patrick Cote vs. Ricardo Almeida
Sam Cupitt: There’s a big difference between Rob Yundt and Patrick Cote. A difference I think we will see that difference in this fight. Sure, Cote’s submission defense is suspect at best but for the fight to go there Almeida needs to be able to get inside of Cote. To do that he will need to at least “put something in his face” as Couture would say. I don’t think Cote will be too worried with anything Almeida has to offer standing which should result in him being able to frustrate Almeida with combinations every time Almeida advances upon him. Patrick Cote via unanimous decision.
Adam Morgan: Almeida is a guy who left the MMA world at the top of his game and has come back to make a contender out of himself at 185 lbs. in the UFC. If he can make this a ground battle then Cote is no match for him. It Cote can keep it standing then he should be able to punish Almeida on the feet. Cote is a tough test for Almeida as he tries to make a surge towards the 185 lbs. title but I think it’s one he’ll pass with flying colors. Ricardo Almeida via submission, round two.
Gary Herman: I believe this is a showcase fight for Almeida. We’ve seen enough of Cote to know that he is a good – not great fighter. Cote tries to put on a show, but I feel he is more of a gatekeeper at this point. Almeida ran right through Rob Yundt like he wasn’t there. Cote will be much the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if Almeida gets a title shot after submitting Cote in three minutes. Ricardo Almeida by first round submission.
Caleb Newby: Beating the esteemed Mr. Yundt isn’t quite enough to sell me on Almeida’s triumphant return. Cote has been on very strong roll as of late, rattling off four wins in a row. I’d suspect the Cote momentum will continue and he’ll dispatch of Almeida on the feet without having to worry about that crazy “jitz” that Almeida will be bringing to the table. Get the winner of this in there with the winner of Bisping/Leben and I’ll be a happy camper. Patrick Cote via TKO, round one.
David Andrest: Almeida is a strong enough wrestler to get Cote to the ground. There really is nothing else that needs to be written about this fight. Almeida via submission in round 2.
Paul Balsom: Patrick Cote looked pretty awful against the last opponent that wouldn’t just stand and slug with him in Travis Lutter. He got handled by Lutter, who’s not even in the same league as Almeida on the ground in my opinion. I see something very similar happening in this bout. Almeida via submission in round 1
Joe Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau
Sam Cupitt: This is a dangerous match for Joe Stevenson. Tibau is the type of guy I like to refer to as a “spoiler”. No one really hates him or likes him. They nothing him, but he’s a big strong dude with good wrestling and good BJJ that gives him the ability to beat a lot of talented and more marketable fighters. He almost did it to Tyson Griffin and he could very well do it to Joe Stevenson. Stevenson should be able to pull out this fight with slightly better striking and top control but if I were a betting man I wouldn’t touch this fight with Mauro Ranallo’s pole. Joe Stevenson via unanimous decision.
Adam Morgan: Tibau gave Tyson Griffin one hell of a fight and I expect him to do the same to Stevenson. Stevenson is built in the same manner as Griffin and I expect Tibau’s gameplan to be similar for this opponent. Stevenson, however, has been in big fights, fought through adversity, has top caliber wrestling, and the better striking. He should be able to control the ground game as well as get the best of Tibau on his feet. Joe Stevenson via unanimous decision.
Gary Herman: This could be a decent fight. I thought Tibau clearly won the decision against Tyson Griffin – even though Griffin got the official nod. Stevenson was out of his class against BJ Penn, but what lightweight wouldn’t be? I can easily see this fight going the distance, and Stevenson will have more in the end. Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision.
Caleb Newby: Oh Joe Daddy. Glad to have you back. You’ve been missed and we are all rooting for you (while being entirely journalistically objective, of course). Joe’s good people and a very good fighter and is more than due for a fight to try to erase his bloody loss to Penn from our collective minds. Tibau is no chump and more than has the ability to steal a victory, but I don’t see Stevenson letting this one slip by. Lest we forget, Stevenson is a top caliber 155 lbs. guy who just happened to run into one of the two most dominate fighters in all of MMA right now in B.J. Penn. Penn makes everyone look bad. Expect Joe Daddy to find himself back on the winning track and potentially contend for the lightweight strap if and when Penn leaves for GSP-flavored pastures. Joe Stevenson via unanimous decision.
David Andrest: This is about the most evenly matched fight on the card. Both guys are very good fighters and work to improve their over all games as hard as anyone in the sport. I think Joe Daddy is just a little bit better everywhere. Joe Stevenson by decision.
Paul Balsom: I see Tibau using his size as a pretty big advantage in this bout. I think Tibau will be able to negate Stevenson’s takedowns and will grind out a decision in this one. Another one of Tibau’s biggest weapons will be that Stevenson seems to be completely underestimating him and looking past him to bigger things. Tibau via unanimous decision (29-28)
Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle
Sam Cupitt: This is an interesting fight. It will be interesting to see how confident Koscheck is in his striking. If he comes out with the intention to stay toe to toe with Lytle I think he could get his clock cleaned very quickly. However if he decides to take this fight to the ground he still won’t be out of trouble as the “new” Chris Lytle is a lot more aggressive and I have a feeling he won’t be too worried about giving up position when on the bottom. Whether it be going for submissions or initiating scrambles. If I were Koscheck I would look to implement the strategy GSP had for Serra in there second fight. Constantly changing it up between takedowns and striking could prove to open up more openings on the feet and then easier takedowns. I’m liking what I’ve seen in Chris Lytle of late though and I think he is in the midst of a little winning streak. I’ll pick Lytle to pull off the surprising victory via guillotine choke in the middle of round one after he rocks Koscheck standing. Chris Lytle via submission in round 1.
Adam Morgan: I really like this matchup and it’s a job well done by the UFC for making it happen. Lytle was beating Thiago Alves until he got cut in his last UFC fight so we know that he’s no pushover. He’s a guy who has a very good overall MMA game but isn’t great in any one regard. I expect him to come at Koscheck with a lot of weapons and make Koscheck go back to his bread and butter, which is wrestling. If that happens, I expect the fight to go the same way that Hughes vs. Lytle did. Lots of lay-n-pray. I know Kos wants to be exciting, but a W here is the most important thing for him. Josh Koscheck via unanimous decision.
Gary Herman: This has a chance to be the fight of the night. Both are exciting, action-packed fighters. If you haven’t paid attention to Lytle’s past couple of fights, you are definitely missing something. His wins over Kyle Bradley and Jason Gilliam were picturesque, and he had an excellent chance to beat Thiago Alves before it was stopped due to a cut on Lytle. Meanwhile, Koscheck has really worked to improve his stand-up. It is good – and exciting. No more boring wrestling exhibitions for Koscheck. However, this is a fight that Koscheck should look to use his wrestling skills in. I think ego gets in the way, and Lytle catches him standing for the upset. Chris Lytle by 2nd round TKO.
Caleb Newby: I am really looking forward to this fight. It could be a snooze fest, but I still want to see how it plays out. Lytle is one of those tough-as-nails type guys whose only two weaknesses are sharp elbows and ringside judges. Call me crazy, but I am liking Lytle in the upset… it’s an upset, right? Chris Lytle via submission, round two.
David Andrest: Koscheck has been consistently evolving into a very good mixed martial artist. Much improved stand up combined with wrestling that is truly world class will be too much for Lytle to overcome. Koscheck via TKO round 3.
Paul Balsom: I think that it would behoove Koscheck to be aiming for an early takedown in this one. Not that an early takedown totally saves him from defeat, as Lytle’s submissions are pretty dangerous. But if Koscheck decides to test out his stand up, I think Lytle may punch his face into the ninth row. I think if Koscheck goes with the former, this fight has the potential to look a lot like Lytle’s fight with Matt Hughes. Koscheck can strike from the top and keep Lytle’s submissions at bay to pull off a decision. But what the “hay,” I think we will see flashes off Koscheck’s last fight and he will get tattooed by Lytle hands and wake up with an ice pack on his face. Lytle via KO in round 1.
Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus Aurelio
Sam Cupitt: Apart from the main event this is the best looking fight on the card. This fight could very well end up looking like the sequel to the Guida/Aurelio fight from UFC 74 but I don’t think Griffins stand up and takedowns are as good as Guida’s so this fight could be a whole lot closer. Aurelio looks to have loosened up since his unsuccessful debut. He has been given some lesser dudes to destroy and he seems to be more at ease with his octagonal surroundings. I don’t know who to pick in this fight but I think the safe money is on Griffin to work his way to another unanimous degriffin. Tyson Griffin via unanimous decision.
Adam Morgan: Tyson Griffin has been eeking out decision victories over some of the UFC’s better lightweight talent but this fight will be a real challenge for him. Aurelio has some of the best jiu jitsu in all of MMA and can pull off some of the sickest submissions from some of the most precarious positions. Griffin should not be content to grind this one out on top and the longer he lets the fight go, the more likely it is that Aurelio will find a way to submit him. Griffin isn’t known for finishing and that could very well be his downfall here. Marcus Aurelio via submission, round two.
Gary Herman: This is another of the randomly generated great lightweight fights (see Tibau / Stevenson as well). Griffin never disappoints. This fight is sure to be a clinic on the mat – one in which both fighters are going full speed. The wrestler Griffin will have to watch for submissions, but he knows that going in. Oh yeah, Randy Couture will be in his corner. Griffin by unanimous decision.
Caleb Newby: You just see Tyson Griffin’s name on a card and you know it’s going to be a fantastic and close decision. I’m going to let you in on a little secret when it comes to picking fights. Hopefully it stays true now that I’m making it public. First, if you are confident on your own reasoning with who to pick, go with that. If not, move to Huckaby’s proclaimed “Who does Joe Silva want to win?” methodology. Should you come up with a blank there, ask Adam Morgan who he is taking. Then take the exact opposite. Morgan, you’re my boy, you know that, but your track record lately has been far short of stellar. Tyson Griffin via unanimous decision.
David Andrest: Griffin’s last four fights have gone to decision with a record of 3-1 , after a review of this I must say honestly that record should read 1-3 . In spite of my opinion or yours the facts remain Tyson Griffin has recently been part of some very close fights and seems to find himself on the winning end more often than not. Aurelio has never been finished, and all 5 of his losses come via decision. Aurelio needs to finish this fight if he hopes to win. I don’t see that happening. Griffin via decision.
Paul Balsom: Though some are pretty psyched about this match-up, I think that this has the potential to be kind of a bummer. I think this one stays on the ground for the duration and we see some top work from Griffin and submission attempts from Aurelio with Griffin being able to negate them all. Griffin via split decision
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Justin McCully
Sam Cupitt: I think Gonzaga prefers fighting when the public doesn’t care about him too much. He has had a whole lot of expectation heaped onto his hairy shoulders ever since he “cro copped” Cro Cop but now that has seemed to have subsided since being broken down by both Couture and Werdum. McCully is a tough dude but I think this fight will be a return to form for Gonzaga who should put on a repeat performance of his match against Carmelo Marrero. Gabriel Gonzaga via submission (arm bar from mount) in round 1.
Adam Morgan: This is simply a chance for Gonzaga to get another victory under his belt and start climbing the heavyweight ranks once again. McCully is a one dimensional wrestler with not a lot of other tools in his belt. Gonzaga may not have the wrestling to contend with him but the rest of his MMA tools are so much better. His standup has really come along, his power is ridiculous, and his jiu jitsu is Mundial world champion level. I don’t see McCully being able to break him down like Couture or Werdum did. Gabriel Gonzaga via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: I’m surprised this fight isn’t on the main card. It has a chance to be very good. Both are skilled fighters. Both are good on the ground. I am concerned about what Gonzaga has left mentally after losing two huge fights to Couture and Fabricio Werdum. He gassed early against Werdum. McCully is not getting tired. McCully should look to tire out Gonzaga as much as possible. If McCully gets him down and works the ground and pound, I don’t know that Gonzaga can come back. He’s never shown that he can. McCully by unanimous decision.
Caleb Newby: Ok, now THIS is a fight the UFC’s “future of the heavyweight division” should be able to win. First Couture, then Werdum… Gonzaga is quickly running out of chances. Fortunately for him, not as quickly as the UFC is running out of heavyweights. *rim shot* HEY-OH! Still, McCully shouldn’t be a problem for Gonzaga. Gabriel Gonzaga via TKO, round two.
David Andrest: McCully has looked good against questionable opposition recently. Gonzaga lost to a champion and a guy that is going to be champion. My main concern with Gonzaga is his cardio, he gassed like his name was Alistair Overeem in his last fight. This fight is more about Gonzaga than McCully as I believe the only person in the Octogon that will beat Gonzaga is Gonzaga ( I’d make a ref joke here but they have taken enough crap this year). Napao via knockout in round 2.
Paul Balsom: If Gonzaga doesn’t submit McCully within the first round of this fight, his stock drops significantly in my mind. McCully has trouble with Antoni Hardonk’s “submission attacks”, so Gonzaga should have no problem. Gonzaga via submission in round 1.
Cole Miller vs. Jorge Gurgel
Sam Cupitt: Jorge Gurgel is like Carrot Top. He likes to do stand-up but he really shouldn’t. I mean his striking isn’t terrible it’s just not necessary considering the level of BJJ he possesses. All indications are though that Gurgel won’t be shooting any time soon which should be news to the ears of the lanky Cole Miller. Miller’s stand-up isn’t anything to write home about either but he does have a large reach advantage which he should use to mess up Gurgel’s face all the way to a unanimous decision victory. Cole Miller via unanimous decision.
Adam Morgan: I’ll take Cole Miller in this one simply due to the fact that Jorge Gurgel continues to say that he’ll stick with his gameplan of standing and trading with a taller fighter with a ridiculous reach advantage. Gurgel hardly ever uses his strengths during his fights, namely his top shelf BJJ. And when he does try to use them, he seems to telegraph his submissions. Good on Gurgel for wanting to make his fights exciting, but it’s not doing much for his record. I think Cole Miller gets back on track as someone to look out for in a year or two with a quality win over Gurgel. Cole Miller via unanimous decision.
Gary Herman: Why do we keep seeing Jorge Gurgel in the UFC? Sure, he’s 3-2 in the big show, but he’s never faced anyone of note. He’s never finished a fight. And he’s never looked impressive in a fight. He is what he is and he’s not getting better. Cole Miller has potential to improve and is on the way up. Miller will look to stand for the duration of the fight while Gurgel will look to take the fight down (regardless of what Gurgel says now). Gurgel has too much heart to be knocked out though – so the referee will save him. Cole Miller by third round TKO.
Caleb Newby: I like Cole Miller. I did an interview with him on another site awhile back, and he was sharing his love for obscure Japanese video games and why Raphael was the best ninja turtle. Just wanted to get that out of the way. As for the fight, I am hard pressed to pick Gurgel in any fight these days. Maybe he has turned the corner in his career but I’m not sold. Miller has size, reach, and adaptability to his gameplaning. Before I forget, I need to give Sam props for his Carrot Top line, that was solid. Tip of the hat to you good sir, and a loss for Rich Franklin’s best friend. Cole Miller via unanimous decision.
David Andrest: I could run the numbers, and look at similar opponents, call trainers and super knowledgeable insiders but there is only one fact that anyone needs to be aware of. Cole Miller has a victory over Andy Wang and that alone is proof enough to me he will be too much for Gurgel to handle…seriously. Miller via decision.
Paul Balsom: Cole Miller is going to blast Gurgel with a head kick and be on top for the duration. Gurgel seems to be able to stay in the UFC no matter what. I’m not freaking out about this match-up. Miller will make up for his previous loss against Jeremy Stephens and get back on the winning track here. Also, Gurgel’s hair is super lame. Miller via unanimous decision.
Melvin Guillard vs. Dennis Siver
Sam Cupitt: Ah welcome back Melvin we’ve missed you. Well someone has because you’re back. Guillard is just like your average presidential candidate. He promises so much but will inevetiably fail to deliver on most of it. President Guillard (that sounds too weird) has a nice little historical battle on his hands here as he faces a traditional German adversary in Siver. But unlike, history this is a war Guillard won’t win. Ah screw it, I’ve made this way too complicated. Siver wins this by Guillard brain fart. Dennis Siver via TKO in round 2.
Adam Morgan: I really don’t want to pick Guillard in this fight but I have to. Siver has shown me nothing so far in the UFC that would lead me to believe that he’s capable of taking the fight from Guillard. Siver is no Rich Clementi on the ground and as long as Melvin can keep it standing he should punish Siver on the feet. Melvin Guillard via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: The enigmatic Guillard returns. If Guillard could bring his brain up to where his skill is, he could be a force and a marketable fighter. It just doesn’t appear that is going to happen against the upper echelon of fighters. Siver, however, isn’t in the upper echelon. He doesn’t have the strength to stop Guillard from pushing the fight for as long as the fight lasts – which won’t be long. Guillard by first round KO.
Caleb Newby: On Melvin. With all of the material you give everyone to work with, is it even possible I can talk about this fight without tarnishing the respectability of this website? No. No it is not. But I can pick you to win. Melvin Guillard via TKO, round one.
David Andrest: Hate on the kid all you want, Melvin Guillard is one ground game away from being an incredible fighter. I have been led to believe he is working on that ground game, and honestly expect him to show improvement. I’m not quite sure he is going to have to in this fight. Guillard via knockout in round 1.
Paul Balsom: Denis Siver via submission and severe tea-bagging.
Justin Buchholz vs. Corey Hill
Sam Cupitt: This is an interesting fight which should show how far Hill has come along in his striking. Buchholz had an unsuccessful UFC debut against Matt Wiman back at UFC Fight Night 12 and things don’t get much easier against the project that is Corey Hill. Hill will win this in a very scary manner. Corey Hill via TKO in round 1.
Adam Morgan: Corey Hill is a scary fighter at lightweight. 6’4” and 155 lbs. is something that’s really unheard of. His last fight was a mauling and I expect Buchholz to be dispensed of in the same manner. If Hill has Miletich’s blessing as the best prospect out of his camp then why would you bet against him? As long as Hill keeps his hands up, uses his reach, and doesn’t get knocked out by Buchholz then he should end this one quickly. Corey Hill via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: I am curious to see Corey Hill. He had a ton of potential on The Ultimate Fighter. Now, we can see what he’s done with it. Hill will look to keep the fight standing even though he has some wrestling skills. Buchholz is going to have his hands full with a fighter as tall as Hill. I expect Hill to be aggressive in going for the quick finish. Corey Hill by first round TKO.
Caleb Newby: 6’4″ is insane at 155 lbs. The reach advantage throughout Corey’s career is going to be a wonderful advantage to always have to work with. What I wouldn’t give to see Hill vs. Sherk. Mostly for the staredown. I’m going to be auto picking Hill in his fights until he reaches some mid to upper-mid tier talent in the UFC. Then it should become interesting. Corey Hill via TKO, round two.
David Andrest: Buchholz will win this fight. I’ll go even bolder and say Buchholz will win with a first round KO of Corey Hill. To quote the man ” I went out all out for this fight and hired Snoop Dogg as a sparring partner because they have identical body types.” Buchholz via KO in round 1.
Paul Balsom: I don’t know about this pick, but I’d like to think that Corey Hill will exploit the massive size difference here and use his explosive pace to maul Buchholz. If what everybody at Miletich Fighting Systems says about Hill is true, he is going to knock Buchholz into another dimension and shoot to the top of the lightweight division over the next year or two. Hill via TKO in round 2.