GSP– looked dominant. should be a safe favorite for the foreseeable future. the trend continues. younger, truly balanced mma fighters are proving no match for the old guard guys still left in the game.
Matt Hughes– still looks very dangerous, but will he continue to stay involved mentally.
Wanderlei Silva– looked like a shot fighter. his sloppy punching will get him killed against some of the good strikers at 205. Possibly dangerous against submission fighters when he can get them in a clinch.
Chuck Liddell- big win is somewhat tainted by Wandy’s opposition. Chuck continued to show caution and a limited attack.
Lyoto Machida– showed he is a very solid fighter that is capable of controlling a physically superior guy. What happens if he faces a good striker with good TD defense though? still a few questions, but Machida should not be discounted against anyone.
Sokoudjou– looked tentative and cautious, similar to other Pride fighters in their UFC debuts. For now he is only playable as an underdog or against inferior opponents.
Rich Clementi– best he’s been. his game has improved in all areas. He fits in just below the Griffin, Edgar, Huerta level.
Melvin Guillard– talent is not coming thru for him. He needs some “grit” in his game. He needs to drop it down a couple levels and get some solid wins under his belt while retooling his game.
Eddie Sanchez– Lacks the power and quickness to be a real threat to the top guys. gatekeeper
Now that the dust has settled, here are my thoughts about some of the fighters and what the impact is on future UFC betting.
Chuck Liddell– As Rogan was said, Chuck had problems “getting off,” that’s a boxing phrase that’s used a lot when describing old fighters. Liddell is going to have big problems with any strikers that are quick and crisp punchers. Look to bet against him if he gets matched up with anyone but submission fighters.
Keith Jardine- Continues to improve. His loss to Alexander did little to slow down his development. He is playable as an underdog against anyone in the division, but I would not lay odds with him (he will be overvalued if he faces some lesser opponents. He gets hit a lot still and anyone with power can rock him at any time. Not sure how would handle some of the submission guys, but there are not many at 205 anyway.
Forrest Griffin- Similar progression to Jardine. Although he looks like a better all around fighter to me. His ground defense is better than I thought and he’s improved on his mental skills. His style is always going to put him at risk, but thats his game. Can compete with anyone and deserves consideration anytime he’s a dog. I feel better play him as a favorite than Jardine, but not at a high price.
Shogun Rua– His performance was bad. He was soundly beaten by Griffin. I’m not betting his next fight under any circumstance, although I expect him to get things sorted out and come back strong. I’m giving him a pass on this fight and will re-evaluate after his next bout.
Thiago Tavares-Ran into Tyson Griffin, whose fight very well. Tavares is a very good ground fighter that is constantly looking for submissions. Tavares should struggle with Sherk, Griffin, Stevenson but he’s good enough to handle all the other guys at 155. Watch for betting opportunities, he’s still fairly unknown and coming off a loss, he could have some value.
Tyson Griffin– Fits in the top contender status, no doubt. He is a solid all around fighter that should be considered playable as a sizable favorite. Looks like he’s damn near unchokable and the only way I see him getting in real trouble is from a top quality puncher that can land some heavy combos then sub him, maybe Gomi? Hansen?
Fighting style: Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling
MMA Record: 20 – 4 – 0
Team: Pit Team
Fighting out of: San Luis Obispo, California
Chuck Liddell is a mixed martial artist who currently fights for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Liddell has an extensive background in Kickboxing and collegiate wrestling. He is associated with the Pit team and recently earned a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Because of his relaxed “hands-down” stance and the various angles from which he throws punches, many within the MMA community have labelled Liddell’s style “unorthodox”. He was a four-year starter on the football team at San Marcos High School, and Liddell is noted within MMA circles for his exceptional takedown defense.
Liddell began his fighting career when he defeated Noe Hernandez on May 15, 1998. By 2002, Liddell was considered the number one contender for the UFC light heavyweight title with growing popularity and support from fans. The UFC tried to arrange a title bout with then champion Tito Ortiz but Ortiz kept citing scheduling conflicts which frustrated the UFC brass. To force Ortiz’s hand, they created an Interim Light Heavyweight Championship and matched Liddell with experienced former heavyweight Randy Couture at UFC 43 for that title. This was a fight that many thought Chuck should win, and it was expected that he would then go on to fight Orti. However, Couture neutralized Chuck’s trademark powerful looping hooks with crisp straight punches and he eventually began taking Chuck down at will. Couture eventually gained full mount and forced a referee stoppage due to strikes.
After this defeat, Liddell went to Japan to compete in the PRIDE 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix tournament as the UFC’s representative. After defeating Alistair Overeem in the first round of the tournament, Liddell was eliminated from the Grand Prix by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the semi-finals in a one sided affair, losing by technical knockout after Liddell’s corner signaled for an end to the bout.
Liddell lost his UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 71 on May 26, 2007 in a rematch against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson due to KO after being dropped by a single right hand. After the loss Liddell was widely criticized after reports indicated he was seen in night clubs the week before the event. He responded that it was nothing he had not done prior to his other fights in Las Vegas.
Chuck returns to the ring at UFC 76, where he faces Keith Jardine (UFC 76 preview).