When: Saturday – Oct 29, 2011
Where: Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay
Channels: PPV, Spike TV and Facebook
Times: Facebook – 3:45 pm MST
SpikeTV – 6:00 pm MST
PPV 7:00 pm MST
Oh baby!!!….Saturday night could be one of the best fights in a long time when UFC 137 comes back to Vegas. The “Hilo Boy”, BJ Penn will bring his champion pedigree to tangle with ultimate MMA bad boy, Nick Diaz in what should be an absolute war of a fight. Those two will meet to decide who will earn the right to face UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre in February. We also get to see the return of former NFL player and extremely talented fighter affectionately known as, Matt “Meathead” Mitrione as he will slug it out with heavyweight Frenchman, Cheick Kongo in what should be another dazzling fight of big men. Don’t forget to throw into the heavyweight mix the clash between the two seasoned titans of Mirko “Cro Cop” and Roy “Big Country” Nelson in what very well could be a “loser leave town” fight. Rounding out the main card will be Jeff “Big Frog” Curran as he locks horns with the technicolor fireball, Scotty “Young Guns” Jorgensen in what should be an absolutely spectacular fight at the 135 lb weight class. And do not forget to watch the Facebook prelims as Denver Colorado’s own Chris Camozzi returns to the octagon to face Canadian Francis Carmont. We’ll also get to see Denver’s own Eliot Marshall have a chance to shine against UFC veteran, Brandon Vera in what also could be a loser leave town match. As always…let’s dive right in and see who looks best on paper here.
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view) 7:00 pm MST
Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn
Nick Diaz is without a doubt one of the best fighters in the world today. The “Stockton Strangler” is the epitome of the phrase, “natural born fighter”. Nick is straight up tougher than leather, has an iron chin, amazing ground game, stellar boxing and cardio that is off the charts. His experience and ability to push the pace of fights is just part of the mystique associated with the Cesar Gracie superstar. He will be dueling with the man they call, “The Prodigy” though…so we’ll have to see if Nick has the mental fortitude to push BJ into deep waters.
B.J. Penn is one of MMA’s greatest little men of all-time. The man is one of only two men to win 2 Division championships and is widely regarded as one of the best ever for a multitude of reasons. BJ’s balance and flexibility is something freakish and his experience in big fights could be a big factor here too. His hands are fantastic, his jiu-jitsu is world class and his toughness is also legendary. BJ’s biggest knock on him has always been his cardio, but in a 3 round fight…we’ll have to see if that cardio is going to be a factor against the relentless Diaz.
Examiner’s Pick: I have long been saying that I feel that Nick Diaz is the best welterweight in the world. I know…I know, GSP is the champ, but Nick Diaz is the worst possible match-up for GSP because of his style. That being said, both Nick & BJ have very similar styles….they both bring the fight & that’s why this fight could be an epic battle and definitely one for the ages. I think both men are incredibly exciting fighters, but I just feel that Nick has been sharper lately and can push a torrid pace at will. Therefore, I am picking Nick Diaz to edge out BJ Penn by a split decision to finally face GSP for the UFC welterweight belt.
Cheick Kongo vs. Matt Mitrione
Cheick Kongo is a man that has so many tools for a heavyweight fighter. His reach, pinpoint and heavy-handed striking and his heart are all tools that make him a very dangerous heavyweight. His flair for the dramatic doesn’t hurt either and he’s shown to be dangerous even when seemingly out cold. Will he be able to keep the former NFL’er at bay with that reach or will Mitrione be able to keep climbing the UFC ladder?
Matt Mitrione has certainly come a long way since his days on The Ultimate Fighter show. The Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde funnyman has a great sense of humor but an absolutely evil side. And the other thing about Mitrione is…he can seriously fight! His athleticism and ability to absorb the fight game has been nothing short of incredible, and if he does win against Kongo….look for Mitrione to be discussed as an upper echelon heavyweight.
Examiner’s Pick: This is yet another example of Joe Silva’s fantastic matchmaking as both of these men are exciting finishers! That being said, I actually think Mitrione has looked close to flawless in his last few fights, where Kongo has been seriously tested. However, I don’t think he’s faced the level of fighter that Kongo has and also has yet to be tested in the UFC and that means a lot. I’m taking Cheick Kongo to beat Matt Mitrione by split decision in a thriller of a heavyweight clash.
Mirko “Cro Cop” vs. Roy “Big Country” Nelson
Mirko “Cro Cop” is an iconic MMA heavyweight fighter. The former PRIDE Grand Prix Champion has long been considered one of the greatest strikers in MMA history. The question of age is always there when someone enters the twighlight of his career and Cro_Cop is there right now for sure. Will Cro Cop have enough in the tank to deal with the well rounded game of Big Country, or will the final bell toll for the former PRIDE Champion?
Roy “Big Country” Nelson is as charismatic and friendly as you could ever hope an MMA fighter to be. He is also incredibly talented, tough and experienced. Expect for Nelson to bring this fight to the ground as soon as possible since Cro Cop can still kick like a Sunday mule. Old fighter or not, power is the last thing to go & I still believe Cro Cop can knockout anyone in the world today.
Examiner’s Pick: I am a believer in the 9 fight rule for MMA. I believe that after 9 tough fights, an MMA fighter’s skills begin to visibly diminish and I think for Cro Cop…this will be his swan song. That being said, Big Country looks to be in the best shape of his life and that does not bode well for Mirko. I am picking Roy Nelson to win by submission late in round three of Cro Cop’s farewell song. He will go out to an emotional standing ovation as the Las Vegas crowd will embrace and cheer the MMA legend known simply as “Cro Cop”.
Jeff “Big Frog” Curran vs. Scotty “Young Guns” Jorgensen
Jeff “Big Frog” Curran is another one of those experienced and incredibly well rounded fighters that has a brilliant mind for the fight game. He definitely has all the tools needed to be a champion and a guy that can give Scotty a real problem in every aspect of the game except for wrestling. He is also a WEC veteran as Jorgensen is and this fight will be a fantastic fight for sure.
Scotty “Young Guns” Jorgensen is a former Pac 10 wrestling champion at Boise State with some crisp boxing to go with that wrestling pedigree. He is as tough as they come in the 135 lb weight class and a guy that never stops coming. I got a chance to see and talk to Scotty when he was here training with Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren at Rino Sport Galleri and I can tell you that Scotty is a machine. Will he have enough skills to smother the experienced Big Frog in their quests to the Bantamweight title picture or will Scotty be just too much for smaller Curran?
Examiner’s Pick: As I mentioned before, Scotty is an absolute machine. He’s go GREAT hands, but so does Curran. He’s got decent BJJ….where Curran has outstanding BJJ. Both guys are true competitors and that’s why this will be such a great fight. I just think Scotty is just a bigger, just a bit more explosive and a much better wrestler than Curran, and I think that wrestling will be the deciding factor in this technical and entertaining scrap. Jorgensen by unanimous decision.
FACEBOOK – (Facebook) 3:45 pm MST
Chris Camozzi vs. Francis Carmont
Chris Camozzi is back baby! I’ve had a chance to spend some time lately with Chris and the FactoryX team in Littleton and I can tell you that since the last time we’ve seen Chris in the octagon…he is a completely different fighter. His wrestling has become 10X’s what it used to be thanks to Joe Warren, Ryan Tobin as well as all the boys at Rino Sport Galleri. He’s also added the outstanding services of Dean Lister blackbelt and new FactoryX BJJ coach, JJ Pugsley. Combine that with the zenlike expertise of head coach Marc Montoya, and you now have a very different Chris Camozzi. His striking is on fire right now…his power is through the roof and he is an extremely dangerous kid right now. Look for Chris to really come out and bring the fight to Carmont to re-establish himself in the hallowed cage of the UFC.
Francis Carmont is a training partner of GSP and all the boys over at Tristar gym. Obviously he will bring a well thought out gameplan for Chris as well as a nice 5 fight win streak that will try to keep. The question is, will he be able to handle to sheer size, strength and toughness of Denver’s own Chris Camozzi? We’ll see Saturday afternoon on Facebook for sure.
Examiner’s Pick: After seeing much of Chris’s camp for this return fight, the evolution of his wrestling game, and the fact that he learns incredibly quickly…I just don’t see Chris losing this fight. He’s highly motivated, focused as I’ve ever seen him, strategically ready to go and willing to put on a screamer of a show for us here in Denver. I’m taking Chris Camozzi to win by TKO in round 2 with a bangin performance against the rising Canadian.
Well that’s how I see Saturday night’s fights happening Denver, so make sure to check out Facebook to see Chris’s and Eliot’s return to the Octagon this Saturday night. You can also watch the fights at: Lucky Strike, Hooters (Parker Rd) and also at all of these fine locations….so don’t miss it Denver!
Cheers and enjoy the fights!