| Article Summary:
Saturday, July 5 at the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada is the site for UFC 86 - Jackson vs. Griffin. Perhaps the most anticipated fight of the summer, pits two of the best Light-heavyweight fighters battling it out for the undisputed UFC 205 lb. title. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson the current champ facing off against the original ultimate fighter in Forrest Griffin.
The card also features a fight between two potential title contenders for the middleweight title: Ricardo Almeida vs. Patrick "The Predator" Cote. Two top welterweights will go toe to toe as Chris "Lights Out" Lytle will try to turn the lights out on Josh Koscheck.
In the very stacked lightweight division where B.J Penn is king, four potential suitors for his crown - Joe Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau and Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus Aurelio - each will look to take a step closer to a title match with the champ.
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Rampage Jackson 28 - 6 - 0 (Win - Loss - Draw)
Forrest Griffin 15 - 4 - 0 (Win - Loss - Draw)
It's time for the main event of the summer! The long awaited return of the champ, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson versus the "original ultimate fighter" Forrest Griffin. This match will be five rounds for the undisputed UFC light-heavyweight championship.
Fresh off The Ultimate Fighter reality series on Spike television, where these two fighters battled as coaches for the seventh season, they will now battle each other. Griffin was the first winner of the reality series "The Ultimate Fighter" and is coming off a huge upset victory over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 76.
Griffin shocked the MMA world with his latest victory over Rua, who many ranked as the number one LHW in the world and looks to do the same against Jackson. Griffin who trains with Xtreme Couture is truly a great all-around fighter.
He has tremendous size, heart and loves to get in there and bang, however 7 of his 15 wins have come from submission. He is a big man for his weight class and has to cut more weight than Rampage. That might be a strength or it could be a weakness.
He also is a cardio freak and his heart keeps him in every fight. However his willingness to bang may be his downfall, as his chin has been under suspect since his TKO loss to Keith Jardine at UFC 66.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson may not be the best coach ever but he is quickly proving he might be the best fighter ever. Rampage has a ton of experience under his belt for just being 30-years old. He hasn't lost in over 3 years, with that loss coming at the hands of Shogun Rua, who Griffin last beat.
Quinton quickly went on a "rampage" upon his arrival in the UFC, with victories over Marvin Eastman, Chuck Liddell (title fight) and Dan Henderson (unification fight), he looks to retain his belt Saturday night.
He has a great all around fight game but relies on his brute strength with his superb striking and his WWE style slams. Rampage also has a great work ethic even though he hates to train. His hate for training only fuels his fire and he takes it out on his opponents.
Rampage's only weakness might be "ring rust" since he has not fought for 10 months due to the taping of the Ultimate Fighter 7. During the taping, tensions between the two coaches grew and nearly came to blows as a fight went to a controversial decision and Rampage became upset with the outcome. He was so upset that he told Griffin that their fight would not go to decision and he would bet his whole purse on it.
With all that being said, I think Rampage will be too much for Forrest to handle and will retain his belt. His overall fight game and experience will outmatch Griffin's. Rampage will expose the chin of Griffin in the third round and in his own words: "Whoop that @ss!" Then again this prediction was like many others the last time Griffin fought! Rampage by third round TKO!!!
Ricardo Almeida 9 - 2 - 0 (Win - Loss - Draw)
Patrick "The Predator" Cote 12 - 4 - 0 (Win - Loss - Draw)
This fight is a classic grappler versus striker match that made the UFC famous in the early days. Remember how Royce Gracie schooled everyone in BJJ? Well guess what? We have Royce version 2.0 in Ricardo Almeida. Ricardo is Renzo Gracie BJJ black belt and is back in the UFC octagon after he took a self-imposed long hiatus from the sport and returned in stunning fashion as he submitted Yundt in the first round at UFC 81.
He is a Pancrase Veteran with impressive wins over Nate Marquardt and Ryo Chonan. He looks to stay on his winning ways against Cote, and move up one step closer for a title shot. Cote who has resurrected his UFC career with 3 straight wins in the octagon looks to throw his hat in the mix to challenge Anderson Silva for the middle weight championship, with a win over Almeida his nightmare, sorry his dream to fight Silva might come true!
The Canadian born "Predator" relies on his striking skills to win his matches. His last 3 victories were against strikers, but 2 of his 3 losses in the UFC have come by submission. It's no question he is most comfortable on his feet. History has proven that his weakness is against BJJ grapplers, which Almeida is.
The Brazilian Almeida will look to take this fight to the ground and apply one of those sick submission moves he knows so well. Cote needs to keep this fight standing, it's his only chance. Almeida has good enough striking to weather the storm that Cote will bring, but he will most definitely look for a submission.
So if the fight stays standing I would have to give the edge to Cote, but just a small edge. More than likely it will go to the ground where Almeida will use his superb ground game and submit Cote in round 2. What does he get for winning? A date with Anderson "The Spider" Silva, congratulations and good luck with that!!!
Josh Koscheck 10 - 2 - 0 (Win - Loss - Draw)
Chris "Lights Out" Lytle 25 - 15 - 5 (Win - Loss - Draw)
Many questions will be answered after the bell has rung signaling the end of this fight. Is Josh Koscheck considered an elite fighter in the welter-weight division? Can Chris Lytle win a big fight under the bright lights of the UFC? He has more than 40 fights in his career but has faltered when the fights mattered. It's been a year since Kos lost to GSP and he wants nothing more than to rematch the Champ. With a win here he might get his chance.
This is a huge fight for both fighters, both are nearly at the top to contend for the welterweight championship and a win here will only strengthen their case. Both fighters are coming off wins and want to string together a few more to climb up the 170-pound ladder. Josh Koscheck, another TUF 1 alumni, is an all-american wrestler with ever improving striking. He is a freak of an athlete with outstanding cardio, but his chin will be tested during this fight.
He is facing off with a mean striker in Chris Lytle who also has a underrated submission game. Chris has 25 victories and 17 of those have come way of submission. He seems to have trouble with "big" fights, with losses to Matt Hughes, Matt Serra and Thiago Alves, He needs a big win this Saturday.
Those 3 fighters all have a common attribute with Josh Koschek, they are all strong grapplers. Chris will need to keep this fight standing and will have to rely on his takedown defense a lot during this fight. Koscheck must use his strong wrestling background to keep Chris off his game and his striking grounded. Or will he?
Will the proven, strong wrestler side of Koscheck show up or will the "I wanna show the world I can strike" Koscheck be there? In his last 3 fights he was more than willing to bang with Diego Sanchez, GSP and most recently Dustin Hazelett. He must respect the power that lies in the fists of Chris Lytle. Chris has the power to knock him out unlike the last three. Lytle can't let this fight go to the judges; he has done that before against Matt Serra and look what happened. Chris will be hoping the striker in Kos will come out Saturday night.
I give the edge to Koscheck if he sticks to his roots of wrestling he should squeak out a decision victory. He will need to look for takedown after takedown. If he decides to stand anything can happen with those 5-ounce gloves and Lytle will look for the knockout.
Joe "Daddy" Stevenson 28 - 8 - 0 (Win - Loss - Draw)
Gleison Tibau 15 - 5 - 0 (Win - Loss - Draw)
The Road back to a title shot starts here for Joe "Daddy" Stevenson against Gleision Tibau. Two of the better lightweights in the UFC will go toe-to-toe both looking to rebound from heart-breaking losses in their last outings. Tibau an American Top Team member is a good striker and well versed in BJJ. He recently moved down from the welterweight division to the stacked lightweight divison where he suffered a tough defeat at the hands of Tyson Griffin at UFC 81.
A month earlier Joe "Daddy" also suffered a loss to B.J. Penn for the lightweight title. The Kobra Kai trained BJJ specialist and winner of TUF 2 looks to bounce back from that humbling loss to Penn. With a win against Tibau he looks to get back into title contention. He also dropped from the welterweight division after he suffered a decision loss to Josh Neer at UFN 4, his first UFC fight after winning season 2 of TUF.
This should be an entertaining and interesting fight. Both fighters have a ton of heart and a lot to fight for. Stevenson will look to take this fight to the ground, and either submit him or pound him out, but it will be no easy task to do so. Tibau is long and has nice size and a reach advantage over the stockier Stevenson. This will help aid him with his take down defense.
Than again Tibau might want to test his BJJ against Stevenson's, it's hard to tell what his game plan will be. We know what Stevenson wants to do (apply submissions), but will Tibau use his reach advantage and pick Stevenson apart? Or will he get in a grappling match with him? Edge goes to the fighter with the most experience and biggest heart: Joe Stevenson will win this fight for himself and more importantly his family in the third round by TKO, ground n pound!
Tyson Griffin 11 - 1 - 0 (Win - Loss - Draw)
Marcus "Maximus" Aurelio 16 - 5 - 0 (Win - Loss - Draw)
The fire works in the Mandalay Bay Arena will start off with these two fighters. Marcus Aurelio an American Top Team fighter and training partner of Gleison Tibau will look to avenge his loss against Tyson Griffin. Marcus is a BJJ specialist with notable wins over Rich Clementi and Takanori Gomi.
Gomi is considered by many as the top lightweight in the world. Marcus made his UFC debut against Clay Guida at UFC 74 suffering a split decision loss. Since then he has won two straight in the octagon. Tyson Griffin (no relation to Forrest Griffin) trains with Xtreme Couture and is on a 3-fight win streak.
With wins over Thiago Tavares, Clay Guida and most recently Gleison Tibau, he looks to move one step closer to a title shot. He reminds me of an English Bulldog so stocky and strong. His wrestling skills are second to none, but doesn't seem to have knockout power. He needs a win, but not just a win, a decisive win will leave no doubt that he is ready for a title shot. Another interesting fact about Tyson is that he is the only man to have beaten the current WEC 145 pound champ Urijah Faber.
As with all these fights, this one is an even match up. We have a strong, stocky wrestler in Griffin. Aurelio is a top notch BJJ grappler. The question is will Griffin use his strength to take Aurelio down just to get in his dangerous guard? Many have questioned the stand up skills Aurelio and if I was Tyson Griffin I would want to stand and slug it out with him.
Prove me wrong and show me you can finish a fight with a stunning knockout. Griffin will no doubt look to cash in for a "fight of the night" bonus or maybe "knock out of the night." This fight will go to the judges and Tyson Griffin will win by Lay and Pray!
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