Back in November of 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship was born. It was labeled as human cockfighting and bar room brawling with just a handful full of "so called" rules. Only certain states would hold these events and they were normally every six months or so.
Oh how the times have changed.
Here we are on Saturday, July 11, 2009 and we are celebrating UFC 100. There is an event every month and they take place all over the world. The sport is growing everyday and is home to some of the best athletes in the world. No longer are there fighters labeled wrestlers or strikers. The athletes that step into the octagon are true mixed martial artists.
To me, artists is a perfect word to describe these fighters. What some of these guys are able to do is a thing of beauty. The beating and pounding they put their bodies through to do what they do is simply amazing. If anyone is reading this that isn't completely sold on the sport of mma, tune into the event tonight and see if that changes your mind. You won't regret it.
UFC 100's lineup of fights are spectacular. The fans are going to see three main event caliber fights, two of those are title fights.
The main event of the night is a rematch for the Heavyweight title. Frank Mir looks to once again defeat the biggest man ever to step foot into the UFC cage, Brock Lesnar.
These two giants met back at UFC 81 in February of 2008. It was Lesnar's first fight in the UFC and only his second professional mma contest after a long career with the WWE. Lesnar bum rushed Mir and took him down with ease. He started to rain down hammer fists and huge punches to the back of Mir's head and his face. The ref warned Lesnar a few times about the illegal punches. After a few more punches to the back of the head the fight was restarted on their feet. That was the beginning of the end. Mir was able to collect himself. Lesnar again tried for a takedown, there was a scramble, and Mir did what he does best. He grabbed one of Lesnar's legs and finished fight with a leg lock. Mir made Lesnar tap.
Since that fight a year and a half ago, Lesnar has destroyed two of the better heavyweight in the UFC. He demolished Heath Herring in three rounds. In November, Lesnar defeated the legend, Randy Couture, to earn the UFC heavyweight belt. He has shown a lot of improvement in the stand game and his wrestling is off the charts. The speed his has for a 265 pound man is scary.
Frank Mir, the former UFC champ, is coming into to this fight in the best shape of his life. He is focused and ready knowing this is the biggest fight of his career that started back at UFC 34. The submission specialist is well aware of the speed and power that Lesnar possesses.
I have goose bumps thinking about this fight. Lesnar might be unbeatable if he can learn submissions and how to defend them at a high level. That defense is going to be put the test again tonight as Mir will look for any opportunity possible. Mir's experience might be the difference and I look for him to find away to outsmart the big man.
The second title fight of the night should be just as good as the main event, if not better. My number one ranked fighter in the world pound for pound, Georges St. Pierre, takes on what should be his toughest test in awhile in the form of Thiago Alves.
If there is a flaw in GSP's game, I would like to know what it is. He is fundamentally sound and great in every single aspect of the game. He wants to be the greatest and it shows. Ever since that huge upset loss to Matt Serra in April of 2007, he has been on a roll. He has five wins in a row against top notch guys named Koscheck, Fitch, Hughes, Penn, and the rematch victory over Serra. You won't see a better list of wins than that.
Thiago Alves is on a seven fight win streak and has also defeated Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck along with Karo Parisyan. Even though he had had a lot of success, he has never seen anyone as skilled as St. Pierre. GSP will test his will and heart, something you need to have a ton of if you want to be champion.
I would never pick against GSP, he's just too damn good. If there is a guy who might match up with him however, it's Alves. His powerful knees and kicks could be something GSP hasn't seen in some time. Alves, who is known for his large weight cuts, is going to be tested early and often. Will he be able to handle the pace and energy of GSP? To me, that is the question that should determine the outcome of this battle.
The third fight that is a must see is the matchup of the two Ultimate Fighter coaches, Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson.
Henderson is the former Pride champion who has been in with some of the best that this sport has ever seen. At age 38, those 31 fights might be catching up with him. Still a great wrestler and powerful striker, Henderson's experience could be huge.
Michael Bisping is a young hungry fighter that wants to prove a lot of doubters wrong. Many people believe that he is just a B level fighter and that his personality has gotten him a little further along in his career. I think he needs some work still but that will come with experience. There is no better way to get people on your side than by beating a legend. I think that is exactly what he will do tonight.
Full fight card:
Champ Brock Lesnar vs. interim champ Frank Mir (heavyweight title unification)
Champ Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves (for welterweight title)
Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago
Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher
Stephan Bonnar vs. Mark Coleman
Mac Danzig vs. Jim Miller
Jon Jones vs. Jake O'Brien
C.B. Dollaway vs. Tom Lawlor
Matt Grice vs. Shannon Gugerty
T.J. Grant vs. Dong Hyun Kim
UFC 100. There was a time when many people thought this sport was going to die and go away. To think that the very first event took place 16 years ago and it is bigger and better than ever is just phenomenal. What a way to celebrate this historic event with one of the best fight cards in the history of the organization. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has done wonders for the sport of mixed martial arts and tonight will be another successful and action packed event.
Thank you UFC.