One of the best known sayings is "The best things come to those who wait." At UFC 102, we have a huge heavyweight fight that would have been great about five years ago. It still will be good, but nowhere near as exciting as it could have been in the past.
Randy "The Natural" Couture will be stepping back into the octagon and there to greet him will be a fellow mixed martial arts legend, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. This fight is the main event in which has the making of a very solid fight card.
The thing that sticks out to me on this card is the fact that a lot of the competitors are coming off losses. Their backs are against the wall and they will be out to prove that they belong in the upper echelon of the mma world.
The main event is a perfect example. The last time we saw both Couture and Nogueira, they were both beat down and battered.
Randy Couture is coming off a devastating loss to Brock Lesnar. In that loss, Couture looked the light heavyweight that he naturally is and was overwhelmed by the size of the mammoth Lesnar. He looked to have lost a few steps as well and he'll have his hands full again tonight against Nogueira.
Nogueira is known for taking beatings and coming all the way back to get victories. Frank Mir didn't let that happen a few months back. Mir became the first person to beat him by the way of knockout. We have seen many boxers in the last few years that have become victims of the career long battles and just lost it finally. Many observers think Nogueira might be following that path.
Two legends in the sport going head to head with the winner probably advancing to a title fight in 2010. This will be a battle of will. Both guys never quit and are well prepared every time they fight. The first mistake made could end the fight.
The best fight on this card to me is between two of the top three fighters at the 185 pound limit. The winner should be next in line for a title shot. Nate "The Great" Marquardt steps in with Demian Maia. I have goose bumps thinking about this one.
Nate Marquardt got his title shot two years ago and was defeated by pound for pound king Anderson Silva. In those two years, I don't think there is a more improved fighter than Marquardt. He was solid back then, now he's on a totally different level than almost everyone in the middleweight division.
Demian Maia is a wizard on the ground. His submissions are second to none. If he gets the fight to the ground against anyone, it'll probably be the end of the night for his opponent. I have a feeling that Maia won't be able to deal with the speed and power of Marquardt and suffers his first defeat of his career.
Keith Jardine and Thiago Silva are two more fighters coming off of losses. Jardine was defeated by Rampage and Silva suffered a knockout loss versus Lyoto Machida. These two powerful strikers will go toe to toe in what is expected to be a fireworks display. I like Silva to get the best of Jardine but can see this one going either way in spectacular fashion.
Jake Roshalt is a fighter I have been following for a long time. He was a three time national champion wrestler at Oklahoma State. He has had some exciting fights in his young mixed martial arts career. The last time we saw Roshalt, he was submitted in his UFC debut in a minute. He looks to get back on track when he fights Chris Leben.
Leben, known for his crazy antics from the Ultimate Fighter reality show, is coming off of a suspension for steroids and also a loss at the hands of Michael Bisping. If he wants to stay employed by the UFC, this very well could be a must win for him. He brings a very entertaining crowd pleasing style with him. Leben has a great chin that will be put to test by the heavy hands and ground and pound of Roshalt. This fight is my sleeper pick for fight of the night.
Full fight card:
Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva
Chris Leben vs. Jake Rosholt
Demian Maia vs. Nate Marquardt
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Brandon Vera
Marcus Aurelio vs. Evan Dunham
Ed Herman vs. Aaron Simpson
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Chris Tuchscherer
Justin McCully vs. Mike Russow
Todd Duffee vs. Tim Hague
Nick Catone vs. Mark Munoz
There are many fighters on tonight's card that need a win. That being said, I have a very good feeling that fight fans are in store for some action packed mixed martial arts this evening. It isn't win or go home for all of these guys, but some UFC careers could be on the line. It's going to be a damn good night to tune into the UFC.