— Unless you've been hiding under a rock, one of the most highly anticipated match-ups of the year will have UFC poster boy Chuck "Iceman" Liddell avenge his third and final loss of his UFC career when he faces Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. That being said, the aforementioned is not the only reason why you should order UFC 71. Allow me to introduce a star-studded under card.
Lately, the fighters being featured in the Middleweight division have been the elites such as Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin as well as the up and comers in Yushin Okami and Mike Swick. However, what UFC fight fans may not realize is they're going to be treated with probably a potential fight of the year or a devastating KO. All-in-all, the fight pitting the technique savvy Ivan Salaverry against bone crushing Terry Martin will have fight fans talking about it for months on end.
For most UFC fight fans, their first exposure to Ivan Salaverry was the snooze-fest against Nathan Marqaurdt on the very first Ultimate Fight Night Live. Since then, unfortunately, Salaverry wasn't called back to try and redeem himself despite collecting a number of impressive wins prior to that match. Since then, Salaverry accrued a highlight win over a very game Art Santore in the now-defunct WFA, but was recently forced to take a break after undergoing surgery for a torn rotator cuff. Now, Salaverry will be pitting his extensive MMA knowledge and precision against a very tough Terry Martin who's recent KO over Jorge Rivera have all the UFC fans excited to see Martin continue in the Middleweight division.
Terry Martin's decision to come down from the Light Heavyweight division down to Middleweight has been one of the most intelligent managerial decisions in the young sport of UFC. He has shed off the excessive weight that might have slowed him down the past and he's entering a weight class where he stands monstrous over all (much akin to Rich Franklin coming down in weight). Terry Martin's wrestling and ground'n'pound reminds us of a smaller Tito Ortiz that pummels his opponents into submission, however, Martin's strikes are very crisp with any of the shots landing causing horrific damage to their opponents.
Prediction: Although Terry Martin isn't the biggest name in the UFC, he's a very dangerous fighter. Martin's skills and abilities have all the factors to predetermine him as being a break out fighter of 2007. Surely, for Ivan Salaverry, this may very well be one of his toughest fights he will ever embark on. Ivan's strategy will most likely to draw out the fight and test Martin's patience and cardio. Strength for strength, Martin will probably bulldoze the Chilean, but Martin must play smart and pick his time wisely to explode otherwise he could be spending too much energy early on. If Martin doesn't destroy Salaverry in the first round, Ivan may just pull the decision win.
Next Up for Matt Serra
The Welterweight division has one of the deepest pools of talent, plain and simple. When Karo Parisyan faces of against Josh Burkman, expect a ton of throws, slams, and elbows making any UFC fight fan giddy like a school girl. No matter how you slice it, it will be a war for both fighters and Matt Serra will be taking careful notes when he most likely faces the winner in the future.
Karo "Heat" Parisyan is the only man in the UFC who makes Judo look so incredibly good. While the majority of fighters a combination of Muai Thai, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and American Freestyle Wrestling, Parisyan utilizes Judo as his main weapon of choice despite many doubting it being legitimately effective. However, for Parisyan there is no question, Judo is number one. Just ask Drew Fickett, Nick Thompson, Chris Lytle, Nick Diaz, and even the Welterweight Champ. From Tomoe-nage to Kimura, or Uchimada into armbar, Parisyan does it all and is truly one of the best to grace the Welterweight division.
"Tough as nails." When I say those words, the first person anybody should think of is Josh Burkman. Despite the majority of his fights not being on the main portions of UFC cards, a good handful of Welterweights want to fight this guy. Why? Because Josh Burkman seems to be the standard of whether a fighter legitimately deserves to be in the cage. Josh Burkman possess all the tools of becoming a great fighter and does it with blind fury. His balance on the ground, striking, and constant pressure bring out the best of all the fighters he faces, and he still beats them down.
Prediction: Although I enjoy watching Josh Burkman fight, I believe Karo is the savvier of the two. Parisyan possesses many weapons that Burkman is not used to and Burkman's predictable fight pattern is one to get himself in trouble. However, if Karo glitches at any point in the fight, the tide can quickly turn resulting in Burkman's hand being raised. The penalty for failure is large, and even the slightest slip can incite it.
TUF 1 v. TUF 3
The battle of the TUF Middleweights will engage when TUF 3 standout Kalib Starnes takes on TUF 1 Chris Leben. Both fighters are coming off losses and have a lot to prove in order to maintain coming to the UFC. With so much to lose, both fighters will be putting their skills on the line.
The Canadian Kalib Starnes has an extensive grappling background with a lot to offer in the Middleweight division. Originally one of the favorites in the TUF 3 series, Kalib Starnes has proven his skills time and again with his dangerous ground game. Supporting his sub-game is an extensive ground'n'pound and dangerous strikes.
For many of the newer UFC fight fans, Chris Leben is a very familiar face. Although not necessarily the favorite in many fights, Leben's skills have been tested and proven with devastating KO power in his hands. Leben's weakness has been the ground game, however, for many ground savvy fighters the problem is getting Leben on the ground in order to beat him. The majority have had their nights ended early due to his anvil hands.
Prediction: If Kalib Starnes can get Leben on the ground with a good shot, it will most likely be Starnes all the way. Otherwise, if Leben has been extensively training his sprawl'n'brawl, it's going to be a long and painful night for the Vancouver native.
- Bardia Mehrabian BuddyTV Staff Columnist
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Original article at http://www.buddytv.com/articles/ufc/i_have_one_thing_to_say_dont_m-6443.aspx