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UFC 94 Analysis and Predictions

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Well, we are just 24 hours away from one of UFC's biggest events of the year.  UFC 94 takes place tomorrow night at 10 PM and has one of the biggest main events in recent history.  A rematch between two pound for pound kings in Georges St. Pierre and BJ Penn vying for the welterweight title.  Also on the card is a battle of the unbeatens as Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva go to war.  Also we have big returns of two well known names in Stephan Bonnar and Karo Parisyan as well as a lightweight battle between up and comers Clay Guida and Nate Diaz.  Let's take a look at this great event:

My picks for the event:

Nate Diaz vs. Clay Guida – I think simply put, Nate does everything better than Guida.  From standing to on the ground, only places Guida would have the upperhand are in the clinch and grappling, but those two aspects will only get you so far in a fight.  I see Guida trying to push the pace early like he always does but getting nailed with Diaz’s underrated jab and eventually hooking him up and leaning on him against the cage.  That’ll probably last the first round and even into the second where Diaz will decide to pull guard and finish it with another dramatic triangle choke.

Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim – Dong didn’t look great against Matt Brown and Karo’s been out of action for a good amount of time due to injuries so this should be an interesting fight.  I don’t think Karo can rely on his judo as Kim is probably just as good and in the stand up I’d give a slight edge to Kim there as well.  It all comes down to whether Karo can devise a gameplan that’ll keep Kim off balance and maybe even tire him out like Matt Brown did.  However, I think Karo’s best days may be over and Kim could pull what most would see as an upset.  I’ll go with Kim by unanimous decision

Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones – Stephan hasn’t fought since UFC 77 if I’m correct due to injuries and that’s a pretty long layoff.  He gets no easy task in his first fight back as he’ll be challenged by the up and comer Jones.  Jones showed an array of strikes in his debut against Andre Gusmao and I think he can land some and throw Bonnar off early.  I just think the fact Jones couldn’t finish Gusmao is evidence that Bonnar probably won’t be put out anytime early as he has a good chin and I think he has the overall better game to eek out a decision but get blasted in doing so.

Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva – I see mixed predictions on this fight, much like the main event.  I think it comes down to this.  Machida has fought a pretty aggressive striker in Sokoudjou and had little to no trouble putting him away.  That was thanks to Sok’s non-existent ground game, which is something Silva at least has but hasn’t had to use too often in the UFC.  The only way Silva can win this in my opinion is cutting off the cage completely and staying in Machida’s face the entire time.  Easier said than done as we’ve seen Silva gas early in previous bouts and the long layoff (his last fight was 84, as was Machida’s) could play a factor.  I just think Machida’s quickness and footwork will be too much for Silva to handle, however, I think he can and will land a few power shots before the fight is over.  Machida hasn’t really been tagged in his last few fights but I see him catching one in this one.  In the end though, I think Machida will really frustrate Silva early on, who will be looking to put him away quick and that’ll lead to some heavy counter strikes that eventually leave the former Chute Boxe member battered and bruised and helps Machida continue on his undefeated ways.  Machida by decision.

Georges St. Pierre vs. BJ Penn – Everyone is split down the middle for this mega fight.  Two champions at their peak fighting on the biggest stage.  It deserves the hype that it’s getting.  However, I’ve gone back several times and watched their first fight and one thing really leaps out everytime.  GSP took some heavy shots early on from BJ and kept stalking him.  Even when he was probably seeing double and in pain he kept the pressure on BJ and while BJ was able to handle it, you could tell as each round progressed it was wearing him down.  It will be interesting to see what weight BJ comes in as well as I think that’ll be a good indication as to how this fight might play out.  Since their UFC 58 bout, they’ve both gone on to dominate their respective weight classes.  Here, I think it boils down to gameplans and patience.  I don’t see this one ending in flash KO or a quick flying submission, so it will reach the latter rounds as both GSP and BJ are smart fighters and aren’t exactly the easiest guys to finish.  I think GSP usually comes in with a smart and effective gameplan where I think BJ kind of wings it because of his immense skillset.  Here I think that’ll be BJ’s undoing as I see this being a repeat of GSP/Serra 2 in that GSP plays it safe but while doing so he creates a plan that’ll totally throw BJ off of his game, especially with a mastermind like Greg Jackson in his corner.  He’ll probably mix up the strikes and do it at a rapid pace while constantly threatening for the takedown at the same time.  This will leave BJ open to get peppered and also to get frustrated as he’s not allowed to set up his combos.  This will last for 4 rounds until GSP takes it definitively to the ground and outmuscles BJ onward to a…yes….TKO victory due to referee stoppage.

Nice work Charles, I almost thought you copied my notes or something...well almost.  Here is how I(Kelvin Hunt) see things going down:

Nate Diaz vs. Clay Guida-I like this fight.  Guida is a little cardio machine with wrestling and that's about it.  I think the length of Diaz is going to cause Guida problems.  I was critical of Diaz relying too heavily on his submission skills off of his back.  He finally displayed some stand up ability in his last performance against Josh Neer.  If Guida takes Diaz down then there's always the threat of Diaz slapping a submission on with the quickness.  I think Diaz is going to try to keep the fight standing and pick his shots much like his older brother does.  He definitely doesn't want to risk getting taken down and held down for three rounds.  Diaz via Submission.

Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim-The battle of two judoka.  A lot of people don't like Karo, but I'm a fan of the guy and I hope he gets his life back on track.  He's been out of the cage for quite a while now and they may be a factor in this fight.  Kim is coming off a win at UFC 88, although he struggled at times with TUF 7 alum Matt Brown.  I think this fight comes down to who has better conditioning.  Kim gassed halfway through his last bout, and Parisyan hasn't fought in a year.  I think Karo will be the stronger of the two fighters, and should be able to determine where the fight takes place.  This is a career defining fight for Parisyan, and I think he gets the job done here. Karo via decision.

Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones-I see Jones being quicker and the better wreslter, but Bonnar should enjoy a big advantage in the stand up department.  I think this fight will be fought mainly on the feet with Jones getting a couple of take downs and doing nothing with them.  I'm going with Bonnar by decision. 

Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva-I've been waiting for this one for a LONG time.  Many people will not agree with me, but I don't really think this match up is close at all.  Machida is head and shoulders above Silva in my opinion.  He's fought much better opposition, is a better striker, and has much better cardio.  He might have better BJJ as well, although both fighters are blackbelts.  Silva is known to be an aggressive striker, but Machida is one of the most effective counter-punchers in the game.  Machida will use a lot of movement as always(it's a thing of beauty IMO), and will make Silva work the entire fight.  I think Machida realizes that he needs to be able to finish fights and will show it in this fight.  I think Silva will gas(as he usually does in the later rounds), and Machida is going to finish him in the third via TKO.

GSP vs. BJ Penn-Lastly, the fight that everyone is waiting for.  I broke this fight down here, and I don't see it being much different than the first fight really.  GSP will be the bigger and stronger fighter that will be able to dictate where the fight will take place.  GSP via decision.