UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote preview

Another week and another UFC pay-per-view event, exactly the way it should be, am I right? I know it’s not feasible for the UFC to put on 52 events per year but I sure do hate the 4-5 week wait that you usually get in between fight cards so when we get these rare bookended events it really is special.

I’ve been looking forward to this card for some time. It’s always a great fight night when you get to see the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport right now in action in “the Spider” regardless of who he is fighting. This time Patrick “the Predator” Cote gets the call to challenge the champion and he appears confident and ready to go in every interview he’s given leading up to the event. That is good to see as a fan but he could be as ready and prepared as he wants, it’s really not going to make a difference against Silva.

In addition to the title fight, the 90 card is loaded with big name fighters and competitive fights up and down the card even with four injury or suspension withdrawals which include fighters Ricardo Almeida, Melvin Guillard (probation violation), and Diego Sanchez most recently. However, with guys like Spencer Fisher, Hermes Franca, Josh Burkman, Pete Sell and Gray Maynard on the undercard, the depth of the event is clearly on display.

Then the televised portion includes talented fighters like Thales Leites, Fabricio Werdum, Tyson Griffin, Sean Sherk, Thiago Alves and Josh Koscheck in addition to the main event. It really should be a great night of MMA action and without further ado, here are my thoughts on the main card fights.

Silva vs. Cote (185 lbs) for Middleweight Championship

I like Silva by first round KO maybe 3 minutes in. Silva is just the best MMA fighter on the planet right now and Patrick Cote’s game is pretty much the same as Chris Leben’s except more orthodox — good power, solid chin. That’s just not enough when it comes to fighting “The Spider”. Hopefully we’ll get to see Anderson challenged in a much greater way in his next fight.

Winner: Silva 1st Rd KO

Alves vs. Koscheck (170 lbs)

I was really excited to see Alves vs. Sanchez but injuries are of course part of the game and you have to give props to the UFC, Koscheck and Alves for all stepping up and making this fight as a replacement. I think both fighters will be on equal footing when they enter the Octagon against each other. Neither was preparing for the other and instead they had two weeks to game plan for their opponent. Obviously, it’s a big opportunity for Koscheck to step up and reap the rewards that were promised Sanchez, but I think Alves is just too dangerous for either guy. I thought he would beat Sanchez by TKO in the second round because his stand up and take down defense are just too good. Kos essentially presents the same matchup for Alves that Matt Hughes did in June except that he’s 10 years younger and much more athletic than Hughes but then again also has less experience. I think Alves is athletic enough to withstand Koscheck’s takedowns and will expose Koscheck on the feet, where Kos still has some work to do. Plus, Koscheck just doesn’t have the natural power of ,say, fellow TUF 1 alum Chris Leben.

Winner: Alves KO Rd 2

Sherk vs. Griffin (155 lbs)

This is another great fight on a loaded card even with the injury changes. Sherk and Griffin are both great wrestlers, and both have short, stalky builds. Sherk is well-known for his incredible cardio but that won’t mean much in a 3-round fight here because Griffin has proven time and again that 3 rounds is no problem for him either (since he can’t finish anyone). Griffin in his last couple fights has shown some very dynamic striking ability but at the same time he doesn’t have the finish mentality that it takes to put someone of Sherk’s caliber away.

Winner: Sherk by unanimous decision

Werdum vs. Dos Santos (HW)

After defeating Brandon Vera by a controversial referee stoppage back in June, Werdum returns to the Octagon to fight a UFC newcomer in Junior De Los Santos. All I know about Dos Santos is what I saw of him in Dana White’s video blog from day 3 (Wed.) of the week build-up to the fight. He’s got fast and heavy hands and good movement. He really appears to be a top-notch boxer at the heavyweight level.

With a top 10 HW in the world though, this fight shouldn’t even be a close call but I believe it is. I don’t think Werdum’s head is in the right place. I’ve heard nothing but animosity from him in the lead up to this fight as he feels slighted for not being in the HW tournament while newcomer Brock Lesnar is. Werdum wants a title shot and I think that will be his undoing in this fight. Make no mistake about it, Werdum is a talented HW. He’s big, got a diverse striking game that features a lot of leg kicks and a fabulous ground game. But his hands aren’t the best and if Dos Santos is a really good boxer like he appears to be, he could come out throwing bombs and shock Werdum in the Houston Alexander/Keith Jardine mold.

Winner: Dos Santos TKO Rd 1

Leites vs. Mcfedries (185 lbs)

Thales Leites is one of the most talented young middleweight prospects in the sport and he’s clearly on the rise after a huge win over Nate Marquadt who is a top contender in his own right, perhaps the top. Leites dominated that fight until he was illegally kneed in the 2nd and thus taken out of his game. However, because he already had a substantial lead in the fight he was able to do what he to do to just hang on. Leites haters will complain but he clearly won that fight despite being completely different after being rocked by that illegal knee.

Leites will continue his emergence with a big win over Mcfedries.

Winner: Leites by TKO Rd 2

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