Saturday, July 02, 2011

UFC 132 Preview and Predictions

Some thoughts on this intersting PPV...

UFC 132 is going to be quite the litmus test. It originally was scheduled to be Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber in the main event, with BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch in the semi-main event. With Fitch pulling out due to injury, it left Faber and Cruz as the mian event, with no semi-main to help with the buy rate.

Faber drew a remarkable buyrate in the WEC with the relative lack of promotion given to the fight, but it was still only 175,000 PPV buys. Now he is being pegged to draw on PPV, but with the UFC name behind it fully. It will be a test to see how well the former WEC division draws on PPV, as well as how effective the UFC marketing machine truly is. They have an advantage in having Faber fight, easily the most recognizable and marketable face of the former WEC fights. But question remains as to how interested people are in these divisions.

There is a hint as to how this fight will do - on January 1st Frankie Edgar and Grey Maynard fought and the buyrate was only 270,000 buys. Maynard and Edgar were theoretically more well known than Faber and Cruz, however they were also hampered by fighting on New Year's Day, traditionally a day when people watch college football. This fight is on Independence Day weekend which has traditionally been a good weekend for UFC ppvs.

I'd expect this to do about 325,000 buys. For the UFC, I do hope it has more. These divisions need more exposure and success as they are the most exciting divisions for fights.

Predictions:

Preliminary card:
Jeff Hougland over Donny Walker
Anthony Njokuani over Andre Winner
Brad Tavares over Aaron Simpson
Brian Bowles over Takeya Mizugaki

Preliminary fights on Spike:
George Soitoropolous over Rafael dos Anjos

This will be an interesting fight to see the strategy that is employed by both fighters. Both are more skilled at submission fighting than at striking, so it might be beneficial for one to stay standing. The question is which of the two feels that their striking is superior to the other. My feeling is that Soitoropolous is the one who will be more confident in his striking skills, and he will use that to his advantage.

Melvin Guillard over Shane Roller

The biggest question mark in this fight is which Guillard will show up: the one that we saw who destroyed Evan Dunham and seemed likely to finally live up to his immense potential, or the one who plays it safe and just tries to grind out his win. I hope it is the first, though I don't believe it will matter which one shows up - Guillard is going to win.

Main card on the PPV:
Dennis Siver over Matt Wiman

A great opener between two fighters who are at about the same level. In one sense this is an important fight for both for future slotting, but in another, it really does not matter that much in the grand scheme of things. The winner is going to move up a bit, but is still at least 2 if not 3 title shots away from getting their title shot (unless they knock off another contender ahead of them.) I favour Siver in this fight, but it is an even fight which could truly go either way.

Carlos Condit over Dong Hyun Kim

Another even fight, but with more title implications than the previous fight. Condit could very well be one fight away from getting a title shot (which is more a reflection of the depth in the welterweight division than anything else.) Kim is likely a bit further away than Condit from getting a title shot, but with a great performance could very well vault himself to contendership. This will be a tough fight for both. Kim's fighting style is a bit unorthodox and could befuddle Condit, but I'm betting Condit will end up winning.

Tito Ortiz over Ryan Bader

In all honesty, this is hunch pick. Bader was humiliated by Jon Jones in February, but that's Jon Jones. I'm more concerned with Bader's performance against Little Nog in September. Bader controlled him with wrestling, but otherwise showed very little against an opponent who was on the back end of his career. Ortiz is a more accomplished wrestler, and hasn't looked terrible in his fights since his return. I can easily see him earning a decision over Bader. The safe pick is definitely Bader; I'm going the other way.

Chris Leben over Wanderlei Silva

Silva is returning to the octagon after a 16 month layoff from his previous fight. It's against Chris Leben, who was last seen getting destroyed by Brian Stann. If this isn't an exciting, standing slugfest then something has gone horrifically wrong and you should jump to Dana White's twitter feed for the spewing of explicatives. I'm going with the fighter who has fought in the past year, even if he probably hasn't recovered from his knockout yet.

Dominick Cruz over Urijah Faber

Let me make something clear - I want to see Faber win. I think he's a great ambassador for the sport, and quite honestly I think he's a more entertaining fighter than "The Decisionator". However, Cruz is the better fighter, and he's going to win this fight. The one advantage Faber has in this fight is his wrestling, but Cruz is a strong defender of takedowns as well. I believe Cruz will neutralize Faber's wrestling and win the striking battle.

Theortical Wagers:
(As always, these odds come from our friends at PartyBets)

$20 on Njokuani at 1.65 odds to win $33
$10 on Tavares at 2.65 odds to win $28.50
$10 on Ortiz at 4.40 odds to win $44
$10 on Leben at 2.30 odds to win $23
$20 on Cruz at 1.65 odds to win $33

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