Monday, June 8, 2009

Fight Week Preview: Double Duty

This weekend brings UFC 99 into our lives from Cologne, Germany, so as per tradition, we're breaking down the fights on the Main Card one day at a time leading up to our Punch Drunk Predictions on Saturday.

Today brings two fights, however, as six fights have been guaranteed for the pay-per-view from the Lanxess Arena. Since we all know Mondays suck, we figured talking about two fights would be a good way to get over the "I wish it was still the weekend" blues and delay doing any real work.

Spencer Fisher and Caol Uno comes later, Cro Cop and Al Turk is right after the jump.

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (22-5-2) vs. Mustapha Al Turk (6-4)
The nostalgic me wants to be excited, as "Cro Cop" certainly left some highlight reel impressions on my memory back in his glory days in Pride. However, his first run in the UFC left a lot to be desired, as he was knocked stiff by a Gabriel Gonzaga head kick and outpointed by Cheick Kongo following his debut win over Eddie Sanchez.

Playing the role of Eddie Sanchez this weekend is Al Turk, a big dude who was scheduled to be the debut victim of Todd Duffee, the former Hardcore Gym heavyweight who now works with American Top Team. While he gets the honor of fighting on the main card with the replacement of Duffee, he also walks into the Octagon against one of the deadly strikers the sport has ever seen. Congratulations, you still lose.

If "Cro Cop" is anywhere near the form we've seen from him in the past, this will be academic. While Al Turk and Filipovic both have UFC losses to Cheick Kongo on their records, the Croatian went the distance and there were some questionable strikes that could have gone either way, while the London Shootfighters member got pummeled inside of the first round.

Clearly, this is a chance to get a famous face on the card in front of the overseas fans. Ask me about "Cro Cop" again when his next opponent is named.

Spencer Fisher (23-4) vs. Caol Uno (27-11-4)
Now this one I'm looking forward to, and not just because a dude named Spencer is fighting either. This has the potential to be Fight of the Night, as everyone can remember the Sam Stout wars Fisher has fought in the past and Uno has a reputation as one of the most unflappable fighters in the business.

On strength of opponents, you have to give the nod to Uno, as he's been in the ring and inside the cage with some of the best 155 pounders in the world. Granted, a number of those top tier match ups have been loses, but squaring off against Shinya Aoki, Gesias Cavalcante, Kid Yamamoto and Joachim Hansen is far greater than fighting Jeremy Stephens and "Handsome" Matt Wiman.

That being said, Fisher could have an edge stylistically if he follows his usual game plan, one similar to the one put forth by Jens Pulver in his win over Uno for the then UFC Bantamweight title back in 2001. Stuff the takedown and pump the jab should be the mindset for Fisher, as both he and Uno have shown they have the cardio to go the distance. Keeping the returning Japanese star from taking the fight to the ground could be the difference maker.

Interestingly enough, the one shared opponent between the two fails to shed any light on the situation either, as both Fisher and Uno have dropped fights to Hermes Franca, both in the second round.

Unlike the first fight we previewed, this one could go either way and I can't wait to see it.

Tomorrow: Tackling the Trash Talk - Dan Hardy versus Marcus Davis.

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