By Stephen Quinn
UFC Fantasy Game players, UFC 98 is almost here, and it’s time to get all your last-minute picks in before the opening bell rings Saturday night. Read on for the UFC 98 main card fantasy breakdown.
DREW MCFEDRIES VS XAVIER FOUPA-POKAM
In a bout that is almost certain to receive Knockout of the Night honors, both Foupa-Pokam and McFedries are going to be looking to accomplish the same thing on Saturday night – a spectacular finish.
Being the fighter that he is, Foupa-Pokam is stepping up on short notice to once again try for his first UFC win. Although this is only his second fight inside the Octagon, he isn’t new to the fight game, and being on the main card of what is going to be one of the top fight cards of the year, he knows that by winning in dominant fashion, people will quickly become fans.
For Drew McFedries, a victory is almost a necessity. After losing his last two fights, he knows that to drop a third could put his UFC career in jeopardy. Although he hasn’t been successful lately, his opponent knows that he can end the fight with a single punch.
This fight may be over very quickly and is likely to stay off the canvas. Both of these fighters are confident that they have the ability to knock each other out. It may just come down to who hits who first.
CHAEL SONNEN VS DAN MILLER
Known for his wrestling ability, Chael Sonnen is looking for a big win on Saturday night. Sonnen is known for his ground and pound, and he will try to make Miller pay on the canvas while using his strength to wear Miller out.
Confident wherever the fight may lead, New Jersey native Dan Miller hopes to put on a show for the folks inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena and those watching on Pay-Per-View. Miller is the perfect guy for the task too, as he has the scrappy style and submission ability to keep the fans entertained and his opponent off-balance and on the defensive.
Both of these fighters have the style to put on a great fight, and while Miller may have the slightly better standup attack, on the mat it could be anyone’s game, making this a difficult fight to make a call on.
FRANK EDGAR VS SEAN SHERK
Both fighters know what could be at stake come Saturday night – a possible shot at the lightweight title. With the winner moving closer to that coveted title opportunity, the loser will move further away from gold, and in what is turning out to be a very competitive division, there’s no telling when another opportunity will come along.
The last time Frank Edgar was inside of the Octagon, he put on a truly impressive performance by beating Hermes Franca. Prior to that fight, people were counting him out – thinking that Franca was just too experienced. To the credit of Edgar, he proved a lot of people wrong and at the same time, shot up the ranks at 155-pounds. Edgar knows that he can beat anyone in that division and a victory on Saturday will start to get everyone’s attention.
Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk has had one thing on his mind since losing his belt – getting it back. That thought may have a chance of becoming a reality, but only if his hand is raised on Saturday night. With his size, power, cardio, and rapidly improving standup, he is a force to be reckoned with.
Sean Sherk has been known as a fighter who has excellent wrestling which is complemented by relentless ground and pound. Fighters have had to watch out for that ability, but now he has shown the ability to stand and trade with anyone. For Edgar, that’s not an issue, making this an intriguing bout wherever it goes.
MATT HUGHES VS MATT SERRA
Two former champions that truly don’t like each other will square off inside the Octagon on Saturday night. Unlike some fights on this card that have an immediate impact on the way future title fights will play out, this fight has a personal impact. It’s widely known that these two former welterweight champions do not like each other and they are not shy to share that opinion. Because of how personal this fight has become, the loser will have a very somber Sunday.
Matt Serra has never been shy to say what is on his mind, especially when it comes to Matt Hughes. After an injury that kept him out of their original bout, he’s finally ready for his long awaited meeting with Hughes. After winning The Ultimate Fighter: The Comeback, Serra got his shot at UFC gold against Georges St-Pierre. Other than people close to Serra, there were few that felt he would have his hand raised in Houston, Texas that night. But the greatest part of this sport is that there are no guarantees, and although St-Pierre was an astronomic favorite, it didn’t take long for Serra to shock nearly everyone with a first round TKO victory over GSP that earned him the 170-pound title. Considered to be his greatest moment in the history of his career, beating Hughes will more than likely top that, at least personally.
One of the the greatest fighters to ever enter the Octagon, Matt Hughes has seen and done it all, in his fifty career fights. But rarely does Hughes enter a fight with a dislike for his opponent – at least until now. Because of everything that Hughes has accomplished, it’s tough to get up for a fight when you’ve done and seen it all. This won’t be the case on Saturday. Matt Hughes will be at his best. He will also be entering the fight with potentially the greatest fight camp of his career. Although he hasn’t looked like the old Hughes of late, we may see the fighting abilities of that fighter when the bell rings against Serra.
Hughes has shown that he can take down the best fighters in the world, but ff Hughes is able to bring Serra to the canvas, he will need to watch out to not make a single mistake – that mistake may lead to Serra – a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt - winning by submission. While Hughes is on the ground, look for him to lay down some elbows with the intent that the referee will call the fight. And although Serra’s ground game is world-class, expect him to try and stay off the canvas. The ground game of both Matt’s is nearly equal, but that is not the case when each fighter is standing. Another aspect of this fight worth noting is the emotion of each when the gate closes. It’s fine to use that emotion of dislike to get you into the gym, but it could lead to one or both of them fighting with their hearts – not instinct – and that’s the quickest way to defeat for either Matt.
RASHAD EVANS VS. LYOTO MACHIDA
For the first time in UFC history, fans of the UFC will see two light heavyweights with undefeated records fighting for UFC gold. This is one of many things that make this fight extremely interesting. Another is the fighting styles that these two possess and which could lead to a tense, technical battle.
Fighting out of Belem, Brazil, Lyoto Machida has always dreamt of winning a title in fighting. In only a few hours, he will finally get the opportunity to fulfill that wish. Fans of the UFC have sometimes questioned his slow, methodical fighting style. But when you’re in that Octagon, your main concern is to get hit as little as possible while inflicting the most damage, and that’s exactly what Machida has accomplished. In fact, there has never been a fighter to be hit less than Machida in UFC history – that’s impressive. Claiming that the way he fights makes him unstoppable, he will once again try to show people why that is an accurate statement.
Fighting under highly respected Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, Rashad Evans is looking for a little respect himself. It seems that he has always been the underdog going into his fight, and that hasn’t changed with this particular one. If Evans continues to progress at the same rate he has, we may be witnessing the greatest 205-pound fighter to ever grace the UFC Light Heavyweight Division. That would be something when fighters like Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell have graced the same Octagon.
Because of the methodical fighting ability of Machida, expect Evans to play virtually the same game. Both fighters know that their best chance of winning is to wait for their opponent’s mistake. That may sound like it will get boring, but trust me, it will not. Eventually one of these fighters will not want to stand around any longer and will engage. With the pin-point accuracy of both, we may see a quick knockout once they do start throwing.
Fantasy Breakdown - UFC 98
Stephen Quinn, UFC - UFC Fantasy Game players, UFC 98 is almost here, and it’s time to get all your last-minute picks in before the opening bell rings Saturday night. Read on for the UFC 98 main card fantasy breakdown.