McCullough's UFC 87 Fast Blasts
UFC Welterweight Champ Georges St-Pierre has a solid well-built body, but, unlike his last fight in UFC 83 against Matt Serra, this time he will face a taller, perhaps stronger, fighter in challenger Jon Fitch. St-Pierre has improved so much since losing his belt to Serra last April and he has won three straight since that fight, avenged the Serra loss and regained the belt.
Fitch is a top contender, unbeaten in the UFC. He will see Saturday’s fight in Minneapolis with St-Pierre as the biggest opportunity in his career so far. He needs to be sharp in this fight and try and be first, and to react quickly to anything GSP tries.
The challenger is well matched with GSP, but he needs to up his game to win this fight. If Fitch can use punches and kicks to the head, which he seems to like, he may be able to hurt GSP and finish the fight standing. Both fighters are good wrestlers and if Fitch can control the ground game he can trap GSP into a submission and get the win.
Fitch is dangerous standing and on the ground, and while it wouldn’t be a massive shock to see Fitch win with fight via KO or submission, you have to go with the champion here.
GSP is well-rounded in wrestling, Jiu-jitsu and boxing. He trains and spars with Olympic wrestlers and world class boxers so he has a slight advantage overall.
On the ground, GSP has shown great skills by submitting his opponents. But his improved boxing skills have also been effective. On his feet he should be able to pick Fitch off with punches as well as kicks to win.
The fight between Heath Herring and Brock Lesnar is a great match up of two huge men. Lesnar is serious about this sport and knows wrestling just won’t cut it for him in itself. He found this out in his UFC debut in February 2008 at UFC 81 against Frank Mir when he tapped out after he got trapped in a knee bar.
Herring, a veteran of the UFC and PRIDE FC, is actually younger than Lesnar but has over 40 MMA fights and knows what is in front of him fighting in Lesnar’s hometown.
Lesnar is a big 265lbs fighter, but ironically Herring, at 250lb and 6ft 4inch, is 1 inch taller. While he is renowned for his strength, Lesnar shouldn’t depend on his physical strength alone and he needs to do more ground work and submission attempts to keep Herring guessing if and when Lesnar hits the big takedown.
Although he dropped Mir with a right cross, we don’t really know if Lesnar has any stand up skills as of yet; it would be interesting to see if he can out punch or out kick Herring standing. However, Lesnar’s main chance of victory is via ground and pound here.
Herring needs to be at his very best for this fight. He wins fights when he is on form but he lost to Minotauro Nogueira at UFC73 even though he had him down and badly hurt and let him off the hook. If Herring hurts Lesnar he can get the fight over with but he has to capitalize right away.
All round, Herring is the better fighter than Lesnar. He should use his standup, and as Lesnar tries to shoot, he should use his hard knees, that he is so good at, to turn things around for the win.
I’m looking forward to another great fight on the card between Kenny Florian and Roger Huerta. Equally talented fighters, this fight could turn out to be a classic. After losing to Sean Sherk at UFC64, Florian has won four bouts and improved with each fight.
Huerta will try to use his stand up skills to get the win against Florian. He has shown some good striking especially against Leonard Garcia at UFC69.
If Huerta can get his submissions in on the floor he will be effective. His chokes are solid, which he proved when he pulled out the win over Clay Guida in December.
Conditioning could be the key to a win for Huerta. He has traveled a lot for training with some of the best fighters and trainers in preparation for this fight so he is ready.
Florian’s stand up skills are stronger than Huerta’s and his ground game is nice to watch. On his feet, his striking can be effective when he uses short shots. Huerta, on the other hand, throws everything wide with his chin up in the air. When he hurts his opponents he is a finisher.
Florian’s favorite technique is the rear naked choke. On the ground, both Florian and Huerta are well matched with a slight edge going to Florian. He uses his razor sharp elbows to cut up his opponents.
The winner of this fight may go on to fight BJ Penn for the lightweight belt. They are hungry and well prepared for this fight, which should live up to all expectations. No doubt they will give their all.
A long-time MMA fan, Wayne McCullough is a world class boxer, writer and broadcaster with impeccable credentials. As an amateur boxer representing his native Northern Ireland, McCullough’s all guns blazing style took his to a gold medal in the 1990 World Amateur Championships and a silver medal at the Barcelona Olympics two years later. After settling in Las Vegas with his wife and daughter, McCullough turned professional and won the WBC bantamweight championship in 1995. He never lost the title in the ring and went on to have classic battles with the likes of Prince Naseem Hamed and Erik Morales.