UFC 133 Preview
By International Correspondent Eric Hobaugh
UFC 133 is shaping up to be an excellent fight card. It is an interesting mix of legends, superstars, and new comers. The event will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 6, 2011 and will be headlined by Rashad Evans versus the undefeated and underrated wrestler, Phil Davis.
The main event could be one for the ages and the highlight reel. Rashad Evans has waited for his title shot against Jon Jones and turned down many fights. I understand his thinking, in that if he loses a non-title fight, he loses his title shot. Rashad’s feud with his ex-team mate Jones, has gotten plenty of press coverage and will make a great title fight if he can get by Phil Davis. Evans has some of the best wrestling in MMA. His striking has improved in each of his last six fights. He has not though, been tested against another wrestler of Davis’s caliber.
Davis has some special skills and high level threats Rashad will have to deal with. Davis is an undefeated fighter with a wrestling base who has notched strong victories against top fighters. He defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueria at UFC Fight Night in March, 2011. He used his wrestling to dominate the veteran fighter and Nogueria could do nothing with Davis. He also defeated Brian Stann back at UFC 109 in February, 2009, where his wrestling was simply better than Stann’s. He won a NCAA title in college wrestling at Penn State University. His wrestling is legitimately some of the best of the best in MMA. His striking is WAY underrated and he is making huge strides with that part of his game. His boxing skills have gotten better in each of his 8 fights in the UFC.
If Davis can out wrestle the wrestler in Evans, he has a good chance to win this and come through with an amazing upset. It is his best chance to secure a victory against the more skilled and more well-rounded Evans. He will need to find a way to take this fight to the matt and avoid Evans’ powerful stand up game and kicks. For Evans, he will need to use his wrestling in reverse and keep the fight standing to utilize his striking advantage. This fight has the potential to be fight of the night and should be great.
Two legends also meet at UFC 133 in Rich Franklin and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. This is an interesting stylistic match up and one that could either be an all-time great or a snooze fest. Franklin has been up and down since losing his title to Anderson Silva at UFC 64 back in October, 2006. Since then, he has gone 6 -5 in the octagon. He has been fighting the best of the best, but it was not that long ago he was considered one of the best fighters in MMA. He has beaten Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson during that time span. He has lost to Vitor Belfort and most recently lost by unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin at UFC 126 in February, 2011.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueria, or ‘Little Nog’ (twin brother of former Pride and UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira) has had more success in his last 11 outings going 8-3 during that time span. He is coming off back to back losses to Ryan Bader and Phil Davis. Little Nog has fought excellent opponenets, but not the top class fighters Franklin has. He is one of the best ground fighters in the light-weight division.
If Franklin can keep the fight standing and utilize his advantage in striking, this could be his fight to win. If Nogueria can take down Franklin, he will no doubt win. Two of the best fighters vie for their legacy and to stay pertinent in the division. I feel each is one loss away from saying goodbye to the UFC.
Vitor Belfort versus Yoshihiro Akiyama is another interesting match-up on this card. I do feel this is a fight that is Belfort’s to lose. He is coming off the embarrassing loss to Anderson Silva. The ending of that match up with the front kick was an instant classic and maybe the greatest kick in MMA history. ‘Sexyama,’ as Akiyama is referred to, is a good fighter with skills similar to Belfort. He is best in a striking battle. His Judo skills are top notch. He is battling back after two loses in a row to Chris Leben and Michael Bisping.
“Styles make matchups” is the old saying and this fight is no exception. Sexyama’s strength is actually his weakness in this fight. He has good stand up, but he does not have the skills to stand and bang with a fighter of Belfort’s caliber. Belfort still has the fastest hands in MMA and is a devastating striker. I look for this one to end early in Belfort’s favor with a knock out.
These varied fighting styles should make this pay-per-view worth watching. UFC 133 has the possibility of being one of the best cards this year.
Eric Hobaugh can be reached at his website arearnakedchoke.com
- Light Heavyweight bout: United States Rashad Evans vs. United States Phil Davis
- Light Heavyweight bout: United States Rich Franklin vs. Brazil Antônio Rogério Nogueira
- Middleweight bout: Brazil Vitor Belfort vs. Japan Yoshihiro Akiyama
- Middleweight bout: United States Jorge Rivera vs. Italy Alessio Sakara
- Welterweight bout: Canada Rory MacDonald vs. United States Mike Pyle
Preliminary card (Spike TV)
- Light Heavyweight bout: Belarus Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Sweden Alexander Gustafsson
- Featherweight bout: United States Chad Mendes vs. Brazil Rani Yahya
- Welterweight bout: United States Dennis Hallman vs. United States Brian Ebersole
- Bantamweight bout: Canada Ivan Menjivar vs. United States Nick Pace
- Welterweight bout: United States Johny Hendricks vs. United States Mike Pierce
- Featherweight bout: United States Mike Brown vs. United States Nam Phan
- Middleweight bout: Brazil Rafael Natal vs. Cyprus Costantinos Philippou