BY: TIM MUTOHFAN
Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan is the host of September 20th’s UFC Fight Night featuring Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson.
The main event of Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson is a fight fan’s fight. There is so much to love about this tussle. These are two massive heavyweights, two colossal punchers, two of the biggest and hardest heads in MMA. Both of these gentlemen are coming to knock each other out. So then what will give? Since I have told you what both have in concert, there is one fighter with a distinct advantage. That is Roy Nelson’s seldom seen ground skills, he simply hasn’t needed it. Nor do I think the Renzo Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt will need that ground game in this fight either. This bad boy has Fight of the Night written all over it.
My pick: Nelson TKO 3
Lightweights Myles Jury vs. Takanori Gomi faces off in the co-main event. Undefeated lightweight (14-0) is looking to play spoiler in this event from Japan. This will be the second time in as many fights Jury is looking to knock off a crowd favorite; he was successful in doing so in his March showdown with Diego Sanchez at UFC 171. Can he do it again in his battle with the only Pride FC Lightweight Champion in the history of the promotion? I’m pretty sure “The Fireball Kid” has plans of seeing to it that doesn’t happen.
As for Gomi, what is there to say that hasn’t been said? He is a legend in the world of Japanese MMA. Pointing that out feels very much like a “Capt. Obvious” moment. There are thing of course that need pointing out. He is not getting any younger, 35 is still very young but in the game of hurt, and given his style and past battles, it’s not a young 35 for the MMA world. Was his Fight of the Night decision victory over Isaac Ville-Flagge a sign of him being ready for another run at the top or was it a sign he is too easy to hit and the ever dangerous too tough for his own good? Sadly, I feel it’s the latter.
My pick: Jury DEC
Next on our docket are welterweights Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Amir Sadollah.
I am a fan of both men here, but this is a fight where many have asked “Does he still fight in the UFC, where has he been, is he hurt”. Not the kind of questions you want asked if you are trying to be a relevant fighter. But here we are. They are still in the UFC, and they will be fighting each other on Saturday. Now that we’ve answered those questions one question still looms large, “Who is going to win?”
Akiyama hasn’t had a win in the UFC since beating Alan Belcher at UFC 100 in 2009; he hasn’t fought since losing to Jake Shields at UFC 144 in February 2012. Which could play huge but he is fighting Amir Sadollah, who hasn’t fought since September 2012, losing to Dan Hardy…yeah that Dan Hardy.
I am Sadollah fanboy, have been since seeing him win TUF 7. I feel that needed pointing out before I made my pick.
That said, my pick: Sadollah DEC
Women’s bantamweights Miesha Tate and Rin Nakai have some business with each other in that Octagon on Saturday.
Who doesn’t know about Miesha Tate? As gritty and strong willed fighter one could ever ask for. She takes pounding after pounding after pounding, and more often than not finds a way to win. She is part of that rarefied air of women’s MMA, if not for Ronda Rousey being a thing one could break out their MMA Calculator and punch out an equation where she would be the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Luckily for fight fans it’s neither that simple nor ridiculous. So, she keeps fighting the Rin Nakai’s of the world in hopes someone beats Rousey so she can get another run at that gold. Yeah, I know, long wait.
Rin Nakai, I had heard the name, but wasn’t overly familiar with her work, so like all MMA fans should do, I went to my local YouTube machine and after a few keystrokes and a mouse click here and there my jaw dropped. Firstly how does she make 135? The women gave thumbs up and muscles in her toes flexed, this is a large and foreboding woman. Then she actually fought…holy guacamole. People want to see Christiane Justino fight Ronda; I hope to see Nakai fight Rousey.
My pick: Nakai SUB 2
Full card and my picks shake out as follows.
Heavyweight: Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson
My pick: Nelson TKO 3
Lightweight: Myles Jury vs. Takanori Gomi
My Pick: Jury DEC
Welterweight: Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Amir Sadollah
My pick: Sadollah DEC
Women’s Bantamweight: Miesha Tate vs. Rin Nakai
My pick: Nakai SUB 2
Welterweight: Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Richard Walsh
My pick: Kunimoto DEC
Flyweight: Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Jon Delos Reyes
My pick: Horiguchi TKO 2
Bantamweight: Alex Caceres vs. Masanori Kanehara
My pick: Caceres SUB 1
Featherweight: Katsunori Kikuno vs. Sam Sicilia
My pick: Kikuno TKO 1
Welterweight: Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Takenori Sato
My pick: Lim TKO 2
Bantamweight: Michinori Tanaka vs. Kyung Ho Kang
My pick: Kang DEC
Lightweight: John Case vs. Kazuki Tokudome
My pick: Case TKO 3
Featherweight: Maximo Blanca vs. Daniel Hooker
My pick: Blanco SUB 1
Photo courtesy of UFC