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UFC 86: Jackson vs. Griffin

Odds - Analysis - Predictions

UFC 86: Jackson vs. Griffin is an upcoming mixed martial arts event to be held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship on July 5, 2008, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The title bout between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Forrest Griffin, coaches on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest, will be for Jackson's UFC light heavyweight championship.

A heavyweight bout between Frank Mir and Justin McCully was cancelled due to Mir's signing on as a coach for the upcoming The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir, which will set up a match between Mir and UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Both the Chris Wilson vs. Steve Bruno and Ben Saunders vs. Jared Rollins bout were rescheduled for UFC 87.

Here are my predictions for the main fight card:

Main Card Bouts:
-Quinton Jackson (#1 Light Heavyweight in the World)* vs. Forrest Griffin (#6 Light Heavyweight in the World)*
-Josh Koscheck (#4 Welterweight in the World)* vs. Chris Lytle
-Joe Stevenson (#9 Lightweight in the World)* vs. Gleison Tibau
-Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus Aurelio
-Patrick Cote vs. Ricardo Almeida



Middleweights
-Patrick Cote vs. Ricardo Almeida

Two UFC veterans step into the octagon to kick the night off, the heavy-handed Patrick Cote and the Renzo Gracie black belt Ricardo Almeida. Both of these guys have fought in the UFC for years, and have had ups and downs in their career. Both fighters were ousted from the organization after a couple of losses early on in their careers, but they have both worked their way back to the UFC and will now meet inside the cage in a match that will bump somebody up one chain link closer to Anderson Silva. Ricardo Almeida has great submissions. In his UFC homecoming last February, he choked out Rob Yundt in just over a minute. The submission fighter is riding a 7-fight win streak and will face a very tough test in a red-hot Patrick Cote. Cote is riding a 4-fight win streak, with 3 of those fights taking place in the UFC. Cote has matured a lot since his stint on the "The Ultimate Fighter: The Comeback".  He has a lot of power in his hands, and just don't see him being taken down in submitted in this fight. Almeida has never knocked anyone out. He goes to decision or submits his opponent. I think that Cote will be throwing bombs left and right and eventually catch Almeida, sending him to the sleep on the octagon canvas.

Prediction: Patrick "The Predator" Cote TKO/KO Round 2




Lightweights
-Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus Aurelio

This is a bad fight for Marcus Aurelio. This guy is a great fighter. After dropping 3 straight decisions to Mitsuhiro Ishida, Takanori Gomi and Clay Guida, he got himself on the winning path by knocking out Luke Caudillo and submitting Ryan Roberts. Now "Maximus" Aurelio finds himself opposite the strong wrestler, and decision grinder, Tyson Griffin. Here is how I see this match going Griffin goes for repeated take downs, and  eventually puts Aurelio on his back. The submission savvy Aurelio pulls guard and works for submissions while eating hammer fists from Tyson Griffin. A few stand ups, some more take downs, and 15 minutes later Tyson Griffin wins a unanimous decision.

Prediction: Tyson Griffin Unanimous Decision Round 3





Lightweights
Joe Stevenson vs. Gleison Tibau

Both of these guys are coming off of losses, although Stevenson's loss was pretty significant. Stevenson worked his way up the lightweight ladder. He defeated 4 really tough opponents to get a shot at the vacant UFC lightweight title, and was utterly manhandled by BJ Penn. It is going to be interesting to see if Joe Stevenson has mentally rebounded from that loss, and if he is ready to work his way back to a UFC lightweight title shot. Gleison Tibau is no slouch. He is a pretty good submission fighter and has enough gas to go the distance with Stevenson. If Stevenson comes in strong and focused, he will win this match. The big question is, where will his head be?

Prediction: Joe Stevenson Unanimous Decision Round 3




Welterweights
-Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle

One of my least favorite fighters is taking on one of my favorites. Koscheck gets on my nerves. I couldn't of been happier when GSP beat him at his own game and out wrestled him for three straight rounds. Koscheck looks to rebound from that loss when he takes on "Chris "Lights Out" Lytle. Chris Lytle is a guy with great stand up and great submissions. His take down defense isn't so hot, though, and we saw that with his fight with Matt Hughes. If Koscheck wants to win this match, all he has to do is watch the Hughes/Lytle fight and utilize a similar game plan. Koscheck's striking isn't any good. His stance is wide and his punches are looping so he won't want to stand with Lytle. Lytle has great kickboxing and won't tolerate Koscheck's unorthodox style. Lytle's never been submitted and I don't see Koscheck knocking him out, being as Lytle has only lost by TKO two times in 45 pro fights. You are probably sensing a pattern by now, but I think Josh Koscheck is going to grind out a decision by repeatedly taking Lytle down.


Prediction: Josh Koscheck Unanimous Decision Round 3




UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
-Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin


Forrest is a tough guy, and he is good at a lot of things, but he isn't great at any one thing. Forrest is a lot bigger then Rampage, so I don't see Page going for repeated takedowns. Rampages' boxing is a lot better then Griffin's so I see Rampage approaching this fight much like the Dan Henderson bout.

After watching the punishment that Forrest Griffin is able to endure in some of his past fights, I used to think that it was impossible to knock Griffin out. That is ,  until , Keith Jardine stepped into the octagon and knocked Forrest silly. I am pretty sure Rampage and Juanito Ibarra have watched that fight a few times in training camp.

While Griffin looked pretty good against Shogun Rua, he had a hell of a time with Rampage's training partner, Hector Ramirez (who?). Juanito Ibarra has already trained one of his fighters for Forrest Griffin, and has learned from his mistakes, which were few and far between. Now Ibarra puts his best fighter, Rampage Jackson, in the cage with Griffin and the result should be a lot different this time.

I think this is going to be a boxing match, for the most part, with Jackson eventually catching Forrest on the chin and sending him to the canvas.

Prediction: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson KO/TKO Round 3

 

Here are the current and updated odds for UFC 86 brought to you by sportsbook.com


Quinton Jackson -260

Forrest Griffen +200



Patrick Cote +120

Ricardo Almeida -150


Gabriel Gonzaga -625

Justin McCully +425



Joe Stevenson -220

Gleison Tibau +180


Josh Koscheck -325

Chris Lytle +250



Jorge Gurgel even

Cole Miller -130
 

Larry Vollmer Jr. is a mixed martial arts blogger for the Journal News. Check out his blog at http://mma.lohudblogs.com.

 

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