Affliction: Banned – Predictions

Affliction: Banned

Affliction: Banned is directly in front of us; it will be on live Saturday, July 19, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.  Heavyweights will rule the card as it will have some of the top-tier fighters from the division.  This card should be one the top cards in recent memory when it hits the airwaves Saturday on pay-per-view at 9:00 PM (ET); the PPV will be preceded by a one-hour undercard show which will be shown on Fox Sports Net at 8:00 PM (ET).  Join me as I preview and predict the winners of the card:

  • Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia (for the WAMMA heavyweight title)

Right away there will be some differences – unified rules of MMA will be used; however, they will use a ring, as opposed to an octagon.  The rumor is that the ring they will use will be larger than your typical ring.  Another oddity – Emelianenko’s handlers would prefer he not fight in a cage, which is strange since Emelianenko is proficient in the ground and pound game.  Because this is a championship bout and a vacant title is at stake, there will be 5 rounds instead of 3.  Sylvia will enjoy a big reach advantage vs. Fedor and will have a power advantage, as well.  Sylvia will need to use his jab early and often to be somewhat effective.

On the other hand, Emelianenko has two things going for him – the ground and pound and above-average submission skills.  That being said, Fedor will need to get Sylvia to the ground- no easy feat as Sylvia has the size advantage.  Pressing Sylvia may be the ticket here; once successful in that aspect, then getting Sylvia to the ground will be much easier to do.  And that’s why I believe Emelianenko should be able to end this fight relatively early.

I predict: Fedor Emelianenko defeats Tim Sylvia, mid-3rd round (TKO – due to strikes).

Andrei Arlovski vs. Ben Rothwell

An interesting bout of contrasts: Arlovski with his aggressive, banging style against Rothwell’s boxing and keeping the fight standing up.  Arlovski is probably the better athlete, but Rothwell has the intangibles in the cage; Rothwell is a tough customer and often out-works his opponents.  I expect this to be a war of attrition, with both fighters having their moments during this bout.

I predict: Andrei Arlovski defeats Ben Rothwell by split decision.

Josh Barnett vs. Pedro Rizzo

This fight is basically a rematch from UFC 30 back in 2001, but that’s the only thing that these two fighters have in common.  Gradually, Barnett has improved as a fighter; on the other hand, Rizzo is past his prime.  Perhaps a pair of losses to Randy Couture had something to do with that as Rizzo isn’t the same fighter that he once was.  While Barnett should win this fight handily, if Rizzo gets those nasty leg kicks in, then all bets are off.  But that seems highly unlikely.

I predict: Josh Barnett defeats Pedro Rizzo, late 1st round (TKO).

Matt Lindland vs. Fabio Negao

Negao is a relative unknown here in the States – although anyone who has followed his career knows that his jiu-jitsu is top-shelf.  Lindland, on the other hand, is a known quantity; his weakness is his stand-up, but that’s negated because Negao isn’t exactly great on his feet either.  Lindland- unless he makes an error while on the ground – should keep the fight standing up.  Negao’s chances lie with getting Lindland on the ground so he can utilize his jiu-jitsu skills.  A close matchup any way you slice it.

I predict: Matt Lindland defeats Fabio Negao, unanimous decision.

Renato Sobral vs. Mike Whitehead

This fight will be based on which fighter is better focused, as opposed to their actual skills.  Sobral has the submission skills – which got him in trouble at UFC 74 when he refused to release a submission hold on Heath Herring in a controversial win.  Whitehead, on the other hand, is on a 12-fight win streak and hasn’t lost since he left the UFC following a loss to Keith Jardine at UFC 57.  Sobral, on paper, may be the better fighter, but I personally do not like his chances here.

I predict: Mike Whitehead defeats Renato Sobral by unanimous decision.

Aleksander Emelianenko vs. Paul Buentello

Emelianenko is underrated, probably because he hasn’t fought consistently enough to gain the name recognition.  But he has a ton of potential, although he he has to carry the Emelianenko name.  Buentello’s calling card is his standup game; unfortunately for him, it wont be nearly enough to pull out the victory.

I predict: Aleksander Emelianenko defeats Paul Buentello, mid 2nd round (TKO – due to strikes).

Vitor Belfort vs. Terry Martin

An interesting case study in fighters. You have Martin, a journeyman fighter as far as I am concerned. On the other hand, you have Belfort.  Belfort is “consistently inconsistent” – you never know which Belfort shows up.  I expect a fight standing up between these two, with neither fighter standing out in any particular way.

I predict: Vitor Belfort defeats Terry Martin by split decision.

Octagon Buzz welcomes your predictions for the Affliction: Banned card.  Let’s hear from you!!! 

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