Never in the history of the UFC has a card gathered so many stellar black belts. If the statement is an exaggeration or whether they will prevail, is what viewers want to know in New York and neighboring New Jersey, which hosts the show today at the Prudential Center in Newark.
The main expectation of this spring Saturday in the U.S. is to see what kind of lesson 77kg champion Georges St-Pierre (19w, 2l) will teach challenger Dan Hardy (23w, 6l), an Englishman who presents danger despite his loose tongue .
Hardy comes into the title fight on a high after overcoming sharp wrestler Mike Swick at UFC 105, but GSP has more up his sleeve than just takedowns. A black belt in Jiu-Jitsu under Bruno Fernandes from Gracie Barra Montreal, and in karate as well, the Canadian superstar has the right opponent to put on a great display of Jiu-Jitsu.
Part of the press presents a “Rush” Saint-Pierre victory a given, pointing to a future fight between Hardy and Josh Koscheck being a classic. But, wait, respect is the challenger and his game today.
The ground may also be the easiest route for Frank Mir (13w, 4l), against overwhelming Shane Carwin (11w, 0l), in a heavily anticipated bout worth the interim heavyweight belt. Whoever wins will face the brute force of Brock Lesnar, in a title bout promising to be war. A Ricardo Pires Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Mir is one of the best representatives of the art in the Octagon, and will test Carwin’s submission defense. If there’s time, of course, because the undefeated knockout artist from Denver usually ends his contests in little over a minute, like he did against Gabriel Gonzaga.
Also live on pay-per-view, two ground specialists Fabricio “Morango” Camoes (10w, 4l, 1d) and Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino (14w) make for an interesting matchup. Morango proved his worth in 2006 by winning an MMA lightweight tournament with three fights in one night, at Super Challenge in Sao Paulo. The champion of the weight group above was Demian Maia, but Morango took a longer route and only now made it onto the main card of UFC, after a promising draw with Caol Uno and due to problems in the medical exams of Thiago Pitbull, who found out the day before he would no longer face Jon Fitch. A new test should confirm that all is well with the ATT athlete, as he himself guarantees.
Last year Morango competed at the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship, however untrained, while Kurt loves to test himself in the ADCC. The one with their Jiu-Jitsu up to date wins today and advances.
Another black belt fun to watch on this card is Nate Diaz (11w, 5l), who has alternated between beautiful submission wins and decision losses. Which Nate will enter the Octagon today?
Based in New Jersey, Rio de Janeiro native Ricardo “Cachorrão” Almeida (11w, 3l) returns vs. Matt Brown (11w, 7l) live on Spike TV, and a submission would do the fighter well in his welcome to the welterweight division, looking to return to the main card in the presence of his fans and students.
Now Rousimar “Toquinho” has his work cut out for him in Tomasz “Gorilla” Drwal (17w, 2l) seeking to prove that his Jiu-Jitsu can still delight, and trying to strengthen the prophecy of his coach Murilo Bustamante, who said “Toquinho will be UFC champion some day. The Brazilian can start paving the way in New Jersey.
UFC 111 – St-Pierre vs. Hardy
Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, USA
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Georges St-Pierre vs Dan Hardy
Shane Carwin vs Frank Mir
Jake Ellenberger vs. Ben Saunders
Fabricio Camoes x Kurt Pellegrino
Mark Bocek x Jim Miller
Nate Diaz x Rory Markham
Ricardo Almeida vs Matt Brown
Jared Hamman x Rodney Wallace
Tomasz Drwal vs Rousimar Palhares
Matthew Riddle x Greg Soto