Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is breaking new ground this weekend (Nov. 10, 2012) with its UFC on FUEL TV 6 network television event from the CotaiArena, which marks the promotion's first ever mixed martial arts (MMA) event held in the People's Republic of China.
In Brazil you get Anderson Silva in the main event. In Canada you get Georges St. Pierre. In China? You get a guy from Vietnam, but hey, close enough, right? And it's not like there's much to choose from, considering the only Chinese fighter, Tiequan Zhang, is 1-2 inside the Octagon.
While he's doing work, Rich Franklin will try to handle his business in the main event opposite Cung Le, in a five round affair contested between two aging veterans with gold on their resumes. Also on the card, Thiago Silva looks to flash some new moves he learned from his fellow Blackzilians in a three-rounder against Stanislav Nedkov.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the main card action on fight day (Sat., Nov. 10, 2012), which is slated to air at 9 a.m. ET on FUEL TV. The latest quick updates of the live action will begin to flow earlier than that around 7:15 a.m. ET with the "Prelims" bouts on Facebook.
Bright and early! Who rises and shines in Macao? Let's find out.
185 lbs.: Rich Franklin (29-6) vs. Cung Le (8-2)
Nostradumbass predicts: Remember that video we posted of Cung Le's mangled foot? You know, the one where it looks like he got punished for knocking over one of Annie Wilkes' penguins? That was only three months ago. When you tell me a guy who relies on his kicks was bloodletting in August, I tend to get cold feet when it comes to predictions.
And the deck was already stacked against him.
Le is a talented martial artist, but let's just go ahead and say it: He's also 40 years old. That doesn't bode well for a competitor who already has conditioning issues when his opponent has made a career of dragging guys into deep water.
Remind me again who Le has beaten?
His biggest win to date is ... well, I guess that depends on who you think is better, Patrick Cote or Scott Smith. Frank Shamrock was already finished and despite his Strikeforce title, the Sanshou master only has 10 professional MMA fights to his name.
Franklin has 35.
"Ace" has also competed against the elite names in the sport, including Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort. He also did something Le never could and that's defeat Wanderlei Silva. Twice. So what's the downside for the nicest guy in combat sports?
Probably his osteoporosis.
Franklin has broken just about everything, including his hand, his arm and his nose. To his credit, he usually still wins, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that Le uncorks a high kick and breaks a bone, but if that's all we have to argue for Le, it doesn't give me that warm, fuzzy feeling for this weekend's outcome.
Final prediction: Franklin def. Le via technical knockout
Nostradumbass predicts: Thiago Silva's record can be a little deceiving on paper, where his only win over the last four years is a first round destruction of lovable lemon Keith Jardine. His victory over Brandon Vera was overturned when he was caught spiking his Brazilian lemonade and his remaining three contests were all losses.
I'm willing to give him a pass on the defeat to Alexander Gustafsson, as "The Mauler" is widely-regarded as one of the division's top contenders. Remember, too, it cam on the heels of a 13-month absence, a tall order for any athlete. Losing to Rashad Evans in a hard-fought decision is certainly no career-killer and the only time he was flat-out owned was when he went to sleep against Lyoto Machida at UFC 94.
He's been fighting the cream of the crop.
That's bad news for Stanislav Nedkov, who is undefeated, but owns a resume populated with cans and also-rans. Prior to pounding out Luiz Cane over a year ago, his most notable win was a split decision over psycho-for-hire Kevin Randleman in Japan.
Not exactly the stuff of legend.
Nedkov is a big, strong 205-pound bruiser with good wrestling and a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Unfortunately, so is Silva, but the Blackzilian has been doing it longer and against better competition. I wouldn't be surprised to see a stalemate in the opening frame, but if Silva's back doesn't fold up like a picnic umbrella, he ends this violently in the second stanza.
Final prediction: Silva def. Nedkov via technical knockout
Nostradumbass predicts: Take away his flash knockout win over a cocky and unprepared Josh Koscheck and what do you have in Paulo Thiago? A good -- but not great -- fighter who's coming off a first-round knockout loss. In fact, even with the victory over "Kos," the Brazilian supercop is a mediocre 4-4 inside the Octagon.
Make it 4-5 after Saturday.
Thiago is an outstanding submission specialist but his striking is average, at best. The biggest issue here is the size disparity as Dong Hyun Kim is a powerful welterweight with good wrestling. It's hard to make any kind of assessment in his loss to Demian Maia because it ended so quickly and in such bizarre fashion.
Outside of a poorly-timed shot that had him sleeping against Carlos Condit, "Stun Gun" has proven to be a formidable challenge against anyone at 170 pounds, though the big knock on him is he hasn't had a finish in over four years.
I don't expect one tomorrow, either.
Still, I can't envision a scenario where he makes a big enough mistake to silver-platter a submission and even if he does, I think he muscles his way out and coasts to a fairly convincing sweep on the judges' scorecards, barring any "freak accidents."
Final prediction: Kim def. Thiago via unanimous decision
Nostradumbass predicts: Remember when Takanori Gomi was the most feared fighter at 155 pounds? It seemed like he couldn't lose and turned in some pretty great performances. I think that was right around the same time Miguel Torres was 37-1.
I know prevailing wisdom points to his Octagon career as the beginning of the end, but he was coming undone much sooner. He turned in a pair of stinkers under the Sengoku banner and well, we all know what happened in his No Contest against Nick Diaz.
Then came UFC.
I understand 2-3 is not exactly 0-5, but his losses to Kenny Florian, Clay Guida and Nate Diaz were so lopsided it's like they pulled him out of the stands and gave him fifty bucks to see how long he could last. Seriously, those were some putrid performances.
But he can still hit hard. Just ask Tyson Griffin.
I don't want to make it sound like he's fighting Ben Henderson because Mac Danzig has experienced his share of troubles inside the cage as well, and never really fulfilled his destiny as champion of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season six.
The reason I'm siding with the Vegan warrior is because despite his inconsistency, he never looks out of sorts inside the Octagon, whereas his opponent, at times, appears bewildered. In addition, Danzig is a strong, accomplished grappler with 10 submission victories to his credit and "The Fireball Kid" has been tapped in six of eight losses.
Unless Gomi can land a one-hitter quitter, I expect him to surrender at some point in round two.
Final prediction: Danzig def. Gomi via submission
155 lbs.: Jon Tuck (6-0) vs. Zhang Tiequan (15-3)
Nostradumbass predicts: If anyone in UFC has job security, it's Tiequan Zhang. Imagine being the only Chinese fighter in a promotion looking to break into China? That could come to an end, however, if he's made to look foolish this weekend at the hands of Jon Tuck.
"The Mongolian Wolf" was shot with a silver bullet by Issei Tamura earlier this year in Japan. The crushing knockout loss was his second straight defeat after getting outworked by Darren Elkins in late 2011. The results have not lived up to expectations following a much-ballyhooed addition to World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) over two years ago, but he can turn it around by giving the hometown crowd something to cheer for.
Assuming Tuck lets him.
I think this is the Guam gangster's fight to lose. True, this is his first foray onto the big stage, but the tape I don't have and didn't watch shows plenty of promise. He's undefeated through six fights but more importantly, he's finished all six of his opponents in the first round.
And, according to Sherdog's fight finder, he even beat Giovanni Sablan under the PXC banner in zero seconds, which has to be some kind of record. Maybe "Palaxi" was knocked out at the touch of gloves? If that's not good enough, Tuck has a really cool nickname, "The Super Saiyan!"
Good enough for me.
Final prediction: Tuck def. Zhang via technical knockout
Nostradumbass predicts: UFC pulled a main card switcherooni and our own Patty Stumberg already did a nice job writing this fight up when it was on the "Prelims." Instead of letting him outshine me, I'll simply link you back to his stellar prediction. Click here to read it.
That's a wrap, folks.
For previews and predictions on the preliminary card fights click here. To see all the odds and betting lines for UFC on FUEL TV 6 click here and remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of "Franklin vs. Le."
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for tomorrow's event.