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UFC® 67: AL OR NOTHING
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Mandalay Bay Events Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
By Stephen Quadros, “The Fight Professor”


Anderson Silva (Champion)  

Travis Lutter (Challenger)

UFC Middlweight Championship Match


NOT a rematch®…? But this fight is the main event, how could this be? OK, Ok, I was just being ‘Stephen-ish.’

Anderson “The Spider” Silva has taken the UFC by storm. First it was his flawless dissection of TUF tough guy Chris Leben in June 2006. Then came his title winning effort by rearranging Rich Franklin’s face with his much-vaunted knees that left American fans ready to erect statues and change religions. The buzz around Silva by fans who thought him to be a “new” fighter had elevated him to a status held by the sport’s elite. But Anderson has been around the block a few times and had seen a resurrection of sorts via his dominance in England’s Cage Rage organization. Why do I say “resurrection?” Because Silva had previously become an entity in Pride, then had lost his last two matches there…by submission - Daiju Takase by triangle choke and Ryo Chonan by flying heel hook, BEFORE becoming a star in England (at Cage Rage).

Many feel that Travis Lutter will be an easy mark for the champion. I do not agree. As a matter of fact I feel that Travis has a very good shot to take the belt. To me the soft-spoken Texan has THE perfect style to derail the streaking Brazilian star. 

But one thing is 100% certain; standing Lutter has no chance. Forget his KO of Marvin Eastman. Silva is perhaps the most accurate striking machine working inside a cage these days. He knows how and where to land his tools, usually when you least expect it. Travis needs to crowd him the whole time. I mean the WHOLE time. When the bell rings Lutter has to be in a clinch or diving for doubles (hey, that sounds like a great name for a game show…). He cannot play the waiting game on the outside.

So two things that will surely be barometers of the outcome here: 1) if the match goes and stays on the deck, Travis has a very good chance of locking on his choke or armbar, or 2) if he stands for too long Lutter WILL get knocked out.

 

Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic

Vs.

Eddie Sanchez

Eddie Sanchez is undefeated with a 6-0 record on Sherdog.com (the UFC lists him at 7-0) that includes 4 TKOs and 2 submissions. He should be fine, right? Uh…he’s fighting Cro Cop…

Even though he was the number 3 (or 4) man down the totem pole in Pride, Filipovic is still pretty much automatically the best heavyweight in the UFC. And I like “current” UFC champion Tim Sylvia and feel he has improved immensely as a fighter in the last two years. But the facts are just too overwhelming here: not a lot of people go the distance with Fedor Emelianenko (Mirko lost to the Russian superstar)…or fought Ernesto Hoost three times under K-1 rules (Cro Cop lost all three)…or are coming off a three fight win streak against Hidehiko Yoshida, Josh Barnett and Wanderlei Silva (he destroyed all of them with massive amounts of brutality). Mirko has been there and done that…and a whole lot more.

I mean no disrespect to Mr. Sanchez here but he is the snowball here and once the first round begins the heat will be unbearable. Mirko is too good, too confident. Cro Cop will win by knockout, most likely in round one. I guess the only real drama here will be if the broadcasters are allowed to say the word “Pride” on the air…(by annihilating Yoshida, Silva and Barnett Filipovic won the Pride open weight tournament on September 10th, 2006).

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson

Vs.

Marvin "Beastman" Eastman

I was at King of The Cage when these gents tangled the first time in the summer (June) of 2000. It was all Marvin Eastman, until the last minute or so. Then from out of nowhere it was as if Quinton Jackson just woke up from a nap and started fighting back. Jackson lost the decision but impressed everyone present with that brief ending stanza. 

Of course Jackson and Eastman’s careers took different paths: Quinton went on to become a huge star in Japan (Pride) and Marvin, even though he is coming off nearly a two year winning streak, has, like Jackson, had some rough moments and lost some spectacular bouts where he ended up on the wrong side of the highlight reel (Vitor Belfort, Travis Lutter).

So here we are, over six years later. On paper it would seem that Marvin is on the upswing record wise because Quinton has been inconsistent over the last two years, barely beating middleweight Matt Lindland by decision, being stopped by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and KO’d a second time by Wanderlei Silva. Oh, “Rampage” has had some HUGE wins in the past (stoppages over Ricardo Arona, Kevin Randleman, Igor Vovchanchyn and of course Chuck Liddell. But those great feats are a while back.

This fight almost depends on which Quinton and which Marvin show up, because in the recent past both of these once aggressive warriors have taken a “strategic” approach that has left fans and promoters baffled and at times under whelmed. I fear that because of the previous sentence that it’s possible that this could unfold to be a frustrating match to watch and not deliver the hoped for fireworks. But if both men do come to fight, Jackson will win. Why? Simple: he’s been in with and beaten a higher level of fighters than Eastman has.