UFC 102: Couture Or Noguiera?

It’s less than two weeks away from the fight, which means… new UFC media! And once those pre fight interviews come out, everyone hops on the prediction train. Most of these last until the UFC Countdown, when many change their minds last minute because of the training regimens of the fighters or something.

So here goes:

Randy “The Natural” Couture is undoubtedly a legend of the sport. He’s been here for years. His boxing is solid and his Greco Roman Wrestling is top notch. And at 46, he probably only has a handful of fights left. But here’s the deal. While everyone says that Randy doesn’t have anything to prove, you have to wonder at that. Two of the biggest fighters that train at his gym – Forrest Griffin and Gina Carano – have lost during the first round in the past two weeks. Despite these losses being to top contenders, he has to have that alright-I’ll-show-em-what’s-up mentality. At least a little bit. He’s also coming off a divorce. And who doesn’t want to make a previous lover jealous at some success?

Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira has beaten some of the biggest names in MMA. His submissions are deadly and he’s fought Fedor Emelianenko to a decision twice, for God’s sake. He’s younger, bigger and has a longer reach (77 inches as opposed to Couture’s 75). Additionally, he claims to be spending a lot of time on his standup game for this upcoming fight.

This won’t be an easy fight for either fighter. Nogueira showed some serious trouble when posed with Frank Mir’s standup ability at UFC 102. After getting hit with one of the best combos out there (1, 2, 5, 2 or jab, cross, uppercut, cross), he fell to the mat three times where Mir finished him off. Couture tried to wear Brock Lesnar down at their matchup at UFC 91 and failed, losing the fight as well as the heavyweight title.

At the end of the day, I see Randy taking this fight by a TKO in the 2nd round. His best chance is to keep this fight standing, clinch when he can and utilize his dirty boxing techniques. He shouldn’t take Nogueira down. That’s what Nogueira wants and if he gets it, Randy could fall victim to a submission very quickly.