Punch Drunk Preview: UFC 115
Short on lots of big name stars, the UFC’s first foray into British Columbia offers a card big on intrigue. With a couple matches designed to separate contenders from pretenders, and a main event that will tell us where a pair of iconic former champions stand, UFC 115 should end up more entertaining and eventful than the mild-mannered match-ups suggest.
Mike Pyle (18-7-1) vs. Jesse Lennox (11-2-0)
The first fight of the night is the traditional “Loser Leaves Town” tilt. Pyle was beaten by rising talent Jake Ellenberger last time out and is 1-2 in the UFC, while Lennox is batting .500 through two fights, having dropped a decision to Rick Story in his most recent trip to the Octagon.
Pyle has the edge in experience and has the benefit of working every day with a tremendous group at Xtreme Couture. But it’s been that way for some time, and he still hasn’t delivered an eye-opening performance. Neither has Lennox, and chances are neither will in this one either.
Claude Patrick (11-1-0) vs. Ricardo Funch (7-1-0)
One of three Canadians competing in Vancouver, Patrick makes his organizational debut riding a ten-fight winning streak. His lone loss came to Drew McFedries way back in June 2002. That said, it’s not like he’s been beating studs since then. Patrick has beaten a collection of regional mid-card opponents, and he won’t be getting any of those in the UFC.
Unbeaten when he made his Octagon debut, Funch dropped a unanimous decision to Johny Hendricks at UFC 107. Now that the first fight jitters are out of the way, perhaps the Team Link trainee will show what had some people picking upset back at UFC 107.
If not,he’s done.
James Wilks (6-3-0) vs. Peter Sobotta (8-2-0)
One of the winners from Season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter, Wilks was thrown to the fire in his post-TUF debut. Matt Brown proved to be too much, though Wilks did have his moments in the match-up. This time around, we’re on the opposite end of the spectrum, as he looks like he’s being given a sacrificial lamb named Peter Sobotta.
The German fighter isn’t a human punching bag, but he’s not a world-beater either. In his one UFC appearance to date, he went to the cards with Paul Taylor and lost. Taylor has subsequently shit the bed in trying to make the move to lightweight. That should tell you all you need to know about this one.
David Loiseau (19-9-0) vs. Mario Miranda (9-1-0)
I know I’m supposed to remain impartial, but dammit I want good things for David Loiseau. He’s a pioneer of this sport in Canada – insofar as he was one of the first real Canadian stars – and was dicked around by the Quebec Commission before UFC 113. This might be another “Hey, we’re in Canada. Let’s get another Canadian on the card” situation, but even if it is, I want it to be a winning one for Loiseau.
Mario Miranda is the guy who can ruin all that. I’ll be very displeased if he does.