Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Friday, September 27, 2002
Mixed Martial Arts--- Tonight's UFC 39 event from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut has no shortage of exciting-looking matches. Before I get into the rest of my event preview, I'm going to change one of my predictions from yesterday. I think I got caught up in the Phil Baroni hype yesterday, but the more I think about it, the more I have to pick Dave Menne to beat Baroni in the match that will crown the unofficial #1 contender for the Middleweight Championship. Think about it. Two things that Phil Baroni tends to do are swing wildly and get tired during fights, and there is almost zero chance of Dave Menne doing either of those things.

Also, when there's a fighter who tends to swing wildly and get tired, all you have to do is weather the storm of his early offensive flurries and then pick him apart. Ask any fighter or MMA beat writer and they will tell you that nobody is better at "weathering storms" than Dave Menne. Furthermore, who has Phil Baroni ever beaten? He has only been in four MMA fights. Beating Amar Suloev doesn't make you a title contender, and no matter how much heart Baroni showed in his decision loss to Matt Lindland, a loss is still a loss. Meanwhile, Dave Menne is a guy who has beaten Carlos Newton, Jose "Pele" Landi, Fabiano Iha, LaVerne Clark, Dennis Hallman, and Gil Castillo, among others.

In another middleweight fight that looks great on paper, Matt Lindland faces Ivan Salaverry in a match that has strangely been slotted to be an undercard match that will take place before the pay-per-view goes on the air. Salaverry looked dominant in his stunning victory of Andrei Semenov, while Lindland was just shut down and submitted by Middleweight champ Murilo Bustamante. Nonetheless, I'm picking Lindland to win. There's no shame in losing to Bustamante given the fact that he is the #1 middleweight fighter in the world and he is in the discussion of who's the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. And let's not forget Lindland's exciting decision victory over Phil Baroni, or the fact that he beat and embarrassed an accomplished fighter like Pat Miletich in two minutes. With Randy Couture and the rest of Team Quest training with him, I have to believe that Matt Lindland is going to come into the fight in great shape and pull off the victory. And yes, that means I am picking against a fellow Ivan, even though we Ivans are supposed to stick together...

In a fight that really should on the undercard but isn't, Pedro Rizzo returns to the Octagan to face "The Giant" Gan McGee. McGee has done absolutely nothing in the UFC than get quickly submitted by Josh Barnett. I'm picking Rizzo to beat his overmatched opponent by knockout, and it will mean nothing just as it meant nothing when he knocked out Andrei Arlovski. Rizzo should not even considered for Heavyweight Title contention again until such time that he actually faces, and beats, top-level competitors who are not the champion. Rizzo lost to Kevin Randleman when Randleman was the champion, he lost a controversial decision to Randy Couture when Couture was the champion, and then in the rematch with Couture for the title, Rizzo got his ass handed to him for the entire fight. Rizzo is a one-dimensional fighter who is good at nothing but punching, which is the last thing one would expect from the so-called prize pupil of MMA legend Marco Ruas. Still, Gan McGee is overmatched here. He doesn't have a single win over an accomplished MMA fighter on his record (unless you count Tim Lajcik, and I don't).

In a fight that is going to be on the main card and air on pay-per-view as a kind of showcase match for whoever wins, heavy-swinging big men Tim Sylvia and Wes "Cabbage" Correira will face off in both fighters' UFC debuts. Sylvia went through a lot of talented independent fighters at a recent tournament in Hawaii with knockout after knockout, while Cabbage hasn't lost a fight since the year 2000. This fight is a toss-up, but I'm picking Sylvia to stay undefeated in mixed martial arts and perhaps insert himself into the Heavyweight Title picture if he wins in impressive enough fashion.

The fight that will most likely be the first fight of the evening, before the PPV goes on the air live, is a battle between two up-and-coming welterweights, Benji Radach and Sean Sherk. Sherk, who looks almost like WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, is being hyped up as a master of the ground-and-pound style and a potential threat to Matt Hughes' dominance one day, while Radach has looked fairly well-rounded in UFC victories over Steve Berger and Matt Serra's brother Nick. Radach hasn't beaten any top-level fighters en route to his 5-0 mixed martial arts record, and Sherk hasn't beaten any top-level fighters en route to his 15-0 record, but we're still talking about two young, talened, undefeated fighters squaring off here. I'm picking Sherk to win as he continues his slow road to a title shot, and I'm hoping that there's enough time after the main event ends for this fight to make it on the air for pay-per-view buyers, along with the other undercard fight (Lindland vs. Salaverry).

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