UFC 64: Unstoppable Preview

Here is a preview of UFC 64: Unstoppable that John and I put together.

Main Card Bouts:
-Rich Franklin vs. Anderson Silva
-Sean Sherk vs. Kenny Florian
-Jon Fitch vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka
-Spencer Fisher vs. Dan Lauzon
-Cheick Kongo vs. Carmelo Marrero

Preliminary Bouts:
-Yushin Okami vs. Kalib Starnes
-Keith Jardine vs. Mike Nickels
-Clay Guida vs. Justin James
-Kurt Pellegrino vs. Cleuder “Junior” Assuncao

Also be sure to check in tonight as we’ll be going live at 10 PM EST for UFC 64!

Rich Franklin (21-0) vs Anderson Silva (16-4)

Rich Franklin is the UFC middleweight champion and much like his opponent is a very well rounded fighter. The former high school math teacher will be making his 7th appearance in the UFC and he is currently 7-0. Franklin has defended his title twice and in both fights he dominated his opponents sending a message to all of the fighters watching. Franklin currently trains in Cincinnati with Jorge Gurgle and he also has close ties to Jeremy Horn and Team Miletich.

Last 10 Fights:
Win – David Loiseau – Decision (Unanimous) – UFC 58: Canada vs. USA
Win – Nathan Quarry – KO (Punch) – UFC 56: Full Force
Win – Evan Tanner – TKO (Doctor Stoppage) – UFC 53: Heavy Hitters
Win – Ken Shamrock – TKO (Strikes) – UFC: The Ultimate Fighter Finale
Win – Curtis Stout – Submission (Punches) – SuperBrawl 38
Win – Jorge Rivera – Submission (Armbar) – UFC 50: The War of ‘04
Win – Ralph Dilon – Submission (Keylock) – Alaska Fighting Championship
Win – Leo Sylvest – Submission (Strikes) – SuperBrawl 35
Loss – Ryoto Machida – TKO (Punches) - Bom-Ba-Ye 2003-Inoki Festival
Win – Edwin Dewees – TKO (Strikes) – UFC 44: Undisputed

Strengths: Franklin is a top notch fighter who posseses excellent submissions, striking and cardio. Franklin is currently a BJJ brown belt under Jorge Gurgle. Franklin brings tons of experience to the octagon as he has fought seven times in the UFC and he is also a veteran of the WFA. Franklin has excellent power in both hands and he’ll throw wild combinations which at times have devastating effects.

Weaknesses: Really Franklin is alot like Silva and he overall game is pretty good with very little flaws. I’d say coming into this fight the biggest downfall with Mr. Franklin will be his chin. We’ve seen him get dropped in 2 of his last 3 fights and he cannot let that happen tonight against Silva or it’ll be a tough night for him.

Anderson Silva is a very well rounded fighter who will be making his second appearance in the UFC. Silva’s first UFC fight came at UFC Fight Night 5 when he dismantled middleweight contender Chris “The Crippler” Leben. Silva at one time trained with the famed Chute Boxe Acadamy but now he is with the Muay Thai Dream Team and he works on his ground game with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Last 10 Fights:
Win – Chris Leben – KO (Knee) – UFC Fight Night 5
Win - Tony Fryklund – KO – Cage Rage 16: Critical Condition
Loss – Yushin Okami – DQ (Illegal Kick) – Rumble on the Rock 8
Win – Curtis Stout – KO – Cage Rage 14: Punishment
Win – Jorge Rivera – TKO – Cage Rage 11: Face Off
Loss – Ryo Chonan – Submission (Flying Scissor Heel Hook) – PRIDE: Shockwave 2004
Win – Lee Murray – Decision (Unanimous) – Cage Rage 8: Knights of the Octagon
Win – Jeremy Horn – Decision (Unanimous) – Gladiator FC: Day 2
Win – Waldir dos Anjos – TKO (Corner Stoppage) – Conquista Fight 1
Loss – Daiju Takase – Submission (Triangle) – PRIDE 26: Bad to the Bone

Strengths: Silva is a very well rounded fighter who possesses some of the best stand-up in the world of mixed martial arts. Silva is a BJJ blackbelt under the Nogueira brothers and a very accomplished Muay Thai fighter. Experience is also a strength for Silva as he has fought all over the world and held titles in Cage Rage, Shooto, and MECA Vale Tudo.

Weaknesses: Silva really doesn’t have that many weaknesses in his game. In the past he has been submitted but I don’t see that happening as he has really worked on his ground game recently and earned his blackbelt. Strength may be a weakness in this fight as Franklin is the much bigger fighter.

Sean Sherk (30-2-1) vs Kenny Florian (4-2)

Sean Sherk is an extremely quick, strong wrestler who’ll be coming in to take that vacant lightweight title. Sherk has spent the majority of his career at welterweight but after being the small guy for so long he decided now is the time to make the drop. Tonight will be Sherk’s sixth appearance in the UFC and he is currently 4-2 with his losses coming to Georges St. Pierre and a 5 round war with Matt Hughes. Sherk trains at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy with the likes of Dave Menne, Nick Thompson and Brock Larson. Sherk is very experienced and he is a veteran of both PRIDE and UFC.

Last 10 Fights:
Win – Nick Diaz – Decision (Unanimous) – UFC 59: Reality Check
Loss – Georges St. Pierre – TKO (Strikes) – UFC 56: Full Force
Win – Joel Blanton – Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – BP: Pride and Glory
Win – Lee King – Submission (Arm Triangle) – Extreme Challenge 60
Win – Brodie Farber – Submission (Choke) – SF 6: Battleground in Reno
Win – Darin Brudigan – Submission (Arm Triangle) – Cage Fighting Xtreme 2
Win – Gerald Strebendt – TKO – Extreme Challenge 58
Win – Eric Heinz – Submission (Neck Crank) – PFA: Pride and Glory
Win – Jake Short – Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – ICC: Trials 2
Win – Kaleo Padilla – Submission (Neck Crank) – You Think Your Tough

Strengths: Sean Sherk is an extremely strong, powerful wrestler who possesses lightning fast hands. He has a good chin and excellent cardio. His experience will be a big factor in this fight as he has fought in the UFC and other organizations numerous times and he fought for the title against Matt Hughes and went five rounds.

Weaknesses: I guess the only question I have coming into this fight is, how is Sean Sherk’s cardio? Sherk said before the weigh-ins that he made a few trial runs and by the second time is was much easier so I’m sure we’ll see the best Sean Sherk in there tonight.

Kenny Florian is an alumnus of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and because of the show he has gained a large fan base. Kenny Florian has an excellent ground game and since leaving ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ he has done alot of work on his striking over in Thailand. Florian has shown that he has ever improving kicks and elbows. Florian is fairly inexperienced as he only has 6 pro MMA fights going 4-2.

Last 6 Fights:
Win - Sam Stout - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale
Win - Kit Cope - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale
Win - Alex Karalexis - TKO (Cut) - UFC Fight Night
Loss - Diego Sanchez - TKO (Strikes) - Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale
Loss - Drew Fickett - Decision - CZ 7 - Gravel Pit
Win - Bobby McAndrews - Submission (Kimura) - Mass Destruction 15

Strengths: Kenny Florian is a BJJ black belt under Roberto Maia and he has done very well in grappling tournaments. Florian has ever improving strikes and an excellent chin. We’ve seen Florian use his elbows in a few of his fights an they’ve really improved. Florian’s fight against Chris Leben on TUF is a perfect example of how strong his chin is.

Weaknesses: Kenny Florian comes into this fight as a fairly inexperienced fighter. He only has 6 professional fights and his opponent has 33 so experience will be a big factor in this fight. Strength is also going to be a factor in this fight as Sherk is easily the much stronger fighter.

Jon Fitch (11-2) vs Kuniyoshi Hironaka (10-2)

Jon Fitch is a fairly well rounded fighter who has a strong ground game and good strikes. Fitch trains with the American Kickboxing Academy which is home to the likes of Mike Swick, Josh Thomson, Trevor Prangley and more. As of late Fitch has been on a role and he is solidifying himself as a true contender in the UFC welterweight division.

Last 10 Fights:
Win - Thaigo Alves - TKO (Strikes) - Ultimate Fight Night 5
Win - Josh Burkman - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - Ultimate Fight Night 4
Win - Brock Larson - Decision (Unanimous) - Ultimate Fight Night 2
Win - Jeff Joslin - Decision (Split) - Freedom Fight - Canada vs USA
Win - Alex Serdyukov - TKO - MMA Mexico - Day 1
Win - Jorge Ortiz - Decision - MMA Mexico - Day 1
Win - Mike Seal - TKO - MMA Mexico - Day 1
Win - Shoine Carter - Submission (Strikes) - Shooto USA - Warrior Spirit: Evolution
Win - Gabe Garcis - TKO - X-1
Win - Kyle Jensen - Decision (Unanimous) - Battleground 1 - War Cry

Strengths: Fitch has good wrestling and he is a purple belt under Dave Camarillo. Fitch currently trains with American Kickboxing Academy which as stated early is home to some of the best fighters around.

Weaknesses: I question Fitch’s cardio coming into this fight. I haven’t had the chance to see him fight in the UFC lately but I remember watching him fight Jeff Joslin and he almost lost the fight because of gassing.

Kuniyoshi Hironaka is a very well round fighter who has a 10-2 mixed martial arts record. Hironaka has excellent BJJ, Judo and kickboxing. Hironaka trains with the Academia Az Association. Hironaka holds victories over UFC veterans Nick Diaz and most recently Renato Verissimo.

Last 10 Fights:
Win - Renato Verissimo - TKO (Strikes) - Rumble on the Rock 9
Win - Ryan Schultz - Submission (Armbar) - MARS
Win - Takuya Wada - Submission (Triangle) - GCM - D.O.G. 4
Loss - Shinya Aoki - TKO (Cut) - Shooto 2005-11/6 in Korakuen Hall
Win - Ramunas Komas - Decision - Shooto Lithuania - Bushido
Win - Mark Moreno - Submission (Neck Crank) - SuperBrawl 29
Win - Nick Diaz - Decision (Split) - Shooto - 2002 Year - End Show
Win - Yasuyuki Tokuoka - Decision (Unanimous) - Shooto - Treasure Hunt 11
Win - Yuji Kusu - Decision (Unanimous) - Shooto - GIG East 10
Loss - Hirofumi Hara - TKO (Punches) - Shooto - GIG East 9

Strengths: Hironaka is a BJJ black belt, judo black belt and an excellent kickboxer. Hironaka has been training BJJ and judo for a quite a long time and he is a veteran of ROTR and Shooto.

Weaknesses: Hironaka is has a share of experience but he is making his UFC debut so it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the pressure.

Cheick Kongo (9-2-1) vs Carmello Marrero (5-0)

Cheick Kongo is a huge specimen who is the new draw in the UFC heavyweight division. Kongo is an excellent striker and he has shown he knows what to do when the fight goes to the ground. This fight will be Kongo’s third UFC appearance and he is currently 2-0. The majority of Kongo’s victories have come by TKO/KO and he is a veteran of UFC and Rings Holland.

Last 10 Fights:
Win - Christian Wellisch - KO (Knee) - UFC 62: Liddell vs Sobral
Win - Gilbert Aldana - TKO (Doctor Stoppage) - UFC 61: Bitter Rivals
Win - Dave Dalgliesh - TKO - Rings Holland: Men of Honor
Win - Gabor Nemeth - KO - King of the Ring
Loss - Gilbert Yvel - KO - It’s Showtime - Amsterdam Arena
Win - Joop Kasteel - KO - Rings Holland - World’s Greatest
Win - Dave Vader - Decision - Rings Holland - The Untouchables
Win - Hans Nijman - Submission (Armbar) - It’s Showtime - Amsterdam Arena
Draw - Michael Knaap - Draw - It’s Showtime - As Usual
Loss - Rodney Faverus - Decision - Rings Holland - Saved by the Bell

Strengths: Kongo is an excellent striker who does a good job mixing knees and punches together. Kongo has experience with kickboxing, Muay Thai and Greco-Roman Wrestling.

Weaknesses: Kongo is an excellent striker but we haven’t really seen what he is all about on the ground. His ground game is the one question mark for me.

Carmelo Marrero is currently 5-0 and a professional and he is the Cage Fury Fighting Championship heavyweight champion. Looking at Marrero’s record he looks like he can fight on the feet and on the canvas.

Last 5 Fights:
Win - Petrus Walker - TKO (Doctor Stoppage) - Cage Fury Fighting Championships 1
Win - Dale Carson - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - MFC - Boardwalk Blitz
Win - Sherman Pendergarst - Decision (Unanimous) - Reality Fighting 9
Win - Chris Volo - Decision (Unanimous) - Reality Fighting 8
Win - Chris Dippolito - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - Reality Fighting 7

Strengths: Looking at his record it seems as if he is willing to take the fight to the canvas so it’ll be interesting to see if Marerro is the guy who’ll be able to take Kongo down.

Weaknesses: Marrero is a fairly unexperienced fighter and it will see how he handles the pressure of fighting in the big show against a big tough striker like Cheick Kongo.

Spencer Fisher (18-2) vs Dan Lauzon (3-0)

Spencer Fisher is currently one of the most exciting and top lightweight fighter in the UFC. Fisher currently lives in Iowa and trains with Team Miletich. Fisher has excellent striking skills and he can hold his own will fighting on the canvas. You know he’ll be ready for anything training with MFS. Fisher is fairly experienced and he holds an amazing flying knee win over Matt Wiman. Tonight’s fight will be Fisher’s fifth in the UFC and he is currently 3-1.

Last 10 Fights:
Win - Matt Wiman - KO (Flying Knee) - UFC 60: Gracie vs Hughes
Loss - Sam Stout - Decision (Split) - UFC 58: Canada vs USA
Win - Randy Hauer - Submission (Triangle) - Battle at the Boardwalk
Win- Aaron Riley - TKO (Doctor Stoppage) - Ultimate Fight Night 3
Win - Thiago Alves - Submission (Triangle) - Ultimate Fight Night 2
Win - Henry Matamoros - TKO - SuperBrawl 40
Win - Kyle Watson - KO - Courage Fighting Championships 2
Win - Tim Means - Submission (Triangle) - IFC - Eve of Destruction
Win - John Straw - Submission (Triangle) - VFC 8 - Fallout
Win - Shawn McCully - KO - Xtreme Kage Kombat

Strengths: Fisher is a very well rounded fighter who likes to bang. He has excellent striking skills and knockout power. He has shown he also has good ground skills and a solid triangle choke. Also training with Miletich Fighting Systems has to be a strength because he is surrounded by the worlds best.

Weaknesses: The only flaw I have see with Fisher is the fact that he can be beatten is you’re better then him at his own game. Sam Stout stood and traded with him and eventually he pulled off the win

Dan Lauzon is an 18 year old kid making his UFC debut. He is currently 3-0 and he trains with older brother Joe Lauzon and Drew Fickett.

Last 3 Fights:
Win - Dyrell Walker - Submission (Triangle) - CZ 17 - Take Control
Win - Leonard Wilson - Submission (Choke) - RITC 84 - Celebrity Theatre
Win - Jason Harris - Submission (Choke) - RITC 83 - Rampage

Strengths: Lauzon excels on the ground but like he brother Joe Lauzon he can stand and throw.

Weaknesses: Lauzon is very young and inexperienced; it’ll be interesting to see how he han

Yushin Okami (17-3) vs Kalib Starnes (7-0-1)

Yushin Okami is a Japanese Judo fighter who made his UFC debut at UFC 62, defeating Alan Belcher by unanimous decision. Okami trains out of Wajyutsu Keisyukai Tokyo, a camp that also features Caol Uno. Okami is a well-rounded fighter who has fought in many organizations including Pride, Pancrase, and K-1 to name a few.

Last 10 Fights:
Win - Alan Belcher - Unanimous Decision - UFC 62: Liddell vs Sobral
Win - Izuru Takeuchi - TKO (Punches) - GCM-DOG 6
Win - Pang Ji Won - TKO - MARS World Grand Prix
Loss - Jake Shields - Majority Decision - Rumble on the Rock 9
Win - Anderson Silva - DQ (Illegal Kick) - Rumble on the Rock 8
Win - Myun Joo Lee - TKO (Corner Stoppage) - K-1 Seoul Heros
Win - Damien Riccio - TKO - GCM-DOG 3
Win - Nick Thompson - Submission (Elbow Injury) - GCM-DOG 2
Win - Brian Foster - Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) - GCM-DOG 1
Win - Eiji Ishikawa - Unanimous Decision- Pancrase: Brave 9

Strengths: Okami is a very well-rounded fighter. He has practiced extensively in Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. He prefers to finish his opponents on the ground but is also capable of doing damage while standing as well.

Weaknesses: Okami struggles with fighters that are more powerful and better grapplers than him. Once you take away his ability to finish you on the ground, his standing ability can only take him so far.

Kalib Starnes is a veteran of third season of The Ultimate Fighter, losing in semi-finals to eventual middleweight winner Kendall Grove. Starnes made his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale and submitted Danny Abaddi with a rear naked choke in the first round. Starnes is currently the second-ranked middleweight in Canada behind Georges St. Pierre.

Last 7 Fights:
Win - Danny Abbadi - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - UFC: Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale
Win - Jason MacDonald - TKO - National Fighting Challenge 5
Win - Mike Yackulic - Submission - WFF 9-Wild West 9/17/2005
Win - Jason Zazelenchuk - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) National Fighting Challenge 3
Win - Gerry Elliot - Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) - WFF 8-Dominance
Win - Ramin Astaseare - TKO - National Fighting Challenge 2
Win - Wayne Atkinson - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - Adrenaline Fighting Championships 1
Draw - Leonard Carter - Draw - Ultimate Warrior Challenge

Strengths: Starnes has finished all of his opponents except for one in the first round. He is a very well-rounded fighter with superior skills standing and on the ground.

Weakneses: Starnes is relatively new to the MMA game and may not have the experience to finish off such an experienced fighter in Okami with ease. His stamina can also be questioned as he has never gone past the first round in any of his bouts.

Keith Jardine (11-2-1) vs Mike Nickels (4-1)

Keith Jardine is another Ultimate Fighter veteran who has found recent success in the UFC. His recently defeated Wilson Gouveia by unanimous decision at the Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale. Jardine also has wins over Kerry Schall and Mike Whitehead as well as a unanimous decision loss to Stephan Bonnar in UFC competition.

Last 10 Fights:
Win - Wilson Gouveia - Unanimous Decision - UFC: Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale
Loss - Stephan Bonnar - Unanimous Decision - UFC: Ultimate Fight Night 4
Win - Mike Whitehead - Unanimous Decision - UFC 57: Liddell vs Couture 3
Win - Kerry Schall - TKO (Leg Kicks) - UFC-Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale
Win - Arman Gambaryan - Submission (Armbar) - M-1 MFC: Heavyweight GP
Win - Tom Elrite - KO - Independent Show
Draw - Keiichiro Yamamiya - Draw - Pancrase: Hybrid 8
Win - George Allen - Unanimous Decision - KOTC 24: Mayhem
Win - Allan Sullivan - TKO (Strikes) - KOTC 21: Invasion
Win - Bryan Pardoe - KO - KOTC 20: Crossroads

Strengths: Jardine is mainly a stand-up fighter and has enjoyed some decent success using that strategy throughout his career. However don’t be fooled, if the fight goes to the ground, Jardine can finish his opponent there as well.

Weaknesses: Jardine’s inability to finish opponents lately has been questioned against the top competition he has faced. He has also gassed out in the third round of his fights in the UFC so far, limiting his ability to do damage in the final minutes of a fight.

Mike Nickels is another fighter developed from the Ultimate Fighter series - Nickels was on Season 3. Nickels defeated Wes Combs at the Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale, garnering the victory in the first round with a rear naked choke that caused Combs to tap out. Nickels is a newcomer to the MMA game but has enjoyed a good amount of success early on.

Last 5 Fights:
Win - Wes Combs - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) – UFC: Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale
Win - Noah Inhofer - Submission (Rear Naked Choke) - ROF 19: Showdown
Loss - Craig Zellner - Submission (Armbar) - ROF 15: Inferno
Win - James Meyers - TKO - ROF 14: No Mercy
Win - Chris Valle - Submission (Choke) - ROF 13: Ring of Fire 13

Strengths: Nickels is well versed in BJJ – He has a purple belt from Machado. He is a well-rounded fighter with good conditioning. Nickel is also one of the biggest fighters in the light-heavyweight division – his size can certainly help him out.

Weaknesses: Nickels has only had five professional MMA fights – something that doesn’t bode well for him if he is to go up against experienced opponents.

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