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“The Tap Out Wrap Up”

Preview for UFC 41: “Onslaught”






Hi there, it’s your old pal Dave Dymond, and welcome to the latest edition of the Tap Out Wrap Up.


I apologize that it’s been so long since my last report, but don’t blame me…blame the weird MMA calendar for this year. UFC hasn’t held a live show since last November. PRIDE taped Cold Fury 3 on December 23rd 2002, and broadcast it here in North America in early January. So essentially, we had a big show in November, none in December, and then nothing from early January to late February.


Thankfully, with the return of the UFC to PPV this weekend, we have a show this Friday, and then PRIDE 25 to be broadcast in North America some time in March, so we’re pretty much back to a normal MMA show schedule now.


In this column, we’re going to be taking a look at what we have in store this Friday night…


Lightweight Fight:


Yves Edwards (Muay Thai: 12 - 6 – 1)


Rich Clementi (Freestyle: 10 - 4 – 0)



Yves Edwards is a UFC veteran, who competed at UFC 33, 37, and 37 ½. I have also seen him fight at King of the Cage 5 and 7, so I’ve seen a fair bit of his work. His won loss record is pretty good, but nothing spectacular. His style is a combination of Muay Thai kickboxing, boxing, and wrestling.


I have to be honest…I know NOTHING about Rich Clementi. He’s never fought on ANY show I’ve ever seen. No PANCRASE, no RINGS, no ADCC, no KOTC, no PRIDE and no UFC. I took a look at his Won-Loss record, and was unmoved. He is a reputed “freestyle” fighter, and that doesn’t tell me much either.


The bottom line here is that Edwards has been to the big dance before, and has tested himself a higher quality of opponent. Edwards is also balancing on that “do or die” level in MMA, where he either needs to break through with a few big wins, or he risks becoming a journeyman, and losing his marketability, and the chance to fight in big shows like UFC and KOTC. He has a lot more to lose, and a lot more to prove than Clementi, and based on that, and his experience…



I’m picking Yves Edwards to defeat Rich Clementi.


Lightweight Fight:


Matt Serra (Gracie Jiu-Jitsu /Boxing: 10-2)


Din Thomas (Jiu-Jitsu: 12 – 3)



This should be a really good fight. Whoever wins this fight will be a logical contender for the winner of the new UFC Lightweight Champion, who will also be crowned on this show.


Matt “The Terra” Serra is 2-2 in the UFC. One of Serra’s biggest claims to fame is that he is black belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and as such is the first American to earn that distinction. Serra has been in some real wars, and has a wealth of experience. For example, his fight at UFC 31: Locked and Loaded against Shonie Carter was one of my picks as the top three fights of that year. Just because he is a Gracie student, don’t think Serra is just a ground fighter, either. He has extensive boxing training.


On the other side of the Octagon, we have Din Thomas. Thomas is also a Jiu-Jitsu stylist, and trained with the amazing Brazilian Top Team, and is a member of the American Top Team. Thomas is a very good fighter, but his experience in the Octagon has not been great so far. He lost to B.J. Penn at UFC 32, and lost to Caol Uno at UFC 39. (Ironically, those are the two men who are fighting in the finals of the Lightweight Championship Tournament later in the show.) Then again, Thomas has also beaten Jens Pulver, and not many people can say that.


I’m really torn on who to pick on this fight. I prefer the Top Team Style to the Gracie Style, and I LIKE Thomas better as a fighter, but I think Serra’s stand up game is stronger. As I said, this should be a good one, and it may likely go to a decision. Still, I’ll take the strong stand up fighter here…



I’m picking Matt Serra to beat Din Thomas…but I’d be happy to be wrong.


Heavyweight Fight:


Gan McGee (Kickboxing: 10-1) vs. Alexandre Dantas (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: 0-1)


Geez, from the Lightweights to the big boys.


Gan McGee is a kickboxer, who shocked the HELL out of me, and a lot of other people when he broke Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo’s nose, and won the fight. McGee is nicknamed “The Giant”, as he stands 6 feet 10 inches tall, and is the biggest fighter in the UFC. McGee can stand up, but he also likes to work the ground and pound. The knock against McGee, is that his conditioning is not exactly top shelf. He looked kind of flabby in his fight against Rizzo.


His opponent is a bit of an enigma. Alexandre Dantas has only fought in the UFC once, before, losing to PANCRASE legend Yuki Kondo. He is no tomato can though. Sherdog reports that Dantas is the 1999 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, the Pan American Champion, the American Champion and a 4-time Rio de Janeiro State Champion. Dantas also went 30 minutes with the best fighter in the WORLD, Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira at the ADCC. Still…he has little MMA experience, and apparently does not do well against stand up fighters. This could be an exciting fight, as heavyweight fights usually are, and I am betting that McGee is going to want to go for a knockout.



I’m picking Gan McGee to defeat Alexandre Dantas.


Heavyweight Fight:


Pedro Rizzo (Muay Thai: 12 – 4)


Vladimir Matyushenko (Wrestling: 11 - 2)



Pedro Rizzo is, in my opinion, one of the best stand up fighters, if not THE best stand up fighter in the UFC. His Won Loss record is stellar, prior to his upset at the hands of the aforementioned Gan McGee, he had only lost in title matches, to Kevin Randleman, and Randy Couture (twice). After the upset at the hands of McGee, Rizzo REALLY needs to win here if he wants to remain a top level UFC fighter and legit title contender.


On the other side, we have “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko, a former Light-Heavyweight, who has jumped up a division. (For the record, NO I don’t know WHY they call him “The Janitor”, and YES I think it’s one of the goofier nicknames I’ve heard. I dunno…maybe he “mops the floor” with his opponents.) Matyushenko is a WRESTLER, so this will be the classic Wrestler vs. Puncher matchup. The question is…who will win it? Tough question. My gut says that Matyushenko is a good bet, if he can take Rizzo down, he can work the ground and pound. Then again, Rizzo is not an easy man to take down. I really hope that he can stay alive here, so…



I’m picking “The Rock” to defeat “The Janitor”.


Middleweight Fight:


Phil Baroni (Boxing: 5-1)


Matt Lindland (Wrestling: 8 – 1)


We have ourselves a REMATCH here folks.


These two men fought at UFC 34, with Lindland getting the win, via a majority decision. The fight was a SNOOZER, as Baroni is mostly a striker, and he punched himself out pretty fast, and then tried to work the lay and pray for the rest of the fight. Since then, Baroni is on a mission to get a shot at the UFC Middleweight Champion, Murilo Bustamante. Baroni’s conditioning has apparently improved, and he sure looked impressive at UFC 39 when he DESTROYED former champ Dave “The Warrior” Menne. Baroni has a REAL big mouth, and he LOVES to shoot it off, but lately he’s been able to back it up with no problems. His opponent, the man who calls himself “The Law” is a great wrestler, but quite honestly, he bores the hell out of me. I have never seen a Matt Lindland fight that I really enjoyed. He’s a wrestler, but he also likes to find stand up from the clinch position, which is boring to watch.


Both men only have ONE loss on their records, with Lindland having failed in HIS quest to win the UFC Middleweight Championship. I prefer Baroni’s style to Lindland, even though Lindland is a Silver Medallist in Wrestling, and Baroni is a Gold Medallist in putting his foot in his mouth…



I’m picking Phil Baroni to beat Matt Lindland.


Finals of the UFC Lightweight Championship Tournament


B.J. Penn (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: 5 – 1)


Caol Uno (Wajutsu Submission Wrestling 15 - 5 - 2 )



This is also a rematch. Penn and Uno fought at UFC 34, and Penn knocked Uno out in 11 seconds. This is not the same B.J. Penn though. At that time, Penn was on a tear through the entire Lightweight Division, on his way to a HIGHLY anticipated match with the (then) champion Jens Pulver. Penn was actually favored to win that fight, but lost. Penn has not been the same fighter since.


Caol Uno is a legend from Japan’s SHOOTO organization, and despite his stunning loss to Penn, he has a much better record and much more experience than Penn. Uno has fought and beat some of the best in the business, and I’m betting he learned something from their first fight.


As far as styles go, Uno is a submission wrestler, (a style I LOVE) and Penn is a Jiu-Jitsu Stylist, with impressive stand up skills.


I’m going to go out on a limb here, because I think fundamentally, despite his crushing defeat at Penn’s hands the first time they fought, Uno is a better fighter…



I’m picking Caol Uno to beat B.J. Penn.




Tank Abbott (Pitfighting: 8 – 7)


Frank Mir (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: 4 – 1)



There is so much you could say about this fight, it’s hard to know where to even start.


Firstly, people tend to forget, that despite the fact that Tank Abbott may have had the MOST crossover appeal of any of the UFC legends, he has a barely 500 Won Loss record. He has also been out of the MMA game for a LONG time, as his last appearance was at UFC Brazil in 1998.


However, Tank Abbott is famous for a reason. He is one TOUGH man, who just seems to LOVE to get in there and throw down. He has laid some serious beatings on people…even when he loses.


I have to give Tank Abbott FULL credit. When I heard he had resigned with the UFC, I assumed it was a publicity stunt, and that he’d be getting into some so-called “Superfights” against some less than worth opponents. I figured that it was a headline grabbing move on the part of the UFC, to get people to order the shows, but use Abbott as a sideshow attraction, more for his interviews than his fighting.


I forgot that Tank Abbott is not the kind of man who would want to be looked at that way. He is facing a hugely popular and hot prospect in Frank Mir.


Frank Mir was one of the UFC’s handpicked golden boys, just like Tito Ortiz, Ricco Rodriguez or B.J. Penn. You could tell that they expected HUGE things out of Mir. When you combine his movie star good looks, his amazing variety of disciplines (kempo, boxing, wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and the fact that he is from Las Vegas, where the UFC runs most of their shows…well put it this way. I bet they heard cash registers ring when they saw him. The announcers gushed all over him, the fans loved him, and it seemed like only a matter of time before he was the next Tito…basically RAMMED down our throats by the UFC and built up to be the “next big thing.”


Somebody forgot to tell Ian Freeman that. Freeman was a semi-retired British fighter with a so-so won loss record, who hadn’t fought in the UFC in two years. He agreed to fight Mir when the UFC came to England last summer. He got a little excited in front of his hometown fans, and forgot that he was fighting the next big thing, and kicked Mir’s pretty little ass.


Now Mir is back, and needs to regain his momentum. The Abbott fight is the PERFECT chance to do that, as it is going to be widely watched. If Mir beats Abbott, people will forget ALL about the Ian Freeman incident, and remember Frank Mir as the guy who ruined Tank’s comeback.


There is no reason Tank Abbott should win this fight. He probably WON’T win this fight. Frank Mir is younger, and probably a better fighter. But I don’t like the way that the UFC picks fighters, and rams them down the fans throats, trying to convince everybody how great they are. They do it with Tito “Scared Shitless of The Iceman” Ortiz, and they’ve done it with B.J. Penn in the past.


I know it probably won’t happen, but I don’t care. Kick the pretty boy’s ass, Tank.



I’m picking Tank Abbott to beat Frank Mir.


For the UFC World Heavyweight Championship:


Ricco Rodriguez © (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: 11 – 1)


Tim Sylvia (Miletich Fighting Systems: 11-1)



You know all the mean stuff I said about Frank Mir and the UFC above? Well they all apply to Ricco “Suave” Rodriguez. He is another pretty boy fighter who the UFC obviously saw as highly marketable, and has been since pushed down our throats mercilessly…right into the World Heavyweight Championships.


Rodriguez is a tough fighter, to be sure, but the bottom line is this…all of his big wins are over people who are PAST their prime: Williams. Kohsaka, and Couture. He is very lucky that the Heavyweight Division in the UFC is also it’s weakest.


It looks like the UFC handpicked a guy with little experience to “feed” to Ricco for his first defense. Tim Sylvia’s experience is primarily in the Superbrawl Promotion. He is a Miletich fighter, which is a style I love, and has only fought in the UFC once before, in a GREAT stand up war with Wesley “Cabbage” Correira at UFC 39.


This fight is pretty simple. Ricco is supposed to win. His opponent has far less experience than he does, and has only won once in the UFC. How this earned him a title shot, I have no idea. Also, it looks to me like Sylvia is a stand up fighter, whereas Ricco is not. So, look for this fight to go to the ground, and for Ricco to get the win.



I’m picking Ricco Rodriguez to beat Tim Sylvia but I hope I’m wrong, and that Sylvia shocks the hell out of everybody, keeps the fight standing up, and kicks Ricco’s ass.



That’s my preview of UFC 41: ONSLAUGHT.


From the looks of this card, I would HIGHLY recommend that you order this show. There looks to be some very good potential fights on here, plus, in the main two fights there is a chance that Tank and Tim Sylvia can screw up the UFC’s patented Pretty Boy Marketing Plan. That alone is worth the price of the show.


Don’t get me wrong, I love the UFC. PRIDE has the exact same problem, but in their case, they love to shove Japanese Pro Wrestlers down out throats instead of pretty boys. I am all for MMA becoming a bigger mainstream success, and I have nothing against Ricco or Frank Mir. I just dislike HYPE, and I like to pull for the underdog.


Remember, my UFC prediction record from UFC 40 was 6 and 2, and my prediction record for PRIDE 24 was ALSO 6 and 2.


Do I know what I’m talking about, or am I full of CRAP? All that’s left is to watch the show on Friday night, and then join me back here next week, to see how I did.


I hope you enjoy the show, and we’ll see you next week!


Dave Dymond

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