This Sunday night the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will be packing the house to bring its hometown MMA fans as well as those around the world the UFC’s latest effort in UFC on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle. Move aside, headhunter Clay Matthews, for two other all-out brawlers will take the center stage as former title contender “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-9) and “Fight of the Night” king “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-18-5) duke it out in the main event. Former WEC Lightweight Champion and highly regarded submission artist “Smooth” Ben Henderson (12-2) will meet the dangerous Jim Miller (20-2) in a match-up that will perhaps determine the next title challenger to the winner of “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) and “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0-1). WEC alum and kickboxing veteran “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (14-4) is looking to stay undefeated at 3-0 in the UFC by gaining a win over slick submission ace Charles Oliveira (14-1), while Oliveira seeks a win of his own to boost his stock in the 155lbs. division. Two UFC welterweight warriors will meet in a barn burner match-up for the right to move into the higher ranks as TUF 7 winner and textbook striker Amir Sadollah (5-2) will go against the Strikeforce, King of the Cage, and UFC veteran “Bang” Duane Ludwig (20-11). Especially in the UFC’s highly competitive 170lbs. division, a win is vital not only to stay in the running for title contention, but also in many cases, to avoid being demoted to undercard status.
“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” — Bob Dylan
So after last week’s exciting showdown between Josh Koscheck and MMA’s most famous male nurse, Brad Tate, this weeks’ TUF had nary a glimpse of Brad. Talk about loose ends. That’s just bad storytelling. Was Brad asked to leave? Did he leave on his own? Was he there but they chose to cut him out as to not take focus away from the two fights on the show? Whatever, but you can’t just build your story up to such a dramatic showdown as TUF did last week and then just drop it like it never happened.
Kris McCray vs. Carlos Eduardo Rocha: Rocha via Submission (Kneebar), Round 1, 2:21
Seth Petruzelli vs. Karlos Vemola: Vemola via TKO (Punches and Elbows), Round 1, 3:46
Kyle Noke vs. Rob Kimmons: Noke via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 2, 1:33
Pascal Krauss vs. Mark Scanlon: Krauss via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Alexandre Ferreira: Matyushenko via TKO (Punches and Elbows), Round 1, 2:20
Nick Osipczak vs. Duane Ludwig: Ludwig via Split Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Goran Reljic vs. Krzysztof Soszynski: Soszynski via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Peter Sobotta vs. Amir Sadollah: Sadollah via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Andre Winner vs. Dennis Siver: Siver via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 1, 3:37
Alessio Sakara vs. Jorge Rivera: N/A. Sakara withdrew from the competition due to illness.
Yushin Okami vs. Nate Marquardt: Okami via Unanimous Decision, Round 3, 5:00
Knockout of the Night: Karlos Vemola – $60,000
Submission of the Night: Dennis Siver – $60,000
Fight of the Night: Pascal Krauss and Mark Scanlon – $60,000 each
UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami at the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany is another excellent offering for the UFC fans. It is packed with TUF alums like “The Polish Experiment” Krzysztof Soszynski (20-10-1), Andre Winner (12-4-1), and Amir Sadollah (3-2), has old school UFC veterans Jorge Rivera (18-7) and “Legionarius” Alessio Sakara (15-7) and also features ace grappler Goran Reljic (8-2) and Germany’s two UFC stand-up crowd pleasers Peter Sobotta (6-2) and Denis Siver (16-7). However, the focal point of the night’s competition is a main event title contention bout between the top-ten staple “The Great” Nate Marquardt (30-9-2) and the last man to defeat the current UFC middleweight kingpin, “Thunder” Yushin Okami (25-5). Both men have a lot to fight for with a win meaning a title shot and a loss quite possibly sending either man back into the chaotic mess that is the UFC middleweight division. Marquardt said in an interview for the UFC, “For me, this is the title fight because if I don’t win, there won’t likely be another title shot for me in the UFC.” What he may not realize is that those words ring true for both he and his opponent.
The UFC visits Germany for only the second time as it storms the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen for UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami. The featured bout of the evening is a middleweight title contention bout between “The Great” Nate Marquardt (30-9-2) and “Thunder” Yushin Okami (25-5), and the card also includes several solid fighters like Jorge Rivera (18-7), Alessio Sakara (15-7), and Denis Siver (16-7). TUF standout “The Polish Experiment” Krzysztof Soszynski (20-10-1) and light heavyweight prospect Goran Reljic (8-2) also appear on the card alongside TUF Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah (3-2) and German native Peter Sobotta (6-2). The bout between Sobotta and Sadollah is a fight for survival for both men. Sadollah has been plagued by injuries and less than stellar performances ever since his crowning as the Season 7 Ultimate Fighter. After losing all of the hype that was built around him following the show due to a one year layoff, Sadollah was obliterated by John Hendricks (9-0) in 29 seconds and has since struggled in the Octagon despite winning two of his last three fights. Sobotta is in a similar situation. He was brought into the UFC as an undefeated hometown fighter for their first event in Germany, set to make a name for himself as the German version of “The Count” Michael Bisping (20-3). Instead, the young fighter finds himself staring at the dreaded UFC chopping block after dropping decisions in both of his previous UFC appearances and being relatively inactive. Both Amir and Peter are watching their big show dreams circle the drain and this fight is the only thing that can stop it from going down the tubes.
This Saturday, the eyes of MMA fans worldwide will be glued to the Octagon affixed in the center of the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany in anticipation of another action-filled night that the UFC has become known for. UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami boasts a roster full of The Ultimate Fighter standouts including “The Savage” Kris McCray (5-1), “KO” Kyle Noke (17-4-1), “Slick” Nicholas Osipczak (6-2), “The Polish Experiment” Krzysztof Soszynski (20-10-1), Amir Sadollah (3-2), Andre Winner (12-4-1), Jorge Rivera (18-7), and “The Great” Nate Marquardt (30-9-2), as well as Strikeforce alum “Bang” Duane Ludwig (19-4), IFL veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (24-5), and more. The main event between Marquardt and Japanese southpaw Yushin Okami (25-5) is a battle for title contention, as the winner is the next man in line for a shot at UFC Middleweight Championship, after current champ “The Spider” Anderson Silva (27-4) faces “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (19-8), supposedly at UFC 126 in February.
Exactly how UFC 122 will unfold remains to be seen, but here’s what MMA Gospel staff members are predicting for the event’s main card:
German fans will receive their second visit from the UFC when the world’s premier MMA promotion brings UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami to the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen. The main event is a middleweight title contention bout between “The Great” Nate Marquardt (30-9-2) and “Thunder” Yushin Okami (25-5). The card also includes TUF standouts “The Polish Experiment” Krzysztof Soszynski (20-10-1) and Amir Sadollah (3-2), light heavyweight prospect Goran Reljic (8-2), German native Peter Sobotta (6-2), UFC veterans Jorge Rivera (18-7) and Alessio Sakara (15-7), and what promises to be a very entertaining fight between spinning back kick aficionado Dennis Siver (16-7) and British TUF Season 9 runner-up Andre Winner (12-4-1). Both Siver and Winner have eclectic striking styles that lend themselves to all sorts of fan pleasing flare as well as underrated ground games. They also have a rather unique place among UFC fighters; they have solid records with the promotion, ensuring they are in no danger of facing one of “The Mad Butcher” Dana White’s Donald Trump-style dismissals following a loss, but haven’t put together the strings of impressive victories necessary to move further into the limelight of the stacked lightweight division.