The Ultimate Fighter 7 winner Amir Sadollah hasn't found his way back to the Octagon just yet, but his blogging career is in full swing. In this edition of his exclusive Spike.com blog, he comments on his injury and last-minute withdrawal from Fight Night 17, then gives a detailed breakdown of this weekend's fights, airing live and free on Spike TV at 9pm. Hit the jump to hear straight from Amir.
So I don't want to make this the focus of the article, nor publicize my medical records, but I want people to be correctly informed. For the second time I have had to pull out of a match, this time due to a shoulder injury. Without getting too medical, let's just say it's not broken, but someone may or may not have dropped a hand grenade in my shoulder. So once again...reverse progress... hard work nullified... dreams crushed... blah, blah, blah.
Now on to the good stuff. Greg and I will be breaking down the fights for fight night 17.
Lauzon vs. Stevens
This card seemed plagued with bad juju, as Hermes Franca had to withdraw too, and Stevens was subbed last minute. From what I saw of Stevens' last fight on short notice, I don't think he will suffer too much. I would give the advantage to Lauzon the further the fight goes, but fifteen minutes is a long time to make something happen.
I think you're right about Stephens' conditioning. He hasn't shown that to be a problem in the past and he announced on a conference call the other day -I get to listen in on the media conference calls, because I'm cool-that he had been training full time with Hermes and JoshNeer anyway, so that should be the least of his problems. With that said, let's highlight his biggest problem: Lauzon's jiu jitsu. Stephens is solid on the ground, but J-Lau is on a different level. Stephens has great hands and his best chance will be to score a quick knockout. However, he probably realizes this and it might open him up for a takedown from Lauzon and that will likely be the end for Lil' Heathen.
Cain Velasquez vs. Denis Stojnic
I don't know a lot about Stojnic, but the egocentric part of me likes his background, Sambo and Dutch Muay Thai. The bad part for Stojnic is on paper, stylistically European strikers have a hard time with good wrestlers, and Velasquez is a very good wrestler.
Well no one knows much about Stojnic. He's been hiding away in promotions in the Far East, and while you may have a bias towards his style, the terms Sambo and DMT don't exactly strike fear into the hearts of UFC toughs like Cain Velasquez. Cain has pretty good kickboxing too and like you said he's a great wrestler. One thing I can say for guys who spend most of their time in places like Croatia and Serbia is that they're usually tough as nails, but this is a tall order for Stojnic's Octagon debut and if he wants to make a splash, he better find an answer for Velasquez's bombs.
Mac Danzig vs. Josh Neer
I've gotten to know Mac training with him at Xtreme Couture, so I can personally attest to his skill and work ethic. I've seen a real positive difference in him for this camp vs. his last camp for Guida. Neer earned the "toughest *%$#er badge" in my book when I watched him fight through and win, after being in a completed kneebar with Joe Stevenson. Both Neer and Danzig are such high level fighters, the fight can go either way. I think to call this one; you have to look at who has shown they want it the most.
Tough fight to call, these two are very similar fighters. Both have very similar records and are solid in the standup, takedowns and ground skills. However, Danzig is a bit more technical on the feet and probably has a little more power behind his punches than Neer, especially since his arrival at Xtreme Couture and time with Shawn Tompkins. It should also be noted that in 24 fights, Danzig has never been subbed. Still, Neer is tough, so look for this one to end in decision, favoring the TUF 6 winner (Danzig, that is).
Luigi Fioravanti vs. Anthony Johnson
I'm stoked to watch this fight, I think it will be a war. I also think both guys are potential bad match ups for each other, so we'll see who has the best game plan.
This one has all the ingredients for a war. Fioravanti is tough and doesn't mind taking some punishment. Johnson will be happy to oblige, but he'll take some punishment of his own along the way. IfFioravanti can stay on his feet long enough to hear that third bell, it should be a unanimous decision for Johnson, otherwise Johnson will score the TKO.
These next fights might not air on Spike, but I threw together a little bonus blog action anyway, just for fun.
Nick Catone vs. Derek Downey
Maybe I'm just not supposed to fight him now, maybe I suck as a fighter. Either way, I'm sorry to have involved Catone on my recent career roller coaster, so I wish him all the best. I don't know a lot about Downey but his credentials seem legit. I'm thinking Catone will have an advantage with his near five month training camp, but MMA is unpredictable.
Steve Bruno vs. Matt Riddle
I am not gonna hide my bias as cleverly here, I think Riddle is going to be a bit too much for Bruno athletically, and in pure drive. I am however, a horrible psychic so any and all predictions made by me are for entertainment purposes only, and not intended for professional use.