UFC 60 Preview
By T. Sands
Live from Los Angeles, California May 27th, 2006
At first glance, this seems like a show with a must see main event and not much else, but I now see quite a bit of potential. Joe Riggs and Mike Swick should provide some good contact and any time that Brandon Vera steps into the octagon there will be stand up action. This show is something you better get comfortable with, as the UFC is now going down the road of boxing where they will have one blockbuster fight then; fill the rest of the show with build up for their rising stars.
Chael Sonnen (+250) 14-7-1 Vs. Jeremy Horn (-320) 76-14-5
The last couple of months have been rough for Jeremy Horn. He has gone from being Chuck Liddell's punching bag at UFC 54 to winning the closest decision of 2005 against Trevor Prangley and now has had two fights against Evan Tanner canceled weeks before the show. This has led him to a familiar face in Sonnen, as they have already fought twice in 2004.
Sonnen has improved his game greatly over the last couple of years and even went to the second round with Babalu in October before succumbing to a triangle choke. Sonnen trains out of Team Quest in Oregon so his wrestling is good but taking down Jeremy Horn may not be the best idea for him as he has been submitted in four of his seven losses.
Keys to Victory: This should be a fun fight. Horn displayed great heart against Chuck Liddell and would love to get in to the hunt for the 185 lbs. title. Sonnen is going to have to impose his will and use great ground defense to keep himself in this fight. Maybe the third fight will be the charm for Chael as it was against Prangley.
Melvin Guillard (-330) 19-5-2 Vs. Rick Davis (+260) 3-0-1
Guillard comes into this fight as a very strong favorite and rightfully so. He possesses all the necessary skills to become a force in this sport but seems to crack under pressure. He controlled Josh Neer for the majority of their fight in January until he was finished by a triangle choke in the closing seconds of round one. This has become a regular thing in Guillard's career though, as four of his five losses have come by submission.
Rick Davis fights out of Las Vegas, NV at the famed Las Vegas Combat Club. He holds a win in 2002 against Bushido mainstay Charles "Crazy Horse" Bennett but that has remained his biggest victory to date. He delivered two crushing knockouts in fights in 2003 and his last fight in 2004 against Henry Matamoros was ruled a draw.
Keys to Victory: Both guys like to stand up and punch so I am looking for a flash KO from one of them. Guillard has showed good ground and pound in his previous fights so don't be shocked if he gets the takedown.
Gabriel Gonzaga (-325) 5-1 Vs. Fabiano Scherner (+250) 5-2
Gonzaga is a BJJ Heavyweight champion and is one half of the most boring fight in UFC history at UFC 56 with Kevin Jordan. Gonzaga and Jordan danced around for three rounds until the end of the fight where Gonzaga busted Jordan wide open with one punch. Gonzaga was going through a tough time during the Jordan fight as his son passed away just days before.
Scherner is going to be making his second appearance in the Octagon and hopes the end result is better than the first go around. Scherner had the unfortunate duties of facing Brandon Vera in October at Ultimate Fight Night and was knocked out in the second round for his efforts. Four of Scherner's five wins have come by submission except for the first fight of his career which he won by TKO.
Keys to Victory: I am eager to see who the real Gabriel Gonzaga is. He fought courageously during tough times at UFC 56 and this could be his chance to shine. Scherner needs the win here as 0-2 in the UFC would not be good for him. Scherner must stick to his game plan and control Gonzaga if he wants to have any chance of winning this fight.
Dean Lister (-180) 7-4 Vs. Alessio Sakara (+150) 8-3
Lister brings an incredible grappling resume to MMA and has yet to really take off in full contact fighting. He has suffered losses to both Jeremy Horn and Ricardo Arona but held his own in both fights. Lister has the tools necessary to make a title run but needs to put them all together on the brightest stage of them all.
Sakara is a former Brazilian boxer who has been in the octagon twice. His first fight against Ron Faircloth ended tragically when Sakara was low blowed at the beginning of the fight. His second fight went much better as he pounded on Elvis Sinosic for three rounds on his way to a unanimous decision.
Keys to Victory: Vegas opened this fight at Lister (+120) which may prove to be a huge blunder. Lister needs to control the pace of this fight before getting the takedown and submitting Sakara. Sakara has a good shot at having his hand raised if he can wear down Lister on his feet and get the KO.
Diego Sanchez (-500) 14-0 Vs. John Alessio (+350) 16-7
Sanchez brings a great game to the octagon as he can finish a fight with both submissions and ground and pound. He has worked hard over the past couple of years to round out his game and it showed in his last fight against Nick Diaz as he scored a Unanimous Decision victory. Sanchez has been the UFC's golden boy since defeating Kenny Florian in April of 2005 and this should be a tune up fight before he goes on to face either BJ Penn or Karo Parisyan.
Alessio has not fought in the UFC in over five years as his last appearance was a title loss to then champion Pat Miletich. Alessio has fought some top competition in his day and will always fights hard. He has been very vocal about his displeasure of being in the underdog role and believes that Diego Sanchez is going to be in for a big surprise on Saturday night.
Keys to Victory: Sanchez has been a beast so far in the 170 lbs. division and this fight has been billed as nothing more than a tune up. Sanchez needs to take Alessio down and pound out an early stoppage. Anything short of an early stoppage will have Sanchez's critics going crazy. John Alessio's strength will be keeping the fight standing and trying to beat Sanchez to the punch. Alessio may have a shot if he can push the action and make Sanchez fight his fight. This would be a gigantic upset but this has been the year of the upset.