Had trouble getting a ticket to UFC 101? You’re about to take an in-depth look with me at one of the reasons why – the under card quality.
With matches such as McCrory vs. Howard, Grove vs. Almeida and more, there’s no wonder as to why “Declaration” should be a hit summer event for the UFC.
Tamdan McCrory (11-2) vs. John Howard (11-4): Howard looks to put together back to back wins in his first two UFC fights with a victory over popular welterweight prospect Tamdan McCrory. “The Barncat” is a fan favorite and has had some exciting showings inside the Octagon, but proved inconsistent thus far with alternating wins and losses over five bouts. McCrory sports a solid ground game but poses a threat on the feet with TKO power. Howard himself is a well-rounded fighter and this match holds potential for an “…of the night” honor.
Kendall Grove (10-5-1) vs. Ricardo Almeida (10-3): Grove and Almeida are both enjoying resurgences in their pro careers and will meet here on the UFC 101 under card in a middleweight clash. Almeida is a world class BJJ practitioner and may want to lure the lanky Grove into his web of submissions. He’ll need to be smart in doing so, as Grove possesses power in his hands and slick submissions of his own. This will be Ricardo’s last fight at 185 lbs. before moving down to welterweight.
Thales Leites (14-2) vs. Alessio Sakara (13-7): Sakara and Leites seek approval from fans in this fight. Leites, the Brazilian, is coming off a snoozefest loss to champ Anderson Silva. Sakara however, recently knocked out Joe Vedepo with a brutal head kick. Alessio will attempt putting together his first back to back wins on Saturday night while Thales looks for a rebound to the winning ways which earned him his recent title shot. Classic grappler (Leites) vs. striker (Sakara) match-up which should be entertaining for everyone.
Matt Riddle (2-0) vs. Dan Cramer (1-0): The battle of the up and comers! Don’t let these inexperienced pro MMA records fool you, though. Riddle and Cramer have showcased their KO power in the UFC since their time on TUF and this one could very well end with a bang.
Aaron Riley (27-11-1) vs. Shane Nelson (12-3): These two first met at UFC 96, where 6th Round witnessed live one of the worst refs in MMA history call the fight off after the two went to the ground and Riley pulled guard. Dana White had said in a post-fight press conference that the two would indeed meet for a rematch, so here it is at 101. Riley has a world of experience and Nelson has not lost in three years. Look for Riley to exact revenge on the feet and for Nelson to seek take downs.
George Roop (9-4) vs. George Sotiropoulos (9-2): Sotiropoulos, the Australian, has been plagued by injuries ever since his appearance in The Ultimate Fighter. Training with Matt Serra and Ray Longo in New York, George is a well-rounded guy with intense focus. He has only two blemishes in his career with one coming to Japanese sensation Shinya Aoki. Roop’s been flying under the radar but is no slouch. In this showdown of the Georges, power and endurance could be the deciding factors.
Danillo Villefort (9-2) vs. Jesse Lennox (10-1):
These bright youngsters don’t mind stand-n-bang or working for the sub. With each man having shown in their respective careers that they can strike as much as they can submit opponents, this could be a great back and forth battle.