One of the reasons I am so looking forward to our attending UFC 96 this week, is the likelihood of some major upsets.
In professional sports, the upset win can be one of the most thrilling moments, and here I make the case for why some shocking finishes are potentially in the mix for Saturday night.
Quinton Jackson -350 vs. Keith Jardine +250
I do believe the line here correctly reflects the records of each fighter, but Jardine is not given enough respect (as is usually the case). Keith is a man who successfully delivered crushing losses to both Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell. If Brandon Vera would have engaged with Jardine, that victory would have been more dominant as well. Although Quinton’s in better shape and training harder now, Keith is out of the Jackson camp and is always a dangerous dark horse.
Gabriel Gonzaga -185 vs. Shane Carwin +145
Gonzaga is too inconsistent when it comes to top-level talent, for me to think Carwin doesn’t stand a chance. Shane stands a very, very solid chance at becoming the next top contender for the heavyweight belt by taking out Gabriel. Carwin is undefeated in the UFC, and has the size and skill to overcome anything Gonzaga can throw his way.
Mark Munoz +140 vs. Matt Hamill -170
Munoz is a newcomer and Hamill is on the verge of breaking into the very upper echelon of his division. Matt has lacked some aggressiveness in his past fights, but I believe is working diligently on bringing the heat more so in the first rounds and should pose a horrifically tough challenge for Mark.
Michael Patt +400 vs. Brandon Vera -550
Let me tell you something about Brandon Vera; this is his very last chance to prove he “still has it”. The man has been a shadow of his former self, and the +400 fighter like Mike Patt is the kind of hungry guy who could make good on an opportunity of winning over a “name” like Vera. Although I’m sure Brandon is aware of how serious the stakes are, Patt has the ability to oust his failing opponent.
Matt Brown +110 vs. Pete Sell -140
This is a fight I am very much looking forward to witnessing live, as both men are coming off wins and are tough as nails. Sell has apparently rededicated himself, but Brown has never skipped a beat since his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter 7. While Sell possesses the power to put Brown away, Matt has shown me he is without a doubt able to overcome Sell and potentially cause a great upset here.
Jim Miller +145 vs. Gray Maynard -185
This is a fight I feel very strongly about being a potential upset. Miller is part of the new wave of guys making a splash in the UFC, and has shown he has the ground skills to hang with Maynard, in addition to solid stand-up. This is a point in Maynard’s career where his lack of willingness to utilize kickboxing could find him in a very bad spot.
Jason Day +160 vs. Kendall Grove -200
Kendall is crafting a comeback but has not shown us much in his past several fights, compared to the power he brought in his TUF era appearances. In Jason, we have a guy who’s hungry and has likely learned much from the loss to Bisping. Grove needs to watch out for Day’s composure+technique combo, as this fight is in no way a lock.