Greg Sirb, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission, must not watch a whole lot of UFC fights, if he felt like he really needed to tell BJ Penn, Kenny Florian, Forrest Griffin and Anderson Silva to bring their A game to tomorrow's UFC 101 in Philadelphia.
Florian and Penn are some of the most exciting fighters in the UFC, win or lose, and their brawl for the lightweight belt will undoubtedly bring fireworks, no matter who comes out on top. And the other main event, between Forrest Griffin and Anderson Silva, is practically tailor-made for the fans.
Sure, some of Anderson Silva's last few fights have been a bit lackluster, but that's because he was fighting guys who didn't even belong in the same arena as him, and were scared to challenge him. With Forrest Griffin, who is a former champion in the weight class above Silva's normal fight weight, that definitely won't happen. Not only because Forrest won't be as intimidated as guys like Thales Leites were, but also because Forrest's style is that of a brawler, and that is the perfect recipe for a ridiculously exciting fight against Silva.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is that while not every UFC fight lives up to the hype, I can virtually guarantee that if nothing else, AT LEAST these two fights will be extremely exciting to watch.
Here's the full schedule:
George Sotiropoulos (9-2) Vs. George Roop (9-5) - 155lb
Matthew Riddle (2-0) Vs. Dan Cramer (1-0) - 170lb
Thales Leites (14-2) Vs. Alessio Sakara (17-7) - 185lb
Tamdan McCrory (12-2) Vs. John Howard (11-4) - 170lb
Shane Nelson (13-3) Vs. Aaron Riley (27-11-1) - 155lb
Josh Neer (25-7-1) Vs. Kurt Pellegrino (19-4) - 155lb
Kendall Grove (12-5) Vs. Ricardo Almeida (10-3) - 185lb
Amir Sadollah (2-0) Vs. Johny Hendricks (5-0) - 170lb
Anderson Silva (24-4) Vs. Forrest Griffin (16-5) - 205lb
Main Event, Lightweight Championship:
BJ Penn (13-5-1) Vs. Kenny Florian (13-3) - 155lb
Overall, this looks to be one of the better fight cards we've seen in a while. Even with UFC 100 providing some incredible matchups, this card might somehow surpass it. Kenny Florian hasn't lost in almost 3 years, and BJ Penn has dominated the lightweight division, with only 1 UFC loss at 155 lbs in his entire career, and that was to Jens Pulver in 2002. The Penn-Florian matchup will be exciting, and if Penn's conditioning has improved as much as he says it has, then it might only get better as it goes deeper into the fight.
Anderson Silva is arguably the most dominant UFC fighter ever. He's a perfect 9-0 in the UFC, and has basically wiped out the competition in the 185-lb weight class. He moved up to light heavyweight (205 lbs) for the first time in July of last year, in an effort to get some tougher competition. That didn't exactly happen, as he disposed of James Irvin in just over a minute. Now, he's facing former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin, in what will surely be a much harder test.
Griffin was really just a brawler through the early part of his career. His fight against Stephan Bonnar at the finale of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter was one of the most important fights in UFC history, and helped put the UFC on the map. He has, however, changes his style a lot since that slugfest. He's a much more cerebral fighter now, due in large part to his training with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture. He won't be afraid to stand and slug it out with Silva, but he'll probably fight a smart enough fight to give himself a chance.
We'll have a live thread here on FanIQ tomorrow for this card, so if you're watching on PPV or catching it online, come chat it up with us. But for now, give us your thoughts on the fights. Who are you picking to win? Which fight are you looking forward to the most? Let us know.