Thoughts on this weekend's free event:
Silva vs Irvin - I'm really excited to watch this fight on my DVR (sadly, I can't watch it live due to other plans). You already know how I feel about Silva, he's the best in the world, and the only fighter that guarantee's I'll buy a PPV. Irvin's no slouch, the man has great power in his hands (side note: Will people stop saying he KO'd Houston Alexander with the Superman-punch? The punch didn't land flush & Alexander slipped as much as he got knocked-down. Irvin KO'd Alexander with 3 fantastic flush shots from top-position, yes, Alexander, you were knocked-out). Irvin has a chance to win, if he comes out swinging. Silva starts fights very methodically, he typically spends the first 2-3 minutes getting his opponent's timing & range down. If Irvin comes at Silva hard & fast in those opening minutes, he has a shot. If he gives Silva time to settle in or tries to beat Silva in the clinch (as he says he will), we'll find out if Silva has enough power to KO a light heavyweight with a good chin. Based on Silva's fights against Franklin & Leben (Leben ain't a great fighter, but he has a fantastic chin), I'd say Silva has the power.
Vera vs Andy - Vera started off as an electrifying fighter (overstatement, but I was tired of using the word entertaining). Hopefully, dropping a weight class means he'll regain that form. I couldn't find Reese on Wikipedia, so, I'll offer some thoughts on the fight's origin. When the UFC was putting together this "very short notice fuck Affliction" card, it allegedly (based on Vera's claims & offered Vera, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou Nkamhoua, and Reese Andy.
Silva, Henderson, & Sokoudjou all turned the fight down which was a good move for each man. Wanderlei didn't want to fight until the end of the year, which is perfectly legit, and may net him a shot at the title if Liddell loses to Evan. Sokoudjou didn't want to take a fight on such short notice (especially because he was on vacation when his representatives were contacted). Smart move on his part, there was a lot of hype surrounding his coming to the UFC, and he lost his first fight (granted the loss was to Machida). He beat his next opponent, but he's still in a somewhat precarious position because starting his UFC career 1-2 would drop him to 5-3 and set his career back a bit. I haven't heard why Henderson turned down the fight, but it was a smart move. Back is his prime, Henderson was arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter ever. But, he's 37. He's past his prime and will probably only fight a few more times. He needs to choose those fights very carefully.
Franca vs Edgar - This could easily be the main event for a free card. Both are top-tier lightweights. Be excited about this fight.
Velasquez vs O'Brien - The good news is that this fight can't be as bad as O'Brien's free TV debut against Heath Herring. Its free MMA so I'm trying to be happy. Let's hope Velasquez's takedown defense is good enough to keep O'Brien from sitting on him for 15 minutes or that O'Brien has figured out what to do after taking a guy down. Otherwise, this could be a good time to wash the dishes.
Johnson vs Burns - Johnson's a big guy that fights hard & fast, Burns submitted Roan Carniero. I'm intrigued.
Taylor vs Dollaway - Look 2 guys that were both on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter! OMFG! Taylor sat on top of guys to get to the finals & Dollaway beat 2 of the weaker guys on the show before getting arm-barred twice (but, at least he was man enough to complain after tapping the second time. If you miss this fight live, it'll probably be shown in its entirety on Hot Chicks with Douche Bags http://www.hotchickswithdouchebags.com/.
Really, this fight makes the main card and Rory Markham's doesn't?