UFC 74 Preview: What Did The Five Fingers Say To The Face?

August 23, 2007 – 7:05 pm by McD

Once again, the UFC has a storyline that’s too fun to pass up. Randy “The Natural” Couture’s 44-year-old ass is defending his title against the Cro Cop-killa, Gabriel Gonzaga. We’re not paying for it ourselves, but we will be viewing the action at a local establishment and making loud, jingoistic observations about such things as how creepy Brazilian men are and wondering whether Gonzaga already knew jiu-jitsu when he was cut out of that glacier and unfrozen in Encino. We’re not going to pretend to be UFC experts or anything, but here is our preview of UFC 74 in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga - Heavyweight title bout
Gonzaga: 28 years old, 6’1″ 242 pounds, 8-1
Couture: 44 yeards old, 6’2″ 220 pounds, 15-8

To call Randy Couture a sentimental fan favorite is to understate how much people acutally want him to win this fight. That said, Gonzaga is the real favorite here. He’s younger, extremely athletic, and knows what he’s doing on the ground – unlike Tim Sylvia, the man Couture beat for the title on March 3rd at UFC 68. Even so, the crowd will be heavily pro-Couture and there is no reason to think the old man can’t throw something together again and keep the title for a while longer. It’s what everyone seems to want. It’s also easy to throw a little hate Gonzaga’s way because he’s fighting Captain America, but the truth is he has been nothing but humble and respectful of Couture for the entire build-up to the fight. He’s practically as good a story as Couture if he wins the fight. Plus he did knock Mirko Cro Cop the f**k out and frankly, we’d love to see them rematch for the title if he wins, especially since Cro Cop says he’s “refocused” his priorities. In the end, if Couture wins, it’ll be another storybook win and everyone goes home happy. If Gonzaga wins, this could be the start of a long reign at the top for the Brazilian because the division is weak and he’ll have proven himself to be a well-rounded fighter in his prime.

Still, Couture has this Mr. Miyagi-on-Halloween quality to him which always makes it seem possible that he’ll totally destroy some poor schmuck and then go back to being old. He’s strong, has wrestling skills and whatever that veteran savvy thing is that older fighters get. Plus, he’s fighting a younger, Brazilian version of himself if he knew jiu-jitsu. That may have been a stretch, but it’s guys who like to wrestle that are a much better matchup for “The Natural” because he can control the tempo.
Prediction: Come on, you know you want Couture to win one more time.

Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck – Welterweight fight
St. Pierre: 26, 5’10″ 170 pounds, 13-2
Koscheck: 29, 5’10″ 170, 11-2

Not so long ago, Georges St. Pierre beat Matt Hughes pretty easily to become the welterweight champion. Then he lost to Matt Serra, a nobody from UFC’s reality show The Ultimate Fighter. The winner of this fight will probably get the winner of Serra vs. Hughes early next year. Anyway, St. Pierre is a vastly superior fighter with a complete arsenal who should, *should* beat Koscheck, who is primarily a wrestler. That said, Koscheck is a really great wrestler and the only person to beat Diego Sanchez, which is pretty impressive. If he manages to take St. Pierre down, he could win a decision, though he has virtually no chance of ending things quickly. Then again, this is the UFC, people get knocked out unexpectedly all the time. Look, this is a French-Canadian versus an American, so you’re required to cheer for Koscheck, even if St. Pierre ought to handle him pretty easily.
Prediction: Koscheck makes things awkward and ugly, but St. Pierre pulls it out.

Roger Huerta vs. Alberto Crane – lightweights
Crane: 31, 5’9″ 155 pounds, 8-0
Huerta: 24, 5’9″ 155 pounds, 19-1-1

It’s pretty clear that Huerta is the favorite in this one. Crane doesn’t even have a picture on UFC’s card for the fight on their website. They’ve also been trying to build Huerta into a lightweight contender recently. He’s shown some skills but, in all honesty, 155 pounds is a loaded division, so he’s got a ways to go.
Prediction: Huerta

Kurt Pellegrino vs. Joe Stevenson – lightweights
Stevenson: 25, 5’7″ 155 pounds, 32-7
Pellegrino: 28, 5’8″ 155 pounds, 16-2

I’d just like to point out that Pellegrino’s nickname is “Batman” which alone requires him to take a beating. You can’t just steal a superhero’s nickname. Couture is Captain America, but the guy is the most beloved fighter in the UFC and he’s practically a senior citizen, so he deserves it. Both guys are much better on the ground but Stevenson is the superior fighter. He’s also the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 2, which is why his name is ringing a bell in the back of your head.
Prediction: Stevenson

Patrick Cote vs. Kendall Grove – middleweights
Cote: 27, 5’11″ 185 pounds, 10-4
Grove: 24, 6’6″ 185 pounds, 10-3

Grove is something of a monster and Cote only has one win in the UFC. Grove has an advantage in stand-up because he’s eight inches taller than Cote and Cote has virtually no ground skills, so if he gets taken down, he’s still in trouble. Should be fun watching him get a concussion though.
Prediction: Grove

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  1. 9 Responses to “UFC 74 Preview: What Did The Five Fingers Say To The Face?”

  2. Damn! That’s a stacked lineup card! I’m hoping that this Huerta fight will be as great as his last one. Though even if it’s 1/2 of what the previous one was, it will still be great.

    By The Hundley on Aug 24, 2007

  3. The fight of the night might come from the undercard — Tyson Griffin vs. Marcus Aurelio. Hopefully some of the main fights are short (note to GSP, Huerta, Grove, knock out your glorified tomato can opponents quickly, please) so we can see Griffin/Aurelio on Saturday night.

    By Mark P on Aug 24, 2007

  4. I don’t know how you can call the heavyweight division “weak.” A year ago, absolutely. But now they brought in arguably the second and third best in the world (Nogueira and Cro-Cop). Add in Werdum, Gonzaga, Vera, Sylvia, Couture, Arlovski, etc. and it’s not a weak division at all.

    By Anonymous on Aug 24, 2007

  5. #1- The heavy wieghts are definitally in a rebuilding process, but there is some talent there.. as for satudays fight don’t count Captain America out… Randy is a bad a** Mo Fo! Plain old experience with persavere. Couture TKO round 2
    #2- George porgee should beat Koscheck, Koscheck has an impressive streak but the only person he beat that was worth a sh*t was Diego. If you look at who GSP has beaten – Hughes- Trigg – BJ Penn – I mean the talent that GSP beat handily is far and beyond anyone that koscheck has even faced let alone beat. GSP by submission round 2
    #3-Huerta -submission 1st round
    #4-Since his move from the talent packed 170′s Joe has been unbeatable and will continue this Saturday. Stevenson by ref stoppage
    #5- Gotta disagree with you here, Kendall is good without a doubt, but Cote realized that if he is to be anything more than a half a** star in the TKO franchise he HAS to win. Grove is not going to be nearly as hungry and will gas in the second. Cote by submission.

    By Spirit on Aug 24, 2007

  6. Weak HW division? It has seven of the top 10 HWs in the world according to MMA Weekly, which is on par with the LHW and the WW division. The lesser talent leaves a lot to be desired, but the top of the division is stacked.

    By Anonymous on Aug 24, 2007

  7. Mark P you mental midget, it’s Clay Guida fighting Aurelio.

    Unless there is a super quick fight between Guida and Aurelio I doubt that fight will make it to air because UFC will be looking to get the Mir, Babalu/Heath and/or Leites fights on because those fighters are all closer to money fights then Guida. Although Guida has had two awesome fights in a row with Tyson Griffin (not fighting on Saturday) and Din Thomas.

    Spirit… picking Cote is a mistake as he has no technical advantages over Grove and he always chokes hard when he gets in a UFC octagon.

    By D. Ling on Aug 24, 2007

  8. I agree with you about the Koscheck fight. Can’t wait

    By UFCGirls.com on Aug 24, 2007

  9. “wondering whether Gonzaga already knew jiu-jitsu when he was cut out of that glacier and unfrozen in Encino. “

    ha ha ha, nice.

    but I wouldn’t call Matt Serra a “nobody.” Then again, I wouldn’t call anyone with the balls to step into the Octagon a nobody.

    By Joe Daddy on Aug 24, 2007

  10. Agreed, Serra is a journeyman, not a nobody.

    By Anonymous on Aug 24, 2007

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