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Preview – UFC 102: Randy Couture Vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

UFC 102 has some interesting fights, but I’m not sure exactly what they mean in the long run. Keith Jardine vs. Thiago Silva is a fight that could be very entertaining, but both guys recently lost to top fighters in the light heavyweight division and a win or a loss for either guy probably doesn’t mean a whole lot in the whole scheme of things. Chris Leben and Jake Rosholt will more than likely be entertaining in the striker vs. wrestler sort of way. And Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Brandon Vera has a chance to be exciting because Krzysztof will force Vera to mix it up.

But there are only two real fights that seem to feel special. Demian Maia and Nate Marquardt is the one fight, other than the main event that has true implications in title standings. It’s also going to be a great contrast of styles with Maia who is a demon on the ground, with the more well-rounded and battle tested Marquardt. And of course, our main event, which would’ve been a better fight 5 years ago, but should still be legendary once the two veterans lock up.

Big D, Alan, Duan, and myself are back with our thoughts on the two big fights, and Stevie J from AngryMarks.com and loyal reader JP from WeAreSC.com drop by with their thoughts as well.

Demian Maia vs. Nate Marquardt

Big D: Maia by 2nd round submission
Alan: Marquardt
Duan: Marquardt by 3rd round TKO
GG: Maia by 2nd round submission
Stevie J: Marquardt by 3rd round submission
JP: Maia by 2nd round submission

Big D says:

I think this will be close, but I gotta go with Maia with the 2nd round submission. I think Nate will get caught by the master.

Alan says:

Gonna go with Nate The Great. I have faith in the PANCRASE dojo, he’ll be able to avoid the dangerous subs and eventually overwhelm Maia with his power and better striking.

Duan says:

I think this is stylistically a good match up for Nate. He is vastly experienced, and is crafty enough to stay out of trouble even against a truly elite level submission fighter like Maia. He will be able to survive on the ground and thrive on the feet. Maia will be a handful for most guys in the 185 pound division, but this is just a bad match up for him.

GG says:

I think Nate dominates Maia until getting caught.

Stevie J says:

Marquardt’s been on a tear. Other than his defeat in a title fight against Anderson Silva his controversial split decision loss to Thales Leites (which ironically made Leites a #1 contender to fight Silva) nobody’s beaten him since 2003. Marquardt’s a 7 time King of Pancrase at middleweight, the real deal in every way, yet the brass ring in UFC eludes him. It may again against Maia, undefeated in his ENTIRE MMA career at 10-0. Maia is a much better fighter than Leites in every way, but Marquardt is a much better fighter than when he fought Leites, so this is your ultimate coin flip fight. I’m going with Nate just because I think he wants it more.

JP says:

Marquardt has been training with GSP for this match and will try to win with superior wrestling. But I think Maia will surprise people by taking Marquardt to the ground then working his BJJ for the submission victory.

Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Big D: Couture by 2nd round TKO
Alan: Couture by 2nd round TKO
Duan: Couture by decision
GG: Couture by 3rd round TKO
Stevie J: Couture by 1st round TKO
JP: Couture by 3rd round TKO

Big D says:

I have a man crush on both men and deeply respect them. I loved Nog in PRIDE but a man can only take so much. He’s about 10 years younger than Randy and looks 10 years older – not a good look. Mike Sawyer and Oliver Copp said he was getting plowed left and right in training. I gotta go with the man with the plan.

Alan says:

I want Nog to win but I don’t see it.

Duan says:

I would really rather see both of these guys retire. Couture showed signs that age was finally catching up on him in his last fight. The movement just doesn’t seem to be there for him anymore. Nog has looked to be fading rapidly since his UFC debut. I didn’t believe it was possible for him to lose to a guy like Frank Mir, and I didn’t like seeing it happen. This fight has come too late; all it will prove is which of the two is less broken down. I think that’s Couture.

GG says:

I think we’re going to see a really good Big Nog on this night. But Big Nog’s “really good” these days isn’t quite enough if Randy brings his best. I think it’s an even match until Randy catches him in the 3rd round and finishes him on the ground.

Stevie J says:

What we’ve been hearing out of these two camps is night and day. Everyone says Couture looks great, is in great shape, and continues to defy the odds as to what a man his age should be doing in MMA. Nogueira is over a decade younger but may look a decade OLDER, and he’s in bad shape. We’re hearing that he’s been knocked out multiple times in training camp and that he needs help just getting up the stairs. Can there really be any doubt who’s going to win? Couture always fights better as the underdog, but this one should be easy for him. Perhaps too easy. I wonder if Nog even belongs in the Octagon any more.

JP says:

Randy is a master game planner which will keep him safe from Nog’s BJJ. Once that is taken away from Nog he becomes too pedestrian to beat Randy.

We all feel Randy takes the main event, but we are split right dead in the middle on Marquardt vs. Maia. We’ll be back Saturday with UFC 102 play by play.

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15 thoughts on “Preview – UFC 102: Randy Couture Vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

  1. Everyone is taking Couture and everyone taking Maia is calling a round 2 submission.


  2. If you needed any better evidence that Maia v. Marquardt is a “coin flip” fight, the 50/50 split in the picks on this preview proves it.

  3. You know, we were wrong, but on FGB we both said Nog is being severely underrated here and we’d see a really good Nog. We were right about that, just wrong about our prediction.

  4. I like Couture but his time may have finally passed. I really don’t want to see him fight six more times.

  5. I don’t know man. He fought a great fight last night. There were a few instances in which I thought he should’ve been able to get out of the way, but he still beats everyone outside of the top 5.

  6. He definitely showed a lot of heart and he put up a good fight but Nog was the clear victor. He could probably beat guys not in the top 5 but will the UFC really turn him into the HW gatekeeper?

  7. Let’s put it this way. Randy is an easy story to tell. You can put him with a ton of guys like Mir and Cro Cop and it’s easy money.

  8. True story. But from the fighting point of view and not business, its not something I really want to see.

  9. As long as Couture or Nog don’t get really hurt, I want to see them. They were inspiring as all hell last night.

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