Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Forrest sighting

He sure keeps a low profile for a UFC champ. It still sounds weird saying "UFC Light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin". While I was watching, I started to get the idea that this fight could end up being the most boring fight ever seen, with Forrest refusing to leave his game plan, and Rashad refusing to leave his, or it could end viciously.
Forrest doesn't really have much in the way of KO power (2 KO's in his career, and one over Elvis Sinosic...), but he's long, and his cardio is unbelievable. I've seen Rashad tire more often than I've seen Forrest tire. Forrest has a significant height and reach advantage, and generally looks pretty big at light heavy. Forrest has been knocked out, but not often. His last loss was to Keith Jardine, in what I like to call the Hand of God fight, since Jardine's hand looked like he was reaching all the way up into the heavens and grabbing some whup-ass to lay politely on Griffin's head. Griffin's jiu jitsu is excellent, as are his skills in almost every area of fighting. I'd say he's got some of the best MMA jiu jitsu in the UFC, as far as combining the discipline with all the other necessary skills. Forrest has tons of experience, a great camp, and a willingness to do anything to win. He's got a tremendous heart as well.
Rashad Evans has a lot of heart too, having fought much larger guys at heavyweight before establishing himself with a series of escalating explosions at LHW. The pound-out of Lambert, the Headkick, and the KO of Chuck were on either side of a couple of controversial decisions. Rashad has excellent handspeed, and a great camp as well. He's giving up 4" in height to Forrest, but generally gives up a lot of size to opponents. Rashad's improved with every fight. His wrestling is great, but his jiu jitsu is pretty much non-existent, even though he's got some defense, obviously. Rashad also has a special weapon, the Greg Jackson nipple-tweak, which apparently causes guys to go out and beat the living shit out of people. Leonard Garcia, GSP, and Rashad all tweak nip and finished their opponents. So watch out!
Common opponents are Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar, Griffin loss/winx2, Rashad draw/win.
In the end, Rashad once again has a big mountain to climb. Before his fight against Chuck, I said "You know, pretty much every time they've put a challenge in front of this guy, he's found a way to win". And other than Ortiz that's true, whatever you think of judges' relative competence. Forrest is the same...each has some missteps, but each has come back stronger, and scored big wins during their biggest challenges. I believe that Forrest Griffin can find a way to win this fight. But I also believe that Rashad Evans has faster hands and better footwork than Forrest. While it's bizarre to say Forrest Griffin, UFC LHW Champ, it'll be one hundred times weirder to say "Rashad Evans, UFC LHW Champ", when a big hand from Rashad finds its way home in the second round.
Of course, the last time I tried to analyze like this I was pretty sure Randy would give Brock Lesnar an asswhippin.

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