Wednesday night in North Carolina the month of March will come to a close with UFC Fight Night 21. (Live and free on Spike TV.) 11 fights are scheduled with a minimum of 4 being aired on television. This is a particularly exciting card for fight fans around Boston as two local fighters enter the octagon.
We already had a chance to speak with headliner Kenny Florian on our debut “Throwdown Podcast,” and Jorge Rivera will also be in action, a feature article on “El Conquistador” coming soon.
Ross Pearson (10-3) vs. Dennis Siver (15-6)
Pearson won the lightweight division on The Ultimate Fighter Season 9. He defeated Andre Winner for that distinction and then followed up that victory with a TKO over Aaron Riley running his record to 2-0 in the UFC.
Siver, believe it or not, is making his 8th appearance in the UFC, where is currently 4-3, with 2 of those losses coming to Gray Maynard and Melvin Guillard. He has won 4 straight and ended each of those fights by either TKO or submission.
Pearson better be ready for Siver and not taking him lightly, as Siver definitely has the edge in experience. Every win is important in the UFC ultra competitive lightweight division.
Prediction: Pearson via submission 2nd round
Nate Quarry (13-3) vs. Jorge Rivera (17-7)
This, on paper, should be the fight of the night. Both guys love to mix it up, and rarely have boring fights. Both are alumni of the Ultimate Fighter show, Quarry Season 1, Rivera Season 4: The Comeback.
Nate “Rock” Quarry is 7-2 in the UFC with those 2 losses coming to former champion Rich Franklin and Demian Maia, who is fighting for the belt at UFC 112. His wins include Jason McDonald, Pete Sell (twice), and most recently Tim Credeur.
Quarry is also lucky to still be fighting, and know fights with even more of a purpose than he once did. In 2006, after his knockout loss to Franklin, Quarry underwent spinal surgery to repair years of damage. He has come back better than ever.
Following a loss to Martin Kampann, Jorge Rivera has responded with back to back victories. Like Quarry, the majority of his career wins have come via knockout. I’d say more about Rivera, but I know Josh Deering will cover it here on BostonThrowdown.com The winner of this fight puts themselves in pretty good shape in the Middleweight division, while a loss would be real costly.
Prediction: Quarry via TKO 3rd round
Roy Nelson (14-4) vs. Stefan Struve (19-3)
You can call this one Fat vs. Tall. Roy “Big Country” Nelson was the TUF Season 10 winner. He took out Kimbo Slice in the early rounds of the show. He was also the former IFL Heavyweight Champion. The guy doesn’t look like much, in fact just like a fat guy you might see at a local bar. But the fact is, he knows what he’s doing.
Prior to the reality show, Nelson was coming off losses to Andrei Arlovski and Jeff “Snowman” Monson. But now he finds himself in a new home, with many top contenders and exciting possible match ups in the UFC.
Stefan Struve is on a bit of a role. The tallest competitor in the UFC is a ridiculous 6’11’’. He lost his UFC debut to Junior Dos Santos, but has since ripped off three straight wins including an iffy decision over Paul Buentello. This is a good measuring stick match up for both fighters.
Prediction: Struve via decision
Kenny Florian (12-4) vs. Takanori Gomi (31-5)
Ken-Flo is obviously a Boston Throwdown favorite, but he has his hands full with Gomi. “The Fireball Kid” was, not that long ago, considered by many to be the best lightweight fighter in the world… better than Aoki, better than even Penn. He was the Pride Fighting champion, and for my money it didn’t get any better than Pride, they have since folded, but their fighters were top notch.
It started to go down hill for Gomi at Pride 33, the penultimate event for the organization. He lost to Nick Diaz, but the result was later over turned after Diaz tested positive for pot. He would win 2 fights in a row, before suffering back-to-back losses in Sengoku. Gomi has bounced back with consecutive victories, however against lesser competition.
Florian will be Gomi’s stiffest competition in a long time, but at 31 years old, I believe he still has something left, and a win over Ken-Flo would certainly vault him back up the lightweight rankings. In fact I don’t think there was a tougher fight, that didn’t involve the division champion, for Gomi to take in his UFC debut.
I am not ruling out a run at the title in Gomi’s UFC career, however I don’t think it will start out the way he wants. Florian is too focused on getting another shot at BJ’s belt. He has been in the cage with some of the best 155ers in the world, but a win over Gomi would surely be the most impressive on his resume. Wins over Clay Guida, Joe Stevenson, Roger Huerta, Joe Lauzon, and Din Thomas are great, but none of those guys can hold a candle to what Takanori Gomi has done in his career.
Florian has wanted this fight for a long time, and on Wednesday March 31st at UFC Fight Night 21, I think he’ll get exactly what he wants.
Prediction: Florian via submission 3rd round
The under card has 7 scheduled fights including Caol Uno vs. Gleison Tibau and Yushin Okami vs. Lucio Linhares. Okami is looking to bounce back from a loss to Chael Sonnen at UFC 104.
Enjoy the fights, and remember you can follow Rich Keefe and the rest of the guys from Boston Throwdown on twitter @BostonThrowdown