UFC 79 Postcard: It's gameday!
Well, folks. The day has arrived. The best card this year in UFC (and very competitive with PRIDE 33 earlier this year) takes place tonight. Before I discuss tonight's card, let me tell you that this is my third UFC event this year and I think I finally did it right.
Arriving a couple of days early and sharing the experience with my wife was a good call. It's my wife's first UFC event and she has really been soaking it all in, and has been amazed at how many fighters she's seen throughout the course of the last couple of days. We had breakfast at the same restaurant as John Hackleman (Chuck Liddell's trainer) Friday morning. We saw Quinton Jackson walking around the hotel lobby yesterday evening. We saw Tim Sylvia at the club we went to last night (LAX at the Luxor). And, this morning we saw Roger Huerta at breakfast. I know I've skipped over a number of fighters, but you get the point. These guys are very accessible. I hope that aspect of MMA never changes.
By the way, another tip -- we ate at the Red Square restaurant last night, a Russian-themed spot located in the Mandalay Bay. While the food was pricey (more expensive than Mon Ami Gabi), it was quite good. And, don't forget to try one of their martinis while you're there. In addition, we checked out club Mix at the top of the hotel after leaving LAX and I highly recommend this club just for its view over all of Vegas. It's reminiscent of the type of view you get at the thirteenth floor of the Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore.
Now, back to tonight's card. Over at SI.com, my UFC 79 preview is up. Check it out by clicking here. I break down and predict the Matt Hughes-Georges St. Pierre interim title bout, the Liddell-Wanderlei Silva dream fight, and the Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou-Lyoto Machida light heavyweight duel.
In addition to those fights, I'll also be interested in the other two main card fights. One fight features the debut of Soa Palelei against Eddie Sanchez in a heavyweight matchup. Sanchez may be best remembered for being a victim of Mirko Cro Cop's left high kick in Cro Cop's UFC debut, but he is a solid fighter with a very good MMA record. Palelei is aptly nicknamed "The Hulk" and hails from Australia. This promises to be yet another stand-up war in a card full of them
The other main card fight pits Melvin Guillard against Rich Clementi in a lightweight fight that both really need to win. Guillard comes in with two UFC losses, including a quick loss due to guillotine choke against Joe Stevenson at his last fight in April. Guillard tested positive for cocaine at that event and this is his first fight since returning from his suspension. Clementi has three losses in the UFC. Another loss for either fighter will be tough to take in a very competitive weight class.
For the full UFC 79 fight card, go to UFC.com.
Also, for video of yesterday's weigh-ins, including what happened between Liddell and Silva, click here.