Very Detailed UFC 61 Preview, Shamrock-Ortiz II, & More
By Ryan Clark | July 07, 2006
Hermes Franca vs. Joe Jordan
Joe who? Joe Jordan. He's filling in on short notice for Roger Huerta, Franca's originally scheduled opponent. This isn't his first time fighting a "name" fighter though, as he's mixed it up with respected fighters such as Jens Pulver, Jorge Gurgel, Clay Guida, Melvin Guillard, Nick Agallar, and Rich Clementi. Well, he lost to all of them. He's got a draw against Josh Neer though! He is coming in off a five-fight win streak, all by knockout, so he's on a roll at the moment. Franca has been busy himself though, trying to do his best Jeremy Horn or Travis Fulton impression in the fight world. He's doing a good job of it too, coming off a couple of notable wins such as Gabe Ruediger and Ryan Schultz. Franca was in the Lightweight title mix prior to UFC scrapping the 155 lb. division, so you know he's coming in looking to jump right back into the mix. This time there's more than Yves Edwards and Josh Thomson to worry about, as the Lightweight division - which was just brought back a few shows ago, is already the most stacked division (in terms of competitiveness) in the company. Franca not only needs to win this fight, but win big. I predict he'll do just that, as he'll take out Jordan sometime before the scheduled three rounds are completed. Submission or stoppage with strikes, take your pick.
Yves Edwards vs. Joe Stevenson
A very exciting match on paper to open up an underrated UFC line-up from top to bottom. The actual scheduled PPV line-up is as strong as the company has had in recent shows, and it all begins with this very important Lightweight bout. Why when this bout is scheduled, was Kenny Florian vs. Sam Stout a title eliminator bout for Sean Sherk to determine the new Lightweight champion in UFC? This fight produces a much more credible challenger for a vacant belt against an already set fighter in Sherk, who has yet to compete at the weight class. In any matter, whoever wins this one is immediately at the top of the list of fighters to get a shot at whoever ends up with the belt, well, along with Jens Pulver now that he's back and is the only 155 lb. champion in UFC history - and never lost his title before leaving the company due to a financial dispute.
The actual style clash here is very exciting. Early on it should be clear who is going to win this fight. The main determining factor will be Yves Edwards ability to avoid the takedown from Joe Stevenson. On the feet it shouldn't be any mystery, Edwards will have the advantage. On the ground, with Stevenson on top, he'll be at an advantage. I'll say if forced to spend most of the fight on the ground, Edwards will be in less danger than Stevenson is going to be if he's forced to spend most of the fight standing up. That doesn't mean much other than will Edwards be able to avoid the floor? If he can, he should finish this fight by stoppage from strikes, possibly a clean-cut knockout, unless he just beats Stevenson on points en route to a decision victory. See, again, don't come to me if you're looking for specific predictions. If he can't avoid the takedown, then the fight gets interesting. Will Stevenson be able to keep Edwards down? If he does, will he be dominating enough to win a decision or even stop him with strikes or a submission? I'd say he can control position and stay busy enough to keep the fight on the ground, and win a decision. His best chance to stop the fight on the ground would be a submission set up with ground and pound. One thing people overlook in this fight is Edwards ability on the ground. He won't be lost if he's forced to fight off his back, he's been there before and is more than proven in his ground game. Thug-Jitsu is to be taken serious!