Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell has avenged two of his three losses in MMA. The only thing standing in his way to complete redemption is Quinton (Rampage) Jackson. Can The Iceman cool the Rampage or will we see a repeat of PRIDE FC Final Conflict 2003?
Also, (The People's Warrior) Josh Burkman and (The Heat) Karo Parisyan settle their rivalry.
Below are the pay-per-view event card and my predictions. Feel free to play along at home, but you need to properly call the winner, round and method to feel good about yourself. Get one wrong and you get a whole lot of nothing.
So far this year – UFCs 67 through 69 – I’m batting 4-for-15 in my predictions; MMA columns are a harsh mistress. Luckily, I was unable to do the article for UFC 70 – there’s no way I would have bet against Cro Cop; who knew Gonzaga could kick that high?
Event card and predictions
Kalib Starnes (9-2-1) vs. Chris Leben (16-3-0)
Prediction: I can’t stand Chris (The Bed Pisser) Leben and Starnes is Canadian, so I’m calling for Starnes win by second round submission.
Houston Alexander (6-1-0) vs. Keith Jardine (12-3-1)
Prediction: Jardine’s coming hot off a KO win over Forrest Griffin at UFC 66 and this is Alexander’s UFC debut. I’ll stick with the grizzled veteran here. Jardine by second round KO/TKO.
Terry Martin (17-2-0) vs. Ivan Salaverry (12-4-1)
Prediction: Martin’s knockout victory over Jorge Rivera at UFC 67 was incredible; the man can punch. However, Salaverry is the better-rounded fighter, which gives him more options on how to finish. Salaverry by second round submission.
Josh Burkman (19-3-0) vs. Karo Parisyan (24-4-0)
Prediction: Since Burkman is known as The People’s Warrior, I’m tempted to pick him to win via people’s elbow, but I just can’t go against Parisyan here.
Both guys have trained together and should know one another very well, so I’ll go with Parisyan by decision.
Chuck Liddell (20-3-0) vs. Quinton Jackson (26-6-0)
Prediction: This is a tough one to call. Both guys looked solid, if somewhat unspectacular, in their last fights. Jackson’s played this game before and won, but Liddell keeps finding new ways to knock people out.
At the end of the day, I just have faith Rampage will make a serious impact in the UFC. So I’m stealing his very own prediction: Jackson by third round KO/TKO.
Check back here at 10 p.m. EST for the UFC 71 Blow by Blow.
UFC 71 Blow by Blow
Hello everyone and welcome to the UFC 71 Blow by Blow; I’m your host Neil Springer. As per usual, I will be updating after every round. So keep on hitting the refresh button and watch this column grow like a Chia Pet.
Kalib Starnes vs. (The Crippler) Chris Leben
In his last fight, Leben was choked out in spectacular fashion by Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald. Starnes owns a TKO victory over The Athlete, so I like his chances here.
They square off and lock up against the fence. They separate and Leben nails some shots. Starnes is looking somewhat tentative here; he just keeps getting hit. None of them are really landing, but he needs to show some aggression. Leben misses a high kick and Starnes takes him down. Starnes comes very close to getting a TKO, but the round expires! Crap.
Leben looks really tired here. Starnes nails a shot and takes him down, but gets stuck in the guard. Starnes lands some shots, but they get back to their feet. Starnes is looking a bit tired now; he's not really trying much. Leben throws punches, but Starnes keeps throwing him off. Leben keeps hitting him, but the round expires.
What the hell is Starnes doing here? He's barely fighting back. Leben lands a kick to the liver and they're in the guard. They stay there for a while. Starnes kicks him off and doesn't even try to get up. Starnes turns him over, but lands in the guard. Starnes is starting to come alive here, but he's mostly just lying there. The crowd is really pissed here. Starnes gets side control, but gets caught in a half-guard. They exchange punches and the round expires.
Winner by unanimous decision Kalib Starnes! Well, I picked the winner, but I didn't pick the round and method. I'm 0 for 1 tonight.
Houston Alexander vs. (The Dean of Mean) Keith Jardine
If Jardine really wants to stand out in the UFC, he should shave his goatee, get a hoop earring and start calling himself (Mr. Clean) Keith Jardine. Or maybe even (The Dean of Clean) Keith Jardine. He’ll probably get a sweet endorsement deal. It’s practically money in the bank.
Oh, my God! Within a minute Alexander TKOs the hell out of Jardine! Holy crap! The upsets continue! Man, I'm 0 for 2 now!
Terry Martin vs. Ivan Salaverry
According to Joe Rogan, Martin is very intriguing. It is true, the man is a mystery. I just can't figure him out. They lock on the fence and Martin delivers some knees. Martin slams him, hits some illegal-looking punches to the head and they call it for Martin!? What the hell? Well, regardless, I'm very intrigued by this Terry Martin. Now, I'm 0 for 3; thanks a lot Salaverry.
(The People's Warrior) Josh Burkman vs. (The Heat) Karo Parisyan
Parisyan is one of my favourite fighters at 170 lbs. He’s explosive and his matches are always exciting. This should be one hell of a fight.
Ok, we're getting a dark match here.
Parisyan takes him down and they get locked against the cage. They stand up and Parisyan lands some punches. Burkman keeps changing his stance, but it doesn't seem to be helping him. Burkman gets a takedown, but is locked in Parisyan's guard. They stand up and get locked on the fence again. Parisyan nails an amazing throw, but they stand up.
Burkman rams him into the fence, Parisyan's almost got a kimura. The round ends; pretty good stuff here.
They keep throwing at one another; Burkman lands a nice knee and a punch that makes Parisyan wobbly. Parisyan comes back and nails Burkman! They stick to the stand up, but Burkamn is looking tired. Parisyan is taking his time here and landing some important shots. Parisyan keeps dominating and Burkman tries the absolute worst spinning backfist ever. The round expires and Parisyan is winning this.
After exchanging some shots, Burkman takes Parisyan down! They're in the guard, but Parisyan stands up and almost gets a kimura. Parisyan seems to be landing punches with ease. Burkman better turn it up or it's over for him. They wind up on the fence and the round expires.
Winner by unanimous decision Karo Parisyan! Yes! I'm 1 for 4!
Din Thomas vs. Jeremy Stephens
Thomas takes him down and controls on the ground. He's almost got a rear-naked choke, but Stephens keeps fighting it. Stephens gets out and starts raining bombs, but the round expires!
Stephens tries a spinning backfist early on and almost lands it. Thomas attempts a takedown, but gets caught in the guard. Thomas has an armbar, Stephens tries a slam, but it's almost a matter of time before he has to tap. Stephens disputes that he wasn't tapping, but Thomas says, "it was only a matter of time before I broke his arm and took it home with me." Awesome!
Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell vs. Quinton (Rampage) Jackson
Here’s a fun fact for you: Liddell hasn’t had a fight go to decision in almost five years.
What a great staredown. Rampage is all intensisty and Liddell just smiles. They circle around a bit; both guys are tentative here. Rampage lands two punches AND RAMPAGE KNOCKS OUT LIDDELL! OH MY GOD! NEW CHAMPION!
Wow. I'm only 1 for 5 tonight, but I don't care; new champ!
Dan Henderson enters the octagon and they tease a fight with him a Jackson. I'm totally there.
Take care everybody and thanks for joining me for UFC 71!