UFC 81 Blow by Blow

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

Former WWE star Brock Lesnar leaves the soap opera behind to compete in a real sport as he enters the octagon to face Frank Mir. Plus, Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira battle for the interim UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Event card and predictions

As always I am joined by Calgary Sun Editor-In-Chief and MMA expert, Jose Rodriguez.

Gleison Tibau (15-4-0) vs. Tyson Griffin (10-1-0)

Neil: This has fight of the night written all over it. I actually say that about all matches involving Tyson Griffin -- he's one of the most exciting competitors in the sport today.

Tibau is known for having great Jiu Jitsu and control, but Griffin is a top-notch wrestler and no slouch on the ground. Get ready for a long fight.

Prediction: Griffin by decision

Jose: Tyson Griffin, who is reportedly mulling a move to welterweight, is one of the top lightweights in the UFC. His only blemish is a decision loss to Frankie Edgar a year ago.

Tibau is a submission specialist with a 15-4 record. Griffin will prove too much for Tibau. But sadly, the tough Brazilian will last the distance.

Prediction: Griffin by decision.

Ricardo Almeida (8-2-0) vs. Rob Yundt (6-0-0)

Neil: Alan Belcher was originally set to face Almeida here, but he had to back out from the fight due to a severe case of bronchitis.

Let's see then. Do I go with the veteran who hasn't fought in a few years or the new kid on the block?

Prediction: I guess I'll pick Almeida by first round submission.

Jose: Okay. Almeida hasn't fought in three years and Rob who? Rob Yundt is undefeated in six fights but this is his first in the big show. Hard one to pick. Do you go with a rusty vet or an unknown newcomer. Flip a coin.

Prediction: Mine landed on heads which means Yundt by TKO. Let's go with the second round.

Jeremy Horn (79-16-5) vs. Nate Marquardt (25-7-2)

Neil: As a long-time fan of Horn's, it’s great to see him back in the octagon. This is going to be a tough one to call as both guys are so experienced and well-rounded.

Rather than think too much about it, I'll just go with my heart rather than my brain.

Prediction: Horn by second round submission.

Jose: I love Jeremy Horn. He's the ultimate MMA journeyman with 100 fights under his belt — 79 of those victories. But Gumby's going to have his hands full with Marquardt. In the thin middleweight division he's still leaps and bounds ahead of Horn.

Prediction: Marquardt by unanimous decision.

Frank Mir (10-3-0) vs. Brock Lesnar (1-0-0)

Neil: Well this is an interesting fight to say the least.

Brock is certainly stronger, faster and his amateur background means he’s the better wrestler, but Mir has experience and far superior Jiu Jitsu. It's hard to say who's got the edge on the stand-up because neither guy's really known for their striking.

The UFC seems to have high hopes for Brock as a future star and talent. Maybe they know something we don’t.

Prediction: Brock Lesnar via F5 off the top of the cage, through the announcers' table. Wait, scratch that. Let's just go with Lesnar by first round KO/TKO.

Jose: As much as it pains me, I'll have to go with the pro wrestler on this one. Mir hasn't looked the same since he came back from his motorbike accident and Lesnar -- like him or lump him -- is a two time NCAA wrestling All American.

Prediction: Lesnar by first round KO/TKO.

Tim Sylvia (24-3-0) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (30-4-1)

Neil: Please, oh please, let Nogueira win this. I just can't sit through anymore five-round Tim Sylvia title fights.

If Nogueira can close the gap, clinch with Sylvia and get him down, he's got a great chance to win by submission. Better yet, he has 25 minutes to do it. If not, expect The Maine-iac to take another lame decision.

Prediction: Big Nog by second round submission.

Jose: If I hadn't spoken with Randy Couture last week and got his thoughts on the two guys fighting for his belt, I would have picked Nogueira.

Couture is picking Sylvia in some sort of stoppage which would be a first against Nogueira. But my opinion versus Couture's? It's a no brainer.

Prediction: I'll take Sylvia to win by fourth round KO/TKO.

Join me Sat., Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. EST for live coverage of UFC 81.

Blow by Blow

Hey everybody and welcome to the live coverage of "UFC 81: Wrestlemania 24." I mean, "UFC 81: Breaking Point."

I'll be updating this page between rounds, so keep hitting that refresh button and watch out for the spelling mistakes.

Gleison Tibau vs. Tyson Griffin

Round one

Tibau takes octagon control and both guys look tentative. Griffin hits a body shot and they lock up on the fence. They separate and Tibau is looking pretty good on the stand-up exchanges.

As soon as I type that Griffin starts blasting him, but Tibau gets the takedown! I thought Griffin had him there. Griffin tries a knee, but gets taken down again. The round ends.

Round two

They lock up on the fence and fight for the takedown. Tibau lands some nice shots and gets him down again. He takes his back, but Griffin escapes. Griffin is starting to close in and Tibau doesn't want any of the stand-up.

This fight is a lot slower than I expected. Tibau gets another takedown, but the round expires. Griffin seems to be winning here.

Round three

Tibau secures another takedown, but gets caught in the guard. Griffin gets up again, but Tibau puts him on his back. Griffin stands up, though.

Griffin hits some nice punches and locks him on the cage. He works the foots stomps and time is running out. They separate and the round is over.

Griffin wins the decision and Jose and I are both correct.

Ricardo (Big Dog) Almeida vs. Rob (Monster) Yundt

Round one

Yundt comes out charging, but Almeida gets him down. Almeida gets a guillotine choke and it's over!

All right. I'm two for two and Jose is one for two.

Jeremy (Gumby) Horn vs. Nate (The Great) Marquardt

Round one

They lock up and exchange knees. Marquardt takes him down, but gets caught in the guard. Marquardt lands some hard punches and elbows, but they stand back up.

Marquardt gets him down again, but they're back up. Horn looks pretty rough here. They're back in the guard and Horn tries some up-kicks. Horn tries a omoplata and he uses it to sweep! Oh, the round expires. Marquardt wins that round.

Round two

Horn puts him down, but is caught in his butterfly guard. They're back up, but Marquardt gets a standing-guillotine choke and it's over!

Well, I'm two for three and and Jose is one for three.

They're showing some of the earlier matches to kill time. Check back in a few minutes for the results of Lesnar vs. Mir.

Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar

Round one

Pretty mixed reaction for Brock, but it's definitely a loud one. Huh, Kurt Angle, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Undertaker are in the audience. I smell a run in.

Brock takes him down and starts blasting him! They stop it because Lesnar hit Mir in the back of the head. They're deducting a point. That wasn't even that nasty. Brock is all over him again! Mir rolls and tries an armbar, but Brock spins out!

Mir gets a kneebar and Lesnar taps! It's over; Mir wins! I wonder what would have happened if the ref hadn't stopped the match for that weak headshot. I mean, Mir did turn into that punch. It wasn't really Brock's fault.

Tim (The Maine-iac) Sylvia vs. Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira

Round one

Nogueira hits a couple shots and pulls guard, Sylvia stands up and they restart. Nice jabs by Sylvia. Sylvia rocks him, but Nogueira seems to have recovered. They restart on the feet.

Nogueira pulls guard again and he's in trouble here. They're back on the feet again. Sylvia lands a few more jabs, but Nogueira takes him down! The round ends. Sylvia took that one.

Round two

Nogueira tries a single-leg shoot, but can't get it. They keep exchanging punches, but neither fighter is being hugely effective.

Nogueira works for another takedown, but can't get it. They both land some nice punches and now Sylvia seems to be taking control.

Round three

Sylvia snaps Nogueira's head back with a jab. Nogueira pulls guard, sweeps him and gets the guillotine choke! Sylvia taps! Nogueira wins the interim title!

Thanks for joining me of the UFC 81 Blow by Blow.


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