Read on for the UFC 122 main card Fantasy game preview...
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Goran Reljic
A product of season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter, Krzysztof Soszynski knows the stakes are high come Saturday night when the Octagon gate closes. Soszynski last entered the Octagon back at UFC 116 where he was finished by strikes by Stephan Bonnar. In his last three fights, Soszynski is 1-2, making this fight even more important for him to stay relevant in the light heavyweight division. With an overall professional record of 20-11-1, Soszynski is prone to slugfests, and there is a good chance Reljic, another scrapper, will indulge him on the feet.
Reljic started his career in the UFC with a bang in the light heavyweight division by defeating Wilson Gouveia at UFC 84. After his victory, Reljic opted to move down to the middleweight division. His plan of moving up the middleweight ladder didn’t go as planned; Reljic lost both of his fights at middleweight. Reljic will move back to the light heavyweight division on Saturday night.
It’s always interesting to see two fighters enter the Octagon when both are coming off losses. Reljic, who has lost two consecutive fights, will be looking to keep the fight off the canvas. Known for his Muay Thai, Reljic knows that the longer the fight is standing, the better chance he has of walking away the winner. On the other hand, look for Soszynski to try and use his strength and wrestling to bring the fight to the mat. If he’s able to bring Reljic down, look for him to try and set up a submission – presumably his deadly kimura.
Amir Sadollah vs. Peter Sobotta
Amir Sadollah has had his ups and downs since beating CB Dollaway at the finale of season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter. Since winning a contract with the UFC, Sadollah has gone 2-2, with victories over Phil Baroni and Brad Blackburn. Having lost to Johny Hendricks via controversial stoppage and most recently succumbing to Dong Hyun Kim, Sadollah is looking to get back on track with a victory in Germany on Saturday night. For Sadollah, who only picked up MMA five years ago, a win would go a long ways toward demonstrating that he can still accomplish big things in the welterweight division.
Peter Sobotta, meanwhile, has yet to feel what it’s like to have his hand raised in the Octagon. With an overall record of 8-3, Sobotta has gone 0-2 in his appearances in the UFC. For Sobotta, a victory on Saturday night would be extra sweet – being that he will be fighting in front of his own countrymen.
Having won numerous German Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship titles between 2006 and 2008, look for Sobotta to try and bring the action of the fight to the canvas in hopes of securing a submission. If Sadollah’s action-packed brawl with Phil Baroni back at UFC 106 is any indication, expect Sadollah to keep the fight standing. In his fight with Baroni, Sadollah showed an improved standup game and the ability to take powerful punches from the heavy-handed Baroni.
Andre Winner vs. Dennis Siver
Fighting out of Leicester, England and a runner-up on season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter, Andre Winner is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Nik Lentz back at UFC 118. Since the finale of TUF 9, Winner has gone 2-1 with victories over Rolando Delgado and Rafaello Oliveira. Saturday night just might be the biggest fight of his young career and he would be best served to brush up on his takedown defense and wrestling, since those were his undoing against Lentz.
Having gone 5-4 inside of the Octagon since his debut in the UFC back in 2007, Germany's Dennis Siver last fought back at the finale of TUF 11, where he defeated Spencer Fisher by unanimous decision.
With the potential of Fight of the Night written all over this bout, expect to see fireworks between these two. Both Winner and Siver have the capabilities of ending the fight standing, so it’s highly doubtful that this fight will go all 15 minutes. Look for Siver to use his kickboxing to his advantage by trying to chop down his opponent. But Siver will need to be careful when throwing kicks in order to keep Winner from timing a kick with a knockout punch down the middle.
Alessio Sakara vs. Jorge Rivera
With Alessio Sakara and Jorge Rivera holding a combined record of 6-0 in their last six fights, the winner of their co-main event bout will move one step closer to the top of the middleweight division.
A former pro boxer turned MMA fighter, Alessio Sakara is looking to win his fourth straight fight inside the Octagon in Germany on Saturday night. On this current winning streak, Sakara has beaten Joe Vedepo, Thales Leites, and James Irvin. Since making his UFC debut back at UFC 55 in 2005, Sakara has gone 6-4-1 in the UFC and has an overall professional record of 19-7, with 1 NC. Training with the American Top Team, Sakara has worked on becoming a more well rounded fighter – rather than solely relying on his standup skills.
At 38 years old, Jorge Rivera has been fighting in the UFC since 2003. Extremely well rounded, Rivera, like his opponent, is riding a three fight-winning streak. Making his thirteenth appearance inside of the Octagon, Rivera knows that this may be his last chance at making any type of a title run. With a win, he’ll take a step one closer, but with a loss, he likely will not get that chance again in his career.
Quite possibly the best pure boxer in the UFC today, Alessio Sakara doesn’t try to deny the fact that he prefers to keep the action of the fight standing. Look for him to stay busy, continuously moving to stay away from a possible takedown. Look for Rivera to try and exploit his weakness – putting Sakara on his back.
Nate Marquardt vs. Yushin Okami
In the main event of UFC 122, a middleweight title shot will be in hand for the winner, with the loser on the outside looking in.
Anyone with the dream of becoming a professional fighter also dreams of the day when he’ll one day fight for a world title. Nate Marquardt’s dream of becoming a professional fighter was already granted. His wish of fighting for a world title came back at UFC 73, but he was defeated by current middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Although he fell short of his second goal, Marquardt went back to work and moved back to the top of the division. Now all he needs to do is beat Yushin Okami for another shot at the belt.
Fighting out of Kanagawa, Japan, Yushin Okami is currently riding a two fight-winning streak with victories over Lucio Linhares and Mark Munoz. Having gone 9-2 inside of the Octagon – with his two losses coming at the hands of Rich Franklin and Chael Sonnen, Okami has been close to getting a title shot but hasn’t quite made it. Okami knows the importance of winning this fight.
Look for Nate Marquardt to push the pace of the fight by using his strength to bring the fight to the canvas. If he’s able to bring the action down, look for him to use his ground and pound attack to finish the fight. For Okami, on the other hand, look for him to try and keep the fight standing, while using a much more methodical fight pace.
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