Two Matchups to Get Excited About

The UFC knows how to manage the news, leaking out some good upcoming matchups to distract from the Sherk/Franca fiasco. Tyson Griffin (9-1) vs…

By: Nate Wilcox | 16 years ago
Two Matchups to Get Excited About
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The UFC knows how to manage the news, leaking out some good upcoming matchups to distract from the Sherk/Franca fiasco.

Tyson Griffin (9-1) vs Thiago Tavares (13-0)
Word is out today that this matchup will be featured on the UFC 76 card. Whoo hoo! I posted the other day that both of these guys should be in a sixteen man lightweight tourny for the (soon to be) vacant UFC Lightweight belt. Winner takes on B.J. Penn for the belt. Regardless of whether it’s part of a tourny or not it will definitely impact the UFC title picture as both guys are young, amazingly talented and fast rising stars. It’s the kind of fight that start a legendary rivalry like Penn/Pulver. Thiago  has the edge with submissions since he’s got like a 90% victory by submission rate — only two decisions in 13 fights. But Tyson is no slouch in that department. I’d give Griffin the edge in wrestling and maybe in stand-up but honestly I think this match will come down to who can impose his will and dominate through physical power. They’re both incredibly explosive. I’m going to pick Griffin because he’s just come through wars with Clay Guida and Frankie Edgar. I don’t think Tavares has been put to any compable test. If I’m wrong and Thiago rolls through Griffin like he did through Jason Black, we’re looking at a future champ.

Terry Martin 16-2 vs Chris Leben 16-4
A while back I posted on the middleweight picture and was a bit stymied about what to do with the red-hot Terry Martin since there’s no other fighter in the division on a comparable hot streak — except Anderson Silva of course, and Terry’s not ready for the title shot yet. So Joe Silva has done the next best thing, pitting this year’s fast-rising fighter against last year’s model. It’s kind of hard to believe now but once upon a time Leben was 5-0 in the UFC and seemed to be cruising for a title shot. Of course Silva exposed him and since then he’s lost three more. Will this be Leben’s last stand? Here’s hoping. I think Martin could one of the biggest threats to Silva’s belt with his raw power and wrestling skills. Leben, not so much.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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