Trying to figure out if your favorite fighters are going to suck or not tonight? A quick look into the news might give you some more info on that subject. Let’s see what might be affecting guys in the cage at UFC 128.
Kurt Pellegrino: With all the attention focused on Shogun Rua’s knee issues, barely anyone has mentioned that Kurt is returning from a torn ACL as well. Sometimes when an athlete battles back from a bad injury to return early, it’s inspirational. Other times it’s a recipe for disaster. The prognosis from doctors was that Pellegrino would be out for at least a year. He’s coming back 8 months later. We know the mind is willing but can the body deliver?
Brendan Schaub: The specter of overtraining reared it’s ugly head during Brendan’s preparations for Mirko Crocop. According to Schaub himself, things fell apart ‘several weeks out’ from the fight, leading his camp to force a training break on the heavy hitting heavyweight. How much a three day break helps reset things will be something we’ll have to see on Saturday night. Schaub may have tried his best to prepare himself for the biggest fight of his life, only to have that backfire and actually hurt his performance.
Nate Marquardt: Every so often, we get to see the Nate Marquardt who really deserves his ‘Nate the Great’ nickname. Remember when he pulled off a Killer Instinct level combo on Wilson Gouveia? Or the time he almost ripped Jeremy Horn’s head off with a guillotine from hell? Then there are times where he fights like a fuckin’ bum. The Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami fights come to mind.
Which Nate will show up against Dan Miller? Whichever Nate his coaches have programmed. The good news is these coaches have admitted they screwed the pooch on his past fights. During a recent media supertour to get out from under Greg Jackson’s shadow, coach Trevor Wittman took ‘full responsibility’ for the Okami fight, saying their counter-striking gameplan didn’t work and they had no plan B to fall back on. Whatever they cobble together for last minute replacement Dan Miller, let’s hope at least they keep some B, C, and D ideas up their sleeves. Maybe one of these will actually be ‘let your hands go, be aggressive and kick some ass.’
Mike Pyle: Mike must have gotten sick of his rep as a monster in the gym who just couldn’t put it together in the cage. He’s now put together a two fight win streak including a trouncing of hot prospect John Hathaway where I started to see what all the hype was about. Will he be able to keep moving up against Ricardo Almeida. According to most people, it all depends on Kyle’s head. And to insure that his head is in the right place, he’s been spending a decent amount of time with a sports psychologist.