On September 22, 2007,  the UFC will present it’s UFC 76:  KNOCKOUT event.  This fight card just may be the best card ever assembled by the UFC, at least on paper.  UFC 76 will carry 5 fights that could each, arguably, be a headliner.  It is the return of two formidable light heavyweights, CHUCK LIDDELL and KEITH JARDINE, each coming off devastating knockout losses.  The event will also feature the debut of two huge PRIDE FC talents now  fighting for the UFC: MARICIO “Shogun” RUA and KAZUHIRO NAKAMURA.  RUA will display his immense talent inside the octagon against fan favorite FORREST GRIFFIN.  RUA just may be the best light heavyweight in the world but he first must get by the never-say-die GRIFFIN and adjust to the cage, due to his 5 year absence.   NAKAMURA, one of the great Judokas in all of mixed martial arts, will matchup against undefeated – and also debuting –  karate practioner RYOTO MACHIDA.   MACHIDA’s resume showcases wins over UFC well-knowns, BJ PENN, RICH FRANKLIN and STEPHAN BONNAR.   Also, THIAGO TAVARES will be sporting a strong Muay Thai game coupled with solid submissions against an always exciting and complete TYSON GRIFFIN (see his fight in Ireland vs. CLAY GUIDA). 

The most intriguing fight of the night will be that of DIEGO SANCHEZ and JON FITCH.  SANCHEZ, a legitimate contender for the welterweight belt, is coming off his very first loss in a tactical and uneventful fight with JOSH KOSCHECK.  JON FITCH puts his 13 fight win streak on the line for a shot at mainstream stardom.  While SANCHEZ wants to regain his status as a feared welterweight, FITCH will attempt to make a pay per view splash by feeding SANCHEZ some of his own medicine.  It may not live up to its hype but this is an extraordinary matchup!

Following UFC’s purchase of PRIDE FC, it must now contend with how to pour in some PRIDE’s top fighters without disrupting the present hierarchy.  They must offer the most desireable matches while maintaining that the rankings aren’t too subjective.  This can only mean one thing for fight fans:  More great UFC fight cards in the future.  As for now, UFC 76 just may be offering the UFC’s best fight card to date.  UFC 73 event was penned “Stacked” but maybe they should have kept that signature for this event.  Note to MMA fans:  Just a few more sleepless nights until it arrives …   

courtesy of ocRegister:

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As we approach UFC 76: Knockout on September 22, 2007, one question lingers on the minds of mixed martial arts fans:  Will MAURICIO “Shogun” RUA’s game be as effective inside the octagon cage as it has been in PRIDE’s boxing ring?  He has not fought inside the cage in almost 5 years when he was choked out by RENATO SOBRAL.  This question is more valid to RUA’s game more than any fighter coming over to the UFC from PRIDE.  Following the previous two MIRKO CRO COP matches in the UFC – both losses – the question of transitioning a fighting style from the open boxing ring into a cage is becoming an important one.  Case by case appears to be the best way to analyze this question.  While QUINTON JACKSON and DAN HENDERSON have proven that the transition has not drastically altered their methods, in CRO COP’s case the transition has obviously been disastrous. 

RUA is an interesting case.  He’s a very tough competitor and inside the PRIDE ring, he’s defeated some great opposition such as QUINTON JACKSON, ANTONIO ROGERIO NOGUEIRA, RICARDO ARONA, KEVIN RANDLEMAN, KAZUHIRO NAKAMURA and ALISTAIR OVEREEM (twice).  His patented stomps and soccer kicks have been devastating tools he has developed while moving up the ranks in PRIDE FC.  A potential problem is that the UFC does not allow kicks to an opponent’s head while the opponent is on the ground.  Another question will be his handling of strikes the UFC does allow such as elbow strikes – something CRO COP admittedly was not ready to deal with.  His cage experience is comprised of just a few matches.  He has earned the reputation of being one of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts.  So as he debuts at UFC 76, will he be the next QUINTON JACKSON or MIRKO CRO COP?  He should continue in the steps of JACKSON and it will be answered on September 22nd.

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