For three mixed martial artists, December 11th will serve as an opportunity to fulfill monumental tasks. While their reasons differ, they all share the common ground of doing something insurmountable in order to stand victorious at UFC 124. Allow me to unveil the feats, while taking shots at how they’ll fair:
Josh “Doomsday” Howard
Coming into UFC 124, Josh Howard owns a record of 14-5 (4-1 in the UFC). Before suffering a TKO stoppage loss to Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night this past August, Howard won two straight bouts (over Dennis Hallman and Daniel Roberts) via knockout, developing a reputation as a knockout artist. Come fight night, he’ll have the daunting task of facing an already established knockout artist in Thiago “The Pitbull” Alves, who is coming off a two-fight losing streak, and a 13-month layoff as a result of brain surgery. With the kicks and punches that Alves packs, he’s chomping at the bit, eager to remind MMA constituents of who he is. This is Howard’s first main card fight under the UFC brand. Can he handle fighting center stage? How will he respond to one of Alves’ crushing blows? As fitting as Howard’s nickname is, it’ll more so serve as a representation of the evening he’ll have dealing with Alves. I’m going with The Pitbull to redeem himself in his return, by way of a third round knockout.
Sean “Big Sexy” McCorkle
At 6’7″, McCorkle stands as one of the most imposing figures in all of UFC. McCorkle has yet to suffer defeat, standing tall with a 10-0 mark. Well, there’s a first time for everything, and even his stature won’t be enough to extend his win streak. In only his second UFC encounter, McCorkle will have to look the 6’11” (no, that’s not a typo) Stefan “The Skyscraper” Struve in the face. These two will combine to record the tallest height ever (13 feet, six inches) to step foot in a UFC octagon. I’ll go with the younger, taller Struve to take another giant step towards Heavyweight championship contention. By the way, there’s nothing “sexy” about getting choked out by a fighter who owns an 83 inch reach. This one ends late first round!
Josh “Kos” Koscheck
The current number one contender broke into UFC as an All-American wrestler out of Edinboro University. He and defending Welterweight Champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre danced before at UFC 74. His amateur background wasn’t enough to stop St. Pierre from imposing his will for three, five-minute rounds. Koscheck vows he has grown up and become a more well-rounded fighter since their first meeting. Time will only tell once the main event gets underway, but if St. Pierre is the guy he hopes to beat to become champion, I’m no logistician, but hasn’t the champion’s skills also improved since said meeting? In addition to championship glory, Koscheck also aims to be UFC’s biggest mouthpiece. His trash talk is annoying to say the least, yet experts are sipping the Koscheck Kool-Aid, picking him to pull off the upset. Personally, the only differences in the rematch is it’s slated for five rounds and the Welterweight title is on the line. I’ll take St. Pierre to “Rush” this affair with a second round knockout, extending his title reign and going two up on Koscheck in the win column.
With these picks, my hope is to not eat crow as I expect Koscheck to. Montreal, Quebec’s Bell Centre will be the place where it all unfolds. I’m sticking with what I’ve got, and will see you soon with my UFC 124 recap. Have a safe weekend and enjoy the fights.
By Antoine Hoffman