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UFC 73 preview (cont.)

Posted: Friday July 6, 2007 11:42AM; Updated: Friday July 6, 2007 4:52PM

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Heath Herring

In a highly anticipated event, the legendary Nogueira makes his UFC debut against Herring. Nogueira has arguably the most impressive résumé of anyone to ever debut in the UFC, and it will be interesting to see how he can adapt to fighting in a cage after so many years in the ring of Pride FC.

The cage gives opportunities for ground-and-pound fighters to stack their opponent against the cage, which cuts off submission attempts. Moreover, the use of elbows makes cuts more frequent and can end fights quickly. Nogueira, however, shouldn't have much trouble in the transition, given his strong boxing, great chin and top-of-the-line submissions.

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Nogueira won the previous two fights between the two, so Herring will be looking for revenge. Though he is a solid fighter, Herring hasn't had the answers for Nogueira in the past and he isn't likely to have them here.

The Pick: Nogueira

Kenny Florian vs. Alvin Robinson

Florian has been placed in prominent fights by the UFC since his stint on The Ultimate Fighter. This fight will be an interesting test for him. Florian's strength is his submissions, but he has mostly fought against wrestlers and strikers. Now he will have to face off against another quality submission guy. Robinson is making his UFC debut with an 8-1 record and 100 percent submission rate. Florian's improved standup game could be the difference.

The Pick: Florian

Stephan Bonnar vs. Mike Nickels

Not too long ago, Bonnar was regarded as one of the UFC's top rising fighters. A series of losses and a positive steroid test later, Bonnar's stock has tumbled. This fight was made to rehabilitate Bonnar. Mike Nickels is a lightly regarded fighter. He earned another fight in UFC with his upset victory over Wes Combs last year, but he isn't likely to stick at this level.

The Pick: Bonnar

Jorge Gurgel vs. Diego Saraiva

Gurgel, Franklin's longtime training partner, is an excellent jiu jitsu practitioner. However, he has had injury problems in recent years and had trouble in his last fight with the underwhelming Danny Abbadi. He needs an impressive win against Saraiva, a solid submission fighter he knows well, to build some momentum.

The Pick: Gurgel

Jason Gilliam vs. Chris Lytle

Gilliam is a late replacement for Drew Fickett, who pulled out with injury. Gilliam is a ground-and-pound fighter, while Lytle is a well-rounded veteran who has faced a much higher level of opposition than Gilliam. That experience will serve him well in this fight.

The Pick: Lytle

Frank Edgar vs. Mark Bocek

Edgar was an unknown commodity at the beginning of the year. Undefeated (5-0) on smaller shows, he was given an opportunity to fight rising star Tyson Griffin at UFC 67. After 15 minutes of action, Edgar was no longer an unknown. Edgar was tremendous in winning a unanimous decision.

This is Edgar's first fight since then, and he will be looking to establish himself as a contender in the lightweight division. Standing in his way is a man with a résumé that looks a lot like his prior to the Griffin fight. This fight could prove to be a major step up in class for Bocek, who is undefeated in smaller competitions.

The Pick: Edgar

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