Sylvia vs. Couture: Predictions
Don't worry, Couture fans, I'm not going to compare Randy to Rocky Balboa, I'd like to see him kick the crap out of Tim Sylvia as much as the next guy. Here are my thoughts on the two guys going into this fight.
I expect nothing different out of Sylvia then what I have seen in his last two fights. I don't expect him to be any more motivated then he was against Jeff Monson, because he's bound to think that they are both too short to strike with him and he probably feels happy with how he neutralized Monson on the ground.
I expect Sylvia to talk a big game, like he did against Monson and Arlovski at the third fight, but, like Randy said, it's really hard to talk sh*t about Randy Couture. He's a nice guy, he's an MMA legend, he's a fan favorite and everyone outside of Miletich wants to see him kick Tim's ass.
Sylvia's sprawls were weak in his Monson fight. He said he was going to sprawl and brawl, but Monson just used his low center of gravity and went right through his sprawl to put Sylvia on his back. Sylvia is heavy and so I imagine he's not the easiest guy in the world to power through, but, at least from a takedown standpoint, I see Couture putting him on his back again.
Sylvia's back game was sloppy, but effective against Monson, who couldn't get around his legs. Remember, Couture has pounded through a lot of great wrestlers and jiu-jitsu fighters between Kevin Randleman, Tito Ortiz, Jeremy Horn and Mike Van Arsdale, so Couture is a huge threat from this position and he does know how to get around legs and lay down the pound.
Randy is the father of groundnpound, the only person who has offered that much to that aspect of MMA is Mark Coleman, and that is arguable. At any rate, Couture will do what he has always done and try to put Sylvia on his back and pound Sylvia until the ref pulls him off.
Randy is no slouch on his feet, but his shots and his pounds are his forte. Expect him to throw a few leg kicks before shooting on Sylvia. Once Couture gets in the top position expect him to pass into guard quickly, maybe before he even starts throwing strikes. His goal may be to put himself in that kind of a position with the takedown, but even if he ends up in guard, he will go for a pass, probably straight into a mounted position.
Once Randy gets on top of Sylvia and into a good position expect him to rain down strikes like crazy. The biggest difference between Couture and Monson is really the difference between what they do once they're in this position. Monson is a submission master, and so he spends a lot of time looking for subs while Couture will pound relentlessly until Sylvia gives up his back or the ref stops the fight.
Randy's submissions, towards the end of his career, looked better than ever. I don't see Randy as a pure wrestler any more, and so I expect him to take advantage of basic submissions (i.e. armbar, RNC, other chokes) if he gets the opportunity. I'm not saying I expect him to try and set up a crucifix or a north/south position or anything advanced, but that I expect him to finish with a submission if he gets the opportunity. Remember, his last career victory was a submission over Mike Van Arsdale.
I expect this fight to go the ground, just like the Monson fight did. The biggest difference is that I don't see Couture wasting any time in taking position and trying to bust up Sylvia's face with punches and elbows. As far as I'm concerned, I think that Couture has a great shot at winning this fight.
I'll acknowledge that age might be a factor, but where? If you think Couture's cardio has dropped off, maybe it has, but it isn't like Sylvia has any great cardio to speak of. Talk about strength and not being able to recover as quickly, fine. I don't expect Sylvia to hit Couture with anything other than a jab, and Randy can recover from that.
If Tim Sylvia comes into this fight looking like he did against Monson, I expect this fight to end via second or third round TKO. Go Couture.
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