UFC 109: Matt Serra Vs Frank Trigg
Matt Serra 8/13, Frank Trigg 6/5.
Matt Serra's long awaited return to the Octagon sees him facing Frank "Twinkle-Toes" Trigg. As well as some amusing smack talk on the part of Serra, Trigg's habit of painting his toenails has had Frank himself suggesting that Matt may lose face should he be defeated; "Is he going to quit? Will he be able to eat pasta in his Long Island home or will they laugh him out of there?". Certainly this fight has a bit more than UFC rankings riding on it.
Matt "The Terror" Serra enters as a previous welterweight champion, an ambition Trigg was unable to fulfill in two title fights against Matt Hughes. He will feel that a belt-winning flash knockdown and ground and pound stoppage of Georges St. Pierre should not suggest that Serra is the superior fighter going into this fight; Serra will point to Trigg's latest Octagon bout, losing by conclusive knockout to Josh Koscheck as evidence that Trigg's time here is over.
Serra is a smaller man than most at welterweight, at 5'5", and 170lbs he packs a lot of musculature onto a small frame, and has the power you would expect from this physique. His KO of St. Pierre shocked the MMA world, and bears testament to his heavy hands. He punches with genuine KO power and can upset any opponent with his relentless body shots and merciless head hunting.
Trigg, at 5'10" has a sizeable height advantage, and at 37 years of age makes up for in experience what he lacks in youth to the 35 year old Serra; there is little to choose between them in this regard. His clear advantage in this fight lies in his wrestling; he can in all likelihood take down the smaller Serra, the question is: what to do once on the mat? Trigg did not get an opportunity to demonstrate his ground and pound in his last fight, against Koscheck, suffering a rapid knockout loss, and he must be wary of Serra's BJJ from the bottom. Whilst Serra is not a renowned submission artist, last winning a fight by sub in 2002, as a Gracie black belt he does have the skills to end the fight should Trigg leave an arm or leg - or his neck - unguarded.
Serra's recent history in the UFC has been eventful; winner of TUF 4: The Comeback, where fighters with previous UFC experience were invited back and Serra was rewarded with a title shot at George St. Pierre, winner of that bout and thus UFC welterweight champion, loser of a rematch against St. Pierre, in devastating fashion, and subsequently a loser against future Hall of Famer Matt Hughes.
The trajectory is downward but Serra has improved since his losses to Din Thomas and Karo Parisyan in his earlier days in the UFC; a Renzo Gracie black belt in BJJ, and hard hitting boxer, Matt can end fights on the mat or standing. Trigg's wrestling background, as accomplished as he is, does not lend itself so well to finishing fights.
His path to victory is tying up Serra, grinding out the fifteen minutes, scoring points with the judges, and relying on them to hand the victory to him. I see Serra winning in the second or third, by KO or submission, and think the 8/13 on offer represents good value for a fighter looking to get back to his not inconsiderable best.