Michael Bisping Vs. Chris Leben
This one is very interesting because the winner is very likely to get a shot at Anderson Silva’s title sometime in the very near future. From the pictures and training footage I’ve seen on Chris he looks to be in the best shape of his life and seems to have really rededicated himself to fighting since his move to Hawaii. Leben is tenacious and always seems one punch away from a KO victory while Bisping is extremely well rounded with solid wrestling and submission skills with very sharp and technical striking. They always say styles make fights and well, this is one of those fights. Both fighters are hungry to prove that they are among the best at 185 and will likely waste little time before turning this one into a skillful brawl. I feel like both of these guys will be gunning for the knockout so I would expect most of the fight to be a fast paced stand up affair. While Leben’s punches seem to be the more powerful of the two it will not make a big difference in this fight. Look for Bisping to land clean straight shots from the outside while avoiding Leben’s wide and powerful punches on his way to a second round TKO victory.
Bisping – TKO Round 2
Keith Jardine Vs. Brandon Vera
This is the battle of two guys that really need a win to keep their head above water in the UFC. Jardine needs to prove that his recent quick knockout defeats at the hands of Houston Alexander and Wanderlei Silva are behind him while Vera needs to show that he can still hang with the top competition after dropping back to back losses to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum and looking far from impressive in his most recent fight with Andy Reese in his 205 debut. Jardine’s game plan will most likely be to stick and move the way he did so effectively in his win over former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell with Vera looking to return to his old aggressive self with an explosive knockout victory. If Vera has done his homework, which I’m sure he has, he will know to jump on Jardine early and hard. Vera will come out looking explosive while utilizing his superior muay thai skills, possibly with knees from the clinch, to get an early jump on Jardine and stop him in the first.
Vera – KO Round 1
Rameau Sokoudjou Vs. Luiz Cane
This fight has fireworks written all over it. Both of these guys are explosive finishers that can end a fight at any given moment. The main thing that sticks out about these two is the difference in the level of competition they have faced. Cane built up his impressive record over relative nobodies with his biggest win coming in his last fight with Jason Lambert while Sokoudjou has already scored knockout victories over two top ten opponents in Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona. I expect this one to erupt into a slugfest early on and Sokoudjou will clip Cane en route to a first round KO victory.
Sokoudjou – KO Round 1
Paul Taylor Vs. Chris Lytle
Paul Taylor is an exciting fighter with good stand up and a solid overall game but Chris Lytle has top notch boxing and is definitely the more dangerous ground fighter. The bottom line in this one is that everything that Taylor does, Lytle does just a little bit better. This fight should end up being pretty exciting with both fighters having their moments but I expect for Lytle’s superior wrestling and submissions to make the difference leading to a second round submission victory for Chris Lytle.
Lytle – Submission Round 2
Paul Kelly Vs. Marcus Davis
The bottom line in this one is Marcus Davis is way too explosive and experienced for Kelly. Kelly’s a tough guy but he’s had less than half of the fights that Davis has and has only fought once in the UFC compared to Davis’ seven, six of which he won. Marcus Davis will be coming off of his dissapointing loss to Swick and I expect him to come out guns blazing in this one dictating the pace with crisp combinations and superior wrestling. The drastic step up in competition will lead to Paul Kelly losing his first fight to Davis by decision.
Davis – Decision
Shane Carwin Vs. Neil Wain
This is hands down the easiest pick I’ve ever had to make in my life. I would actually lay some serious dough down on this one if the odds for Carwin weren’t in the -1000 range. The odds are that lopsided for a reason and let me tell you why. Shane “The Monster” Carwin’s record stands at 9-0 with nine finishes. Here’s the most amazing part. All nine of his fights combined have lasted a grand total of eight minutes and four seconds. That’s an average of less than a minute per fight. Wain’s record may look impressive at first glance. Coming in to UFC 89 Wain sports a record of 4-0 with all four of his wins coming by knockout. However, if one was to look a little closer at Neil’s stats they will see his opponents have a combined record of 3-13. Wain’s not going to know what hit him.
Carwin – KO Round 1
Dan Hardy Vs. Akihiro Gono
This is another fight where experience should play a huge factor. Hardy is a really tough guy with knockout power but he’s never fought at an event near the magnitude of the UFC while Gono has faced an all star cast of the world’s best fighters and has fought in both Pride and the UFC multiple times. I expect the spotlight to shine a little too bright for Hardy and he will be overwhelmed and submitted sometime in the second.
Gono – Submission Round 2
Jess Liaudin Vs. David Bielkheden
Both of these guys are coming off losses. Liaudin has lost his last two while Bielkheden was most recently stopped in his UFC debut by Diego Sanchez. It’s safe to say this could be a “winner stays, loser goes” match. Liaudin has a couple wins in the UFC against tough guys while it seems like every time Bielkheden steps up in competition he doesn’t do well. Liaudin should be able to decision Bielkheden but to make it fun I’ll guess that he submits him in one.
Liaudin – Submission Round 1
Sam Stout Vs. Terry Etim
This is the striker Vs. grappler matchup of the night. Etim has finished nearly all of his fights by submission while Stout isn’t known as “hands of stone” for nothing. Etim has dropped his last two fights and he won’t be able to submit Stout but Stout just may be able to knockout Etim as he’s never faced anyone that can bang like Stout. Both fighters last two fights have ended by decision so I don’t expect this one to be any different. Stout by one sided decision.
Stout – Decision
David Baron Vs. Jim Miller
Both of these guys are solid, well rounded, and experienced fighters. This could end up being one of the most closely contested bouts of the night. I see this one being a hard fought close decision with Miller coming away with the win by utilizing a superior ground game.
Miller – Decision
Per Eklund Vs. Samy Schiavo
Another tough fight to call and another fight where both men are coming off of losses. Schiavo is a fairly aggressive fighter but that style could very likely be his undoing against someone as experienced as Schiavo. This one could go either way but I’ll go with Eklund by submission in the second round.
Eklund – Submission Round 2