A portion of the ProMMA.info staff has come together again to give their predictions for this weekend’s UFC 105 fight card which takes place in Manchester, England, on Nov. 7. The card is headlined by a light heavyweight match-up between UFC legend Randy “The Natural” Couture making his return to 205 pounds, and Brandon “The Truth” Vera, who is getting a shot at greatness.
One of the most anticipated bouts on the card is the middleweight match-up between the U.K.’s own Michael Bisping and Canadian Denis Kang. Bisping will attempt to rebound after his devastating knockout loss to Dan Henderson, and Kang, who is now 1-1 in the UFC, is in a position where he needs to keep putting together the victories.
Also on the UFC 105 main card, which will air on Spike TV, is a lightweight match-up between Ross Pearson and Aaron Riley, a welterweight bout between James Wilks vs. Matt Brown, and a welterweight showdown between dangerous strikers Dan Hardy and Mike Swick. Here are our oh so professional predictions. Let us know who is on spot, who is off their rocker, and your own opinions:
Ross Pearson (9-3) vs. Aaron Riley (28-11-1)
BRIAN FURBY: Pearson will clearly have the crowd behind him as he goes into his fight with Riley, but Riley has an experience edge. Riley is a grinder – five of his last six fights ended in decision – and Pearson will be looking to finish early to impress the crowd, but I don’t think a win will be coming his way Saturday night. Riley by split decision.
RICHARD MANN: Aaron Riley appears to be in the middle of a career resurgence, and that is good for him. In this fight Ross Pearson is going to be a little bit too physical. Riley does not have the skill set to finish a fighter of Pearson’s caliber, and I don’t see him dominating him enough to win rounds. Pearson should be able to sway the judges with a clinching displaying similar to his fight with Andre Winner. For you gamblers out there, you can get Pearson at +175 which is not bad at all.
EDDIE CONSTANTINE: I would think Riley is going to be able to maintain constant pressure and push the pace throughout. Riley by decision.
DUSTY ADAMS: Kinda a toss up to me. I have no doubt Riley will push the pace. This could be fight of the night. I’ll say Riley by unanimous decision.
JACK BRATCHER: It’s hard to believe Ross Pearson won last season of The Ultimate Fighter. Why? Because we hear so little about him. Both Riley and Pearson are good submission fighters. Riley’s biggest win was probably over Gurgel by decision Pearson has not nearly faced the competition Riley has, nor does he have the experience. However, he’s a TUF winner! That has to count for something right? I’m going with Pearson via TKO.
James Wilks (6-2) vs. Matt Brown (9-7)
BRIAN FURBY: Even though Wilks reportedly hasn’t lived in England for the last few years, it’s not hard to imagine that, like Pearson, he’ll have the crowd on his side as steps in to do war with Brown. Both are coming off first round victories and I’m sure will want to finish early again. I don’t think Wilks will be able to handle Brown’s punching power so he’ll try to take him down early. However, Brown’s ground game is underrated and he should be able to use it to his advantage to get the fight standing again where he’ll shine. Matt Brown by TKO in the second.
RICHARD MANN: It is hard for me to pick a winner in this fight, because I really don’t care. However, I will tough it out for the sake of ProMMA.info. I see Wilks grinding on Brown and wearing him down with his physical game. Brown was dominated in close quarters by Dong Hyun Kim for two rounds, and Wilks is a much bigger and stronger man than Kim.
EDDIE CONSTANTINE: Wilks proved to be a very good fighter during his stint on TUF. We have seen what the loss of a father can do to fighter emotionally for better or worse. As such, I think Wilks will get the better of Matt Brown and take a decision. Wilks by decision
DUSTY ADAMS: Wilks just seems like a better all around fighter. Plus fighting in England should motivate him that much more. Wilks by submission in the second round.
JACK BRATCHER: Brown has fought the better competition and has the experience advantage. He also recently lost his father which can have an effect because they were close. I think this fight will be very important for Matt. He’s 3-1 in the UFC and I don’t see Wilks being the guy to beat him. Brown via TKO.
Mike Bisping (17-2) vs. Denis Kang (32-11-1)
BRIAN FURBY: Seeing Henderson KO Bisping was one of the most satisfying things I’ve seen since I started watching MMA. While I don’t think Kang has the power to get a similarly devastating KO, I do think he’s going to hand The Count a loss on his home turf. I know Bisping is going to come in better prepared this time, and will probably stick to his gameplan a little bit better than he did against Henderson, but Kang is dangerous wherever the fight goes, and this is his chance to show the UFC fans that he’s a contender. Kang by TKO in the second.
RICHARD MANN: In a lot of his fights Denis Kang finds a way to lose. However, Michael Bisping does not have the power to knockout Kang and despite his decent submission game he has very little wrestling skill. Look for Bisping to employ the strategy he used against Leben and Henderson. Kang will be able to catch up to the bicycling Brit and land enough strikes to win the fight.
EDDIE CONSTANTINE: This is the first fight that Kang was able to get back to really training with ATT. However they cannot fill the holes that Kang has in his mental game. With Bisping coming off the destruction to Dan Henderson and fighting in his hometown I see Bisping winning by TKO in round three.
DUSTY ADAMS: That KO loss to Henderson hurt Bisping in more ways than one. However, in his home country I think Bisping will rebound and win by TKO in the second round.
JACK BRATCHER: Most of Kang’s losses have come from submissions. I don’t see Bisping submitting him anytime during this lifetime. Although a lot of people seemed to be turned off by Bisping, he does have skills. I think Bisping is going to rally in this one. He’s embarrassed by that last loss and wants to make a statement.
Mike Swick (14-2) vs. Dan Hardy (22-6)
BRIAN FURBY: This one is going to be a banger, no question. Swick is eager to get back in line for that title shot and Hardy is ready to prove that he should be in line for one as well. However, I think Swick is going to yet again disappoint the hometown crowd as he makes the local boys 0-4 on the night. I don’t think there will be a middle ground in this fight in terms of time – it’s either going to end in the first three minutes or go all three rounds. Personally, I think it will be the former. Swick by TKO in the first.
RICHARD MANN: This fight will not be as close as a lot of people think it will. Mike Swick is not only a better rounded fighter, but he is also better at each aspect of the game. Look for Swick to control the pace of the fight with clinching and takedowns and win a decision over Dan Hardy.
EDDIE CONSTANTINE: Fight of the night in my opinion. These guys are going to come out and bang hard. Despite the power that Hardy has shown in his hands, the speed of Swick coupled with the quality training he experiences day in and day out will get him the win. Swick by TKO round one.
DUSTY ADAMS: I like the chances of this one being over quickly. I see both coming out swinging. Hardy tends to throw more looping punches were as Swick throws a lot straighter punches. I like Swick’s speed and accuracy a little more than Hardy’s. Swick by KO in the first round.
JACK BRATCHER: I’m calling fight of the night on this one. Both guys have decision wins over Marcus Davis. Both guys are great strikers. Swick hasn’t whipped out the ol’ “Swick-a-tine” in awhile… maybe he could catch Hardy in a submission. I have to go with Swick. He’s at the right camp, right coaches, training partners, his hair ain’t as pretty as Hardy’s but he is quick. I give it to Swick via TKO.
Randy Couture (16-10) vs. Brandon Vera (14-3)
BRIAN FURBY: Still not quite sure who to pick on this one. If Randy can use his wrestling effectively he can probably get Vera down and land good shots for an early stoppage or to cruise to a unanimous decision win. On the other hand, Vera’s muay thai is heads and tails above Randy’s, and if he can use it to keep the distance he can pick away at Randy until he can manage a decision victory, or catch him with a solid head kick. There’s no question that Randy will perform – the question is which Vera is going to show up. Will it be the one who came in and took the UFC by storm with four straight wins, or the one who is 3-3 in his last six fights? If Vera can stay cool during Buffer’s seven minute introduction of Couture with the crowd roaring, I think he can get a win. Vera by split decision.
RICHARD MANN: The slow and tactical game plan that Brandon Vera has been using plays right into the hands of Randy Couture. Despite his reputation as a dynamic striker, Vera relies on his clinch skill in fights. He loses fights when he can’t control the clinch and push his opponent against the cage. Couture might be old, and getting older by the second, but he is still the better wrestler. Couture will win this one by decision.
EDDIE CONSTANTINE: The one time top prospect turned hesitant fighter Vera against the all-American hero. Will this be the fight that we see Vera’s stellar wrestling and grappling come into play? It will be interesting to find out. But I think Couture will get him in the end. Couture by decision.
DUSTY ADAMS: Vera is the perfect opponent for Randy to get back to winning again. Vera is very talented but doesn’t always fight to his ability. To me he seems content to want to show off his Muay Thai rather than finish fights. Even though Vera probably has a good ground game it won’t matter against Couture. As soon as Vera starts firing kicks Couture will take him down and pin him there. Couture TKO second round.
JACK BRATCHER: I like Vera a lot. His striking looks on point these days, better than ever. However, Randy has faced everything under the sun. This is Randy’s chance to prove he still has that elite level game. If he loses to Vera, that is bad bad bad for The Natural. Vera doesn’t have that Lesnar weight and power advantage. I just don’t see Vera beating the Natural. Call me old fashioned but I’ll take Couture by decision.