Some of these are very tough picks. This is a solid card, which is by far better than UFC 90. I will probably stink up my picks because there are some tough fights here. From top to bottom this is a good card. Maybe not the big names that pay per view cards often carry, but to the serious MMA fan even fights on this undercard are appealing.
Michael Bisping vs. Chris Leben
I think Bisping is a serious contender at 185 lbs. He has looked impressive, but he has not fought anyone of Chris Leben’s calibur yet at 185. He handily beat Jason Day and Charles McCarthy, but Leben is better than those guys. Leben can strike and he has an iron chin. I think when it comes down to it we will see that the difference is Bisping’s conditioning and his ability to take Leben down and work some ground and pound. If Bisping tries to exchange with Leben it could be goodnight “Count”. However, Bisping is hailed the best UK fighter, and is likely the TUF 8 coach. I look for Bisping to win by ref stoppage in round 3.
Brandon Vera vs. Keith Jardine
This is a very tough fight to pick and here is why. Brandon Vera made the drop from heavyweight to light heavyweight, which I think is a good move. He debuted at 205 and looked less than impressive ina win over Reese Andy. I do not know if Vera is struggling as a fighter right now or if the weight cut got to him that fight. I would expect a much better Vera Saturday. Jardine is a tough guy to figure. He has at times looked like a top contender. He has beaten Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin. However, he got beat handily and quickly by Wanderlei Silva and Houston Alexander. So is Jardine a top 5 fighter? Or is he a “gatekeeper”? My pick for this fight is not concrete, and I would not be shocked for it to go either way, however, I pick Brandon “The Truth” Vera by unanimous decision. It would be great for Vera’s career if he finished quickly and in exciting fashion like the Vera of old.
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Luiz Arthur Cane
Argghhh. Another hard fight. For the same reasons as above. How good is Sokoudjou? He has impressive KO wins over Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, which put him on the MMA map. He then lost in his UFC debut to Lyoto Machida. There is no shame in that, Machida is a top guy. Then he came and dismantled Nakamura, who was unable to answer the bell after round 1. This fight will show how good Sokoudjou is. Many people may look over this fight, but this may be the best match up on the card. A lot of people do not know who Luiz Cane is, but he is a phenomenal striker. He devestated Jason Lambert. Anyways, I will go with Sokoudjou by 2nd round KO.
Marcus Davis vs. Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly is tough. He has an iron chin, great wrestling and good ground and pound skills. He isn’t afraid to trade blows either as he showed against Paul Taylor. I think when it comes down to it Marcus Davis is way more experienced. That will be the difference. I pick Davis by late first round submission.
Shane Carwin vs. Neil Wain
Quite honestly, I know very little about Neil Wain. However, I do know that Shane Carwin is one of the top heavyweight prospects. I do know he has knockout power. I do know that he reportedly has some of the best ground and pound skills. I think we will see it on display. I pick Carwin by ref stoppage in round 1.
Dan Hardy vs. Akihiro Gono
Dan Hardy is the British newcomer who is highly touted by many. He will make his debut against a tough Akihiro Gono. I have no idea how to predict this fight. Hardy is touted, but looking at his record, I don’t know what there is to tout. Gono has tons of experience, but he too has struggled at times. I believe that home octagon advantage could play a factor and help Hardy who will be a sure crowd favorite. The winner of this fight will be thrust right into the top ten of the stacked welterweight divison. I think that Gono wins a tough decision victory.
David Baron vs. Jim Miller
I don’t like this match up. These are two good signings being placed opposite one another in their debuts. I wouldn’t mind the fight, but I’d like to see both guys have a chance to win one first. Only one will win. David Baron gained fame with his win over Hayato “Mach” Sakurai. He also boasts wins over Dan Hardy and another UFC recent signee in Abdul Mohammed. Jim Miller is a former IFL fighter, whose lone career loss came to Frank Edgar. This should be a tough match between two well rounded fighters. In the end I think David Baron will win by decision.
Chris Lytle vs. Paul Taylor
Both these guys are tough as nails. Paul Taylor may be under the radar. He has a 2-2 record in the UFC, but that is deceiving. His losses came to Paul Kelly and Marcus Davis. He was very competitive in both fights, in fact Davis’ submission was seen as a come from behind victory. Chris Lytle is a very tough dude. I honestly do not know if he will be able to handle Paul Taylor’s pace. Both guys like to stand and strike. Chris Lytle’s nickname is “lights out”. Lytle has fought some top names in the game such as Koscheck, Alves, Hughes, Serra, Parisyan, Lawler, Nick Diaz, Shonie Carter, and Joe Riggs. The problem is he has lost to all those dudes. The point is this, Lytle is a good fighter, but he is not a great fighter. Don’t get mad at me, that is what his record says. He has not beaten a top notch fighter except an early win in his career over Kazuo Misaki. He has some solid wins over guys like Matt Brown, Savant Young, Pat Healy, Tiki Ghosn and Pete Spratt, but those guys are not top guys. The question as I pick this fight is which group Paul Taylor fits into. I think Taylor is good and could win this, but Chris Lytle is the prototypical UFC gatekeeper, the top guys beat him and the second tier guys don’t. I think Taylor has a future in the UFC still, but I think this fight ends with a Lytle KO is round 2.
Jess Liaudin vs. David Bielkheden
Poor David Bielkheden. He made his UFC debut against a Diego Sanchez with something to prove and he could beat up at UFC 82. Now he drops to lightweight against another welterweight who has dropped to lightweight. I think it could be an exciting match as the loser may be out of the UFC. I think that Liaudin will pull out a win here in a unaimous decision.
Terry Etim vs. Sam Stout
Terry Etim was very hyped coming into the UFC. He hasn’t lived up to it at all. He won his debut, but scored losses to Gleison Tibau and Rich Clementi following. Sam Stout is tough as his fights with Spencer Fisher indicate. I would not be surprised if he wins this fight that we see the rubber match of those fights. Terry Etim has great submissions. If he losses he is out of the UFC. I suspect Etim will win by submission, even though it does not seem that Stout is very suseptable to submissions. Etim by submission, round 1. If it stands though Stout wins.
Per Eklund vs. Samy Schiavo
This could be a good fight. Schiavo may be underrated. He lost to Clay Guida badly, but Schiavo has excellent strikes and solid submissions. I think Schiavo will be too much for Eklund and will finish the fight by TKO in round 2.
Filed under: Brandon Vera, Chris Leben, Chris Lytle, Dan Hardy, David Baron, David Bielkheden, Jess Liaudin, Jim Miller, Keith Jardine, Luis Arthur Cane, Marcus Davis, Michael Bisping, Neil Wain, Paul Kelly, Paul Taylor, Per Eklund, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Sam Stout, Shane Carwin, Terry Etim, UFC, UFC 89: Bisping vs. Leben | Tagged: Akihiro Gono, Brandon Vera, Chris Leben, Chris Lytle, Dan Hardy, David Baron, David Bielkheden, Jess Liaudin, Jim Miller, Keith Jardine, Luis Arthur Cane, Marcus Davis, Michael Bisping, Neil Wain, Paul Kelly, Paul Taylor, Per Eklund, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Sam Stout, Samy Schiavo, Shane Carwin, Terry Etim, UFC 89: Bisping vs. Leben | Leave a comment »