Michael Bisping vs. Chris Leben
Kid Nate: Bisping is a much sharper striker but does he have the power and the chin to beat Leben? Yes. Bisping by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I have made it pretty clear that Bisping's boxing since he went to 185 is crisp and mature. He uses feints very effectively to move his opponent into position and unloads with quick punches with a lot of snap on them. Leben presents an interesting counterpoint to this as he is more of the "wildly effective" striker. He has calmed down and isn't AS reckless as he has been in the past but he still leaves a lot of openings that a talented striker can take advantage of. Leben's physical transformation is quite impressive honestly, but I don't think he is better in any specific area of the game than Bisping. I think that we're going to see Bisping use slicker boxing technique early on and frustrate Leben and then start to use it to get takedowns where he will pound Leben out. Bisping by TKO round 3.
Michael Rome: I expect Leben to be outclassed here. Bisping is better everywhere, though I don't expect him to finish Leben unless he gets him to the ground. Bisping via decision.
Nick Thomas: Bisping, the UFC poster boy of the
Mike Fagan: Bisping simply has too many tools. Chris has some of those same tools, but simply prefers to stand and bang. He does have a very solid chin and a lot of heart, though. Bisping by decision.
Keith Jardine vs. Brandon Vera
Kid Nate: Both of these guys really need a big win. Jardine's awkward style and Greg Jackson's coaching give him a decent chance. I'm going to bet on the thoroughbred here though. Vera's too talented to stay in a tailspin forever. Vera by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: I didn't find anything particularly impressive about Vera's decision win over Reese Andy, but at the same time it's not as if Jardine getting KO'ed in 36 seconds by Wanderlei Silva was better by any stretch. If you look at history, Vera is a finisher where as Jardine tends to let things go to decision. Jardine also has a history of getting caught and knocked out. I'm going to go off of history and take Vera by TKO in round 2.
Michael Rome: Both guys are coming off disappointing performances. Jardine came up big last time he was in a similar position and was in the biggest fight of his life, and I expect he will do it again here. Vera has just looked terrible lately and I don't expect him to snap out of it here. Jardine via decision.
Nick Thomas: This will be a close fight. In the end, Jardine will probably leave himself open again and get caught. Vera by better wrestling and TKO.
Mike Fagan: Keith Jardine is such an enigma. Holds good wins over Liddell and
Rameau Sokoudjou vs. Luiz Cane
Kid Nate: These guys are fighting to break into the contender tier of the light heavyweight division. This is a tough one. Sokoudjou has shown he's dangerous in boxing range but I'm not confident he has an answer at kicking range or in the clinch. It pains me to say this, but Cane by TKO in 2.
Brent Brookhouse: Cane is a beast and I think he is very well suited to beat Soko wherever he wants the fight to take place. Cane is an explosive striker I think he'll punish and stop Sokoudjou in the first. Cane by TKO round 1.
Michael Rome: This fight should rule. I'm expecting a violent and short fight, but I think Cane's reach, chin, and power will overwhelm Sokoudjou. Cane via TKO, round 1.
Nick Thomas: Both exciting fighters. Cane can win this on the ground or standing. Cane by TKO.
Mike Fagan: As much fun as Sokoudjou is, the
Paul Taylor vs. Chris Lytle
Kid Nate: Lytle should steamroll
Michael Rome: This is a fight built for fireworks.
Mike Fagan: Lytle's a guy who beats the guy's he's supposed to beat. He's supposed to beat
Paul Kelly vs. Marcus Davis
Kid Nate: This is a fight with implications for the 2nd tier of the UFC welterweight division. If Kelly can get past
Brent Brookhouse: This is a very "made to order" fight to get
Michael Rome: Time for
Nick Thomas: Kelly isn't going to take
Dan Hardy vs. Akihiro Gono
Kid Nate: A third really interesting undercard fight. Gono has been fighting at the top levels of the middleweight class for several years, with mixed results. Hardy has been trying to fight his way into the top ranks for a while. His closest recent brush with greatness ended when he lost to Yoshiuki Yoshida by DQ (nut shot). I think Gono is very dangerous at 170. Hardy lost to Forrest Petz. I expect Akihiro to toy with Hardy and eventually get the takedown and finish it. Gono by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Gono is usually safe against guys who aren't top tier. But I'm going to take Hardy by TKO here. Dan Hardy by TKO round 2.
Michael Rome: Talk about the anti-Bisping approach for Hardy. Incredibly tough fight...too tough. Gono is too good and will submit Hardy in round 2.
Nick Thomas: Hardy is a jack of all trades. Gono comes in with more experience.
Gono by submission.
Mike Fagan: Gono by Will Smith loving/submission, round 1.
Shane Carwin vs. Neil Wain
Kid Nate: Carwin by KO quick fast in a hurry.
Brent Brookhouse: Carwin by brutal, brutal TKO in Round 1.
Michael Rome: Err, squash match. Carwin via TKO round 1.
Nick Thomas: Carwin is huge and the future of the HW division. Carwin by TKO.
Mike Fagan: I'll just quote
Jess Liaudin vs. David Bielkheden
Kid Nate: Both guys are cutting down to 155. I think Liaudin will be too much for Bielkheden -- "The Brazilian Swede". Jess has decent ground skills and should be able to fend off David and get the beatdown. Liaudin by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Liaudin by TKO round 2.
Nick Thomas: Bielkheden by submission.
Sam Stout vs. Terry Etim
Kid Nate: Another great undercard matchup. Stout is a top notch kickboxer and Etim is a lanky submission artist. On paper Etim is just the kind of fighter who has smoked Sam in the past, but after picking Per Eklund to beat Stout, I'm leery. However, even the totally gassed Eklund managed to repeatedly take Stout down. I'm going to go with Etim by
Brent Brookhouse: Etim by decision.
Michael Rome: Stout's crappy takedown defense will be his undoing. Etim via submission, round 2.
Nick Thomas: Etim should take this... but I just can't pick against the canuck. Stout by decision.
Mike Fagan: Stout by decision.
David Baron vs. Jim Miller
Kid Nate: This fight has actual implications for the lightweight division. Baron is a well-traveled veteran of the international fight scene with wins over Hayato Sakurai and Dan Hardy (x2). Jim Miller is probably the brightest IFL prospect in the UFC (along with his brother Dan). Baron's been fighting at higher weights most of his career so his ability to make the weight cut without gassing will be a key factor. Miller has excellent ground control and submissions but I'm going to bet that Baron's experience will be too much for him. Stalemate on the ground followed by a Baron win by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: It's a bit of a shame this won't make the broadcast as I think Miller is a handful for almost anyone in the division. Miller by submission round 1.
Michael Rome: Miller is the brightest IFL prospect in the UFC, but he is going up against a tough veteran in David Baron. I think this will be a very close fight, but I'm going to go ahead and pick Miller via submission in round 3.
Nick Thomas: Miller is the better wrestler/grappler. Miller by decision.
Mike Fagan: Baron by TKO.
Per Eklund vs. Samy Schiavo
Kid Nate: To say that neither fighter impressed in their UFC debuts (against Sam Stout and Clay Guida respectively) is an understatement. Eklund's conditioning was beyond suspect and Schiavo just got exposed. I think Eklund's grappling skill-set is too good a match for Semy's TKD. Eklund by submission.
Brent Brookhouse: Eklund by submission round 2.
Michael Rome: Both are coming off terrible debuts, but I like Samy's standing game and expect him to rebound here with a KO win in round 1.
Nick Thomas: Eklund by takedown and submission.
Mike Fagan: Schiavo by submission.