UFC 105

I can’t believe how quickly UFC 105 got here.  I was anticipating Randy Couture’s next fight, as well as seeing how Michael Bisping would rebound after getting knocked out by Dan Henderson, but I was surprised when I saw that it was coming up tomorrow.

I fully expect my predictions to not be as good this time around… though I don’t ever do too excellently at picking winners, so we’ll see what happens.

Preliminary Card

Lightweight bout:
[United Kingdom] Andre Winner vs. [United States] Rolando Delgado
Uncharacteristic of a preliminary card fight, I’ve seen BOTH competitors compete before – which says something about the success of The Ultimate Fighter (in a good way… which I’ll explain in a different article).
Andre Winner made it to the finals during his season, losing by decision.  Roland Delgado barely made it onto his season, had his black belt in Jiu-Jitsu questioned by the people on the show, lost to Junie Browning, and is 1-1 since then – including a submission victory and a loss by decision.  I’ll be very interested to see what Roland can do in this one, but I know which way I’m leaning, and Andre better hope the fight goes the entire allotted time.
Winner:  Andre Winner by decision

Light Heavyweight bout:
[Sweden] Alexander Gustafsson vs. [United States] Jared Hamman
This one’s tough to decide, so I’m going to go based on something interesting I’ve seen.  I’m curious to determine how durable Alexander Gustafsson is, fighting 3 fights since last August – the last time Jared Hamman was in a professional bout.  They both have impressive records – Gustafsson at 8-0, Hamman at 10-1 (having avenged his only loss), so I don’t have a strong feeling either way, but I have heard that Hamman’s last two fights were impressive.
Winner:  Jared Hamman by submission

Lightweight bout:
[United Kingdom] Paul Kelly vs. [Germany] Dennis Siver
Paul Kelly only has one loss on his record – a submission loss 13 months ago.  He’s had two fights since then – both in the UFC – both victories.
Dennis Siver has a decent record at 14-6, hasn’t lost a fight outside the United States in the last 2.5 years, and is 2-0 since his return to UFC this year.
After finishing most of his fights early in the first part of his career, Kelly has needed the judges decision to get victory as of late, and that’s all the edge I can see in a fight between two guys I’ve never seen before.
Winner:  Dennis Siver by submission

Welterweight bout:
[United Kingdom] Nick Osipczak vs. [United States] Matthew Riddle
I’ve heard from multiple sources that Kung Fu doesn’t necessarily translate well in the world of Mixed Martial Arts, and despite the fact that Nick Osipczak’s background in the Shaolin art of fighting, he has one three of his four professional fights by rear naked choke.
On The Ultimate Fighter, Matt Riddle showed he had huge knockout power, but since then has taken all three of his fights by decision.
I’m going to throw caution to the wind and predict that this fight shows that a Kung Fu base to well-rounded skills can produce a good fighter.
Winner:  Nick Osipczak by submission.

Lightweight bout:
[United Kingdom] Terry Etim vs. [United States] Shannon Gugerty
From what it looks like, Shannon Gugerty does just fine if he can finish the fight in the first round or the opening 90 seconds of round two, but other than that?  It doesn’t typically work out well for him.
Terry Etim, on the other hand, has won three fights in the past 13 months, none of them ending in the first round.
Winner:  Terry Etim by submission

Welterweight bout:
[United Kingdom] Paul Taylor vs. [United Kingdom] John Hathaway
Paul Taylor has 3 wins and 3 losses since his first UFC fight 30 months ago.
John Hathaway is undefeated, including a dominating win over Thomas Egan and a decision victory5 months ago.
I’ll be watching this one closely to see how Hathaway looks against someone with plenty of UFC experience, and I’d like to see whether Paul Taylor shows up for the fight ready to put another win on the board.  For now, I have to go with the man who’s undefeated at 11-0.
Winner:  John Hathaway by decision

Main Card

Lightweight bout:
[United Kingdom] Ross Pearson vs. [United States] Aaron Riley
In the interest of being fair, I will say that because Aaron Riley trains in Northern Virginia, I’m biased in his favor.
I did get the pleasure of watching Ross Pearson compete on The Ultimate Fighter, and while I don’t remember anything specific that he was good at inside the octagon, I remember thinking that he was a fairly decent all-around fighter.
I very much look forward to seeing this fight.
Winner:  Aaron Riley by decision

Welterweight bout:
[United Kingdom] James Wilks vs. [United States] Matt Brown
Having seen both of these heavy hitters on The Ultimate Fighter, this is another match I’m looking forward to seeing.  I don’t have hopes of either of these guys becoming a highly touted contender for the Welterweight Title, but it should be an interesting fight to watch.  They both have powerful hands and some submission skills.  James Wilks didn’t impress me TOO much on The Ultimate Fighter – which just means he didn’t stand out as having awesome skills in any one area.  I was impressed by Matt Brown’s toughness on TUF, but he didn’t win the show-based tournament like Wilks did, and that’s the reason I’ll give the edge to the Brit.
Winner:  James Wilks by submission

Middleweight bout:
[United Kingdom] Michael Bisping vs. [Canada] Denis Kang
The last time I saw Michael Bisping, he was laid out on the canvas after a huge knockout from Dan Henderson.  Everything else I’ve seen from Bisping has been high quality.
Denis Kang seems to do okay for himself, but he doesn’t appear to be the upper eschelon fighter that Bisping is.  He’s a black belt in BJJ, so while he could give The Brit some troubles, he’s not going to bring up bad Hendo-fight memories for Bisping.
Winner:  Michael Bisping by knock out

Welterweight bout:
[United States] Mike Swick vs. [United Kingdom] Dan Hardy
Although I don’t recognize either of the names of the fighters involved, I’ll be interested in this fight because the winner gets a shot at Georges St Pierre’s Welterweight Title.
Swick has a very impressive record, 14-2 with 4 straight wins in the past 30 months – 2 by decision, 2 by knockout.
Dan Hardy’s record isn’t AS impressive, but 22-6 is nothing to scoff at.  He lost two fights in 2006 by decision and another in late 2007 (by DQ).  Since that DQ loss, he has 6 straight wins (3 in the UFC – 2 by split decision and 1 by first round knockout).  Swick has fewer fights AND is older, so the wear and tear he’s faced isn’t as bad.
It’s close, but I’ll have to go with the better record.
Winner:  Swick by Decision

Light Heavyweight bout:
[United States] Randy Couture vs. [United States] Brandon Vera
My first impression on this fight is that Brandon Vera isn’t ready for Randy Couture, but if he’s going to fight him, it may as well be now.
The legendary Couture has lost two in a row, and although those fights were heavyweight bouts to two of the top 5 talents currently (possibly EVER) in the division, they’re acceptable losses.  What toll did those fights take on Randy Couture?  How will he rebound from it?  This is a big fight for Randy Couture, because he’s nearing the end of his deal with UFC (unless he signed a new one I haven’t heard about), and I’ve heard that he wants to get a fight setup with Fedor Emelianenko.  If that fight is going to be as hot as it could be, Couture’s going to have to show something in this fight.
For Brandon Vera, now is the time to step up.  Plenty of people are likely doubting his odds in this fight.  Over his past 6 fights, he’s only won 3 of them, and none of his three wins were over anyone too significant.  His losses were to Tim Sylvia, Fabricio Werdum, and Keith Jardine.  Not lower-tier competitors by any means, but I’d be crazy to say that Randy Couture is going to lose to a guy who doesn’t have any signature wins on a resume which shows recent losses to those guys.
Winner:  Randy Couture by decision