So the UFC will be coming to Manchester, UK on 14th November and as is customary with a UK UFC card we will be seeing a LOT of brit fighters which is great news for the UKMMA fan. There are some great fights on this card and the top 3 fights will hopefully all be barnstormers. Can’t wait for this event!! I didnt go too badly in my picks for UFC 104, I think I picked more correct than I got wrong so these posts aren’t completely pointless!! However if you are reading this hoping to pick up some great tips and are wagering substantial amounts of money based on what I say here, please beware that as this card features a lot of Brits these picks are going to be ridiculously biased!!. Hahaha. I fully intend to bullshit my way round my obvious leaning towards the UK fighters with some stone cold facts as to why I think the brits will be kicking arse 😀
In all seriousness as much as I would LOVE to see all the Brits victorious (apart from in Hathaway vs Taylor when one Brit HAS to lose) it is going to be a very tall order. Ross Pearson and Mike Bisping particularly have very tough matches, but that is not to say the other Brits have walkovers….but we’ll get to that!
Also I’m getting my picks in a little earlier than usual as I am off on holiday tomorrow and won’t be coming anywhere near a PC until after the event.
Onto the picks: The undercard
TUF 9 runner up Winner faces off against season 8’s Delgado in the first of the evenings fights. Despite 2 losses and a draw in his last 3 offical fights, Winner has been given a shot on the big show and will be looking to pick up where Paul Kelly left offby being the second brit in a row to hand Delgado a loss. Winner is a great stand-up fighter with slick hands and footwork but you wouldn’t call him a knock out artist, he tends pick off and out work his opponents on the feet. I’m expecting to see more of the same here and I can’t see Delgado bringing anything to this fight that will be able to take winner out of his gameplan.
Delgado’s best chance is on the floor but I’m not sure he will be able to put Dre there and I think the brit takes this this with a comfortable decision. Winner by decision.
Both these men are newcomers to the UFC but Hamman arguably has more “bigshow” experience after his appearances on Strikeforce and Sho-XC. I’m not going to pretend to know anything about either of these guys but looking at their records it’s probably fair to say this isn’t going the distance and somebody is getting KTFO!
In my internet “research” into the fighters I found that Hamman’s lone less (which he avenged in his next fight) was somewhat controversial as he got floored with a flying knee but was actually getting back up when the ref stopped the fight. He then came back to TKO the ridiculously named Poai Suganuma in the 1st 3 minutes of the return match.
Purely based on his greater experience I’m going to have to go for Hamman by TKO but am prepared to be proved wrong. Could be an early knockout of the night contender (although there are plenty of fights on the card with potential to earn that honour).
One undefeated TUF graduate against another here. Will the home advantage be a factor as Osipczak makes his full UFC bow against Riddle? Or will Riddles previous “big show” experience help him overcome the hostile UK crowd? Dana White called Osipczak’s TUF9 semi-final loss against DeMarques Johnson was “one of the best fights in TUF history”, after Osipczak had already impressed with a big head kick KO in his previous fight on the show and there is clearly a contrast in styles with these two fighters, “Slick” Nick is a finisher. With none of his ‘official’ fights getting out of the first round. “The Riddler” by contrast has ALL of his 3 wins by decision (again not counting his fights in the TUF house).
One thing clearly in Riddle’s favour is his wrestling credentials, fighting out of Team Couture you know his wrestling is only going to have improved since TUF (where it was already pretty good anyway!). He is no doubt going to be looking to use his wrestling here to overcome the rangy striking of Osipczak. This is a tough fight to call and while my heart says Osipczak as I’d love all the brits to win, for some reason my head is saying that Riddle could grind this one out. However, I read this recently and now am convinced that Osipczak HAS to smash him, just for his stupid comments about british MMA. So Im going for Osipczak to slap on his trademark RNC at somepoint in the 2nd round.
*ps: it would be awesome if someday Joe Silva could make a match between Osipczak and Swick. Then Slick Nick would fight Quick Swick! You see what I did there :)*
Terry Etim will make his 4th straight appearance on a UK UFC on the 14th when he takes on Shannon Gugerty. Both fighters are coming off impressive submission wins in their last UFC appearances. Etim -although he has most of his wins by submission – is a great muay thai stylist and Joe Rogan was even prompted to call him a “mini Anderson Silva” (or words to that effect) in one of his previous fights. He showed these standup skills to great effect against Brian Cobb and will look to assert the same sort of gameplan on Gugerty.
I think Terry will have far too much for Gugerty wherever this fight goes and am picking him to score a quick TKO late in rd 1 or early in rd 2. Etim TKO
This fight puts the wrestling and toughness of Kelly against the kickboxing style of Siver. Though he is not averse to the ground, Siver likes to keep things on the feet. Going the distance in his last 2 outings in the UFC, Kelly will probably look to put Siver on his back to avoid the striking game and take his chances on the ground using his wrestling to keep him there and pound out the win. Siver has shown pretty good form in his last two UFC fights and this isn’t an easy fight to call.
I think Kelly could be the first of the brits to pick up an “L” as he leaves an arm hanging out too long and Siver locks on for the submission. I hope I’m wrong!
In this “battle of britain”, kickboxing stylist Paul “Relentless” Taylor faces off against the undefeated John “hitman” Hathaway. Taylor has impressed in his UFC fights so far with 2 fight of the night bonuses swelling his earnings. Hathaway doesn’t bring the same sort of intensity that Taylor does but is a very cool and calculating fighter with great wrestling and ground and pound.
Taylor is going to look to bring the pressure standing-up early and try to get the hitman on the back foot but Hathaway will be well prepared for this. Having moved gyms to London Shootfighters from his previous home of ZT Fite Skool in brighton he now benefits from the world class sparring partners available to him, not least Dream WW Champion Marius Zaromskis – himself no slouch on the feet (to completely understate his ability!)
Although Taylor is a superb fighter, I don’t think his skill set matches up well with Hathaways and once Hathaway finds a way inside things could turn nasty for Taylor. I think Hathaway takes this via TKO in rd 2 but dont be surprised if this goes the distance.
TUF 9 lightweight winner Ross Pearson fights for the first time since winning his six-figure contract in June facing veteran Aaron Riley. This is definitely a test for Pearson to gauge exactly where he fits in the stacked lightweight division.
Pearson is up against it in this fight as Riley is just as tough as Pearson proved to be in series 9 of TUF. Riley has in been in amongst it with big names such as Robbie Lawlor, Jorge Gurgel and Spencer Fisher to name just a few and this is a big ask for Pearson. He is going to have to take it to Riley and hope his conditioning and hunger can see him through this baptism of fire in the big show.
Riley has been there and got the t-shirt and im not sure Pearson can bring anything he hasn’t seen before to this fight. This is another one where I have to decide to go with heart or head but home town advantage and a tonne of heart could carry Ross through this fight. I’m going with another heart pick and taking Pearson to eke out a razor thin decision over the veteran.
Wilks is coming off his victory in TUF9 against the best fighter on the US team, Demarques Johnson. However he is taking a step up in class taking on Matt Brown, himself a former TUF contestant in series 7 and riding a 2 fight win streak after a tough decision loss to dong hyung kim prior to that.
Wilks favours the ground game a lot more than the standup, and is a former student of the legendary Eric Paulson. Brown has 50% of his career wins via ko/tko and 50% via sub. I don’t think this fight will go the distance and the outcome will depend on where the fight takes place. I think Wilks best chance will be to try and get Brown down to the mat and I also suspect Brown knows this. A tough first “full” UFC fight for Wilks against a solid gatekeeper in Brown and tought to call. But I am going to go with Wilks to pull out a submission win in the 3rd as Brown has struggled with good submissions guys in the past.
Dan Hardy finds himself in the surprising position of being within one fight of a title shot in his match against Swick. The original No1 contender face-off was due to be between Kampmann and Swick but Swicks injury meant Hardy’s teammate Paul Daley stepped up and blew Kampmanns chances of a shot out the water with a vicious striking assault. Hardy’s original opponent in this match was to be Dong Hyung Kim but again injury has scuppered that fight too. So we arrive in Manchester with the winner of Hardy / Swick looking down the barrel of a potential face-off against GSP. I’m sure Hardy was confident he’d get his shot one day ever since he joined the UFC, just not sure he thought it would come around so soon!
Swick is riding a 4 fight win streak with his last 2 wins being by TKO. Hardy is riding a 6 fight win streak with 4 of those being by T/KO. The momentum in this fight is with Hardy and for sure he will have the crowd in his back pocket from the moment his name is called. Whether this will be a problem for Swick remains to be seen.
This is a serious contender for fight of the night and could also hold the knock out of the night too. I think both will be looking to make a statement of intent in this one and I for one can’t wait for the fireworks. We probably won’t be seeing much of either mans groundgame in this one, with both fighters being very sure of themselves and confident in their standup abilities. Hardy has the sharper, crisper game but Swick can turn it on and the speed of his punches is impressive. In terms of big show experience and quality of opponents Swick is probably the favourtie but it is Hardy who will be having his hand raised at the end. I’m picking Hardy TKO in the 3rd
After being on the wrong end of a viscious KO from Dan Henderson in his last outing, Bisping has another tough fight on his hands with veteran Denis Kang. Kang spent much of his MMA career fighting in Asia and although die-hard MMA fans will be well aware of who he is and his abilities he is not as high profile amongst the casual fan as Bisping. Kang is a BJJ blackbelt with great standup, Bisping has been improving in all areas and can make it a fight at any range but you have to favour Kang if this goes to the floor. Getting Bisping to the floor however is a difficult proposition as he has superb take down defence.
Bisping will not want back to back losses after being talked up as a potential opponent for Anderson Silva prior to nearly having his head taken off by Henderson. He especially won’t like to lose in front of his home crowd. Kang will have other ideas no doubt and again this one could end with a KO of the night.
I’m really torn in this fight because I think Kang has all the tools to beat Bisping and although I think he’s great and want him to win, Bisping looked sloppy against Henderson and I don’t think he can afford to make those sort of mistakes again or he risks becoming just another mid-ranked middleweight who everyone thinks Anderson Silva would bulldoze through. Saying that, he would be extremely foolish to have not learnt from the mistakes he made in the Hendo fight and Bisping will hopefully be disciplined enough to stick to a gameplan this time and do what he needs to do to win. I’m picking Bisping via Decision
In the main event of the evening, the natural makes another drop down to the Light Heavyweight division after being handled by Big Nog in his last fight and overwhelmed by the sheer size and strength of Brock Lesnar in his fight before that. But while back to back losses often means the end of a fighters UFC career, this isnt just any fighter and he now has his eye on another tilt at the LHW title. In his way is Vera who is riding a 2 fight win streak.
I love Randy and am completely shameless in my admission of that, I think he is frickin awesome. I also hate Vera, I can’t put my finger on exactly why but there’s just something I can’t stand about him. Vera’s greatest strength is probably his Muay Thai whilst we all know that Randy’s wrestling and dirty boxing can turn fights in his favour. Whilst father time may well be catching up with Randy he certainly ain’t done yet and i certainly think he has enough in him to take this fight. With his solid gameplans and often flawless execution it takes a special kind of fighter to throw Randy off his game, Vera isn’t that fighter in my opinion.
I’m picking Randy for a 2nd round TKO in this fight.
***** UPDATED WITH RESULTS ********
Andre Winner vs Roli Delgado – My Pick:Winner dec Actual:Winner ko rd1
Alexander Gustafsson vs Jared Hamman – My Pick:Hammam tko Actual:Gustafsson ko rd1
Nick Osipczak vs Matt Riddle – My Pick:Osipczak sub rd2 Actual:Osipczak tko rd3
Terry Etim vs Shannon Gugerty – My Pick:Etim tko Actual:Etim sub rd2
Denis Siver vs Paul Kelly – My Pick:Siver sub Actual:Siver tko rd2
John Hathaway vs Paul Taylor – My Pick:Hathaway tko Actual:Hathaway dec
Ross Pearson vs Aaron Riley – My Pick:Pearson dec Actual:Pearson tko rd 2 (doc stoppage)
James Wilks vs Matt Brown – My Pick:Wilks sub 3rd Actual:Brown tko rd3
Dan Hardy vs Mike Swick – My Pick:Hardy tko 3rd Actual:Hardy dec
Mike Bisping vs Denis Kang – My Pick:Bisping dec Actual:Bisping tko rd2
Randy Couture vs Brandon Vera – My Pick:Couture tko rd2 Actual:Couture dec