by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
Former UFC welterweight
champion Matt Hughes takes on American Top Team fighter Thiago Alves. Hughes has
a 42-6 record and trains out of the H.I.T. Squad with Robbie Lawler. Alves has
a 14-3 record and trains out of the American Top Team with Gesias “JZ”
Hughes comes off a
submission loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 79, while Alves scored a TKO
stoppage victory over Karo Parysian at UFC Fight Night 13.
This fight was put together
after Chuck Liddell was forced off the card due to a hamstring injury, which
left the event without a headline bout. It’s an interesting fight with the
rugged veteran Hughes and the up and comer Alves.
Hughes’s strategy in the
fight will be to get the fight to the ground and to keep there, not letting
Alves use his striking to get control of the fight. If Alves keeps the fight on
the feet, expect him to use his deadly low kicks to eat away Hughes’ legs,
making it harder for him to take Alves down.
Plain and simple, Hughes is
on the decline as a fighter because he hasn’t been able to keep up with the new
generation of fighters that are complete in every area and not just great in
one aspect of MMA. Expect Alves to stay on the outside, using low kicks to
nullify Hughes’ attempts at getting the fight to the ground and punish him with
punching combinations en route to a decision.
Prediction: Thiago Alves
Brandon Vera vs. Fabricio Werdum
Californian fighter Brandon
Vera faces off with former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Fabricio Werdum.
Vera has an 8-1 record and trains out of the Alliance Training Center in
California. Werdum has a 10-3 record and trains out of the Chute Boxe Academy
with Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos.
Vera comes off a
disappointing decision loss to Tim Sylvia at UFC 77, while Werdum stopped
former heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 80.
A lot is riding on this
fight for both men. The winner will more than likely become the next challenger
for the UFC heavyweight title after Frank Mir challenges interim champion
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Both fighters are well versed on the feet and on the
ground, so expect both men to be comfortable in either area of the fight.
Although Vera is a good
ground fighter, it would be in his best interest to keep the fight on the feet
because Werdum isn’t a joke on the ground being a former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
world champion. The same goes for Werdum, although his striking is getting
better since joining Chute Boxe it still isn’t as good as Vera’s.
This should be an
entertaining fight, but Vera should be able to come out on top over a game
Werdum. Vera will out-strike Werdum with crisp combinations, landing the
cleaner and harder shots of the two fighters. Werdum will be unable to get the
fight to the ground, as Vera will use the same strategy that other fighters
have used to defeat Werdum, winning a decision.
Prediction: Brandon Vera by
Ultimate Fighter 3 winner
Michael Bisping takes on Canadian striker Jason Day. Bisping has a 15-1 record
and trains out of the Wolfslair Gym with Paul Kelly. Day has a 17-5 record and
trains out of the Canadian Martial Arts Centre in Canada.
Bisping comes off a
stoppage victory over Charles McCarthy at UFC 83, while earlier in the
night Day made his successful UFC debut, stopping Alan Belcher with strikes.
Bisping was originally
scheduled to fight Chris Leben, but he
pulled out because of legal problems and Day stepped in at short notice.
Both fighters will be fighting on a short one and a half month turn around
instead of the ample time given as usual in the UFC.
This should be an exciting
stand-up war. Both fighters love to throw down and this fight won’t last too
long. Bisping will be the bigger and stronger fighter of the two and that will
be a factor in the fight because he will be able to muscle Day in the clinch.
Day needs to work angles and not be caught in an exchange because Bisping will
have the punching power on his side.
It should be an even fight
in the early stages, but as it wears on Bisping will close the distance and
clinch up, punish Day with dirty boxing, finishing the fight towards the end of
the opening round.
Bisping by TKO in the first round.
Marquardt vs. Thales Leites
Former middleweight King of
Pancrase Nate Marquardt takes on Brazilian fighter Thales Leites. Marquardt has
a 26-7-2 record and trains out of Jackson’s Submission Fighting with Rashad
Evans. Leites has a 12-1 record and trains out of Nova Uniao with Jose Aldo.
Marquardt comes off a solid
submission victory over Jeremy Horn at UFC 81, while Leites submitted Midwest
wrestler Ryan Jensen at UFC 74.
The winner of this fight may
very well put himself in contention for a title shot against UFC middleweight
champion Anderson Silva. This fight should be evenly matched between two
excellent ground fighters.
Leites’ strategy in the
fight will be to end up on top and work submissions, while Marquardt will look
to ground and pound or keep the fight on the feet. The one determining factor
in the fight will be which fighter is the better wrestler and that would be
Marquardt, training with top-notch wrestlers at Jackson’s Submission Fighting.
These two will be fairly
even on the feet, so look for Marquardt to get the fight on the ground, maintaining
top position and pounding Leites en route to a decision.
Marquardt by decision.
Mike Swick vs. Marcus
Ultimate Fighter alumnus
Mike Swick faces off with fellow alumnus Marcus Davis. Swick has an 11-2 record
and trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy with Jon Fitch. Davis has a
14-3 record and trains out of Team Gurgel with Jorge Gurgel and Sityodtong with
Swick comes off a lackluster
decision victory over Josh Burkman at UFC Fight Night 12, while Davis knocked
out Frenchman Jess Liaudin at UFC 80.
Swick didn’t look good in
his welterweight debut, but this time around he has promised to give a better
performance. Both Swick and Davis have been two of the better fighters to come
from The Ultimate Fighter and a win for either puts them in title contention.
This fight will prove to be
exciting on the feet, being that both fighters are well versed in boxing. The
deciding factor on the feet will be either Davis’s technique or Swick’s hand
speed. If neither fighter is able to get an advantage on the feet, look for
these two to take the fight to the ground.
Swick’s speed and strength
will be too much for Davis expect Swick to stay on the outside, charging in on
occasion with a quick combination and when in trouble taking the fight to the
ground, outworking a smaller Davis en route to a decision.
Prediction: Mike Swick by
Martin Kampmann vs. Jorge
Danish kickboxer Martin
Kampmann faces off with Team Elite fighter Jorge Rivera. Kampmann has a 15-2
record and trains out of Xrteme Couture with Mike Pyle. Rivera has a 15-6
record and trains out of Team Elite in Massachusetts.
Kampmann comes off a
submission victory over Drew McFedries at UFC 68, while Rivera surprisingly
knocked out Kendall Grove at UFC 80.
Kampmann is coming off a
torn ACL in his knee that kept him out of action for over the past year and
this will be his first fight since that injury. Rivera looked to be done in the
UFC, but resurrected his career by knocking Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Kendall
Kampmann is the better technical
striker, but Rivera has more punching power in his shots, which could pose a
problem for Kampmann if he chooses to keep the fight on the feet. If he gets
hurt on the feet, Kampmann will take the fight to the ground and work
submissions on Rivera.
This fight will look very
similar to Kampmann’s last fight with McFedries, they’ll trade on the feet and
Kampmann will get tagged, take the fight to the ground and lock on a submission
to put himself back in the middleweight title picture.
Kampmann by submission in the first round.
Thiago Tavares vs. Matt
lightweight Thiago Tavares takes on Midwest lightweight Matt Wiman. Tavares has
a 13-1 record and trains out of Brazil. Wiman has a 9-3 record and trains out
of Tulsa Top Team in Oklahoma.
Tavares comes off a
dominating decision victory over Michihiro Omigawa at UFC Fight Night 12, while
Wiman submitted UFC newcomer Justin Buchholz earlier in the night.
Whoever wins this fight will
start climbing the ladder towards a title shot in the crowded lightweight
Tavares has shown his
dominating ground game over the past year, muscling his opponents to the
ground, pounding on them and looking for submissions. If Wiman has a shot at
winning the fight he’ll need to catch Tavares off guard on the feet, but that’s
Although he will be
outclassed, expect Wiman to stay tough in the fight, surviving Tavares’
onslaught in the early going, but eventually succumbing to a submission midway
through the fight.
Tavares by submission in the second round.
Light Heavyweight Bout:
Jason Lambert vs. Luis
Californian fighter Jason
Lambert faces off with Brazilian Muay Thai fighter Luis Cane. Lambert has a
23-7 record and trains out of the North County Fight Club with Eddie Sanchez.
Cane has a 7-1 record and trains out of Gibi Thai in Brazil.
Lambert comes off a disappointing
knockout loss to Wilson Gouveia at UFC 80, while Cane was disqualified at UFC
79 for landing an illegal knee against James Irvin.
These two fighters will no
doubt slug it out until someone is flat on their back. Neither fighter can
afford a loss because that could mean that they will have to fight elsewhere as
the competition in the UFC gets tougher and the talent pool smaller.
Lambert has shown to be a
powerful striker, but was caught his last time out after dominating the
majority of the fight. This time around Lambert might not want to keep the
fight on the feet because Cane is the better striker of the two. Lambert will
want to wrestle Cane down to the ground and pound him out.
Expect Lambert to take the
fight to the ground, but Cane will be hard to keep down, getting back on his
feet and punishing Lambert with strikes until he is finally on his back and out
of the fight.
Prediction: Luis Cane by
TKO in the first round.
Roan Carneiro vs. Kevin
Brazilian fighter Roan
Carneiro faces off with UFC newcomer Kevin Burns. Carneiro has a 12-6 record
and trains out of the American Top Team with Jorge Santiago. Burns has a 5-1
record and trains out of Iowa.
Carneiro comes off an
impressive stoppage victory over Tony DeSouza at UFC 79, while Burns knocked
out Bobby Voelker at Victory Fighting Championships 23.
Carneiro was initially
scheduled to face Ryo Chonan, but an injury forced the Japanese fighter off the
card and Burns stepped in at the last minute to make his UFC debut. With
nothing to lose, Burns will come out aggressive and looking to impress.
If the fight goes on the
ground, Carneiro will have the advantage both in positioning and submissions.
Burns’s best shot at winning the fight will be to catch Carneiro on the feet
because he is severely outclassed in every aspect of the fight.
Fighting on late notice, his
inexperience will catch up to Burns as Carneiro will quickly get the fight to
the ground and work over Burns a bit before locking on a submission.
Prediction: Roan Carneiro
by submission in the first round.
Taylor vs. Jess Liaudin
British striker Paul Taylor faces
off with French submission fighter Jess Liaudin. Taylor has an 8-3-1 record and
trains out of England. Liaudin has a 12-9 record and trains out of Team Quest
with Dan Henderson.
Taylor comes off an exciting
decision loss to Paul Kelly at UFC 80, while later in the night Liaudin was
knocked out by Marcus Davis.
These two have shown to be
some of the better European fighters in the UFC, putting on impressive displays
on every European UFC show. Both fighters need a win to stay alive in the
crowded welterweight division, as whoever loses will more than likely be shown
Taylor has the big advantage
on the feet, but his weakness is the ground game as seen in his last two fights
in the UFC. Liaudin was impressive in his first two fights, but once he faced a
tougher fighter, he was quickly beaten. If the fight stays on the feet, Taylor
will knock Liaudin silly, but on the ground, Liaudin will tap Taylor.
Liaudin is a submission
fighter, but he isn’t well versed in takedowns and that will play into Taylor’s
favor as he will light up Liaudin on the feet, knocking him out in the opening
Prediction: Paul Taylor
by TKO in the first round.
Antoni Hardonk vs. Eddie
Dutch striker Antoni Hardonk
takes on late replacement Eddie Sanchez. Hardonk has a 6-4 record and trains
out of the Vos Gym with Ernesto Hoost. Sanchez has an 8-1 record and trains out
of the North County Fight Club with Jason Lambert.
Hardonk comes off a quick
stoppage victory over Colin Robinson at UFC 80, while Sanchez stopped the much
bigger Soa Palelei at UFC 79.
Hardonk was originally
scheduled to face off with UFC newcomer Neil Wain, but an injury forced him off
the card and Sanchez stepped in on late notice. These two should slug it out on
the feet, but the outcome could be very different.
Hardonk has the obvious
advantage on the feet, being the technical kickboxer, while Sanchez is a wild
slugger with power. If Sanchez is smart, he will take the fight to the ground
and exploit Hardonk’s biggest weakness instead of risking getting knocked out.
These two will trade shots
on the feet to start off, but Sanchez will soon realize that he will be better
suited on the ground, taking the fight there and pounding on the inexperienced
Hardonk for a stoppage midway through the fight.
Prediction: Eddie Sanchez
by TKO in the second round.