by Ricardo Mendoza – MMAWeekly.com
MIKE SWICK VS. DAN HARDY
Ultimate Fighter 1 alumnus Mike Swick faces off with British welterweight brawler Dan Hardy at UFC 105. This will be a number one contender’s fight for the UFC welterweight title, with the winner getting the next crack at Georges St. Pierre sometime in early 2010. Neither fighter shies away from a fight on the feet, so don’t be too surprised if these two go toe-to-toe.
Both fighters have put together an impressive streak of wins. Now they match up with the opportunity of a lifetime on the line.
Swick has some of the fastest hands in all of mixed martial arts and that will help him immensely against Hardy, who isn’t as technical or quick as Swick, but packs quite a punch. Swick will look to use footwork and stay on the outside, where he can charge in and out with effective combinations. Hardy wants to keep the fight on inside, where he can turn the fight into a brawl and lure Swick into exchanges that would favor him because of his power.
The big difference will be what happens when the fight goes to the ground. Hardy isn’t known to have the best takedown defense and Swick will take full advantage of that. If things get dicey on the feet, Swick will have no problem taking the fight to the ground and pounding Hardy from the top, who more than likely won’t threaten with submissions from his back. Hardy’s best chance to win will be to catch Swick on the feet with a solid power shot, while Swick will need to outwork Hardy on the feet and on the ground.
When it’s all said and done, Swick will come out on top by winning the closest of decisions.
DENIS KANG VS. MICHAEL BISPING
American Top Team middleweight Denis Kang faces off with Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Michael Bisping. Neither fighter can afford a loss if they want to stay on the top of middleweight heap. These two always fight at an intense pace, which should make for an entertaining fight for all.
Kang should have the advantage on the ground because of his experience and for the fact that he is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, but he has shown in recent fights that he makes mistakes. Bisping’s strength is on the feet, but he was exposed in his last fight when he failed to adjust his game plan in the heat of the battle. If the fight stays on the feet then Bisping has an advantage in power, but Kang is the more technical striker of the two. This is going to be a knock down, drag out fight.
Both fighters are aware of what is at stake. That said, Kang should win a close affair with a couple of takedowns being the key to him winning a close decision over Bisping.
MATT BROWN VS. JAMES WILKS
Ultimate Fighter 6 participant Matt Brown faces off with Ultimate Fighter 9 welterweight winner James Wilks. Brown has quietly become one of the most improved fighters over the past year and will look to prove it. Wilks will be fighting for the first time since winning the show back in June and doing so in his native England.
Brown should be the better fighter on the feet, as he has improved drastically, and has shown that he does indeed have knockout power. Wilks’ strength is on the ground, but he has shown that he can work on the feet. He might want to stick to his bread and butter against Brown, though.
These two are going to go at it tooth and nail, but the difference in the fight will be Wilks’ ability to get the fight to the ground where he will grind out a decision over Brown.
ROSS PEARSON VS. AARON RILEY
Ultimate Fighter 9 lightweight winner Ross Pearson faces off with mixed martial arts veteran Aaron Riley. Pearson beat fellow countryman Andre Winner to capture the reality series, while Riley looks to make one last run at glory as his career winds down. As always with lightweights, expect the fight to be fast paced and exciting as these two look to claim Fight of the Night honors.
Riley has had the same typical brawling style since he first got started in mixed martial arts many years ago and that style has served him well up to this point. Pearson used an effective strategy against Winner by just being aggressive in the clinch, but that won’t work with Riley, who thrives in the clinch. Pearson instead should look to take the fight to the ground, as Riley isn’t as effective on the ground as he is on the feet.
Riley will want to turn this into a brawl, which is where he excels. Pearson will play it safe and get the fight to the ground, where he’ll look to wear Riley down with ground and pound en route to a decision.