by Mitch Gobetz – MMAWeekly.com
UFC 68: The Uprising is coming around this weekend and the card is full of interesting match ups that will answer a lot of questions. UFC 68 has some solid names on the card and some former champions looking to start their road back to victory.
It also marks the return of Randy “The Natural” Couture from a brief retirement. He will be in for possibly his toughest challenge yet against the 6’8″, 265 lbs. UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia.
Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia
Randy “The Natural” Couture is making a comeback at 43 years old. He hasn’t fought since last February when he lost by a brutal knockout at the fists of Chuck Liddell. Randy is going back up to heavyweight to make a run at the title.
He will have to rely on his strong wrestling and smart game plan to be able to take Tim down to ground and pound him out. One thing that Randy has going for him is that he is not afraid to get hit and he will have to get hit to get inside of Tim’s range and work for the takedown from the clinch. Couture will more than likely not be shooting for double legs in this one.
Tim Sylvia has one main advantage over Randy and that is his size. He needs to utilize his jab and punish Randy with his counter punching when Randy comes inside. Tim needs to bring the fight to Randy, but needs to circle and not back up. Sylvia is a considerable favorite in this fight. One thing is for sure though; you can never say that Randy Couture can’t win in any fight that he is in.
Matt Hughes vs. Chris Lytle
Matt Hughes is returning for the first time since his KO loss to Georges St. Pierre. Hughes had been on a dominant run destroying the likes of Frank Trigg, Royce Gracie and BJ Penn along the way. Hughes ran into a freight train that is GSP, and needs to finish this fight impressively to reestablish himself as the number one contender in the welterweight division.
Chris Lytle lost a split decision to Matt Serra at the Ultimate Fighter 4 finale. Chris has a well-rounded skill set and he needs to utilize his boxing skills and more than likely his jiu-jitsu if he is put on his back. Hughes will be a heavy favorite in this fight.
Rich Franklin vs. Jason MacDonald
Rich Franklin is coming off a KO loss to Anderson Silva and has a lot to prove in this fight. Franklin is always in top shape and his well-rounded game is going to make him the favorite in this fight. But the question is ‘can he return to his dominant self prior to his knockout loss?’ We’ll find out.
His opponent Jason MacDonald is no pushover though as Chris Leben and Ed Herman will tell you. MacDonald shocked many people at UFC 66 in his submission win over Chris Leben. But as MacDonald said in his post fight interviews, ‘I’m nobody’s stepping stone.’ Franklin needs to watch out for MacDonald’s submission game and keep the fight standing where he should have the advantage. This has the potential to be fight of the night and will be a tough test for both competitors.
Jason Lambert vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral
Lambert and Sobral are both coming off devastating losses and both look to make an impressive comeback in this fight. Lambert is coming off a knockout loss to Rashad Evans, but brings an impressive skill set to the octagon. Babalu is returning from his TKO loss to Chuck Liddell at UFC 62. Babalu is dangerous no matter where the fight is and he poses a serious threat to almost all contenders at light heavyweight. Babalu should be the favorite entering this fight, but the skill sets are surprisingly even.
Drew McFedries vs. Martin Kampmann
Drew McFedries is coming off a very impressive UFC debut in his disposal of Alessio Sakara. McFedries took the fight on short notice and showed a lot of grit in his comeback win over Sakara. Sakara was winning the standup exchanges early, but McFedries aggressiveness and perseverance gave him the victory. Kampmann defeated Thales Leites at the Ultimate Fighter 4 finale by unanimous decision. He has a good submission game and has very good cardio.
UFC 68’s preliminary fight card is also set to feature some solid match-ups. Ultimate Fighter Matt Hamill returns to face Rex Holman, John Fitch takes on Luigi Fioravanti in a welterweight contest, Gleison Tibau returns to face Jason Dent, and Jamie Varner squares off with Jason Gilliam.