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The octagon returns to England for UFC 105 and the common theme for the event seems that the outcome of the fights could determine the career decisions for several competitors of the card. The future of careers as well as particular divisions will become known Saturday night in Manchester and you can expect an absolutely great card. Now, let’s pick some winners.

In a light weight match up, it will be Ross Pearson vs. Aaron Riley. Considering that Pearson has a boxing background and that Riley is primarily a striker, I expect this one to be a slugfest, which I think Pearson the advantage. However, Riley has more experience and also appear to be a little more well rounded than his opponent in this case so it will defiantly be a close fight. As for a winner, I’ll pick Pearson to get the victory because he will probably out strike Riley during the fight.

Matt Brown vs. James Wilks is a fight that I’m really looking forward to and this should be a brawl. Taking into account the elements of this fight, you know it’s going to be a war. Matt Brown, who is as tough as they come always has entertaining fights and gives it 100%. Wilks is a very skilled, well rounded fighter and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was eventually a title contender in the welter weight division. It’s tough to pick a winner for this one because both fighters have good striking skills and quite frankly, I think it’s going to depend on who lands the big shot that wins the fight. As much as I enjoy seeing Matt Brown fight, I have to say that Wilks is probably the more skilled of these two competitors, which is why I’ll pick Wilks to get the win here.

The middle weight contest between England’s own Michael Bisping and Pride veteran, Denis Kang is one that I think has an obvious outcome with a very direct purpose, to get Bisping to win for him to rebound after being knocked out at UFC 100 back in July by MMA legend, Dan Henderson. Don’t get me wrong here, Kang is a solid fighter but so far his UFC run has yielded mixed results with a 1-1 record and as much as I’m not a Bisping fan, I have to say that he seems to be on another level than Kang. Regardless, both are well rounded and Bisping certainly shouldn’t take Kang lightly but for a winner, I have to pick Bisping to win this contest.

The next challenger for George St. Pierre’s Welter Weight title could be determined when Mike Swick steps into the octagon to fight Dan Hardy. Both of this competitors are very well rounded and it’s an evenly matched fight so it’s tough to pick a winner here. I’m not a fan of Hardy at all because of his arrogant attitude and his disrespectful comments towards Marcus Davis on the Countdown to UFC 105 show so I would like to see Swick get the victory, but Hardy has a ton of momentum going into the fight and quite frankly, as much as I don’t want to see it, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Hardy get a TKO win. That being said, Swick’s striking could be the key for him to get a win here and if he is able to defeat Hardy, he proves that he belongs in the upper tier of the welter weight division. As just a guess, I’ll pick Swick to get the win with the main reason being that Hardy seems to be a little too sure of himself and might take Swick lightly and that gives Swick the chance to use his striking to throw Hardy off of his game plan and get the win. As I said, that is just a guess though because this is a really evenly matched fight.

The main event will be a light heavyweight showdown with the legendary five time UFC champion, Randy “The Natural” Couture vs. Brandon Vera. First of all, I have to say that Couture is my favorite fighter and one of my heroes so obviously, I want to see Couture win the fight, but as I will discuss, Vera has more than a chance to defeat the legend and make a statement in the process on Saturday. Couture continues to defy the odds and after his epic fifteen minute war with Nogueria, Couture will return to the light heavyweight division, which I think is a good decision for him at this point in his career. Vera is looking to prove that he still has major potential and fighting arguably the greatest MMA fighter of all time will show if Vera has what it takes to be a legitimate force in the UFC. One thing that needs to be mentioned here is that during the Nogueria fight, Couture’s hand speed seemed to diminish slightly and from what he said during the Countdown show, Couture plans to go back to the wrestling base that he used early in his career, which is a wise decision. That is basically the key to this bout in my view because I expect one of two things to happen here, #1 Couture uses his wrestling ability to take Vera to the ground and use his ground and pound skills to get a decision or #2 Vera uses his striking ability to catch Couture with a right hand in the second round. What will happen? Who knows? But from what Couture mentioned, it seems as though he recognizes that he shouldn’t try to out strike Vera and when he comes to executing a game plan, it’s tough to argue that anyone does it better than Couture. If Vera can create distance, it’s very possible he can land the punch to end the fight. However, you have to expect that Couture will have a strategy to close the distance and again as far as a strategy, it’s tough to argue that anyone can put a strategy to use better than Couture. Essentially, the bottom line here, in my view is if the fight goes to the ground, Couture wins but if it goes anywhere else, including the clinch, which is usually one of Couture’s main strong point expect Vera to get the victory. It’s not that Couture is one dimensional at all, it’s just taking into account his opponent, Vera in this case, the ground game is Couture’s best chance to get a win, where as keeping the fight standing is Vera’s best option for the bout. I’ll pick Couture to get the win, mainly because he has an experience advantage in main event fights and I expect him to be able to use his wrestling ability to win the fight.
Thanks
Jim

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