One of the things that makes the UFC so great is the fact that you never have to wait very long between fight cards. Seems like just the other day we were all busy being disappointed by the flop that was UFC 119. Now we get to enjoy a nice little free, albeit tape-delayed, night of fights. Sure, there isn't any single fight on the card that holds enough significance to even co-main event a pay per view, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun. In we go.
Michael Bisping vs Yoshihiro Akiyama - I actually think this a really even match up. Initially, I thought I would pick Akiyama and feel great about it but after looking again, Bisping could very well win this fight. Akiyama has underrated power and really great judo throws but the fact that he faded down the stretch led to his triangle submission loss to Chris Leben, a guy with a mediocre guard. Bisping is much better than that off his back. As long as the Brit puts his running shoes on and plays a point fighting game, he'll win this fight. He's been known to get sloppy in the past but I can't see him getting caught here. I don't really want to see it but I fear it will be so. Bisping via unanimous decision.
Dan Hardy vs Carlos Condit - On the surface, this is a bad style matchup for Hardy. Condit is a very well rounded fighter, and while he may not be close to as good as Hardy on the feet, he's got great wrestling and could totally take him out of his game by repeatedly putting him on his back. The problem with Condit is his proclivity for letting himself get sucked into wild brawls. He can't win that kind of fight against Dan Hardy. He needs to come in and relentlessly push the pace and keep the pressure on for all three rounds. I just don't think that's what he'll do. Hardy might not even need takedown defense for this one. Condit could very well grind this thing out but I'm looking for an impressive TKO win for the other side. Hardy via TKO in round 2.
John Hathaway vs Mike Pyle - Now we get into the fights that the casuals are going to shrug their shoulders at. They most certainly shouldn't when a highly touted prospect like Hathaway is fighting. This kid has got hands and he knows how to use them. His reach advantage and ability to stay outside while landing meaningful shots is the key to this fight. Pyle is a very dangerous submission specialist, so if it hits the mat, Hathaway is going to have problems. Can he avoid the shot and do Pyle like he did Diego Sanchez? Yes, he most certainly can. Hathaway via unanimous decision.
Cheick Kongo vs Travis Browne - I only know Travis Browne from watching him just destroy James McSweeney at the TUF 11 Finale. He's a gigantic guy, standing at 6-7 with an 80 inch reach and big power in his hands. Wikipedia tells me that he's 10-0 with 8 KO's and trains with the likes of Phil Davis, Branden Vera and Dominick Cruz. Seems impressive. So can he beat the chiseled monster that is Cheick Kongo? Probably not. Anything can happen, especially with two big heavyweights who throw absolute bombs, but Kongo has the edge in the most important aspect of MMA today: wrestling. He also, despite being listed as 3 inches shorter, has a 2 inch reach advantage. That tells me everything I need to know about this fight. Kongo via TKO in round 2.
James Wilks vs Claude Patrick - Despite the fact that both guys have a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, there is a heavy edge in submissions that goes to Patrick. Seems like a risky decision by Joe Silva to put Wilks in a fight like this. He's been a bit inconsistent and I just can't trust that he won't give up if his gameplan fails him. Patrick needs only to apply the pressure and a tap won't be far behind it. Patrick via submission in round 3.
Quick undercard picks after the jump.Undercard
Cyrille Diabate vs Alexander Gustafsson - Diabate to keep it rolling.
Rob Broughton vs Vinicius Queiroz - Uhhh, Broughton, I guess.
Mark Holst vs Paul Sass - I'll go with Sass to win here.
Spencer Fisher vs Curt Warburton - Fisher trains in my town. Have to be a homer here.
James McSweeney vs Fabio Maldonado - Good god, I hope this is the last UFC fight for McSweeney.