UFC 105 Picks & Predictions

The Ultimate Fighting Championship presents UFC 105: Couture vs. Vera on Saturday from the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, England. The event will air on tape delay on Spike TV beginning at 8 p.m. and feature five bouts. Here are my picks for the five featured fights:

Light Heavyweight (205 lbs) – Randy Couture (16-10) vs. Brandon Vera (11-3) – This fight features two former heavyweights that have dropped down to light heavyweight after struggling in the larger weight class. Couture is a Hall of Fame fighter that has won multiple titles in both divisions, but has lost his last two matches. The key in this fight will be whether the fight remains standing or if it goes to the ground. Couture has the edge on the ground while Vera has the edge standing. I expect Vera to come out highly motivated and on top of his game, using his speed and extensive strikes to get the best of Couture, who seems to be lacking in the ability to control fights right now. Look for Vera to win a second or third round TKO.

Welterweight (170 lbs) – Mike Swick (14-2) vs. Dan Hardy (22-6) – This match is a No. 1 contenders match, with the winner getting to fight UFC champion Georges St. Pierre in their next match. Both fighters will look to strike as each thinks they have faster and stronger hands than their opponent. The key for this fight will be which fighter has the ability to win the battle on the ground as that is likely where it will end up in the later rounds. I like Swick’s quickness and takedown ability to earn him a decision win over the game Hardy.
Middleweight (185 lbs) – Michael Bisping (18-2) vs. Denis Kang (32-11-1) – Bisping is coming off his first knockout loss at UFC 100 and how he handles that loss will be the key in this fight. Sometimes after losing by knockout, fighters come back tentative and unwilling to mix it up for fear of getting knocked out again. Bisping has to trust his abilities in order to beat Kang, who is an experienced and well-rounded fighter. Bisping was becoming a tentative fighter prior to his KO loss, and I expect him to be the same in this fight, which will allow Kang to control the fight and earn a decision win.

Welterweight – James Wilks (7-2) vs. Matt Brown (12-7) – Wilks is making his UFC debut after winning the Ultimate Fighter Season Nine. His first fight isn’t easy, as he gets the ultra tough Brown, who can take the fight anywhere. Wilks will be looking for a submission while Brown will be looking to strike. The key in this fight is Wilks lack of experience against marquee fighters, which Brown has been able to establish in his last year with the UFC. Brown’s toughness should be able to carry him past Wilks, who will put up a good effort before getting over-powered by Brown in a third round TKO.

Lightweight – Ross Pearson (11-3) vs. Aaron Riley (28-11-1) – Like Wilks, Pearson is making his UFC debut after winning the Ultimate Fighter Season Nine. Pearson also steps into a tough first fight, as he faces Riley, who has 40 professional fights in his career. Like Wilks, Pearson lacks experience against a fighter of Riley’s caliber, while Riley has faced plenty of fighters with equal talent to Pearson. Pearson is a submission specialist, but Riley has the defense to counter Pearson’s strength. Look for Riley to simply out-class Pearson on his way to a decision win.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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