Well we are here and there's nothing like a week leading up to a major MMA event that will be on FREE tv! Although there are no championship belts on the line, I have a feeling we will have the priviledge to watch some great fights at UFC 89. The match ups on the main card are pretty much even and will be difficult to predict. So below we are going take a look at each fighter and how they match up with their particular opponents. Then I'm going to pull out my crystal ball and give you MMA4Real's prediction on who the winners will be :)
Paul Taylor vs. Chris Lytle-Taylor is (2-2) in the UFC primarily against lower level fighters compared to the competition that Chris Lytle has faced in his career. Lytle is a much more experienced fighter and is more well rounded as well. Both fighters don't mind standing up to bang, but Lytle has an underrated submission game as well with over half of his wins coming via that route. Another factor is that Lytle in incredibly difficult to finish with the two TKO losses he has coming via cuts. I think both guys will come out banging it out with Lytle finishing Taylor in the 1st round via TKO.
Marcus Davisvs. Paul Kelly-Both fighters here like to stand up and bang with Davis being the more experienced fighter. Both guys have been absolute wars against Paul Taylor with both guys winning, Davis being able to finish Taylor via submission. Davis is a former pro boxer who has drastically improved his ground game since being on TUF 1. Kelly also likes to ground and pound his opponents. I see Davis hurting Kelly with punches and Kelly trying to take Davis down and work some GnP. Then Davis winning via submission.
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Luiz Cane-It's funny that Sokoudjou is known by most of the die hard fans for knocking out Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, yet still little is known about his overall game. We know he has a judo background, but seems to prefer to keep the fight standing thus far in his short career. Cane on the other hand is a beast with his stand up with almost all of his wins coming via TKO. I've been hyping this fight as the sleeper fight of the night as I expect fireworks in this one. Sokoudjou showed more patience in his last fight against fellow judoka Nakamura. However, he'll be facing an aggressive opponent in Cane so maybe we'll get to see more of Sokoudjou's overall skillset in terms of judo throws and ground game. I doubt it, I'm going with the upset here with Cane finishing Sokoudjou in the first round via TKO and a new contender being born in the UFC LHW division.
Keith Jardine vs. Brandon Vera-Both guys need a very impressive showing at this point in their careers. Vera coming off the lackluster decision win over Reese Andy, and Jardine coming off that 36 destruction at the hands of the Axe Murderer. Both guys are well rounded with the edge in submissions going to Vera. I think their stand up game is near the same level as both have devastating leg kicks. I think the weight cut for Vera will be much better this time, so he should be more adapt in implementing what he brings to the table more effectively. I think both fighters will come out cautious, and then Vera will begin to pick him apart using the reach advantage he'll have. I don't think Jardine will attempt to take the fight to the ground. If Vera can work his clinch game he could cause a lot of problems for Jardine with knees. If Vera can stun Jardine or hurt him, I think he can finish him. However, I see both fighters fight not to lose in this one with Vera winning via Split Decision.
Michael Bispingvs. Chris Leben-I can't wait for this fight as both fighters are always entertaining to watch for the most part. The "X" factor in this fight will be Leben's stamina, because Bisping pushes the pace furiously. In recent pictures Leben looked to be in tremendous shape so we'll see how that translates to the cage. Both fighters prefer to stand up and Bisping will look to use his speed and combinations to out point Leben. "The Crippler" will be looking to land that big left hand. Bisping has shown that he likes to throw knees from the clinch so that could be a factor as well. Leben has a very good chin and is difficult to finish, plus Bisping lacks the power to put him away in my opinion. If Bisping can avoid getting in a slug fest, I see him winning this fight via Unanimous Decision.
Feel free to drop your thoughts and/or predictions in the comments section. UFC 89 will air on tape delay this Saturday, October 18th, at 9pm EST on Spike TV.