UFC 120 once again brings MMA to the capital, with a card full of top British fighters, from the o2 Arena. Manchesters Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping headlines the night facing off against Japanese Judoka Champion, Yoshihiro Akiyama aka Sexyama. The co main event sees Nottinghams own Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy in a showdown versus former WEC welterweight Champion Carlos Condit. Here are the MMAFriedRice staff picks for the evening.
Main Event – Michael Bisping vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
An interesting matchup between 2 guys with different skillsets. I believe Akiyama will look to finish the fight early coming out swinging, score some points using his judo and try to put Bisping on his back, however Bisping has previously shown the neccesary skills to stuff takedowns & once on his back has the ability to get back to his feet – where he wants it. Sexyama is no slouch striking, but a combination of English character, alongside speed, accuracy & sheer volume of punches should see Bisping claim the W. Unlike his bout versus Chris Leben, Akiyama will not meet a fighter happy to stand in the pocket and trade wildly with him, he will find Bisping an elusive, not easy to hit target and this will be his downfall. The cardio of Michael ‘All Day’ Bisping should see him finish Sexyama in the 3rd via TKO once the Judoka has blown his load trying to find the brit with power shots – without success – for the first 2 rounds.
Co-Main Event – Dan Hardy vs. Carlos Condit
Fans love guys who really come out to fight – and thats exactly what we should get. I’m expecting a close competitive bout which takes place standing, on the ground, in the clinch – just about everywhere it can. Training with Greg Jackson, many expect Condit to try & control Hardy from top position – not something that will be easy to to – everyone talks of the GSP fight and Hardy’s non-existant ground game – its absolute rubbish, people need to remember it was GSP – who has faired any better? Hardy should be able to control where the fight takes place and has an obvious advantage standing and should use his crisp, clean striking to full advantage. On the ground the Nottingham born fighter has been working with Eddie Bravo at 10th Planet JJ and has enlisted the help of “Weapon X” to enhance his skills. Hardy predicts a win via submission in the 2nd – Who am I to doubt him, The Outlaw via Sub in the 2nd
John Hathaway vs. Mike Pyle
Top UK prospect John Hathaway gets another chance to furthur prove himself inside the Octagon after a dominating performance over Diego Sanchez. This time a fight against Mike Pyle, another former WEC welterweight Champ, should show the world that Hathaway is the real deal. Pyle, a fighter who likes to finish via submission (17/20 wins coming via sub), will test the takedown D of the London Shootfighter & if Hathaway can stuff takedowns as he’s previously shown, we should see him chalk up another win onto his currently undefeated MMA record. If Hathaway continues to show off his well rounded skills in order to dictate where the fight takes place he should see off Pyle in a dominating 3 rounder and take home the win and significantly move himself up the UFC’s WW ladder.
Cheick Kongo vs. Travis Browne
Undefeated Travis Browne comes into this fight as the betting underdog, not too surprising as Kongo is the first heavyweight of ranking that Browne has really faced. The 10-0 American has certainly shown signs of promise fininshing all but one of his fights with the majority of wins coming via knockout, having said this, Kongo will test Browne like he hasn’t seen before. Coming into the fight on the back of a win over a former heavyweight title contender in both the UFC and Strikeforce in Paul Buentello, the French Kickboxer showed signs of his evolution in the MMA game, taking down the Headhunter with ease and ruthlessly pounding his way to victory. in a fight that could easily go either way, and has the possibility of being ended early be either guy, my famous saying “The 0 must go” is in full effect, I take Kongo via TKO in the 2nd to derail the Browne wagon.
James Wilks vs. Claude Patrick
Wilks faces a tough test against his opponent canadian Claude Partick. Patrick is not one who likes to go the distance – his one fight to go the distance ended in his one and only loss in a bout versus former UFC vet Drew McFedries way back in 2002, since then patrick as been unstoppable and comes in riding an 11 fight win streak finishing most of his fights via submission. Wilks will have his work cut out & the winner of TUF9 (WW) will look to grind out a victory and keep his neck out of the grasp of the canadian. As much as I would love to back the Brit (sorry James, please forgive me) I see Patrick subbing Wilks in the 1st, with a Guillotine being his weapon of choice.
PS. Just a side note, I’m Taking Paul ‘I Will Triangle Choke You Whenever I’m Ready’ Sass to win via…..you guessed it – Triangle Choke.