UFC 105 Main Card Preview
UFC 105 will be the eighth extreme fighting event held in the United Kingdom. UK fans have been clamoring for a star-studded event, and they’ve had a point. Most fight events the UFC holds overseas have been weaker shows without a ton of star power. Sure, several UK fighters would be showcased, but they want to see the very best the UFC had to offer. Ask and ye shall receive as none other than the legendary Randy Couture will be headlining the main event in a light heavyweight bout against Brandon Vera.
Kicking off the main card will be both winners of the Ultimate Fighter season 9, not surprisingly from the UK. Ross Pearson will make his main card debut against veteran Aaron Riley in what should be an exciting lightweight matchup. Riley is no joke, going 2-1 in the UFC with his one loss being a controversial stoppage against Shane Nelson which has already been avenged. Neither fighter has a stellar ground game so I fully expect them to stand and bang for all three rounds if necessary.
TUF Season 9 welterweight champion James Wilks will battle Matt Brown in what should also be a spectacular fight. Both fighters have shown some serious fireworks as Wilks won The Ultimate Fighters in dominating fashion, while Brown has shown serious power in his most recent fights. Usually the UFC grooms their Ultimate Fighter champions with some easy initial fights but Brown is for real. He absolutely decimated Pete Sell in his last fight and has had trouble finding people who actually wanted to face him in the UFC. If it stays standing, Brown should have a slight advantage, but if it goes to the ground, watch for Wilks to win via submission as that is how ½ of his fights have ended.
UK Superstar and Ultimate Fighter season 3 winner Michael “The Count” Bisbing looks to bounce back against a very dangerous Dennis Kang in a middleweight eliminator bout. We last saw Bisbing knocked completely out cold in front of the largest MMA audience of all time at UFC 100. I’m very interested in how his first career KO loss affects him. Will he be gun-shy or more aggressive? Kang put together a very nice run fighting in Pride among other organizations but he hasn’t quite shown that same spark in the UFC yet going 1-1 thus far with a tough loss to Alan Belcher in his UFC debut. Bisbing had huge backing from the UFC hype machine but he has to start all over now. This will be a very important fight for his UFC career. If Bisbing can avoid another huge knockout, I can definitely see him winning a decision, but it all depends on the most important feature of a fighter, his mind.
Another popular UK fighter Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy will get a huge step up in competition against contender Mike “Quick” Swick. Swick has quietly amassed the best record of any Ultimate Fighter veteran in the octagon and he has a lot riding on this fight. With a win Swick is almost guaranteed to become number one contender to fight Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title early 2010. Hardy made a name for himself with impressive performances against Rory Markham and Marcus Davis but Swick is a horse of a different color. “Quick” Swick earned his nickname by finishing all of his first five UFC fights in 2 minutes or less. Hardy is famous his trash talk, and he definitely took Marcus Davis out of his game in his last fight. Can he get in Swick’s head as well? He’s certainly trying. Barring any subtle mind games, Swick should use his experience and advantages in overall skills to earn his title shot.
Lastly, in the main event, Randy “The Natural” Couture will drop down to light heavyweight to battle Brandon “The Truth” Vera. Stylistically, this could be a matchup problem for Couture. He was dropped repeatedly in his previous fight against Minatauro Nogueira, and Brandon Vera definitely has knockout power, especially in his legs and knees. Couture’s specialty is his clinch and dirty boxing but I don’t know if he will want to get inside against Vera, who specialized in knees and elbows from the clinch with his Mauy Thai training. We will get a lot of answers about Couture with this fight. At 46 years old, age is creeping up on him. Couture has lost his last two fights against two of the UFC’s elite heavyweights, and if he loses to Vera, the clock will certainly be ticking. Vera has always had a ton of potential, but he has performed poorly every time the UFC matches him up against a quality opponent. Tim Sylvia, Keith Jardine and Fabercia Werdum have all had their way with him and he was far from impressive in his last fight, a lackluster decision over Krysztof Soszynski. If Couture can take this fight to the ground, he will definitely have a chance to score a win over not only Vera but father time as well.