UFC 105 Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 11/13/2009
After a bit of a break, it's time for another UFC event. UFC 105 is the first of two events to be held on consecutive weekends. This event will be headlined by the ancient but still wildly-popular Randy Couture and will take place in Manchester, England on Saturday, Nov. 14 and will be available for viewing for free on Spike TV. Keep in mind, though, that it's being broadcast in primetime rather than live, so you will need to get your bets in well before you watch it. If you have dumb friends then a tape-delayed broadcast is a great way to make a fortune. Here's a look at how the card breaks down (all odds are from Bodog). Because of the tape delay we'll only focus on the main card this week. We'll take a closer look at the preliminaries with UFC 106 next week:
The Main Card
Randy Couture (-125) vs. Brandon Vera (-105) - The UFC is in a tough spot. Couture is almost certainly past his prime and no longer really relevant at the highest levels of the heavyweight division, but he still sells tickets and draws viewers better than most fighters they have, so they have to keep finding ways to keep him involved. Couture is actually moving down a weight class for this one - to avoid a no-win collision with Brock Lesnar down the road. Couture has to be viewing this fight as a stepping stone to a shot at holding the light heavyweight title for the third time. For Vera, this match is crucial. His mouth has always been much bigger than his pool of talent, and he needs a winn here to prove that he is an elite fighter who is worthy of the attention and effort of the UFC. Vera has a massive edge in age, but Couture is much more experienced and a much smarter fighter. After two losses the UFC can't afford having Cuture lose three, and I think that this spot was picked accordingly.
Pick: Randy Couture.
Mike Swick (-225) vs. Dan Hardy (+185) - The winner of this fight earns the right to be beaten to a pulp by Georges St. Pierre in a title fight next time out. Hardy has one big advantage - he's a Brit so the crowd will be solidly in his corner. I'm not at all convinced that it will be enough here, however. Hardy is a very solid striker who is good on his feet. Swick is no slouch as a boxer, either, though. He also has a very significant advantage if this thing gets to the ground - and Swick will be trying hard to get it there. Hardy could surprise here, but his chances of doing so are less than the odds indicate.
Pick: Mike Swick.
Denis Kang (-130) vs. Michael Bisping (even) - Another Brit underdog, though a very slight one here. Both guys are middleweights that have fallen off the title trail and need a win here to get back on it. Bisping has to bounce back from a crushing knockout at UFC 100. He's a competent fighter, though he doesn't shine in any one particular area. Kang is the more talented fighter, but he also has the propensity for making stupid mistakes. If he can stay focused here, though, then he has the clear edge and will come out on top.
Pick: Denis Kang.
Matt Brown (-170) vs. James Wilks (+140) - Wilks is an "The Ultimate Fighter 9" graduate making his real UFC debut here. As a Brit he's picked a good spot to make it. These two fighters have similar styles and could both win. Brown's father died in September after a fight with cancer, and there's a good chance that that has affected his training for this fight. Given that and Brown's lack of proficiency on the ground I think it's worth taking a shot on the underdog here.
Pick: James Wilks.
Aaron Riley (-205) vs. Ross Pearson (+165) - Pearson is another British graduate of "TUF 9" making his UFC debut here. He's drawn a tougher task than Wilks. Riley is slightly bigger than his lightweight opponent, and he's certainly more experienced. We learned on TUF, though, that Pearson is a true bulldog. He's not going to give an inch here, and that should make for a great start to the televised card. The fight is again close enough that it's worth taking a gamble on the underdog. If just one of the two British reality TV stars comes through then we've made a profit on the two of them.
Pick: Ross Pearson.
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