UFC 85: Bedlam Preview and Predictions

Mark Pare@NEPats17Correspondent IIMay 24, 2008

As everyone prepares for Penn and Sherk to tear each other apart at UFC 84, I decided to prepare you for June 7 and UFC 85 in London.

Here, I will briefly discuss all 11 matchups and pick a winner.

Preliminary Card

Welterweight: Paul Taylor (8-3-1-1 NC) vs. Jess Liaudin (12-9)

Both of these European fighters are looking to get back in the win column.

Jess Liaudin is coming off of a devastating KO loss to Marcus Davis at UFC 80 and is looking to rebound.

This is Taylor's last fight on his current contract, and his future doesn't look too promising if he continues his losing ways.

Taylor is on a two-fight losing skid and needs to win if he hopes to stay in the UFC.

This is the classic striker vs. jiu-jitsu expert match that can go either way.  Both will come out looking to impress UFC management so they can fight again in the Octagon.

This isn't the first time they have fought.  Taylor won the first bout by decision.

Prediction:  Paul Taylor by unanimous decision.

Heavyweight: Antoni Hardonk (6-4) vs. Eddie Sanchez (10-1)

Originally, Neil Wann was supposed to make his UFC debut but has since gone down with an injury.

Replacing him will be Eddie Sanchez, a powerhouse who is currently on a 2 fight win streak after losing his only fight to the debuting Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, a fight that was known to all as the largest average gap for an underdog/favourite in betting history in the UFC as they had Mirko at -1200 and Sanchez at +800.

Antoni has never been knocked out and only submitted once, to Frank Mir at UFC 74. He is coming off of a 0:17 first-round KO of Colin Robinson at UFC 80.

Antoni is an accomplished kickboxer and has big knockout power.  Antoni is about 7 inches taller than Wain and will own a huge reach advantage that he can take full advantage of.

Expect a slugfest that will not go past the first round.  Both of these men have power behind them and when one of them connects, its lights out for the other.

Eddie Sanchez has never went to a judges decision in his MMA career.

Prediction: Eddie Sanchez by KO.

Welterweight: Roan Carneiro (12-6) vs. Kevin Burns (6-1)

Ryo Chonan was supposed to fight but has gone down with a rib injury.  Stepping in is an unknown from Iowa, making his UFC debut, Kevin Burns.

Roan is a black-belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is coming off a second-round TKO win against Tony DeSouza at UFC 79.

Roan is 2-1 in his UFC career, losing to the streaking Jon Fitch last June.

Kevin is coming off a win against Bobby Voelker, a fight that lasted 41 seconds.

In his MMA career, he has never gone the distance in any of his wins, either knocking out or submitting his opponent.

The experience factor I believe will make a difference for Roan Carneiro.

Prediction: Roan Carneiro by submission.

Light Heavyweight: Jason Lambert (23-7) vs. Luiz Cane (8-1-0)

Luiz Cane is coming off of being disqualified at UFC 79 and has been working on his ground game to clean up a bad first impression.

Jason Lambert is looking to make a comeback in the division, being knocked out in two of his last three fights, including a KO loss to Wilson Gouveia in his last bout.

Luiz is an accomplished ground technician who loves the armbar.

Jason has vicious ground-and-pound and stand-up skills, and he will look to punish Luiz into the loss column. However, he must watch out for Luiz's great jiu-jitsu ability.

Jason has also stated that he doesn't know much about his opponent and that could lead to his downfall.

Prediction: Luiz Cane by submission.

Lightweight: Matt Wiman (9-3) vs. Thiago Tavares (13-1)

Matt is a very well-rounded fighter and is on a three-fight win streak, most recently a first-round choke out of Justin Buchholz in January.

Thiago is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu technician who is coming off of a decision win over  Michihiro Omigawa.

Matt has been KO'd once by Spencer Fisher due to a second-round flying knee and his other two losses are by decision.

Thiago Tavares has only one loss on his record, a unanimous decision against Tyson Griffin at UFC 76.

I can see this fight going to the ground, with both fighters having great offence and defence there. Whoever scores the first takedown could push the pace and land a submission or win by decision.

Either way, this will be a very close fight and in my opinion, can be a reason to stay past the main event to watch.  Could be a Fight of the Night candidate.

Prediction: Matt Wiman by decision.

Middleweight: Martin Kampmann (15-2) vs. Jorge Rivera (15-6)

Martin is coming off a knee injury that took him out of the main event of UFC 72 against Rich Franklin.  He specializes in Muay Thai, but that previous knee injury may halt Kampmann.

Jorge is well-known for his stint on The Ultimate Fighter 4, losing to Patrick Cote in the elimination round, but he has grown past it, defeating Kendall Grove by KO at UFC 80.

Martin is on an eight-fight winning streak and has never been knocked out. However, he hasn't fought since defeating Drew McFedries by an arm triangle in March 2007.

Jorge likes to stand and slug, but he has paid for it in some instances, including a 0:14 knockout loss to Terry Martin at UFC 67.

Both fighters are virtually equal in height and weight.

Prediction: Martin Kampmann by KO.

Main Card

Middleweight: Nate Marquardt (26-7-2) vs. Thales Leites (12-1)

This is a much-anticipated bout, as this fight has been pushed back on a number of occasions due to visa and injury problems.

Nate, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is coming off of a choke out victory against the legendary Jeremy Horn and is looking to get back in the title hunt.

Thales has never been knocked out before and is on a three fight win streak. Most recently, he scored a first-round armbar win against Ryan Jensen last August.

Nate is a well-rounded fighter and can hold his own whether the fight is on the feet or on the ground.

Thales is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter who can submit you quickly, in fact, eight of Thales' 12 wins are by submission, all involving armlocks.

Prediction: Thales Leites by submission.

Heavyweight: Fabricio Werdum (10-3-1) vs. Brandon Vera (8-1)

Fabricio Werdum is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert and is coming off a TKO of the very powerful Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 80.

Brandon Vera is a wrestler who is coming off his first MMA loss to Tim Sylvia at UFC 77.

This will be a very classic match of men with great ground games and tons of power in their limbs.

Neither man has been knocked out or forced to submit, but that could change in this fight.

Expect a fight that will showcase both powerful striking and ground-and-pound that can go either way.  Do not expect a decision, as they will both be looking for a knockout.

Prediction: Brandon Vera by KO.

Welterweight: Mike Swick (11-2) vs. Marcus Davis (14-3)

Mike is a kickboxer who is coming off a majority decision victory against Josh Burkman.

Marcus, a boxer, is on an 11 fight win streak. Nine of those wins were by either knockout or submission, with none lasting until Round 3.

Mike and Marcus are both Ultimate Fighter alumni and are both looking to knock each other out.

Expect a slugfest that could tilt Mike Swick's way. He is taller, owns a reach advantage and is known for knocking out his opponents in the opening minutes of a fight (hence the nickname "Quick").

Although, Marcus has heavy hands and it only takes one good punch to knock someone out.

Prediction: Marcus Davis by KO.

Middleweight: Michael Bisping (15-1) vs. Jason Day (17-5)

Michael is a kickboxer, most famous for being the winner of season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter.  He is coming off a win against Charles McCarthy last month.

Jason, a powerful Canadian, is on a five-fight win streak and will be fighting for the second time in the UFC. His opponent will have home field advantage.

Michael looks poised to make a huge impression with this fight as he pursues a title shot in the near future.

Jason defeated Alan Belcher at UFC 83 in the first round.

Both fighters can hold their own on the ground and on their feet and are working off of two months of training.

Only one of Jason's 17 wins was by decision.  Michael's only loss was by decision.

If Jason hopes to win, he must filter out the chants for "The Count" and focus.  The second Jason loses focus, Michael will come in and finish him off.

Look for the winner of this fight to take on the Marquardt/Leites winner or to move in for a title shot after Yushin Okami.

Prediction: Michael Bisping by decision.

Welterweight (Main Event): Matt Hughes (41-6) vs. Thiago Alves (14-3)

Everyone knows about Matt. His wrestling is legendary, he is a former 2-time champion, and he has a reputation for finishing off his opponents.

He holds notable wins over Sean Sherk, BJ Penn, Frank Trigg (twice) and has defeated Royce Gracie at his own game.  However, he lost his last fight to current champion Georges St. Pierre.

Thiago is an expert in jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai.  He is on a five-fight win streak, last defeating Karo Parisyan in April.

Matt will look to get back in the title hunt with a win but has stated that he is looking to retire in the near future. If he loses, he may hang up the gloves on this night.

Thiago will look to keep this on the feet and utilize his Muay Thai to knock out one of the greatest fighters that has ever stepped into the Octagon.

If this is truly Matt's final fight, look for him to showcase his ground skills, a skill he has used to solidify his spot in MMA folklore.

Prediction: Matt Hughes by submission.


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