For a period in time the most highly anticipated fight wasn't going to happen in an octagon, but rather an Affliction ring. However for legal reasons due a long running contract dispute following his unbelievable victory over Tim Sylvia, we never got to see Randy Couture go head-to-head with "The Last Emperor".
It seems the MMA gods are ready to atone for it falling through. We'll get two good cards free on broadcast television, live in HD and featuring fighters who represent rival promotional organizations.
So who's card will reign supreme? Fedor's or Couture's? The UFC's or Strikeforce's? Lets break it down.
This is a blowout folks. With the pull out of Erin Toughill from her title elimination bout, and Brock Lesnar Light also pulling out of a bout with Ron Waterman it seems that the top billing will go to Jeff Curran. It looks like he'll will finally get a win, thankfully, and it should stop him from being treated like a doormat for the WEC. He'll take on 4-1 prospect Sam Thao. While that fight might be interesting for about 15 seconds; once Curran pulls guard expect something slick.
Other than that and Mark Miller leveraging his convincing win over Josh Neer in the IFL to get himself another fight—it's really just a bunch of raw fighters looking to get wins.
The UFC card, however, boasts a big time bout between John Hathaway and Paul Taylor, as well as Terry Etim and Shannon Gugerty squaring off in the battle of who guillotined Matt Grice the best.
Although not the deepest preliminary for either, UFC's top to bottom is just deeper. UFC wins 10-8
James Wilks-Matt Brown vs. Antonio Silva-Fabricio Werdum
This is a competitin for who has the best build up fight on its main card. The UFC throw out TUF 9 winner James Wilks to take on everybodies favorite 9-7 fighter. While Matt Brown could win the best nickname ever award (even over my boy “The Pink Pounder”), “The Immortal,” I feel, has little to offer in this matchup. Overall however, this is a good build up fight and a solid debut fight for Wilks to showcase his skills.
Alternatively, Strikeforce counters with the monstrous Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva taking on top-10 heavyweight Fabricio Werdum. While on paper this fight looks like too much too soon for Silva, I think this is just quality matchmaking.
On his feet Silva should dominate. The question will be how this fight will go if and when it hits the canvas. Silva is a highly underrated offensive grappler and will be tested by the best defensive heavyweight grappler in MMA today. Personally, I think Werdum should be able to stymie the Goliath in his guard. He'll likely be down on points, however, so he'll need a submission which I don't see coming.
Either way. Strikeforce gains another heavyweight contender for its strap, and the UFC fluffs up a TUF guy. Strikeforce wins 10-9
Michael Bisping-Denis Kang vs. Sokoujou- Gegard Mousasi
Michael Bisping returns to the cage to take on Candian journeymen, Denis Kang, in a bout that promises to prove absolutely nothing and will only further inflate an already bloated Bisping record. Strikeforce, however, counters with a fight that fell through in DREAM's super hulk tournament.
There is no joy like two bad squash matches. 10-10 on my scorecard
Co-Main Events: Miller-Shields vs. Swick-Hardy
Strikeforce's Middleweight division has always been it's best division, and with the infusion of Ronaldo “Jacure” Souza, and Jason “Mayhem” Miller it may still be, even with the run of Heavyweights it's added lately
With former Strikeforce Champion Cung Le presumably retiring from the world of big time MMA to be the next Chow Yun Fat on the silver screen, Jake Shields will get his title shot against Jason “Mayhem” Miller in what promises to be an exhibition of entertaining grappling.
This is a rare fight where Miller will hold a sizable striking advantage and I think he'll use it well—Shields will have to outwork Miller. I don't foresee such a scenario playing out.
The UFC will counter with a somewhat lackluster Welterweight divisional number one contenders fight.
Mike Swick should hold a fairly decent striking advantage, and I think it's about even if the bouth hits the floor. Overall, neither fightr has enough takedown defense to make GSP very nervous at all. Joe Silva has the right idea matching up strikers with his champion, but they have to be able to stop the takedown to use those skills and neither fight promises to be anything but a one sided layfest.
Not good matchmaking. Strikeforce wins 10-8
The Main Events: Fedor-Rogers vs. Couture-Vera
As the UFC puts it: It's time for Couture to face the truth. Can he still be a competitive entity in any division or are we to the point where we can book Couture vs. Wandi?
I think he can win this fight, but Vera can be a dynamic striker when he's not busy trying to put on his best Anderson Silva impersonation like he has in his recent fights.
I can't foresee a way Vera is going to win a fight on the scorecards here. He'll have to stop Couture to win this fight, and considering Randy was dropped in each of his last two bouts there are some real chin issues for Vera to potentially exploit.
To compound Couture's problems, Vera may be too quick for him to clinch up and dirty box with. His only shot at victory, in my opinion, lies on the floor—a place Vera is exploitable but not undressable.
This is a very tough fight for Randy, and it's also one I don't understand why he took on such short notice.
Conversely, Fedor will take on top heavyweight prospect Brett Rodgers in a tune up fight.
Only “The Last Emperor” could make a fight where two men enter the cage a combined 40-1 into a tune up for either fighter.
While I may sound contrary to many who see this as total domination, I think if he stands with Brett he could be out struck. While Fedor is vaunted as a world class striker, he's actually not the most technically sound fighter in the world and has been caught by strikers in the past. He was beaten up on the feet by Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt and various other fighters.
Also, this is the first time he's ever fighting in a cage—ask guys like Maurico “Shogun” Rua how tough that can be.
I'm not saying it's going to happen. If you see Rogers +1000, however, throw a few bucks on him. And don't have any plans on that money. 10-10 on my card
The judges have rendered their verdict.... all three judges score the fight 48-47 UFC 105 .
…. My card: 48-47 Strikeforce. At least it was close this time. How do you have it?