UFC 120: Can Carlos Condit and Yoshihiro Akiyama Upset the Brits in Their House?
UFC 120 is being highly overlooked by most of the MMA faithful, casual and hardcore fans alike.
The main issue being the lackluster main event of Michael Bisping vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama. It has become a staple of the UFC for them to include Michael Bisping on just about every card they put on in the United Kingdom. UFC 120 will be no different, much to the general displeasure of British MMA fans. How can you argue with them?
Most of them have probably already seen a Bisping fight. These fans from across the pond want to see some big names come their way instead of the usual dose of homegrown talent. Well, UFC 120 is giving them the opposite. Every single fight on the main card features a European born fighter, with four out of the five being English. Despite the lack of typical big names that litter most UFC cards, this fight card has many incredibly compelling fights.
While Bisping vs. Akiyama has received much protest, the co-main event is being seen as the fight that redeems the card. Carlos Condit vs. Dan Hardy pits two young, wildly talented fighters against one another. We last saw Hardy getting taken down at will by the champ Georges St. Pierre, but most came away from the fight impressed with Hardy's heart and ridiculous pain tolerance as he forced the fight to a decision. Hardy is well known for his striking prowess, putting together an impressive string of knockouts before he was given his title shot. Hardy brings heavy hands into this fight and has the ability to end this fight at any second with a stinging KO punch.
Carlos Condit, on the other hand, is known more as a well-rounded fighter. Condit has lethal knees inside the clinch, and a solid jiu-jitsu game that can catch his opponents off guard his they are not prepared. Condit is a very long, lanky fighter and he uses that to his advantage. He likes to tie up and use those long legs to knee his opponents in the face. His lanky frame also lends itself to an effective jiu-jitsu game, as he is able to lock in triangle chokes easily and utilize a more active guard.
The key in this fight for Hardy will be to turn it into a boxing match. If Hardy can keep the fight on the feet and out of the clinch, he will have a distinct advantage over Condit and a KO win will be the outcome. On the other side, the key for Condit is to make this a scrappy fight. Condit will want to get the fight to the clinch, take the fight to the ground, work his Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu to get a decision win. Hardy will have the most trouble if Condit can find a way to get the Brit on his back. However, in recent fights, Condit has been content to go to his back and fight with his guard. Hardy will not allow this fight to stay on the ground long if this is the case.
VERDICT: Dan Hardy by TKO - Round 2
The main event of Michael Bisping vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama has been a topic of much discussion from outraged fans who don't believe this is a main event worthy fight. The main complaint is that Akiyama is coming off of a submission loss to Chris Leben. Despite the fact that this fight is not up to par with past UFC main events, this should be a very entertaining fight. Bisping holds a victory over Chris Leben, which some say swings the advantage in this bout to Bisping's corner.
Michael Bisping comes into this fight with a crisp, speedy boxing style. He likes to move in and out, avoid damage and pick his opponents apart on the feet. He is also no slouch on the ground. Bisping has very underrated jiu-jitsu, mostly because he does not use it very often and he uses his grappling more defensively.
Akiyama, on the other hand, is comfortable working his offense on the ground or on the feet. Akiyama is a judo player and likes to take his opponents down using judo throws and trips, then get on top and grind them out. He is not shy on his feet either. Akiyama has shown in his recent bouts that he is more than willing to let the fight stay on the feet and turn into a glorified K-1 bout.
The key to this fight for Bisping is to try and lure Akiyama into another slugfest, then simply pick him apart from the outside. Bisping must avoid being taken down and establish his range early to keep from getting caught in the clinch. The key for Akiyama is to use what he does best, judo. He must work for the clinch and get the fight to the ground where he can rain down punches from on top of Bisping. Akiyama must fight the urge to engage in standup exchanges with Bisping. However, if this does turn into a standup bout, Akiyama still has a chance if he can make it a dirty fight and utilize the clinch whenever possible.
VERDICT: Yoshihiro Akiyama by Split Decision
Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments, who do you think will win, how and why?
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