The Ultimate Fighting Championship treks out of the Las Vegas desert into the Great White North as UFC 115 hits the General Motors Palace in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on Saturday night. For the second consecutive event, there’s no title on the line but that doesn’t mean there aren’t high stakes. Here are our picks for Saturday nights bouts with odds courtesy of bodog – FIGHT! is currently 51-27 with its picks in 2010.
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin meets former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell center cage in a 205-pound main event. While both have reached the peak of the sport with their striking, knockout losses in their last contest may inspire the aging competitors to break out their well-rounded skills. But still the fight is likely decided standing.
Thankfully for Liddell, power is the last thing to go with age. He must return to combinations for it to be effective because his trademark overhand right finds its mark less without proper setups. “Ace” always strikes in high volume with many different looks as part of his measured game.
Both find their mark from odd angles and Franklin will simply find them quicker. Leg kicks, footwork and strategy help separate the Ohioan from the legendary power puncher over three rounds.
FIGHT! Pick: Franklin
A changing of the guard match up, two former K-1 kickboxers vie for heavyweight stand-up supremacy in the UFC. Mirko Crocop has proved to be nothing like the fearsome striker that ran through PRIDE since coming to the UFC; however, a win over a hungry Barry can restore much of his luster. Unfortunately for the Croatian, his power was a direct result of his fearlessness, which has diminished. As the two begin to trade, Barry will faster to the punch and more importantly, the one who wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
FIGHT! Pick: Barry
Martin Kampann can strike and submit, and a wrestling and ground and pound advantage can propel him past Paulo Thiago but the Brazilian’s constricting submission game and surprising power are too dangerous for even the toughest welterweights in a drag out fight.
FIGHT! Pick: Thiago
Disheartening UFC debut defeats for Ben Rothwell and Gilbert Yvel find the heavyweights across from each other. Rothwell’s resilience will be needed against “The Hurricane,” who offers eight-point striking that can be a nightmare if he finds his timing. The IFL standout won’t allow it though, getting in Yvel’s face early and often.
FIGHT! Pick: Rothwell
Rory MacDonald battles former WEC Welterweight Champion Carlos Condit before his 21st birthday. The Canadian prospect is comfortable standing and on the mat with the ability to overwhelm opponents although Condit is too experienced and mean to succumb to the King of the Cage titleholder’s attacks.
FIGHT! Pick: Condit
Two well-rounded lightweights look to test each other’s consistency as Mac Danzig faces off with Matt Wiman. Wiman has uprooted his camp to Gilbert Melendez’s “El Nino” Training Center in San Francisco, while Danzig has returned to his Los Angeles roots and worked with Dan Hardy and crew at PKG. A jiu-jitsu edge should see Wiman sneak past the durable Danzig.
FIGHT! Pick: Wiman
Evan Dunham’s swift combinations and scrappiness challenge Tyson Griffin’s crisp boxing and quick wrestling. The Xtreme Couture mainstay only misses his stride against tricky grapplers and the still developing Dunham doesn’t have the mat work to best the perpetual contender at this point in his promising career.
FIGHT! Pick: Griffin
FIGHT! Pick: Franklin Resulting Outcome: CORRECT
Pat Barry (-170) vs. Mirko Filipovic (+140)
FIGHT! Pick: Barry Resulting Outcome: INCORRECT
Paulo Thiago (-265) vs. Martin Kampmann (+205)
FIGHT! Pick: ThiagoResulting Outcome: INCORRECT
Ben Rothwell (-165) vs. Gilbert Yvel (+135)
FIGHT! Pick: RothwellResulting Outcome: CORRECT
Carlos Condit (+115) vs. Rory MacDonald (-145)
FIGHT! Pick: ConditResulting Outcome: CORRECT
Mac Danzig (-120) vs. Matt Wiman (-110)
FIGHT! Pick: WimanResulting Outcome: CORRECT
Tyson Griffin (-220) vs. Evan Dunham (+180)
FIGHT! Pick: GriffinResulting Outcome: INCORRECT