UFC 89 – Cageplay.com Breakdown
The UFC returns to England this Saturday for UFC 89. The show, which will emanate from the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, will be broadcast on Spike TV on tape delay for North American viewers. While the card has some very interesting matchups, it is nice that this one is on free TV as the card more closely resembles a very strong Fight Night card rather than a stacked PPV card.
Michael Bisping (16-1) vs. Chris Leben (18-4)
This fight is fantastic matchmaking. Two strikers with great chins facing off against each other. Mike Bisping is fighting his third bout at Middleweight against Chris Leben and he won his previous two attempts (vs. Jason Day and Charles Mccarthy) in dominant fashion. The “Count” has the advantage over Leben on the feet as he is the more technical boxer of the two and he also has the stronger clinch and Leben could go down with Bisping’s Muay Thai knees.
Chris Leben is a crowd favorite who has greatly evolved his fight game and his life since leaving The Ultimate Fighter 1. Leben, who has moved to Hawaii, has quit drinking and looks to be in fantastic shape for this fight. While Bisping does have the better stand up, Leben’s chin could nullify that advantage and lets not forget Leben’s hands of stone.
Cageplay Reader Predictions: 70% in favor of Bisping (at time of writing)
Cageplay.com Prediction: This fight is a very tough call and should be Fight of the Night. Going against the Cageplay readers, Cageplay.com believes that Leben’s strength on the ground will prevail in this fight. Bisping’s clinch and accuracy could prevail but Leben should be able to take Bisping down and work his superior submission game. Leben by Submission Round 2.
Keith Jardine (13-4-1) vs. Brandon Vera (9-2)
Another interesting UFC 89 matchup is Jardine versus Vera. An interesting side note to consider when picking a winner to this fight is how mentally sharp Vera will be after being held captive at gunpoint at his Master Lloyd Irvin’s home a little more than a week ago. Vera is coming off his first win in the Light-Heavyweight division and looks to continue this winning streak against Jardine. “The Truth” does have size and a strong clinch advantage and should also be superior on the ground.
Jardine is a difficult fighter to categorize. You do not know which “Dean of Mean” will show up. Will it be the fighter who got KO’d quickly to Wanderlei Silva and Houston Alexander or will it be the one who outpointed Chuck Liddell or KO’d Forrest Griffin? He is a tough Greg Jackson fighter so you know he will have a great game plan coming into this fight and Jardine has a ton of heart, but will he be able to overcome Vera’s versatility as a fighter.
Cageplay Reader Predictions: 56% in favor of Vera (at time of writing)
Cageplay.com Prediction:This is another close fight that one should exercise caution before laying down a bet on. However, Vera is simply a stronger, larger fighter and he will use his size to grind out a victory on the ground. Vera by Decision
Luiz Cane (8-1) vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (5-2)
Cane versus Sokoudjou is a very good Light-Heavyweight tilt. Cane is virtually an undefeated fighter with his only defeat coming from an illegal knee that he threw against James Irvin. Cane will be the much more accurate, technical striker and he has won almost 90% of his eight fights via TKO. If this fight leaves the first round, one has to wonder about Cane’s conditioning as his fights do not last longer than the first.
Sokodjou is a very tough fighter with much publicized KOs over Pride fighters Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona. Sokodjou has strong Judo skills but has yet to really utilize them in his MMA game and one has to wonder if he will utilize them in this bout with the superior striker in Cane.
Cageplay Reader Predictions: 83% in favor of Sokodjou (at time of writing)
Cageplay.com Prediction: Is the fact that 83% are betting on Sokodjou a reflection of his popularity and the fact that Cane is unknown to most fight fans? Unless Sokodjou takes this to the ground (and he has not done that in his fights so far), then he will get KO’d by the more accurate Cane. Look for Sokodjou to not utilize his ground advantage and get picked apart on his feet. This will slow Sokodjou down and Cane will finish him in the second round. Cane by TKO Round 2.
- Chris Lytle (25-16-5) vs. Paul Taylor (9-3-1) – English citizen Paul Taylor has already lost to Paul Kelly and Marcus Davis, who are fighting on this card and he will be no match for the very experienced Chris Lytle. Chris Lytle by first round TKO.
- Shane Carwin (9-0) vs. Neil Wain (4-0) – In a battle of UFC Heavyweights, Neil Wain is simply outclassed by Carwin. Carwin is being slowly groomed by the UFC and is being fed local boy, Neil Wain. Shane Carwin by first round TKO.
- Marcus Davis (14-4) vs. Paul Kelly (7-0) – This could be a slugfest with Davis having the edge on the ground and standing. Do not count out Kelly who is undefeated at 7-0 and has some punching power himself. Marcus Davis by submission in Round 2.
Make sure you return to Cageplay.com for full results from UFC 89.