The MMA train just keeps on rolling and we here at 5 Oz. are rolling with it. UFC 85 is this weekend and we’re here to break the fights down and give you our picks. Let’s do it..
Matt Hughes vs. Thiago Alves
Sam Cupitt: This should be a very interesting tussle. We already know what both fighters need to do, it’s just a matter of how the differing strategies mesh come fight time. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that Hughes has a snowball’s chance in hell of being able to stand with Alves for any length of time and thus should wisely get this fight to the ground early and often. This is a 50/50 fight for me but I think Hughes has the arsenal to produce the higher profile sequel to Fitch/Alves. Fitch/Alves 2: “The Belforting” if you will. Matt Hughes via TKO in round 2.
Michael Huckaby: Yeah, Matt Hughes hasn’t looked that great since the BJ Penn fight. And before that…. maybe his last BJ Penn fight. I mean this is the Matt Hughes chance to prove he’s still top three, deserves to beat down Serra, and deserves (down the road) perhaps another shot at the title. This is everything for Hughes but I don’t feel like he thinks it’s everything. I like Thiago Alves, and hating Matt Hughes, wish him the absolute best against the uneducated farmer. But in reality Alves got lucky to KO Karo (I hate Karo but let us not kid ourselves), beat Lytle by cut, lost to Fitch, and went to freaking decision against solid but not great John Alessio. The advantage must go to Hughes until proven otherwise, right? I’m really torn over whether Hughes will TKO (ground and pound) or decision him but I’m pretty sure Hughes will win. WINNER: Matt Hughes, decision
Caleb Newby: I spoke about this fight in great detail in an episode of The Duel a few weeks back and I’ll stick to my guns. Hughes’ last losses are making people question if the former champ still has “it” or if he needs to retire. The problem is this: Matt Hughes was fighting Georges St. Pierre. Everyone looks bad against GSP. GSP is number two pound for pound for a reason (or number one if you listen to some of the guys around here). Until Hughes is dominated by someone else I’m not ready to start up the orchastra to play Hughes out of the cage quite yet. While Hughes wants no part of Alves standing he should be able to use his power and wrestling to grind out a victory. Matt Hughes by Decision.
Adam Morgan: Alves has done nothing but impress his last few times out, especially with the TKO victory over top ten welterweight Karo Parisyan. His muay thai, and especially his leg kicks, are absolutely vicious. That being said, the last time Alves fought someone like Hughes (Jon Fitch), his night didn’t turn out the way he would have hoped. Hughes is going to show the world that he still has what it takes to hang with some of the world’s best welterweights, just not Georges St. Pierre. Matt Hughes via TKO, round three.
Gary Herman: Let’s see – if Matt Hughes wins, he gets Matt Serra, but if Matt Hughes loses, he gets Matt Serra. Ok, so Hughes officially has nothing riding on this fight except his pride. For Alves, he takes another giant step up in competition from the win over Karo Parisyan. Parisyan didn’t even rate Alves much going into the fight. That being said, Alves is a quality fighter who is in the middle-to-upper echelon of the weight class. Hughes is a just a bit higher. Hughes by unanimous decision.
Michael Bisping vs. Jason Day
Sam Cupitt: To me this is like model 1.01 vs. model 1.02, with Bisping being the flashier upgraded model. There is potential for an upset here but I think Bisping has the more polished skill set and should be able to wear Day down and then out before the second round comes to a close. Most likely overwhelming with a barrage against the fence which will drop Day to the mat where he will be eventually pounded out. Michael Bisping via TKO in round 2.
Michael Huckaby: Dear God. Why must this be in England and be so far up on the card? How on any card outside of TKO or Cage Rage in the world is this a semi-main event type fight? I think this fight will be interesting but the end game will be that Bisping has finished decent opponents and Day has had multiple problems with guys in the past. Don’t like me saying it? Prove it wrong. Great job against Belcher but that’s not on your resume. I’m going with history here and not with thought. WINNER: Michael Bisping, strikes, Rd3
Caleb Newby: I really hope the Bisping we saw destroy Charles McCarthy at UFC 83 is the true 185 pound Bisping. Unfortunately McCarthy didn’t do as much fighting as he did covering up in their bout so it’s hard to say for sure. Bisping should be the faster, more fluid fighter here and should walk away the victor. The UFC (and thus Joe Silva) need an exciting competitor with some name value to take on Anderson Silva soon and Bisping could be that man with another two victories, including one here over Jason Day. Of course, Silva would then leben (v) Bisping, but it would still be a fun fight. Michael Bisping via TKO in round 1.
Adam Morgan: Jason Day shocked a lot of people when he absolutely put it on Alan Belcher at UFC 83. He’s been talked about as being one of Canada’s best prospects and he certainly went a long way towards proving himself in that regard against Belcher. That being said, Bisping looks fantastic at 185 lbs. and put an absolute beating on Charles McCarthy in his debut at middleweight. Day is a good test for Bisping to see if he’s the real deal at middleweight and I think he’ll pass with flying colors. Michael Bisping via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: Since I’m getting tired of seeing Bisping fight patsies in England, I’m sure to fall asleep during this fight. Bisping is just better. I wish Nate Quarry would have taken the fight instead. Bisping by first round TKO.
Marcus Davis vs. Mike Swick
Sam Cupitt: I’m very excited for this fight. Hopefully for everyone’s sake Swick made weight correctly this time and gives Joe Rogan a reason to get all excited about Swick-o-tines and the like rather than tickling and poking from a distance causing Rogan to wonder aloud why he looks so sluggish all the while subconsciously eyeing up which one of Swick’s limbs he could most afford to lose so that he can make lightweight. To me this should be the fight that establishes Marcus Davis as a top contender at 170 lbs.. You have to take your hat off to Davis for applying himself to the sport the way he has after basically everyone had wrote him off following his disappointing showing on the Ultimate Fighter 2. He has gone on an 11 fight win streak since losing to Melvin Guillard on the TUF 2 finale with most victories coming courtesy of his drastically improved ground game. I doubt Davis can beat the elite wrestlers of the division but he would make it a fight. I am predicting Davis to win by awe inspiring KO in the first. Marcus Davis via KO in round 1.
Michael Huckaby: Great fight that goes against my “what does Joe Silva want?” idea of picking. He probably doesn’t care here, this is much like a “loser goes home” fight in that he probably just wants to know. Davis is on a roll and with a win or two could be a star. At the same time, Swick already is a semi-star and has some knockout powers. Great fight pick. I probably respect Joe Silva more than anyone else in the fight game and I wish he’d talk to media before the fight but for obvious reasons…. no. Due to Swick’s shitty performance against Burkman I have to go with Davis. I’m not proud of this or confident but Swick so far has looked shit at 170lbs. End of story. Prove me otherwise…. please. WINNER: Marcus Davis, decision
Caleb Newby: I hate how often I agree with Sam. I, too, am very excited for this fight and hope it turns into the brawl that it should be. And it’s a close fight to pick, which means we have to search for an obvious tie-breaker. And that is this – Swick didn’t look himself in his debut at 170 while Davis is on a wicked winning streak and is roaring his way to a high profile welterweight showdown against one of the divisions elite. I’m taking Davis on the assumption that Swick isn’t himself at welterweight. Should he prove me wrong and regains his speed and fluidity we’ll be in for a real treat… but I have to see it first. Marcus Davis via KO in round 1.
Adam Morgan: This, for me, is the most compelling fight on the entire card. Marcus Davis is doing everything in his power to crack the top ten welterweight rankings while Mike Swick is trying his hand at the weight class to see if he can do some real damage there. Davis’ standup and power is fantastic and he has shown a more than serviceable ground game as well. Swick’s striking is second to only maybe St. Pierre in the division but does he have the power that he used to have at 185? Does he have the strength to deal with the guys at welterweight? From his fight with Burkman it didn’t look like it but Burkman is known for making people look bad. It’s a truly compelling matchup but one that I think Davis takes in the end. Marcus Davis via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: This is the fight of the night – easily the one to look forward to the most (but that isn’t saying much). Swick and Davis will stand and trade as much as possible which means nothing but excitement. Davis has been white hot recently while Swick has not looked impressive. The luster seems to have worn off of Swick in the past year. That same luster is all over Davis. Davis by second round TKO.
Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites
Sam Cupitt: I don’t give Leites much chance in this fight. He isn’t going to outstrike Marquardt, and I doubt he’ll be able to achieve a takedown considering Marquardt’s superior wrestling. There is a slim chance he could submit the Greg Jackson fighter from his back but I find it hard to believe he’ll catch him with anything. I don’t want to sound like I owe Marquardt money or anything, I’d actually prefer to pick Leites as his name is easier to type but I’m a realist and I don’t see how Leites does anything to “the Great”. Nate Marquardt via TKO in round 3.
Michael Huckaby: Fairly easy for me. Marquardt, another man crush of mine, is a superstar that much like Rich Franklin just can’t beat Anderson Silva. I even picked Marquardt to beat Silva by the way, most people won’t point out the times they were ridiculously wrong but I do because I feel it makes me a better person. I see this being rather one sided, much like a couple of other Nate Marquardt decisions, where he can’t find a way to finish but the fight isn’t really that close. WINNER: Nate Marquardt, decision
Caleb Newby: I just wonder if the UFC will give Marquardt another shot against Silva should he string a couple more wins together. Really, they should put all of the people Silva has defeated against each other in a quasi-tournament meets the Green Mile sort of thing for the right to face Silva yet again. Marquardt, Franklin, Henderson, and… Leben? That could be fun if nothing else. As for the topic at hand, Marquardt is too well rounded for me to go against him now. While he could muster the TKO, I’ll take the safe (and most likely) route. Nate Marquardt by Decision.
Adam Morgan: Marquardt looked really good his last time out against Jeremy Horn and he made Horn tap, something that not many people have done. I think he’s really rededicated himself to being one of the best 185 lbs. fighters in the world and I think he’ll be extremely well prepared to fight Leites. If the fight should hit the ground then we’re in for a real jiu jitsu clinic but I think Marquardt has fought the tougher fighters and has the better MMA toolbox. Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision.
Gary Herman: Marquardt is probably the fifth best middleweight in the UFC (behind Silva, Henderson, Franklin, and Okami). Leites is a solid fighter, but not really in Marquardt’s class. I don’t see how this fight is competitive. Marquardt by first round submission.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Brandon Vera
Sam Cupitt: I’m still fairly perplexed as to how Werdum beat Gonzaga. For some reason I’ve never associated Werdum with being an elite heavyweight. He has great jiu jitsu but very little expertise in the ability to get the fight to any area in which he can impose it. His striking is equally as sloppy and to me never seems to look remotely threatening on his feet. If he comes out and bests Vera then I will happily buy a hat and eat it but I don’t think it’s very likely. I think Vera has the takedown defense to avoid Werdum’s main (and perhaps only) weapon in this fight and on the feet there is just no comparison. Vera via TKO in round 2.
Michael Huckaby: I’m really fucking torn here. I think Werdum has the skill set and Vera has some bad attention as a bad ass he doesn’t deserve. BUT, Mr. “Not Good at Picking Fights” Adam Morgan reminded me of something I said in the last PAIN POLL. “Who does Joe Silva want to win?” Do I want to go against my own advice? Obviously the correct answer there is Brandon Vera. And it kills me because I think Werdum could beat him, especially if he learns through two rounds what Vera is doing like he did with Gonzaga and attack it. Do I go with my gut or my babbling opinion? I’m afraid Werdum might go down here because Joe Silva obviously wants Nog vs Vera more than Nog vs Werdum II. Common sense wins. WINNER: Brandon Vera, decision
Caleb Newby: I may be looking forward to this fight most of all on the card. And let me brag, I did indeed pick Werdum over Gonzaga when they met a few months back. Unfortunately for Werdum, I have to take Vera here. Vera’s fast, has dynamic striking, and good power. Should Werdum get this to the ground we could be in for a treat (hey, I like watching the ground game, so what?) but it’s doubtful Vera will put himself in a position to be left open for a takedown. I don’t want to do this, but I have to agree with Sam again. *grumble* Brandon Vera via TKO in round 2.
Adam Morgan: This is the toughest fight to call on the entire card in my opinion. Werdum decimated Gabe Gonzaga and took his will to fight away. He’s got great muay thai and a very good ground game. But so does Vera. They are very evenly matched in almost every department. I have to think that Vera will be inspired to make up for his dismal performance against Tim Sylvia. I’ll go with the Michael Huckaby method of choosing a winner here. “Who would Joe Silva want to see win this fight?” Clearly Vera. Vera via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: This is a quality match-up of two top heavyweights. The winner of this fight is more deserving of the next title shot than Frank Mir would be, but Mir secured the win over Lesnar on a very big stage. Vera will try to keep the fight standing while Werdum will try to take it to the mat. Vera needs a good performance here to become a marketable fighter again. He’ll get it done. Vera by unanimous decision.
Jorge Rivera vs. Martin Kampmann
Sam Cupitt: Kampmann has very technical muay thai striking but not much in the way of power. In his fight with Leites he had the Brazilian completely and utterly gassed but for all the shots he was landing it still looked like Leites could have done more damage to himself if he was trying to swat a bothersome fly with a dead arm. Granted, Rivera’s chin, to quote Hank Evans, “is like Origami… it folds under pressure” but I think even it’s wobbly structure can withstand the pitter patter of Kampmann’s fists. I’m gonna hit up the upset here and take Rivera via suprising KO at the beginning of round 2. Jorge Rivera via KO in round 2.
Michael Huckaby: Look, I’m in the “Kampmann Camp” and won’t be swayed. I love this man. I don’t know a single fight fan that doesn’t. Rivera had a fantastic performance vs Grove but it was the same as a fight with Jardine (as I stated in the Silva PAIN POLL), just him and beat his ass. Not that difficult. Rivera is an experienced vet who I will not in any way discount but I LOVE Martin Kampmann. Like California gay marry love. I don’t even think it’s that great of a pick but how can I pick against one of my few man crushes? WINNER: Martin Kampmann, TKO, Rd2
Adam Morgan: Jorge Rivera was all but counted out in his fight with Kendall Grove but he showed that he’s still got plenty of game left in him. Kampmann is coming off a serious injury and will probably need to knock off some ring rust but if he’s the same Kampmann that we saw before the injury then we could be in for a treat. I like him to send Rivera packing. Martin Kampmann via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: It’s good to see Kampmann fighting again in the UFC. Kampmann is definitely the more skilled fighter, but Rivera comes with the knockout punch. Rivera had an outstanding career turn-around by defeating Kendall Grove convincingly. Unfortunately, Kampmann will be better prepared than Grove was. Kampmann by third round TKO.
Matt Wiman vs. Thiago Tavares
Sam Cupitt: This fight has decision written all over it. Usually when that is the case I take the fighter with the superior wrestling. I think Wiman takes this in a fairly lackluster affair. Matt Wiman via split decision.
Michael Huckaby: Both of these guys are in that rare successful UFC range of guys that are great at beating other guys that have no chance of succeeding in the UFC. That might be the main problem with this fight, Wiman has balls of steel and Tavares has a huge heart. These guys have succeeded not on skill but on sheer will and determination. Both of these guys are above average fighters that will never be world champions. This is a true pick’em in the absolute form and I’m sure many will go with Tavares based on record but that’s obviously stupid. I think this is going to decision. I have no idea who is going to win but I find more ways for Wiman to win than Tavares other than the most important of controlling the pace that would lead to a decision win. I can’t believe I have this much to say about the hardest fight to talk about on the card. Based on my own judgment I’m pulling (what I’d assume is) an upset. WINNER: Matt Wiman, decision
Adam Morgan: Haha. Is this a joke? How is Wiman still in the UFC? Thiago Tavares is one of the best young lightweights in the entire division, has one off night and still wins, and is thrown on the undercard against Matt Wiman? Raw deal. Wiman’s an okay fighter but Tavares will be way too much for him, especially if the fight hits the floor. Thiago Tavares via submission, round two.
Gary Herman: Wiman hasn’t done much to impress me while Tavares is a good fighter. That – and some good ground skills – should be enough to get the win. Tavares by second round submissison.
Roan Carneiro vs. Kevin Burns
Sam Cupitt: I’ll be honest with you guys, I hadn’t seen Carneiro vs. Fitch up until about two days ago. I knew the result of course but the fight still shocked the hell out of me. Carneiro looked like an absolute beast in round one and then Fitch decided he could throw punches and Carneiro didn’t know what to do. It was one of the more stranger fights I’ve seen. Regardless of that weirdness this fight seems pretty clear cut to me. It reminds me a bit of Aurelio vs. Reynolds except I expect this fight to go maybe a minute or two more in duration. Carneiro via submission (most likely a choke) in round 1.
Michael Huckaby: Seriously, Kevin Burns is the first guy on a UFC card in some time I had never heard of until I looked at the card. I’ve never seen the guy, never heard of the guy, never seen a clip. When I first saw the matchup I looked, looked again, and then did the triple take and then, “Kevin Burns?” How have I never once heard of someone in the UFC? That’s rare. I’m not disrespecting Burns, simply being honest that I have absolutely no idea about his fighting ability. WINNER: Roan Carneiro, sub, Rd1
Adam Morgan: I don’t know much about Burns other than he’s a replacement for the injured Ryo Chonan. Carneiro has shown a lot of heart and gameness in his fights recently, almost finishing Jon Fitch via anaconda choke and earning a TKO victory over Tony DeSouza. Plus, he’s an American Top Team fighter. You hardly ever bet against those guys unless their name is Starnes. Roan Carneiro via submission, round one.
Gary Herman: Carneiro is very good. This will probably be the last time he will appear off-tv. His ground skills are among the best in the UFC. Burns is the unfortunate victim this time. Carneiro by first round submission.
Luiz Cane vs. Jason Lambert
Sam Cupitt: Cane will be a constant threat on the feet but I doubt he’ll provide much in the way of takedown or ground defense. Lambert should be able to “earhole” is way to a victory in the depths of round 1. Lambert via TKO in round 1.
Michael Huckaby: Here is the thing with Banha, our own Adam Morgan kept showing me fight clips of him from Brazil and telling me how amazing he was. I bought the hype, I lost my last pick’em. Morgan himself admits a lack of pick’em abilities though a strong fight knowledge. Lambert will want to take this down and with Cane, unlike Gouveia, I think he can keep it there and ground and pound the crap out of him. I really like Lambert. And I really like Cane. But this is just more experience and more skill at work. WINNER: Jason Lambert, TKO, Rd2
Adam Morgan: I was on the Luiz Cane hype train when he fought James Irvin but he proved that he wasn’t quite aware of the rules at the time and got DQ’d due to an illegal knee to the head on the ground. Silly “Banha.” Lambert likes to come out and bang but his standup is terribly sloppy in the heat of the battle. Cane will take advantage of that and knock Lambert silly. Luiz Cane via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: Cane looked great in his fight against Irvin (even though he lost by DQ). Cane has a very strong and skilled stand-up game. On the other hand, Lambert has some serious power as he displayed against Babalu Sobral. This should be an exciting fight that I could see making the broadcast. I’ll take skill over power this time. Cane by second round TKO.
Paul Taylor vs. Jess Liaudin
Sam Cupitt: I always enjoy a Paul Taylor fight. What the guy lacks in ground finesse he makes up for in shear excitement. Liaudin is very similar in the excitement aspect as well so I think this fight will wind its way, one way or the other, onto the PPV broadcast. In terms of picking a result I’m going to have to go with the battling Brit to unleash a hellacious flurry at end of the first round that puts Liaudin to sleep after some very entertaining early round exchanges. Paul Taylor via KO in round 1.
Michael Huckaby: I really don’t see this fight ending much differently than their first altercation. I don’t like this fight at all. Again it seems as though the UFC know has an England circuit and it stops other fights from happening. I really have no idea nor do I care. Taylor should control most of the action and therefore take the decision. Very basic, very simple-minded. What do you want? WINNER: Paul Taylor, decision
Adam Morgan: I think Jess Liaudin did a good job of showing us what his chin’s made out of last time around when he fought Marcus Davis: paper. One shot to Liaudin’s chin from Taylor will make this a short night. Taylor likes to punch hard and can take a serious beating and keep coming forward. He’ll be too much for Liaudin to handle. Paul Taylor via TKO, round one.
Gary Herman: Paul Taylor is very tough fighter who comes out to put on a show. Liaudin doesn’t have the best defense in the world which will be his downfall vs. the aggressive Taylor. Taylor by first round KO.
Antoni Hardonk vs. Eddie Sanchez
Sam Cupitt: For anyone who has followed these pain polls they might know of the little to no interest I have in any fight featuring the names, Antoni Hardonk, Colin Robinson, or Eddie Sanchez. They haven’t wronged me personally they are just a symbol of how weak the UFC’s heavyweight division is. If Sanchez wins here there will probably be talk of him getting one of the biggest names on a future show but you and I both clearly remember him being helpless in “Big C’s” Irishjitsu. If this fight is the only undercard bout to make it onto the televised portion of the PPV I will be very disappointed. Sanchez will probably attempt to stand until he recieves a few leg kicks. He will then exhale and Hardonk will fall over and probably tap out Hardonk with a neck crank from the guard. Yiew! Eddie Sanchez via 7 jiu jitsu lessons.
Michael Huckaby: This fight is absolutely killing me. This is the best and worst matchups for both by a (cursing) mile. Hardonk can’t beat anyone that takes him to the ground and Sanchez is a standup fighter who isn’t that good at standing up but wins. I have to go with my heart here and say Hardonk. He’s more exciting, he’ll land the better strikes. I’m assuming Sanchez is too stupid to take him and that also plays a big part. Big 1-2 combos with leg kicks from Hardonk but I’m hardly confident in this. WINNER: Antoni Hardonk, TKO, Rd2
Adam Morgan: Antoni Hardonk, your striking is great but your wrestling and your ground game are absolutely terrible. Eddie Sanchez would be wise to expose that and I think he will. I don’t expect him to stand there in front of Hardonk like Colin Robinson did last time around. I think Sanchez makes him work, lands a takedown, and pounds Hardonk out when Hardonk has no idea what to do off his back. Eddie Sanchez via TKO, round two.
Gary Herman: Antoni Hardonk has only one way to win the fight – keep it standing. Fortunately, Sanchez likes to keep the fight standing as well. Hardonk by second round TKO.