The event is set for November 14 from the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England.
Headlining the card will be a 205 pound tussle between Randy Couture and Brandon Vera, with other match-ups including Michael Bisping vs. Denis Kang, Mike Swick vs. Dan Hardy and more.
As always, feel free to agree or disagree with us and put your money where your mouth is and post your own set of picks for public scrutiny in the comment section below.
Randy Couture vs. Brandon Vera
David Andrest: Have you ever been stuck watching Oprah with your wife or girlfriend. Heard the wonderful stories about troubled youth who turn their life around and now have everything on the right track? Watched an apology or public service announcement given by a formerly “troubled” pro athlete? That is the same feeling I get every single time I hear Brandon Vera speak. The overwhelming feeling that he is saying what he thinks he is supposed to say, and doesn’t believe a word of it himself. Hearing him talk, I patiently wait for him to tell us he wants to be a veterinary assistant someday because he really wants to help sick animals. Brandon Vera will never be the UFC light heavyweight champion, he will never be the heavyweight champion. With that put out there, every single bit of common sense would tell you to take Vera in this fight. Couture is 46 years old, has to be slowing down right?? However, Vera doesn’t show up for big fights, and I have no reason to believe this will be any different. Couture is still just too good for B level fighters, and will handle Vera.
Winner: Randy Couture via Decision
Cory Brady: I totally understand what it’s like to have a burning desire to achieve what othres say you can not, but in some cases, it’s just way better off if you keep your aspirations inside. Such is the case with Vera and his longtime goal to become a UFC champion at both heavyweight and light heavyweight. Some things are just better left unsaid, otherwise, “they’re all going to laugh at you”. While Vera certainly has a strikers chance in this bout, common sense points to Couture being able to deposit him on the mat and grind his face into lasagna leftovers. With that being said, don’t be too surprised if Vera manages to clip Randy at some point. Brandon is a more technical striker than Chuck Liddell in my opinion, just doesn’t carry the one punch knockout power that “The Iceman” does.
Winner: Randy Couture via (GNP) TKO
Michael Bisping vs. Denis Kang
David Andrest: If you read a lot of these things, I’m sure you ( like me) are tired of the “ how will Bisping bounce back from his near death experience against Dan Henderson” . The truth is, he better forget that happened and continue growing as a fighter. If he takes a step back, and shows up to prove a point and be the “old” Bisping, he will be too aggressive and Kang will capitalize. I for one think Kang is the better fighter both on the feet and on the floor. And I will say this, Kang had better end this as he will not win a decision in Manchester .
Winner : Denis Kang via submission
Cory Brady: Bisping has yet t be submitted in his professional career, and nothing in Kang’s recent history suggests that he’s going to be the guy. If a 205 pound Red Schafer couldn’t do it, a 185 pound Kang’s chances being slim at pulling off a sub still seem optimistic at best. I feel like this fight stays standing, and the only way it doesn’t is if Bisping chooses to take it to the canvas. On the feet Kang may very well possess the heavier hands, but its nothing like Hendo Power, and I feel like “The Count” is a slightly more technical striker. I see Bisping catching Kang with something after a serious sizing up process and finishing it off with a little standing ground and pound over the fallen Canadian.
Winner: Michael Bisping via TKO
Mike Swick vs. Dan Hardy
David Andrest: I like both guys a lot as fighters, and this honestly is a tough fight to call. I think we all know what to expect from Swick. Good stand up, good on the ground, good all around fighter. The wild card in this equation is Hardy. In spite of how people feel about Hardy, I suspect we still haven’t seen everything he has to offer. Unlike Cory, I will pick from my gut and make no apologies for it. For no logical reason what so ever I’m picking Dan Hardy, I can’t even begin to picture how he wins.
Winner: Dan Hardy via TKO
Cory Brady: David’s right, there’s no way I’m picking a fight without being able to back it up with something. I mean hell, even if I’m going with my gut, I usually feel like there’s at least one key to victory for my guy. I just don’t see that being the case with Hardy. “The Oulaw” is undoubtedly one of my favorite fighters to watch throw down. and I’m definitely not saying he stands no chance of winning this fight, but in my opinion Swick is just a little bit better technically in more areas than Hardy. Striking, edge goes to Swick; Wrestling, Swick; experience against top opposition, Swick; Submissions, Swick. You see what I’m getting at. As a sidenote, there’s absolutely no reason for this fight not to end up with “Fight of the Night” honors.
Winner: Mike Swick via unanimous decision
Ross Pearson vs. Aaron Riley
David Andrest: Very close fight all around as the two fighters have a very similar style. I for one have to pull my “Joe Silva did this for a reason “ card and pick Pearson for the win. The UFC doesn’t typically set their TUF winners up for failure.
Winner: Ross Pearson via decision
Cory Brady: This should be a competitive, crowd pleasing scrap with both fighters having their moments. I don’t expect for either man to walk over the other, so be prepared for a three round battle in this one. I feel like this fight will end up being fought primarily on the feet, with the similarities of both fighters causing it to be more of a tactical give and take type affair. This fight is either man’s to win, it’s all bout who performs on Saturday evening. However, one factor that should never be ignored in a close bout on paper is the infamous hometown advantage.
Winner: Ross Pearson via unanimous decision
James Wilks vs. Matt Brown
David Andrest: Some people may view this fight as close in some way. It’s not. Matt Brown is better everywhere and tougher. Look for Brown to control the action and dominate the Wilks. Brown will stop this one early on his way to a TKO victory and KO of the night bonus.
Winner: Matt Brown via TKO
Cory Brady: Is there a better person to cast your “Most improved fighter of all time” vote for in all of MMA than Matt Brown? If I’m forgetting someone, please feel free to remind me. I mean, the guy walks into the Ultimate Fighter house with a record of 7-6, and leaves one of the absolute grittiest welterweight in the UFC. While I’m not going to go as far as to say that Brown is better everywhere, I do feel like they don’t make them much tougher than Matt, and I fully expect him to give Wilks a beating he will not soon forget. Talk about a sink or swim opponent for James’ first fight out of the gate, jeesh.
Winner: Matt Brown via TKO