It’s rare that I can pick a card perfect, but I just did so. After reading through BloodyElbow’s panel of experts’ picks I was starting to get nervous on a few of my picks, but I guess that’s why watching actual tape of prospects helps me feel confident making fight predictions.
Once again, here’s my picks from earlier this week:
Main CardMichael Bisping def. Cung Le – Bisping struggles against opposition with good footwork and KO power, but Le is coming off another long layoff, and though he is by far the more explosive fighter, Bisping should have the overall wrestling and conditioning advantage for a 5-round fight. There’s still potential for Le to win via KO, but Bisping has held his own against recently against Brian Stann and Alan Belcher.Tyron Woodley def. Dong Hyun Kim – Kim has been nearly invincible fighting in Asia, but Tyron Woodley is a stylistic nightmare. Woodley will have to make sure to not give up a takedown, which sounds strange since he is one of the top wrestlers in the sport, but Kim has proven resourceful with his judo. If Kim can seize top position, he’s capable of keeping Woodley on his back. What’s more likely to happen though is Kim gets reckless on his feet and pays for it.Zhang Lipeng def. Brendan O’Reilly – I’m stunned Brendan O’Reilly is getting a shot in the UFC. No disrespect, but he didn’t exactly shine on The Ultimate Fighter: Canada vs. Australia. O’Reilly did do a good job of garnering camera time for his trash talk, so it looks as if it won him an audition against TUF China Welterweight winner Zhang Lipeng. This is supposed to be a showcase fight for Lipeng, so if he doesn’t it will show just how far behind China is in the sport.Ning Guangyou def. Jianping Yang – The Featherweight winner of TUF China is finally going to be determined as the #1 and #2 overall pick of the season face off. Ning finished both his fights on TUF China via KO, while Yang primarily relies on his submissions. I will side with Ning, though it’s merely just a flip of the coin.
Preliminary CardWang Sai def. Danny Mitchell – I went back and forth on this pick probably more than any other fight on this card. I sided with Sai mainly due to his homefield advantage. Mitchell is as scrappy as they come, and he has legit submissions, which has been a sore spot at times for Sai. Yet, if the UFC really wants China to get behind the sport, the need for homegrown athletes is paramount. For that reason, I am guessing UFC matchmaker Joe Silva booked Sai in a fight he feels he can win.Alberto Mina def. Shinsho Anzai – Mina is finally set to make his UFC debut, but he sure has had to go through his fair share of drama to get there. From a prior Bellator contract, injuries, Zak Cummings missing weight, and now a last minute opponent change, Mina finally gets to step inside the octagon. He faces a relatively unknown, yet rising Japanese prospect Anzai. I haven’t watched much film on Anzai, but I do know Mina’s game, and I’m sticking with him to win via submission.Yuta Sasaki def. Roland Delorme – I originally was about to side with Delorme, but I watched a little film, and once again remembered why Sasaki is one of the rising phenoms in Japan. This is still a tough fight for Sasaki’s debut, but Delorme’s lack of striking should allow Sasaki the freedom to take risks. As long as he can avoid Delorme’s submission attempts, I see him winning via decision.Colby Covington def. Wang Anying – Colby Covington was my #2 Welterweight prospect prior to signing with the UFC. His wrestling is off the charts, and he trains daily at American Top Team. The word has been spreading about his immense potential. Covington should have no problem taking Anying down and doing what he wants with him.Royston Wee def. Yao Zhikui – Another flip of the coin type fight as there’s not a whole lot of video available on these two guys. This is the type of fight that shows just how much the UFC has watered down their roster. I’ll take Wee.Milana Dudieva def. Elizabeth Phillips – Phillips proved ultra-tough in her debut, but I will still take experience over toughness in this one.