Saturday, October 16, 2010

UFC 120: Bisping/Akiyama

Though today's card has gotten it's share of criticism, mostly from the british fanbase, I, for one, am definitely looking forward to it. It might lack a 'huge' main event, it does have a good amount of interesting match ups, all relevant to their respective weight divion. Besides, as 119 proved, big names don't always make for the most interesting fights.

For the main event, it's Bisping's pitter patter boxing going up against Akiyama's brawler-style striking and mastery of judo. Though I usually look forward to Bisping's fights just to hopefully watch him get beat up, he definitely has the tools to take the win. He's got the size and reach advantage, and his style of boxing has proved to be effective at keeping brawlers at a distance and outpoint them. He also has elite level cardio, which is something that will prove to be useful toward's the end of their 3 round match, since it was obvious that Akiyama was completely gassed in his bout with Leben. Akiyama might have run out of steam in his last fight, but he did show heart and the power to do something very few people have done, daze Leben. Bisping might have pretty good takedown defense, but Judo consists of unorthodox takedowns which Akiyama has been able to put to good use against much heavier opponents. It's anyones fight, but I want Akiyama to climb the 185 ladder and watching Bisping lose is never a bad thing.

For the co-main event, we've got 2 of the more exciting fighters in the welterweight division pit against each other. Though Hardy fell short in his fight for the belt, it wasn't because he's not game. It's just, well, nobody can stop GSP's takedowns. Hardy has shown huge power in his strikes, whether at a distance or in the clinch. He's got punches, elbows and knees, all devastating if they connect. Condit is a very technical brawler who goes all out everytime he enters the octagon, has fought high-caliber opponents all his career, and though he's got horrible takedown defense, he's got a great submission game and is very active off his back. I don't see this fight spending much time on the ground, so it's really going to come down to who's the better kickboxer. Neither has a clear cut advantage, but Dan Hardy has proven me wrong everytime I've doubted him, with GSP as the exception, and though it's going to be a close one, I think his power will get him the win in the end. He might not KO Condit, but dazing your opponent always gets you huge points.

The rest of the card is stacked with potentially exciting fights and up and comers trying to make their way to the top. John Hathaway has impressed since his UFC debut and in his fight with Diego Sanchez, proved he can do so against big names as well. He fights Mike Pyle and hopefully he'll put an exclamation mark at the end of that one. Cheik Kongo fights Travis Browne, who is 10-0, with 8 of his wins coming by ko/tko. One would expect a stand up fight but with the danger that Brown poses in the stand up, we might end up seeing Kongo continue to showcase his mediocre wrestling, as he did with Buentello. With an early finish in any of the Main Card fights, we should get to see Cyrille Diabete VS Alexander Gustaffson, both of whom made it to the UFC based on their very exciting stand up game.

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