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Fantasy Preview - UFC 85 Main Card

Stephen Quinn, UFC - The Ultimate Fighting Championship travels to London this Saturday for UFC 85: Bedlam, and while many divisions in the organization may undergo shakeups by the time the final bell rings, this may be your chance to shake up your league in the UFC Fantasy Game. Read on to get your edge on fight night.

By Stephen Quinn

The Ultimate Fighting Championship travels to London this Saturday for UFC 85: Bedlam, and while many divisions in the organization may undergo shakeups by the time the final bell rings, this may be your chance to shake up your league in the UFC Fantasy Game. Read on to get your edge on fight night.

MATT HUGHES VS. THIAGO ALVES

With injuries forcing both Chuck Liddell and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to withdraw from the UFC 85 main event, former UFC welterweight champ Matt Hughes and Thiago Alves will now clash in a headliner that carries big stakes for each man's career. Matt Hughes, 34, is looking to reclaim the dominant form fans last saw in him roughly two years ago. Thiago Alves, a decade younger, is hungry to make an even bigger name for himself and prove he's worthy of a title shot.

Potentially the greatest fighter to grace the Octagon, former welterweight champion Matt Hughes finds himself at the crossroads of an illustrious career. Having lost two of his past three fights, many have started to wonder if the sport has simply passed him by. To his credit, both of his losses have come to current welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who has been said to be the future of the division. With an impressive 43-6 record, Hughes once ruled the division with wins over a Who's Who of mixed martial arts like Royce Gracie, Frank Trigg, BJ Penn, and GSP. This is Hughes' chance to show the world a fire still burns inside him to be a great MMA fighter.

Hughes will need to be in top form to handle Alves, who is coming off an impressive TKO victory over Karo Parisyan in April. Alves knows that by beating a legend of the sport like Hughes, he will forever hold a place in mixed martial arts history. Alves faces his toughest and most popular opponent to date, but believes that he has the fighting style to beat Matt Hughes. He’s lightning-fast, hits hard, and holds a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Hughes and Alves have contrasting styles. Riding a four-fight knockout streak, Alves has been known for his relentless standup while Hughes' trademark is a ferocious brand of ground and pound. Expect for Alves to use a more methodical approach while on his feet in this fight, unlike the fast pace he has shown previously. Alves will have the distinct advantage if this fight stays standing. He knows that with one mistake on his feet, Hughes will capitalize on it by using his wrestling and ground and pound skills to end the fight. If the fight ends up on the canvas, Alves does hold a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so it will be interesting to see how safe Hughes may play it.

Likely to go the distance? Yes
Method of finish? Split Decision

MICHAEL BISPING VS. JASON DAY

With Chris Leben having to withdraw from his scheduled fight with Michael Bisping, Jason Day jumped at the opportunity to get back inside the Octagon. This will be Michael Bisping’s second fight in less than two months as well. With Bisping having just fought and Day taking this fight on short-notice, it will be interesting to see them collide.

Fighting in front of his countrymen once more, Bisping seeks his second win at 185 pounds. At UFC 83, the former light heavyweight put together an impressive debut at middleweight, scoring a TKO victory over Charles McCarthy. Coming into that fight, people questioned whether or not the weight loss would hamper his performance. Bisping quickly answered those questions, looking strong, fast, and showing good cardio, all of which can be compromised when a fighter first drops to a new weight class. Now that the pressure of fighting in a new division has come and gone, Bisping is looking to fight his way to a title shot.

Canadian Jason Day doesn’t believe that this fight on short-notice will affect the outcome. Having won 10 of his last 11 fights and five straight, Day will probably have plenty of confidence in the Octagon. There is no other fighter he would rather continue his winning streak against than Bisping. Day had called Bisping out publicly, but never imagined his dream would come true so soon. Now that he has gotten his wish, Day is looking to leave everything he has inside the Octagon. With a win over British superstar Bisping, Day will show that he’s ready for anything the UFC has to offer, regardless of the amount of time he has to prepare.

Having always been known for his submission ability, Day will be looking to bring this fight to the ground. That is easier said than done when facing an opponent with the wrestling and standup skills that Bisping possesses. Day will need to get into striking range of Bisping so he can attempt a takedown, which can be dangerous when facing an opponent that has the knockout power of Bisping. For Bisping, who has proven quite scrappy and resourceful on the ground, he knows the importance of keeping this fight standing. That is where he holds the biggest advantage.
Likely to go the distance? No
Method of Finish? TKO

FABRICIO WERDUM VS. BRANDON VERA

Fabricio Werdum, a two-time jiu-jitsu world champion, is looking to build on his stunning victory over Gabriel Gonzaga in January. In that fight -- which he won via TKO -- he rebounded from his poor performance against Andrei Arlovski in his Octagon debut. Werdum knows that with a victory on Saturday, he could possibly earn a shot at the title.

Fighting out of San Diego, Calif., Brandon Vera has been praised as a potential champion. For Vera, a well-rounded Muay Thai specialist, a win on Saturday could lead him in that direction. He is no stranger to tough opponents inside the Octagon. The last two times he’s been in action, he has beaten Frank Mir, and lost a hard-fought fight to Tim Sylvia.

In this fight, Vera will want to keep the fight standing – trying to score a vicious knockout. Although Vera has the advantage standing, people need to remember that Werdum was able to stand with the hard-hitting Arlovski for the majority of their fight; so winning by knockout may not be an easy task. Known for his championship level jiu-jitsu skills, it is no secret that Werdum will be looking to bring the fight down once the bell rings.

Likely to go the distance? No
Method of Finish? TKO

THALES LEITES VS NATHAN MARQUARDT

Because of a travel documentation issue, Thales Leites was forced to withdraw from his previously scheduled bout with Nate Marquardt. Over two years later, we will finally get to see these two inside the Octagon.

Having only lost one time in his UFC career, Marquardt is looking to move back into title contention. A rematch with Anderson Silva would be extra personal to the 7-time King of Pancrase, whose only loss in the UFC was handed to him by the current champion. Before his fight with Silva, Marquardt went on a 4 fight-winning streak, beating Dean Lister, Crafton Wallace, Joe Doerksen, and Ivan Salaverry. He returned back to form last February when he beat veteran Jeremy Horn.

Haling from Rio de Janeiro, Leites wants to take the opportunity of being on Pay-Per-View to show fans the type of skills that he possesses. He is currently riding a three-fight UFC winning streak, but this will be his toughest test to date.

Both of these fighters enjoy taking their opponents to the ground and trying for submissions. Marquardt may be a little leery of going to the ground with Leites, who has sensational Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills. Expect for Marquardt to try and keep this fight off the canvas. Unlike most of his fights, his best chance of winning may be in that department.

Likely to go the distance? No
Method of Finish? Submission

MARCUS DAVIS VS MIKE SWICK

Mike Swick’s nickname describes exactly how his fights usually go – quick. When the Octagon gate closes on Saturday night, Swick will be looking to return to old form, something that wasn’t shown during his welterweight debut versus Josh Burkman. Fans have become accustomed to his “quick” fighting style, so when his last fight went the distance, fans were disappointed.

But they should take it easy on this hard-hitting welterweight. The majority of his fights have ended within the first five minutes. He is eager to show he’s the same fighter, just 15 pounds lighter.

Davis, a former professional boxer turned MMA star, is looking to move through the welterweight division. With over 15 wins as a boxer, Davis has shown an ability and willingness to stand with anyone. Opponents try to stay on their feet as little as possible when facing him, but when facing Swick, he may get his wish to stand and trade punches.

With the styles of these two fighters, expect to see fireworks on Saturday night. Both of these fighters feel most comfortable standing on their feet, so anticipate a knockout. Davis seems to have the advantage standing, with his background in professional boxing. Although Swick likes to stand and trade with his opponents, that may not be the smartest game plan against ‘The Irish Hand Grenade’.

Likely to go the distance? No
Method of Finish? TKO

May your picks now in UFC Fantasy.

 

Saturday, August 23
9AM/6AM
ETPT
Macao, China

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