Countdown to UFC 78

JOSE RODRIGUEZ -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 5:44 PM ET

It’s fight night.

UFC 78:Validation goes Saturday night in New Jersey and despite the quick-to-judge critics calling the main event underwhelming, it’s not a bad card overall.

There’s a showdown between a couple of undefeated The Ultimate Fighter champs, the return of a top striker and a Winnipeg scrapper looking to earn his way back to the UFC. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on UFC 78:

Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping vs. ‘Sugar’ Rashad Evans — Jury’s still out on whether Sugar Rashad Evans is the real deal. That said, his last two wins have been his most memorable. A beautiful knockout kick on poor Sean Salmon and a decent ground and pound win over Jason Lambert. He’s coming off a draw against Tito Ortiz and is the favourite to win the battle of TUF champs tonight. But I think Michael 'The Count' Bisping will have his number. Bisping owes the fans a good outing after his disgraceful performance in the controversial win over Matt Hammil in England. The Count may have more to prove than Evans.

PREDICTION: Bisping by second round TKO

Thiago Silva vs. Houston Alexander — Thiago Silva has a perfect 11-0 record going into the cage . Too bad he's going in against the most exciting striker to hit the UFC in a long time. Houston Alexander has two UFC wins under his belt and has yet to spend a full two minutes in the cage. He's knocked out Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara, hardly no-names. Despite being a ground expert, Silva has won nine of his fights by knockout. But his knockout power won’t be enough against the UFC’s new king of bangin’.

PREDICTION: Alexander by first round KO.

Joe Doerksen vs. Ed Herman I'd love to see Winnipeg's Dirty Joe win tonight. But Herman will be the more desperate fighter. On a two fight winning streak after losing two in a row, Herman is eager to prove to his UFC bosses that he can hang with the big boys and string together a consistent win streak. Journeyman fighter Doerksen, called up from World Extreme Cagefighting for this event — will take it to the second but not much further.

PREDICTION: Herman with second round submission

Ryo Chonan vs. Karo Parisyan Ryo Chonan has one distinct claim to fame — he's one of the few men on the planet to hold a victory over UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva. The flamboyant Japanese fighter hasn’t had it so good since scoring a submission over Silva back in 2004. He’s lost to Dan Henderson, Paulo Filho and Phil Baroni. Parisyan is one of the most exciting fighters in mixed-martial-arts. The high-flying Armenian is always good for at least one highlight reel judo throw per fight. Finishing, however, remains a problem for him. Seven of his eight UFC fights have gone to decision. So will this one.

PREDICTION: Parisyan gets unanimous nod from the judges

Frank Edgar vs. Spencer Fisher Frankie Edgar has been on a tear. He is 7-0 and holds a win over lightweight tough guy Tyson Griffin. But with Spencer ‘The King’ Fisher he is in for the fight of his life. The new improved Fisher we saw win a decision over Canadian fave Sam Stout has plenty of tools in his arsenal. He's got good stand-up, he's deadly on the ground and he’s even been known to throw a flying knee or two when the opportunity arises.

PREDICTION: Fisher by second round TKO

jose.rodriguez@sunmedia.ca

FIGHT NOTES:



  • According to his new fight club, the world’s top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko will fight New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena. No contender has been named yet, though the rumour mill has him fighting either Jeff ‘Snowman’ Monson or former UFC heavyweight champ Pedro Rizzo.

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  • Reports say Sammy Vasquez has been fighting for his life in St. Joseph Medical Center’s Critical Care Unit in Houston since the Oct. 20 Renegades Extreme Fighting bout. Vasquez lost by third-round knockout to Vince Libardi before being taken to hospital. He remains in critical condition.

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  • If you want to see even more of Thursday’s SunShine Girl, head for the high channels on your TV. The premier of Nicky Ryan’s Rough aired this week on The Fight Network and featured interviews with UFC lightweight championship contender Joe Stevenson, UFC light heavyweight Forrest Griffin and middleweight brawler Phil Baroni. Rough will air at 9:30 P.M. ET on Wednesdays. For the latest in mixed-martial-arts news log on to The Scrapyard blog at www.calgarysun.com


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