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