UFC 85 predictions

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 2:53 PM ET

Matt Hughes steps back into the octagon for the first time since losing to Georges St. Pierre to face Thiago Alves.

Also, Canadian Jason Day goes into enemy territory to fight England's Michael Bisping.

Event card and predictions

Fabricio Werdum (10-3-1) vs. Brandon Vera (8-1-0)

This has the makings of an excellent heavyweight fight. Both guys are well-rounded, but Vera has the edge in striking and Wedrum takes the cake for submissions.

Neither guy has ever been finished and their only losses are to top-level heavyweights.

I'm expecting a good back-and-forth battle, but in the end I think Vera's striking will make the difference.

Prediction: Vera by decision

Nate Marquardt (26-7-2) vs. Thales Leites (12-1-0)

Now this is a tough one to call.

Marquardt is the better-rounded of the two, but Leites has the advantage at submissions. Marquardt is no slouch on the ground, but he has been submitted in the past.

I'll take a stab in the dark.

Prediction: Marquardt by decision

Marcus Davis (14-3-0) vs. Mike Swick (11-2-0)

It's about time Marcus Davis was given an opponent with some name value. He's consistently put on great fights and now he's finally getting some recognition.

In his last fight, Mike Swick looked pretty rough, eking out a very boring decision over Josh Burkman. He's a tough fighter, but Davis is superior on the ground and at striking.

Prediction: Davis by second round KO/TKO

Michael Bisping (15-1-0) vs. Jason Day (17-5-0)

Jason Day looked fantastic in his debut against Alan Belcher -- scoring a TKO victory over an opponent who was supposed to be the better striker. On the same show, Michael Bisping turned Charles McCarthy into a human punching bag.

Bisping is the more formidable striker, but you can give Day the edge on the ground. Hmm... sounds just like the Belcher match. What the hell, I'll call the upset.

Prediction: Day by second round submission

Matt Hughes (42-6-0) vs. Thiago Alves (14-3-0)

It's been a rough couple of years for Matt Hughes -- his track record hasn't been so good since his first loss to GSP back at UFC 65. Does this mean he's finished, though? Hell no. In fact, I'm guessing this will be his best performance in quite some time.

Thiago Alves is a tough opponent and a very dangerous striker and he's proven that he can end a fight with just one shot. However, his ground game isn't nearly as good as Hughes'.

It's hard to say how this fight will play out -- if Thiago keeps it standing he will win, but if he gets taken down, I don't like his chances.

Prediction: Hughes by second round submission.

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