| Article Summary:
The Ultimate Fighting Championship continues its global domination in the world of Mixed Martial Arts as it storms into The United Kingdom with UFC 89 "Bisping VS Leben."
Birmingham's National Indoor Arena will be ground zero for the explosive night of fights. The night's main event will feature England's own, Michael "The Count" Bisping as he collides with fellow middleweight contender Chris "The Crippler" Leben.
The stacked main card will air free on SPIKE TV this Saturday night at 9 p.m. and will feature many of the UFC's up and coming fighters. Light-heavyweights Rameau "The African Assassin" Sokoudjou will locks horns with Luis "Banha" Cane.
Four welterweight contenders will also be on display as "Relentless" Paul Taylor will look to please his hometown fans against Chris "Lights Out" Lytle. Rounding out the main card will be Paul "Tellys" Kelly as he attempts to defuse "The Irish Hand Grenade" Marcus Davis.
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Michael "The Count" Bisping
Height: 6' 2" (188 cm) Weight: 185 (84 kg)
Chris "The Crippler" Leben
Height: 5' 11" (180 cm) Weight: 185 (84 kg)
With the backing of his native country, and a possible title shot on the line, Michael "The Count" Bisping will get it on with the heavy-handed Chris "The Crippler" Leben.
Since winning the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael Bisping rattled off three consecutive wins within light-heavyweight division. At UFC 78 he suffered his first career loss to Rashad Evans albeit by a controversial split decision.
After his loss many questioned Bisping's place within the 205-lb division and wondered if he was better off as a middleweight.
After training camps with a much bigger and stronger Quinton Jackson, Bisping knew if he wanted to be a champion, a drop to the middleweight division was necessary. With first round TKO wins over Charles McCarthy and Jason Day, "The Count" seemingly found a new home within the middleweight division.
Knocking on his door will be Chris Leben. The iron fisted south paw finds himself starring in a familiar role, the villain. Leben will not only be taking on Michael Bisping, but the rabid English fans as well.
Momentum is on Leben's side, after back to back losses to Jason MacDonald and Kalib Starnes, a rededicated and focused Leben was able to bounce back with two consecutive victories over Terry Martin and Alessio Sakara. He not only has knockout power in both hands, but has an iron chin. He proudly displayed both during his fight with Terry Martin.
Leben would like nothing more than to embarrass Bisping in front of his own country. It will be no easy task though. Bisping was unable to impose his will against the much bigger fighters within the 205-pound division. Now being one of the bigger and stronger middleweights, Bisping will be able to do just that, impose his will.
Bisping is a technical fighter, who has tremendous hand speed, but lacks knockout power. Where he lacks is where Leben excels. Leben is a brawler, who pushes the pace and is not afraid to eat a few punches in order to land a few of his own.
Both fighters have tremendous heart and skills, but Bisping has the backing of an entire nation and his technical skill will prove too much for the brawling style of Chris Leben. I predict a decision victory for Michael Bisping.
Michael Bisping via unanimous decision.
Keith "The Dean Of Mean" Jardine
Height: 6' 2" (188 cm) Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Brandon "The Truth" Vera
Height: 6' 2" (188 cm) Weight: 205 (93 kg)
"A shot at redemption and a search for consistency." A fitting title for the night's co-main event that features Keith Jardine and Brandon Vera. Both fighters have shown glimpses of greatness within the octagon, but have had trouble staying consistent fight after fight.
After back to back losses to Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum, the once promising heavyweight contender Brandon Vera, made his 205-pound debut back in July with dismal decision victory over Reese Andy.
Being his first time to cut weight, nearly 25 pounds, Vera looked sluggish against Reese. He should be more adjusted to the weight cut this go around. An all around tough fighter, Vera possesses a strong blend of kickboxing and ground skills that keeps his opponents guessing.
After brutal knockout at the hands of Houston Alexander, Keith Jardine was impressive against Chuck Liddell earning a split decision victory at UFC 76. Jardine looked to be next in line for a title shot, but somebody forgot to tell Wanderlei Silva as he derailed Jardine in the opening minute at UFC 84.
Jardine has a herky-jerky style of fighting he uses to confuse his opponents. He utilized strong leg kicks against Chuck Liddell and showed how powerful his punches are when he knocked out Forrest Griffin.
He's yet to lose two fights in a row and has always rebounded in impressive fashion. He trains with Rashad Evans, Georges St. Pierre and Nate Marquardt all who have been on a tear within the UFC.
Jardine will continue the Greg Jackson Camp dominance with an impressive victory over Brandon Vera and redeeming himself for the Silva loss.
His aggressive style will prove too much for Brandon Vera. Jardine will punish Vera from all angles and earn the second-round TKO victory. The only question is will he be able to build from this win and get back into title contention? Only time will tell.
Keith Jardine second round TKO.
Rameau "The African Assassin" Sokoudjou
Height: 6' 0" (183 cm) Weight: 205 (93 kg)
Luis "Banha" Cane
Height: 6' 2" (188 cm) Weight: 205 (93 kg)
The team Quest prodigy, Sokoudjou, quickly made a name for himself in Japan with stunning knockout wins over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona.
He made his long awaited UFC debut against Lyoto Machida at UFC 79 where he nearly knocked Machida out, but was submitted in the second round. At UFC 84 he bounced back with an impressive win over Kazuhiro Nakamura.
The native of Camaroon is a judoka phenom with knockout power in all of his limbs. Training with Dan Henderson and Matt Lindland on a daily basis will only help his ever improving ground game. Some fighters are farm-boy strong, he is jungle strong! He'll need to mix his strength with technique in order to get past Luis Cane.
The Brazilian, Luis Cane is reminiscent to a Wanderlei Silva, he's a relentless, powerful striker with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background. He overwhelmed Jason Lambert at UFC 85 earning a TKO victory due to strikes. Cane brings the pain whether he's on his feet or on the ground.
Sokoudjou has stated he wants to fight Shogun Rua, but must not overlook Cane or it could be the Lyoto Machida fight all over again. This fight should prove to be entertaining. Neither fighter is shy to slug it out. Look for Cane to get caught with a big knee in the second round trying to shoot in on Sokoudjou.
Rameua Sokoudjou via KO second round.
Paul "Relentless" Taylor
Height: 6' 0" (183 cm) Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Chris "Lights Out" Lytle
Height: 5' 11" (180 cm) Weight: 170 (77 kg)
The average Joe of the UFC, Chris Lytle is looking to bounce back from his bloody loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 86. Lytle is a boxing standout with good ground game. He is also experienced with more than 50 fights under his belt. Standing in his way will be fellow welterweight, Paul Taylor.
England's own Paul Taylor is riding high from his latest victory of Jess Liaudin at UFC 85. Taylor has had mixed results fighting in his home country under the UFC. With losses to Marcus Davis and Paul Kelly a win against Lytle will give him a winning record within the UFC.
Lytle has faced stiffer competition while in the UFC, he's faced Matt Hughes, Matt Serra and Koscheck. He is still looking for that big win over a name opponent, Taylor may not have that luster, but a win against Taylor on his home turf would be huge.
Chris Lytle by first round KO!
Paul "Tellys" Kelly
Height: 5' 9" (175 cm) Weight: 170 (77 kg)
Marcus "The Irish Hand Grenade" Davis
Height: 5' 10" (178 cm) Weight: 170 (77 kg)
The undefeated Briton, Paul Kelly will have his hands full with ever powerful Marcus Davis.
From April 2006 to June 2008, Marcus Davis was undefeated in 11 fights, six in the UFC. His last fight against Mike Swick is where he last tasted defeat.
A former professional boxer, Davis is able to utilize his boxing skills to stick and move and strike from different angles. His strengths are his boxing and is also a powerful wrestler with a great sprawl and brawl. Look for Davis to keep the fight standing where he can pick Kelly till he lands the big knockout punch.
Paul Kelly trains with the headliner Michael Bisping and "Rampage" Jackson. His strength is his ground and pound. Look for Kelly to shoot in on Davis and take him down. Kelly is active while on the ground and will utilize his sharp elbows to punish Davis.
Marcus Davis will land either a big knee or an uppercut when Kelly attempts to shoot in on him. First round KO for Marcus Davis.