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UFC 78: "Validation" Analysis and Picks. (LONG READ)


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?Sugar? Rashad Evans vs. Michael ?The Count? Bisping

UFC 78 features ?TUF? 2 Winner (Rashad Evans) vs. ?TUF? 3 Winner (Michael Bisping) alright so not the most stellar main event but both fighters are undefeated (technically) and it?s sometimes the fights you expect the least from that provide the most entertainment value. Now for a recap of the fighters recent performances.

Recent History:

Rashad Evans

Fighting at heavyweight Evans faced 6ft 7in Gogo-Master Brad Imes (9-3) on the ?Ultimate Fighter 2 Finale?, after three rounds of sloppy slugging that resulted in Imes being repeatedly knocked down & both fighters being badly gassed the judges awarded Evans a Split Decision. Evans then dropped to light heavyweight to take on Sam Hoger (6-4) at UFN 4 racking up another Split Decision and a reputation as a fighter of who doesn?t finish fights. At UFN 5 Evans took on Stephan Bonnar (11-4) who was coming off a closely fought Unanimous Decision win over Keith Jardine at UFN 4, and continuing on the Decision train Evans racked up another win effectively using his wrestling skills to score take downs and out point Bonnar.

The decision train runs out of track? At UFC 63 Evans would face his biggest challenge yet, facing Jason ?The Punisher? Lambert (23-6) he would not disappoint, looking in shape and much improved he scored a quick take down in the second round and was able to work his way to the mount from which he then rained down a hail of blows eventually scoring the KO.

Fight Night 8 brought us Sean Salmon (14-4) and the head kick heard round the world, okay so maybe not heard around the world but it gave Evans a great clip for his highlight reel and added another KO to his growing list of wins. It also put the nail in in the coffin to those still doubting whether or not ?Sugar? was the real deal.

And finally in Evans last match-up he squared off against none other than long time UFC star Tito ?The Huntington Beach Bad Boy? Ortiz (15-5-1). Unfortunately what resulted was a lackluster affair in which Ortiz?s famed cardio seemed to fail him and Evans seemed afraid to fully commit and take any chances which could win him the fight. Ultimately the fight came down to Ortiz?s holding of the cage to prevent a take down by Evans and the resulting subsequent deduction of a point by the referee which caused the fight to end in a rare draw. A quick rematch was promised by UFC president Dana White and he also stated they would not fight anyone in between the rematch but that has obviously changed.

Michael Bisping

Fighting for a UFC contract on the ?Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale?, Bisping defeated Josh ?Bring the Pain? Haynes (8-8) late in the second round overwhelming his opponent with superior striking and scoring a TKO victory which secured him the six-figure UFC contract. Next up for Englishmen was UFC 66 where late in the first round he dispatched Eric ?Ravishing Red? Schafer (7-3-2). Schafer scored a few take downs during the coarse of the bout but Bisping was always able to quickly escape, finally after Schafer scored his last take down of the match, Bisping was able to get into Schafer?s guard and ground & pound a TKO victory via Strikes.

Merry Old England, Bisping was able to fight before a home crowd at UFC 70 ?Nations Collide? where squared off against Elvis ?The King of Rock n Rumble? Sinosic (8-10-2), surprisingly Sinosic who was dominated by Bisping in the first round was actually able to briefly put his opponent into some danger in round two when he landed a knee that put Bisping on the canvas, Sinosic was then fast to follow Bisping to the ground where he looked as if he might score a submission via kimura, Bisping was some how able to escape but he then ended up with Sinosic on his back going for a choke, unfortunately for the gassed out and banged up Sinosic, Bisping was able spin into Sinosic?s guard where he hammered away with strikes until the referee was forced to stop the match scoring Bisping another TKO victory via Strikes.

Controversy! The UFC returned to England for UFC 75 ?Champion vs. Champion? where he would take on ?Ultimate Fighter 3? rival Matt ?The Hammer? Hamill (3-1), who was unable to continue competing on season three of ?Ultimate Fighter? after suffering an injury in training. Matt Hamill was the favorite of many to win his season of the Ultimate Fighter and the fight in England was built up as being a determiner of who was the real ?Ultimate Fighter?. Quite surprisingly Hamill known for his wrestling ability showed up with much improved boxing skills and elected to fight most of the match standing where he seemed to get the better of Bisping who was on the retreat for most of the night. After three rounds the fight went to the judges score cards and the result was one of most controversial decisions in UFC history, with two judges scoring it for Bisping and one judge scoring it for Hamill.

My Prediction:

Both fighters are coming off controversial matches and will be looking to prove themselves but I just don?t see how Bisping can win this one, he of course has a punchers chance but Evans has shown in the past that he?s quite capable of taking a punch and Evans will surely control the ground game forcing Bisping to have to try out box Evans; While Evans may not be the best striker in the UFC, Matt Hamill showed quite clearly that neither is Bisping. I expect Evans to at least be able to neutralize Bisping?s stand-up and to take it to the ground when ever he?s in any danger or just to score points, I also think he?ll do far better than Hamill at inflicting damage upon Bisping when he does score the take down.

I expect Evans who has more ways to win, and who has faced tougher competition in the past, to pull off a decisive decision.

Betting:

-275 on Evans is a bit to high for my tastes but if you can locate a bet at -250 or below it?s probably worth the risk as I just don?t see Bisping having a credible shot at beating Evans.

Check out the rest of the fight card analysis and picks here.

http://www.ufcscene.com/2007/11/13/ufc-78-analysis-picks/

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