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UFC 115: It's time to bang

Chuck Liddell's recent losses have come against tough opponents. He fights Rich Franklin on Saturday. AP Photo/Branimir Kvartuc

Despite the lack of a truly significant main event, UFC 115 could be the sleeper show of the year. With several bouts on the card made up of fighters who like to trade leather, expect UFC 115 to be filled with ‘Fight of the Night' nominees.

For the fans that have complained about fighter performances on the last several shows, UFC 115 will certainly be a refreshing change.

The last three UFC events were in large part a disappointment as far as the main cards were concerned. Rashad Evans grinded out a light heavyweight title shot at UFC 114, Josh Koscheck controlled Paul Daley to get the safe win and the title shot at UFC 113 and Anderson Silva goofed his way to another win at UFC 112.

The KO of Machida by Rua at UFC 113 was unquestionably a highlight of this year, but fights like that were few and far between in the last several events. You have to go back to WEC 48's Garcia vs. Jung to find a truly memorable stand-up bout. I like a well-rounded tactical matchup just like anybody else, but sometimes you just want to see two guys throw leather for 15 minutes. I predict that there will be more than a few slugfests at UFC 115.

As far as the main event goes, two UFC poster boys and former rulers of their respective divisions will collide Saturday night. Although both Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin are currently on losing streaks, their losses have come against high-caliber opponents.

Liddell's recent losses came at the hands of light heavyweight title holders; current champ, Mauricio Rua and former champ, Rashad Evans. As for former middleweight championFranklin, he's only been defeated by three opponents in his 15-fight career with the UFC; Vitor Belfort, Silva and Dan Henderson.

It's obvious that these guys are still contenders in the sport and have a lot of fight left in them. Even though there are no official title fight implications attached to this bout, Liddell and Franklin have expressed interest in going for one last title run.

Liddell vs. Franklin isn't a marquee matchup, but it will be a fun fight to watch whether you are a serious MMA aficionado or just a casual fan. Don't underestimate this fight, because these guys can still bang.

Other fights to watch:

Patrick Barry vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic: Both Cro Cop and Barry are kickboxers and are considered the most technical strikers in the heavyweight division because of their experience in the K-1 ring. So, from a stand-up perspective, both fighters are fairly equal. Cro Cop, on the other hand, has quite a bit more MMA experience and will have the ground-game advantage. The Croatian native could very well take Barry to the canvas and submit him as Tim Hague did back at UFC 98. Although that is indeed a weakness that Cro Cop could exploit, I believe that he will keep the fight standing in an attempt to make a statement about who's the best striker in the heavyweight division.

Mac Danzig vs. Matt Wiman: Although both Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig are more comfortable using their grappling and wrestling prowess, I expect them to negate each other in this respect. I see this fight turning into a slugfest that could win fight-of-the-night honors, which both fighters desperately need. Despite winning their last fights, Wiman and Danzig have been on the losing end as of late, and they need impressive performances Saturday to reinvigorate their careers.

UFC 115 will be broadcast Saturday from the GM Place in Vancouver, B.C., via pay-per-view, with two preliminary fights available on Spike TV.

Fight picks:

Main card (Pay-per-view)

  • Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin: Franklins wins via decision.

  • Patrick Barry vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic: Filipovic wins via TKO.

  • Martin Kampmann vs. Paulo Thiago: Thiago wins via TKO.

  • Ben Rothwell vs. Gilbert Yvel: Rothwell wins via TKO.

  • Carlos Condit vs. Rory MacDonald: Condit wins via submission.

  • Preliminary card

    • Mac Danzig vs. Matt Wiman (Spike TV): Danzig wins via decision.

    • Evan Dunham vs. Tyson Griffin (Spike TV): Griffin wins via decision.

    • David Loiseau vs. Mario Miranda: Loiseau wins via second round TKO.

    • Peter Sobotta vs. James Wilks: Wilks wins via decision.

    • Ricardo Funch vs. Claude Patrick: Funch wins via decision.

    • Jesse Lennox vs. Mike Pyle: Lennox wins via decision.