The Iceman Wants His Belt Back. But First, He Will Need to Beat the Unbeaten
Now, Liddell is in a position to get what he wants. His UFC 88 opponent Rashad Evans (16-0-1) is the only thing that stands between Liddell and another shot at the title. Evans is coming off a split decision win over Michael Bisping, and a controversial draw with Tito Ortiz, in a fight that many thought Evans should have won.
No matter what happens, it's hard to see this fight going the distance. Liddell and Evans are both masterful knockout artists, and both will looking for their chance to land a huge shot whenever they can.
Prediction: Liddell by TKO, 2nd round
In the other huge fight of the night, former middleweight champ Rich Franklin is moving back up to light heavyweight to fight Matt Hamill. Hamill's last fight was a convincing TKO over Tim Boetsch. But in his previous fight, he lost a very controversial decision to hometown favorite Michael Bisping a year ago at UFC 75 in London. Hamill is on the warpath now, and I think that we'll see that he's a lot better than people think.
Prediction: Hamill by decision
Speaking of UFC 75, the main event on that card was Liddell vs Pride Champion Dan Henderson. Henderson was the Pride champion at both middleweight and light heavyweight, and came to the UFC to fight the best in each division. Rampage destroyed him in an easy decision in London, and then Anderson Silva made him tap in the 2nd round to ruin Henderson's chances at retaining either title.
But don't get confused... Henderson is still a great fighter. He just happened to make the switch to the UFC at a very bad time. Both Jackson and Silva were at a point where they were dominating anyone who crossed their paths, and were 2 of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. In UFC 88, Henderson is fighting Rousimar Palhares. Palhares is a Brazilian submission expert (almost a redundancy, I know). The good news for Henderson is that he is sticking at middleweight. I think that 185 is a great weight for him, and while he may never be able to beat Silva at this point, he can definitely do some damage in this division.
Prediction: Henderson by TKO, 3rd round
Martin Kampmann vs Nate Marquardt (MW)
Thiago Taveres vs Kurt Pellegrino (LW)
Tim Boetsch vs Michael Patt (LHW)
Dong Hyun Kim vs Matt Brown (WW)
Jason Lambert vs Jason MacDonald (MW)
Roan Carneiro vs Ryo Chonan (WW)
Give us your predictions, and which matchups you're most (or least) excited about. This looks like a great card, and the UFC is really doing a great job of getting several quality fights on each card. We'd love to hear your take.