Penn/Fitch and Bisping/Rivera highlight UFC 127 Card from Sydney

Ultimate Fighting Championships presents UFC 127
Acer Arena, Sydney, Australia
Saturday, February 26, 2011, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: Pay-Per-View

B.J. Penn takes on Jon Fitch in the main event of UFC 127 from Sydney, Australia Saturday night.

The UFC returns to the land down under this weekend in Sydney. The main event is a welterweight contender’s match between B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch. Penn is a former 2 division champion and is moving up from lightweight for this fight. Also on the card is a middleweight bout between Michael Bisping vs Jorge Rivera, Lightweights George Sotiropoulos and Dennis Siver, Welterweights Chris Lytle and Brian Ebersole, and Middleweights Kyle Noke and Chris Camozzi. Though the event will be shown live Saturday night in the United States it is actually taking place on Sunday afternoon in Australia due to the time difference. Here is a look at the 5 main card matches. All odds courtesy of bodog.

Kyle “KO” Noke (-250) Vs. Chris Camozzi (+190), middleweight bout, 3 rounds

These two young fighters are making their UFC main card debuts. They were both on season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter. Noke is 18-4-1 in his career and 2-0 in UFC. Camozzi is 14-3-0 in his career and also 2-0 in UFC. Camozzi is coming off a decision over previously unbeaten Dongi Yang at UFC 121. These two fighters have similar styles. Both are better at wrestling and submission than on their feet. This could be a boring match as they will hit the mat early. Camozzi wins a close decision in the upset.

Chris “Lights Out” Lytle (-325) vs. Brian “Bad Boy” Ebersole (+250), welterweight bout, 3 rounds

This was supposed to be Lytle versus Carlos Condit, but Condit dropped out due to injury. He was replaced by the journeyman Ebersole on less than two weeks notice. Ebersole might not be in the best shape because of the short notice and having to travel halfway across the world for this bout. Lytle is 30-17-5 in his career and Ebersole is 46-14-1 in his career. Lytle is one of the toughest fighters to finish. He has only been stopped twice both by cuts. His other 15 losses are by decision. Lylte struggles sometimes against good wrestlers. Ebersole wrestled in college so he might have the skills for the upset. I think Ebersoles lack of prep time will be a factor. Lytle wins by submission late.

George Sotiropoulos (-525) vs. Dennis Siver (+325). Lightweight Bout, 3 rounds

The winner of this match could get a title shot against lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, especially if the red hot Sotiropoulos wins. Sotiropoulos is an Australian native, so he will definitely have the crowd behind him. He is 14-2 in his career and 7-0 in UFC. Sotiropoulos is a ground and pound specialist and usually wins by submission. Siver is no slouch himself. Siver is 17-7 in his MMA career. Siver must stay up as he is a much better stand-up fighter. He must dodge and move, and pick his spots to attack the quick Sotiropoulos. If Sotiropoulos gets him on the ground it is over. Though this will be a good test for the Australian, I think he wins by submission or strikes.

Michael “The Count” Bisping (-300) vs. Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera (+240), middleweight bout, 3 rounds

Bisping is one of the most popular fighters in UFC, especially in the UK. The problem is Bisping wins a few fights and then moves up in class and gets destroyed. He is 20-3 in his career, but has losses to Rashad Evans, Dan Henderson, and Wanderlei Silva. The 19-7  Rivera might be the perfect match-up for Bisping. Though Rivera has won 3 bouts in a row after his career seemed to be winding down, Rivera is not a great wrestler. Wrestlers seem to one of Bisping’s greatest weaknesses. Rivera comes to slug and that fits right into Bisping’s wheelhouse. I think Bisping wins a decision in a close bout.

Jon Fitch (-185) vs. B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn (+155), welterweight bout, 3 rounds

The rumor is that UFC welterweight Champ George St. Pierre might be moving up in weight leaving the welterweight title vacant. If he does, the winner of this bout between Fitch and Penn could step into the void and at least contend for the title. Penn is a former UFC lightweight champion who sometimes looks dominant and at other times looks ordinary. You honestly never know which Penn will show up. The Hawaiian is 16-7-1 in his career. He defended the lightweight championship 3 times in dominating fashion. Then he ran into Frankie Edgar. Penn was an 8-1 favorite in his first match against Edgar and lost a close decsion. In the rematch, Penn didn’t seem motivated at all and was destroyed by Edgar. Penn returned 3 months later at UFC 123 with a 21 second knockout of Matt Hughes. Is “The Prodigy” back to his old dominant form, or was that an aberration against Hughes? Penn had better be motivated in this match against Jon Fitch, or he will be defeated soundly. While Penn relies on his natural talent and gets lazy sometimes, Fitch is as athletic but will work and train harder than almost anyone in UFC. Fitch is 23-3 in his career. Fitch is great at strategy and gameplanning. He knows he has weaknesses and he tries to downplay those and focus on his strengths. Fitch is much better on the ground, and his goal is always to take his opponent to the mat. Penn will also give up around 12 pounds by the time of the fight. Fitch will use his power advantage to get some takedowns and will win by late submission or decision.

It should be a great card with lots of action.

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