Saturday’s event is one of the most stacked shows the organization has put together, with many matchups that simply are not getting the credit they deserve. For yours truly, I can’t wait to sit down and watch this show, for each and every scrap has many angles that I will be paying close attention to.
Here are my reasons to watch them all:
Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio (Bigfoot) Silva
Can Cain actually defend the title? Can Bigfoot silence the same critics who said he had no chance at defeating Alistair Overeem and are giving him no shot at defeating the champ in the rematch?
Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt
Will JDS really stand and trade with Hunt, or will we finally see some of his ground work in the cage? Can Hunt’s incredible story continue in the Octagon and, if he wins, will he get at title shot? And if JDS and both Silva win, how will that potential bout go down, between two friends who deeply respect one another?
Glover Teixeira vs. James Te Huna
Can Glover maintain his ranking against an opponent who all week has been smiling ear to ear at the prospect of taking on a man who Mauricio (Shogun) Rua and Rashad Evans turned down? Heck, James told me he asked for this fight — and no one asks for fights versus Teixeira, a light-heavyweight who many believe is destined for a title shot in the very near future.
Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant
Can the blue collar Cole Harbour, N.S., native actually pull off the victory and join the likes of fellow Canadians Georges St-Pierre, David Loiseau, Mark Hominick, Patrick Cote and Carlos Newton at getting a chance at championship glory? And if he wins, what will lightweight champion Ben Henderson have to say about Grant.
Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons
Will the star that is the “Cowboy” shine once again or will KJ prove he is one of the sport’s elite lightweights?
By far, these are the very best prelims that will air on Sportsnet. In my opinion I don’t think the UFC will be able to duplicate these four stellar matchups that are not getting the love they should.
Mike Pyle vs. Rick Story
Only one of these welterweights will remain relevant, while the other will have to take some serious stock of their MMA career. It won’t be over for the loser, but hard times will be ahead for he who does not emerge victorious.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Max Holloway
Two young, hungry featherweights, each with a propensity to steal the show with their intense style. But only one will take that big step closer to top-ten contention in a division that is slowly beginning to show its depth.
Colton Smith vs. Robert Whittaker
Two TUF winners set to tangle in Smith’s home country. And if the 22-year-old Australian looks anywhere like he did in the TUF Smashes finale, the North American MMA fan base could see the birth of a new threat at 170 pounds.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Abel Trujillo
If this lightweight bout doesn’t win Fight of the Night, I will be shocked. This has destruction written all over it. I can’t see both guys emerging injury free after their shared time inside the Octagon.
Stephen Thompson vs. Nah-Shon Burrell
There is a lot of pressure on “The Wonderboy” who was pegged as a serious prospect at 170 pounds. But his last bout against Matt Brown, over 13 months ago, halted the hype train, which was subsequently met with a knee injury to the sport’s most technical and prolific kicker. How will his knee hold up, while he also deals with ring rust? And can Burrell begin his own run at welterweight?
Brian Bowles vs. George Roop
The former WEC bantamweight champ Bowles is still a legit threat in the division, but how will he deal with Roop’s reach and length. This one is pegged to be a fun bout and one that could see someone go to sleep at any point within the allotted fifteen minutes.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Estevan Payan
This will be Stephens’ featherweight debut and it’s an all or nothing fight for “Lil Heathen.” He’s on a three-fight losing streak, albeit to names like Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone and Yves Edwards, but a fourth defeat could see a pink slip from his employer. All the pressure is on him, while Payan can add a serious name to his growing resume of victims.
It’s safe to say that I will be tweeting throughout the event, but if I mysteriously disappear, I hope you can understand why. #Excited