There is a lot of combat sports action this weekend with most of it centered around UFC’s International Fight Week. It starts with Lion Fight 16 on Friday. Then UFC 175 on Saturday, and concludes with their TUF 19 finale on Sunday. Add in the WSOF and their first network broadcast on NBC on Saturday and you have one great weekend of fights.
The Lion Fight Card
There really is not a bad fight on this card as all five are action oriented ones but in the interest of keeping this somewhat close to a dozen I will pick four to highlight. For extended previews click here, here and here.
• Kevin Ross vs Michael Thompson
This one is going to be special. When Kevin Ross is challenged by a fighter that is out to knock him out we see the best of Ross. Michael Thompson will be coming to try and do just that in the main event for Lion Fight 16.
This has all of the potential of a classic fight; there is a title on the line, two fighters who embrace the fight and do not like judges, both talented fighters with a lot of heart, and you have Ross the American Muay Thai gunslinger, still in his prime with a well deserved reputation and the young Australian version coming with a reputation of his own and looking to grow it.
This is an easy fight to get excited about and will be a contender for fight of the weekend.
• Tiffany Van Soest vs Sindy Huyer
The co-main event could rival the main event for exciting action. Again two fighters who come to fight. They both are aggressive, like to strike, fight with heart, have strong chins and like to come forward. The difference is Van Soest moves in all directions while Huyer tends to go either forwards or backwards. One thing that guarantees some great action is the attitude from these fighters after they get hit. They both look to hit their opponent back harder. This will be a fun one for the fans.
• Rungravee Sasiprapa vs Adrian Morilla
Here is Muay Thai legend Rungravee Sasiprapa taking on a fighter in Adrian Morilla who knows he can beat Sasiprapa. That sets up for a great fight. This is one of the reasons Lion Fight is growing by bringing in top talent like Rungravee and finding tough opponents like Morilla to face them. This is the Super-fight on this card and it is appropriately named.
• Gaston Bolanos vs Tyler Toner
If you are not familiar with Gaston Bolanos then you are in for a treat. He has had only one pro fight making his debut at Lion Fight 14 and it was an impressive TKO win over Brian Del Rosario. He now faces a tough Tyler Toner who is returning to Muay Thai after an MMA career that saw him go 15-7. He is 1-0 in Muay Thai. This sets up as another action oriented fight between the more brawling style of Toner versus the more technical one of Bolanos. They both come to fight which is what will make this one a must watch fight
This one of their better cards for the year. There are a lot of potentially great fights on this card and several do not miss ones. Here is what I am looking forward to on this card.
This one will answer several questions and may just elevate Lyoto Machida even higher in the UFC history ladder. He could join a short list of UFC champions in multiple weight classes. Chris Weidman could solidify his spot as champion. To the casual fan and others his two wins over Anderson Silva seem fluky. They would be wrong but that is a whole other article.
The result of the this fight could have historic significance for the winner.
For Weidman it would give him another win over a UFC champion and someone who will be in their hall of fame someday. To go 3-0 versus Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida would be an impressive start to the Weidman Era.
For Machida he could join B.J. Penn and Randy Couture as the only multiple weight classes UFC champions if he wins. As you watch him thrive at middleweight it makes winning the light heavyweight title even more impressive.
This could be an exciting fight that has the fans screaming. It could be a boring one from an action standpoint and drive Dana White crazy and has him screaming or it could be a boring one until it ends in a knockout.
For me I dig watching the master of movement and space, the Stephen Hawkings of the UFC, Lyoto Machida do his thing and it will be interesting to see how Weidman solves the theory of relativity of Machida.
• Ronda Rousey versus Alexis Davis
This one is very intriguing. Alexis Davis is Ronda’s toughest challenger she has faced. And yeah, Ronda is that big that all you need is her first name. Davis is her first BJJ black belt and is the best striker she has faced.
I have felt since she entered the UFC that Davis and Cat Zingano were her because threats. There are new ones developing but they had the ground game and striking to give Ronda trouble. Ronda’s striking has improved tremendously since the fight with Liz Carmouche last year.
Is better than Davis? Does it have to be? How does her Judo matchup with Davis’ BJJ bolstered by some Japanese Judo? How does Ronda deal with Davis’ Muay Thai? We will find out that and more on Saturday.
• Urijah Faber versus Bruce Leeroy
Hell yes! This is why you have to love Faber. He has no problem taking on a tough, athletic, dynamic, exciting and creative opponent. It a classic no-win situation for him. He is supposed to win this fight blah blah blah. Who cares! This is going to be a fun exciting fight. Bruce Leeroy is a must fighter and The California Kid has been one his whole career.
It is funny how after a loss to Renan Barao a few months ago many myopic media members were sounding the death knell of Faber’s title shots. Yet what keeps coming up is a title fight with teammate T.J. Dillashaw. What Faber knows better than the media is he just needs to keep winning and the title shot will happen.
• Stefan Struve versus Matt Mitrione
WTF is Matt Mitrione thinking. Now I am sure that is a thought that goes through people’s minds all of the time with Mitrione. According to Stefan Struve on Inside MMA Mitrione asked for this fight. Now they have trained together and apparently Mitrione sees something the rest of us do not or at least I don’t.
Struve has four losses in the UFC and they are by TKO/KO. They are to Junior Dos Santos, Mark Hunt, Roy Nelson, and Travis Browne. Between that four they have 24 TKO/KO’s in their UFC acknowledged careers. Averaging six each which is exactly the number Mitrione has in his career. Maybe he is on to something and he seems to have the KO power equal to those four. Until you look at the opponents and then it all falls apart. Five of the six fighters Mitrione has KO’d are no longer in the UFC. In fact it looks like getting KO’d by him results in your walking papers as Phil De Fries discovered last year. Shawn Jordan better beat Jack May in August or he will be gone.
You have to be rooting for Struve after coming back from his heart trouble. The crowd will be cheering him on and celebrating at the end of this one which will be quick. It will be fun while it lasts though.
Struve is too tall, too good and is in the best shape of his life because his heart works better. Early prediction in case you were wondering which way I was leaning. Struve 1st round KO and welcome back!
• Kevin Casey versus Bubba Bush aka RFA versus Legacy
Both RFA and Legacy make it easy for their fighters to go to the UFC and they are producing some of the most exciting new talent in the UFC. Kevin Casey is RFA’s middleweight champ and Bubba Bush is Legacy’s. This sets up as another fun exciting fight.
Bush is well-rounded and a finisher. He has four TKO/KO’s and three submissions in his eight wins. His opponent Casey got a shot at the UFC on TUF 17. Since then he went 3-0 in RFA and captured their title on June 6th and Bush fought one week later. They both got quick easy finishes and took no real damage. Expect action and an early finish in this one.
There are two fights that jump out to me and the other should be entertaining ones. This is the WSOF first show in NBC and they have put together four fun fights for the fans.
• Justin Gaethje versus Nick Newell
Are you kidding me?! This is such a sick fight. It has it all at this point. Expect a fun stare down at the way in from Justin Gaethje and Nick Newell.
The numbers for these two give us a little idea of how special this one could be. They both are 11-0 and they each have 10 finishes. Newell has all 10 of his in the first round. Gaethje has spread them out with five first round finishes.
They have been talking back and forth on Twitter and in the media adding more intrigue and interest in the fight. Not that it really needs it. These two fighters are talented, dynamic, aggressive and have a little nastiness to them in the cage.
We could get a five round war, a quick first round finish or something in between. One thing for sure is that something memorable will happen and people will be talking about it on Monday.
Gesias Cavalcante versus Melvin Guillard
This may not have the prettiest technique of the weekend but it will be exciting while it lasts. Melvin Guillard is making his WSOF and he often finds himself in a get the KO or get KO’d kind of fights. This looks like one of those. Gesias Cavalcante is aggressive and is familiar with those kind of fights. They will put on a show for the NBC audience.
TUF 19 Finale
This card is not as stacked as UFC 175 but it has a couple of fights that could steal the fight fan’s hearts.
• Justin Scoggins versus Dustin Ortiz
Two well-rounded, exciting, versatile and creative fighters. If this fight goes to the ground the action could actually get more exciting. There will not be any boring moments in this fight.
• Dheigo Lima versus Eddie Gordon and Corey Anderson vs Matt Van Buren
A clean sweep by Team Edgar leads to two good fights for the finals. Dheigo Lima and Eddie Gordon should be a battle as will Corey Anderson versus Matt Van Buren. These four could redeem this season of TUF.
There you have my dirty dozen must see fights of the weekend. I know for those of you counting that there are 14 fights listed that is why it is my version of a dozen. Kind of like a baker’s dozen only better. Also expect the Casey Parlett and Josh Shepard fight to start the weekend’s action with a fast action filled fight for the Lion Fight AXS TV card.
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