This Saturday the UFC will host its first back to back events in its history, on the same day. The first event will be a Fight Night, headlined by Gegard Mousasi versus Mark Munoz which will be hosted in Berlin, Germany. The second will be the The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Finale, where heavyweights Stipe Miocic and Fabio Maldonado will be showcased as the main event. For the fans who have not had enough of the the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Saturday should do more then make up for that. The cards are not jammed packed with stars and well known fighters, but the action itself should do enough to intrigue the casual fan. The UFC Berlin card will be shown first exclusively on Fight Pass, The TUF Brazil Finale will be shown on Fox Sports 1 later in the evening. Now it is time to review some of the more intriguing story lines going into this weekends event.
Can either Mousasi or Munoz take the next step to contender-ship status? Neither UFC middleweight can stay consistent enough to make a run in the division. Munoz has been dealing with injuries for more then a year, and Mousasi has greatly under performed since coming into the organization has a hot commodity. Both are coming off losses to title challenger, Lyoto Machida, and a win by either could warrant a fight with a higher ranked middleweight. The prediction made in the preview column by MMA Spotlight has Mousasi winning this bout decisively. Mousasi still is young enough to make a run up the UFC middleweight ranks, while the age for the 36 year old Munoz is starting to catch up to him. Father time still has yet to be defeated, even though some think “Captain America” Randy Couture; gave him a run for his money.
Stipe Miocic looking to make a no-win situation into a win-win one. Miocic’s opponent, Fabio Maldonado, is not a ranked opponent; nor is the tough as nails fighter even a heavyweight fighter. The No.2 ranked heavyweight, Junior Dos Santos, was scheduled to take on Miocic before suffering a broken hand injury during camp. That match up between the two made a lot more sense, and had a lot more on the line then the new main event. A new bump in the rankings is highly unlikely if Stipe were to win, and loss could hurt Miocic tremendously. Either way the fight is still going to happen on Saturday, and there must be a few positives to look forward to in this match up for the heavyweight. Firstly, he has an opportunity to do something that no Maldonado opponent has done before, knock him out. Maldonado has been submitted before, and also has had a fight stopped per doctors request; but he has not been knocked out cold in his career. Miocic has the boxing skills and the power to do just that. Another possible outlook is that the heavyweight division Miocic is in is very weak and vulnerable currently. A few wins could volt him into a possible title shot with not many contenders to be named. If Miocic keeps winning, it will be hard for to deny the man a title shot.
UFC are looking for young stars to make a name for themselves in the organization. In two cards that lack the star power to attract an heavy audience, some of the younger prospects have a chance to showcase themselves to the world on the main cards. One of the first fights to watch for that exact reason, comes on the Berlin main card. Luke Barnatt and Sean Strickland are both undefeated fighters who love to finish fights. On stacked pay per view card, this fight could have possibly wound up on the early prelims of the event. Now with a chance to make their face in the organization, both must come out to impress. Rony Jason and Robbie Peralta have an opportunity to showcase their wide array of talents as well on the TUF Brazil Finale card. Another fighter who could be on the rise, and could potential become the face of MMA in his home country; Philippines fighter Mark Eddiva, will look to keep his undefeated record alive on the prelims.
Can dual fights in one day become a successful move for the UFC. As stated earlier, this is the first time that the organization will have two events on the same day. It has never been done before, so it is somewhat of a toss up whether or not the fans will relish the opportunity to watch fights all day. Having the first card exclusively shown on Fight Pass may have not been the smartest move, with many around the world wanting to see the fights on something else besides a computer screen. It will be interesting to know how the turnout will be when Dana White and company break down the numbers on a later date.
Fight weekend is only two days away; stay tuned in on the Guardian Liberty Voice for full coverage, post fight analysis, and live coverage on twitter! The MMA Spotlight section breaks it down for the UFC fans every post fight, every weekend.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
Guardian Liberty Sports Writer covering MMA