The UFC returns to Connecticut for Fight Night, but they will not be alone, as Bellator MMA will also be hosting their own card on Friday, September 5th. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Gegard Mousasi hope to provide fireworks in the main event, as the two ranked middleweights battle it out to make a push forward up the ranks. Heavyweights top off the main card with some dynamite, with the likes of Alistair Overeem, Ben Rothwell, Matt Mitrione and Derrick Lewis throwing their weight around inside the cage. The prelims will kick things off on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. EST, with the main card following on the same channel at 10 p.m. EST.
#4 Ronaldo Souza (20-3) vs. #7 Gegard Mousasi (35-4-2) Middleweight Bout – Who knew that both of these former Strikeforce elite fighters would be vying for a title shot in the top-heavy UFC middleweight division? Honestly, quite a few. Souza and Mousasi are somewhat familiar with one another, as in Souza met Mousasi’s heel, when at the receiving end of a brutal up-kick from guard by Mousasi that knocked Souza out cold. Stranger things have happened, but to be finished via up-kick is quite a feat within itself. Times have changed though – Souza is sizzling hot right now in the middleweight division, knocking off six victories in a row, with three in a row in the UFC. Mousasi,on the other hand, is 2-1 since entering the organization, even though suffering a tough defeat at the hands of Lyoto Machida is no result to mock whatsoever. This fight is simple to examine – Mousasi can win this bout easily on the feet all night, while Souza can manhandle Mousasi on the ground at will if he gets him there. Souza’s top game in guard is one of the best in the sport, but there is still a threat to be had considering that the last time Souza put him on the mat, he got knocked out. Souza’s striking game has gotten better, but relies too heavily on a power shot. Mousasi’s overall mixed martial arts game is a notch better. Wrestling. though, could change everything in this fight. Mousasi via Unanimous Decision.
#7 Alistair Overeem (37-13) vs. Ben Rothwell (33-9) Heavyweight Bout – This has everything to do with how the Dutch kickboxer Overeem wants to come out and approach his opponent, Rothwell. “The Reem” had multiple opportunities to put Frank Mir away in his last bout, but just failed to do so. Rothwell is a game heavyweight who can take and dish out some heavy shots of his own. Rothwell does have a tendency to become sloppy, though, in which case, look for Overeem to capitalize on his mistakes and get him where he wants him. The feeling here is that Rothwell is just another step for Overeem to leap over while making his second run for a shot at the title. Overeem via Technical Knockout.
Matt Mitrione (7-3) vs. Derrick Lewis (11-2) Heavyweight Bout – It’s thunder! It’s lightning! Oh nevermind, it is just Lewis’ fists of destruction collapsing the cage. Over-exaggerations aside, boy, can that young heavyweight, fighting out of Houston, Texas, swing a hammer. The MMA Spotlight was able to witness the power of Lewis first-hand when he put Guto Inocente to sleep with ease. It seemed as if every time Lewis landed a ground strike on Inocente, the octagon would practically shake. All hype train aside, Mitrione is no slouch and is more technically sound striking-wise than Lewis. Honestly though, so was Inocente, and everyone saw how that worked out at the end. Lewis via Technical Knockout.
Joe Lauzon (23-10) vs. Michael Chiesa (11-1) Lightweight Bout – Which Lauzon is going to show up? The one who can put on numerous “Performance of the Night” fights or the one who comes out flat-footed and becomes quickly overwhelmed by the task at hand? Chiesa may not give him the opportunity to become comfortable, as the former “Ultimate Fighter” usually comes out aggressive early. The UFC lightweight has finished eight of his 11 wins by submission – all coming by way of some variation of choke. The grappling exchanges between the two should be magnificent to watch, and could lead to another possible performance bonus for J-Lau. Chiesa via Unanimous Decision.
In other notable bouts, featherweight Charles Oliveira missed weight drastically, which could affect his performance against fellow ranked featherweight, Nik Lentz. John Moraga will also take on the intriguing prospect of Justin Scoggins. To join the weekend’s festivities, Invicta FC will make its first appearance on Fight Pass since their agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. For the most recent news from the UFC, check the Guardian Liberty Voice for all the up-to-date reports.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Voice sports writer leading the coverage in MMA