No Hispanic pride from Mexico’s own Cain Velasquez, but the UFC will make do with the ever becoming popularity between the duo set to make the stage Saturday night. Fabricio Werdum was supposed fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship, but now will be looking for the interim title if he can get past the one punch walk off power of Mark Hunt. The two have been quite pleasant with one another, even dancing together during their square off on Thursday, Saturday night make no mistakes about it, both of these fighters have been dreaming about the gold their whole careers. Jake Ellenberger takes on Kelvin Gastelum in the co main event, with Ricardo Lamas and Dennis Bermudez hitting the cage first on the main card. Early prelims get things started at 7 pm EST on Fight Pass, switching over to FOX Sports 1 at 8 pm EST, then heading to pay per view at 10 pm EST. Do not miss the action, one blink can make that much of a difference.
#1 Fabricio Werdum (18-5-1) vs. #4 Mark Hunt (10-8-1) Heavyweight Interim Title Bout – Exit UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, and insert the “Super Samoan” Mark Hunt. Once again, the UFC needs another filler to replace Cain Velasquez, whom cannot seem to stay healthy, causing Dana White some serious migraines leading up to this event. The champ has not fought in over a year, opening up the opportunity for either Hunt or Werdum to claim the interim heavyweight championship, and fight Velasquez upon his return. Back to the fight, this should be a fight Werdum dominates, key word is ‘should be’. Hunt is always a punch away from putting an opponent’s lights out, but his pace is somewhat predictable and if dragged into the deeper waters of the fight, Hunt wears down. Werdum has the better overall skill set, his striking was once seen as some of the worst in the division, but now his Muay Thai is some of the nastiest ever seen. In the clinch Werdum can control and land those sharp knees, but watch out for Hunt’s upper cuts though, he can walk off with a win if one of those hammers land. Hunt’s best chance at winning this fight is early, early as in the first two rounds; if this hits championship rounds, Hunt is in deep trouble. Werdum is the better athlete, superior in grappling and submissions, and the far better conditioned fighter; but anything can happen when fists start to fly. Fabricio Werdum via Submission.
#7 Jake Ellenberger (29-8) vs. #11 Kelvin Gastelum (10-0) Welterweight Bout – When is the real Jake Ellenberger going to show? The guy absolutely destroys the lesser competition, but when it comes to UFC title contention fights, he freezes. Gastelum’s biggest issue is making weight, and with that on point, now he just has to get through the higher ranked Ellenberger. Which honestly should not be too hard to do if Ellenberger performs the way he did against Robbie Lawler. Jake is most dangerous when he presses the fight and explodes into combinations with bad intentions. Gastelum has not shown much of a weakness outside of his weight issue, so until he provides the viewers with a weakness worth noting, it is hard not to go with the undefeated fighter. Kelvin Gastelum via Unanimous Decision.
#4 Ricardo Lamas (14-3) vs. #7 Dennis Bermudez (15-3) Featherweight Bout – This may turn into the best bout of the night for the UFC, this fight may also have huge title ramifications for either with an overwhelming performance. Lamas has already fought the champ, and looked out of his element as Aldo crucified his leg in the process with kicks. Lamas is going to have to turn on his “Bully” side if he is going to beat a surging Bermudez, whom has been on a tear as of late. Bermudez just seems so much stronger and more physically dominant then almost any fighter in the featherweight division. When he gets his hand on someone, they are almost undeniably going for a ride. Bermudez may not be the most technically sound fighter in the division, but his power and heart make up for most of that. This is not the best match up for Lamas, he will have to stick and move to avoid the take downs, which will be almost impossible to do. Dennis Bermudez via Unanimous Decision.
Augusto Montano (13-1) vs. Chris Heatherly (8-2) Welterweight Bout – From what could be one of the most exciting fights of the night to this possible less appeasing bout, the wrestler Chris Heatherly will look to grind out the rangy Montano. Montano’s wrestling game has been one of his biggest question marks, but spending all the time at Greg Jackson’s camp, it is almost a guarantee that he has been working on it extensively. If Montano can keep this fight standing, it is his fight to lose, hands down. If not, well it will not be only Montano’s loss, it will be the viewers as well; in hopes of a more exciting fight Montano is the pick here. Augusto Montano via Unanimous Decision
Edgar Garcia (14-3) vs. Hector Urbina (16-8) Welterweight Bout – Somewhat confused by the decision to put this fight on the UFC main card, and not have Jessica Eye versus Leslie Smith in this slot, but it will have to do. Both will look to sprawl and brawl, neither of them are very polished in any aspect of MMA. Garcia’s power is what separates the two, in which he will look to land early and call it a night. Edgar Garcia via Technical Knockout.
In other notable fights on the UFC card, Jessica “Evil” Eye takes aim at the upper echelon of the women’s bantamweight division if she can get past the brawler, Leslie Smith. There will also be two “Ultimate Fighter Latin America” Finals as Yair Rodriguez squares off with Leonardo Morales in the Featherweight final, with Alejandro Perez and Jose Alberto occupying the bantamweight final. For up to date coverage and analysis of UFC 180, please follow the Guardian Liberty Voice for extensive UFC updates.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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