By Benjamin Bieker
Lyoto Machida vs. Tim Kennedy
Two options for Vitor Belfort to face off against have decided to just fight each other instead. At the age of 35, Machida has decided to move down to 185 which is a smart move considering he has come in under the 205 limit multiple times at light heavyweight. He will not be the fan favorite in tis fight as he takes on a former armed forces vet in Tim Kennedy who looks to go 2-0 against Brazilians after he took out Roger Gracie the last time out.
Jorge Masvidal vs. Rustam Khabilov
Masvidal looks to continue his streak in the Octagon after dismantling Tim Means and submitting Michael Chiesa his first two times fighting in the cage. His wrestling will have to be on point as he is taking on one of the rising stars in the lightweight division. Khabilov holds more than one win by KO due to a suplex which he can thank his Sambo game for. This is an early fight of the night contender.
Neil Magny vs. Seth Baczynski
Baczynski looks to keep his job after back to back losses killed all the momentum of four straight wins in the Octagon. The same goes for Magny, because although he is only 1-1 in the UFC a submission loss in the first round is never a good thing for a fighter who supposedly came off the worst season of TUF.
Ronny Markes vs. Yoel Romero
Ronny Markes is the contender that no one is talking about, because despite being 14-1 with three straight win in the Octagon no one is talking about him. Maybe that is because his wins are slightly less than impressive, but at 25 years old he has time to build. Although, it may be better when you know your time is limited like Yoel Romero who was an Olympic athlete back in 2000 but did not get into MMA until nine years later. A knockout loss in Strikeforce at 205 sent him to middleweight, and he captured a knockout of the night bonus in his debut in the UFC with a flying knee in about 90 seconds. Now, in a math of youth versus explosiveness he fans will get to see who comes out on top.
Chris Cammozi vs. Lorenz Larkin
Nothing is more dangerous than a fighter burned by a judges decision, and that is why Camozzi might have one angry Larkin on his hands. Lorenz Larkin took on Francis Carmont in his debut, and despite what looked like a winning effort he was awarded the first loss of his career. Camozzi is not one to backdown though which is evident by him facing Ronaldo Souza on short notice. This is an good match between someone looking to prove a point, and a fighter that is not willing to back down.
George Roop vs. Francisco Rivera
The easiest way to describe George Roop is that he defies expectations. no one thought he could beat Chan Sung Jung or Brain Bowles, but not only did he beat them, he knocked them out cold. A quality performance against someone like Rivera will have Roop’s name mentioned or close to the top ten. With height like his at bantamweight he is hard to ignore or miss.
Colton Smith vs. Michael Chiesa
Smith has made the drop to 155 after being beaten to the punch, literally, after facing Robert Whittaker. He gets no easy task in his debut as he takes on another TUF winner in Chiesa. Although Cheisa was submitted in his last fight, he was giving Masvidal all he could handle and nearly knocked him out. If he can defend the takedown from Smith it may be another long night for the former Marine at the end of Chiesa’s punches.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Nik Lentz
Two featherweight fighters on the cusp of contention will face off when Lentz and Bermudez meet. both have strung together a few wins in the division and would like to challenge someone in the top ten. With a win in this fight they will be hard to ignore, but only one will win. Will it be the wrestling heavy attack of Lentz, or Bermudez’s go for broke style?
What are your thoughts?