UFC 155: Why Pickett vs. Wineland Is the Can't-Miss Prelim
Sometimes, perhaps because it's feeling generous or perhaps as a matter of circumstance, the UFC just plain gives one away.
Saturday night in Las Vegas and free on FX, the UFC will be doing exactly that when Eddie Wineland meets Brad Pickett in a bantamweight barn-burner that could very well secure the next contender at 135 pounds.
Both men come out of their corners throwing heavy leather and would perhaps be 1-2 in terms of raw power, if there were a ranking of such tools available for bantamweights around the world.
Pickett is currently riding back-to-back wins and believes one more will give him a rematch with Renan Barao for the interim title. Wineland will have taken six of his last eight should he beat Pickett, and the former WEC champion could well make a claim of his own for a chance at Barao.
It's interesting to note that both men may enter Saturday's prelim tilt seeing it as the last great chance to secure their shots. Pickett is getting on in years, and though Wineland is still on the south side of 30, he's put in a lot of miles and may not be this close again.
The reality is that the weight classes below 155 pounds are wide open, and the right guys can gain momentum in a hurry with exciting fights that put them on the map. Pickett's last win was a violent starching of the underrated Yves Jabouin, while Wineland matched him with a similar destruction of Scott Jorgensen.
Those sorts of finishes get you noticed in divisions that are rich with talent, so in a relative wasteland of contenders like bantamweight, they can catapult a man into big fights.
All of the ingredients are there for a short, memorable and important fight for the UFC's 135-pound class. Two guys with penchants to be exciting, fuelled further by the amount to be gained by an explosive finish, is exactly the type of thing that likely has FX execs wringing their hands with glee.
There are no clear contenders at 135 pounds once Barao fights Michael McDonald in February, and while some guys are sniffing around, there isn't one that stands above the rest.
Brad Pickett and Eddie Wineland will stake their claims at UFC 155, and they're both men who rarely disappoint.
It's something no MMA fan will want to miss.
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