Three Reasons to Root for Jon Fitch at UFC 156

Steven Muehlhausen@@fightclubchiContributor IIIJanuary 30, 2013

Three Reasons to Root for Jon Fitch at UFC 156

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    Many times in life you have a year that you would like to have back and just start over.

    The year of 2012 can be described as that for Jon Fitch. The welterweight had ended 2011 with a 12-second knockout loss to Johny Hendricks at UFC 141.

    Fitch must have been chomping at the bit to get that taste out of his mouth and was supposed to face Aaron Simpson at UFC on Fuel TV 4 last July. Fitch suffered a partially torn ACL, however, and had to bow out of the fight.

    The former title contender did get a fight in this year, as Fitch won fight of the night with his victory over Erick Silva at UFC 153 last October.

    The American Kickboxing Academy fighter kicks off his 2013 early, as he squares off on Saturday against Demian Maia in a key welterweight bout on the main card of UFC 156.

    This is a big fight in the welterweight division, with the winner moving a step closer to a title shot and the loser getting severely pushed back in a stacked division.

    If Fitch wants to get another crack at the belt, a win is a necessity on Saturday.

    Let's take a look at the reasons you should root for Jon Fitch at UFC 156.

A Win Gets Fitch Closer to a Title Shot

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    Jon Fitch has had one chance at the UFC welterweight title, which ended in a loss to current welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC in August of 2008. Fitch then went on another winning streak, as he won five straight fights.

    Even with that winning streak, though, Fitch still didn't receive a title shot.

    The UFC paired Fitch in a main event fight with BJ Penn at UFC 127 in February of 2011. The fight ended in a draw, and Fitch was stuck once again. Then the Hendricks fight happened, dashing away any hopes of a title opportunity.

    Fitch only fought once in 2012, and that was against Erick Silva, with Fitch winning by unanimous decision and the fight being declared Fight of the Night.

    Demian Maia is a former middleweight title contender who dropped down to 170 pounds last year. Maia defeated Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 148 and then Rick Story at UFC 153.

    This a big fight at 170 pounds, and if Fitch wins with another great performance, he could move up to the top three of the weight class and be one fight away from fighting for the title.

Quiet the Critics Once Again

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    In the past, people have stated that Fitch doesn't have the most crowd-pleasing style in the sport. Fitch is a wrestler, who once he gets you to the ground, likes to grind out fights and impose his will on you.

    That style hasn't endeared Fitch to the UFC, as that is why every time Fitch has been put into the No. 1 contenders fight and won, he still hasn't gotten the title shot.

    The fight with Silva opened a lot of people's eyes. It showed that if Fitch takes someone down and they get up, Fitch will stand and trade with you.

    If Fitch can put on another performance like he did against Silva and win, then the critics will be silenced once again.

Another Win for AKA

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    American Kickboxing Academy is one of the premier gyms in the sport.

    The gym features the UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier and Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, to name a few fighters.

    The California-based gym also has contenders like Fitch and Grey Maynard. If Fitch can win on Saturday, it further establishes the gym as the best in the sport.

    A Fitch win, moreover, could lead to the gym one day having all the titles at the same time.