Saitama Super Arena is the location of the UFC's return to Japan this weekend, when UFC on Fuel 8 takes place. The card is headlined by Pride legend Wanderlei Silva and American hero Brian Stann.
The card is star studded, especially for a card that is being held on Fuel. Contenders such as Hector Lombard, Dong Hyun Kim and Diego Sanchez fill out the card and could provide one of the best events for the first quarter of 2013.
Here is a power ranking of every fight on the card.
Marcelo Guimaraes and Hyun Gyu Lim were supposed to fight when the UFC made its first trip to China, but a weight cutting issue forced Lim off the card. Now, they will meet in Japan.
Guimaraes's first fight in the UFC was incredibly forgettable.
A decision win over Dan Stittgen for Guimaraes, he did not show us much in the win, even though most know that he is a very solid grappler.
Not much is known about Lim, other than the fact that the South Korean is a dangerous striker. His anonymity to most fans may make this fight a little more intriguing, but I'll bet most people aren't going, "I can't wait for the Guimaraes-Lim scrap!"
Let's be honest, Cristiano Marcello is lucky to have a job.
Considering he won a controversial, hometown decision against Reza Madadi in his last fight. However, he is still a dangerous adversary to any man that he fights. Especially, when he is taking on a newcomer by the name of Kazuki Tokudome.
Marcello is improving, but Tokudome's signing to the UFC is a questionable call compared to the other high level Japanese lightweights.
Maybe, Tokudome will prove me wrong.
This was another fight scheduled to take place orginally in China, but the South Korean fighter, Kyung Ho Kang, had to pull out due to injury.
Caceres instead fought and defeated Motonobu Tezuka at the event.
Caceres is always a fun fighter to watch and will get a young, talented mixed martial artist in Kang. The battle of the two young guns is definitely an intriguing matchup.
You know a card is good when this fight comes in at the ninth spot in the ranking.
This fight could either be really entertaining or a clunker.
Rani Yahya is a high-level jiu-jitsu artist, but lacks in the takedown and striking area of his game. Mizuto Hirota has been taking on high level fighters for a while now and will be ready for the attempts of Yahya to take the fight to the ground.
This fight has the potential to be a snoozer if it gets stuck on the mat. Hopefully, I am wrong.
Takeya Mizugaki has never won back-to-back fights under the Zuffa banner.
The 10-fight Zuffa veteran has literally shuffled between wins and losses in every bout of his career with the company.
The biggest thing of note is that Mizugaki has struggled against wrestlers with good grappling from the top.
That is where he will find a challenge in Bryan Caraway.
Mizugaki has always been a very talented fighter, but will never be close to the title if he can't get on a win streak. I expect a solid sprawl-and-brawl style that will lead to an exciting fight with the American Caraway.
Two men that are always entertaining when they enter the Octagon are middleweights Riki Fukuda and Brad Tavares.
This is just another brilliant match set up by Joe Silva.
Tavares is continuously improving and it will be interesting to see how he has improved since his methodical victory over Tom Watson. He showed improved wrestling and top-game when he defeated the Brit in Watson's home country.
Fukuda has shuffled between wins and losses since entering the UFC, but has been impressive whether he has walked away the victor or the loser. His last win over Tom DeBlass was a mature performance, which could be a sign that the Japanese 185er is on the rise.
The only reason this fight is so high is because of the future implications the result of this fight will have on the welterweight division.
Dong Hyun Kim is a dominant welterweight, using his judo and heavy top game to stifle opponents. Unfortunately, that style of fighting is not the most aesthetically pleasing.
If Siyar Bahadurzada does get in a groove with his striking, it could be a fun fight. Siyar is lethal with his hands, feet and knees, which could lead to a big knockout.
This fight is going to be an interesting chess match with clashing styles.
Yushin Okami is a top-game grappler with good takedowns and throws, while Hector Lombard is an Olympic level judoka with bombs for hands.
Okami is going to have a tough time getting Lombard to the ground. Plus, he has to close the distance on a man that can decapitate you with one punch.
Either Okami is going to smother Lombard or the Cuban powerhouse is going to give Okami a complimentary nap on the mat.
The main event of the evening is highly anticipated, but also highly predictable. That doesn't mean we all can't enjoy a good knockout.
Only thing is that Wanderlei Silva has gotten knocked out too many times late in his career and it's not fun to watch anymore.
Saving grace is the fact that Brian Stann's knockouts are nasty. Wanderlei will come out swinging, but I honestly must say he will also go down swinging.
This fight has fireworks written all over it.
Diego Sanchez always comes to fight. In fact, I doubt he has ever been in a boring fight.
Takanori Gomi is a knockout artist that is finally back on a winning streak. He can put most men to sleep, but will have to break through the diamond chin that Sanchez has on his head.
If this doesn't win Fight of the Night, I will be sincerely surprised.
Stefan Struve is finally hitting his stride in the UFC. His current four fight win streak is impressive and he is only getting better.
In enters Mark Hunt, a big ole boy with some insane power and the ability to stiffen up any opponent whose chin he touches.
Struve does not have the greatest striking defense, so he could be susceptible to a brutal knockout. However, as seen in his submission of Lavar Johnson, he could use his superior grappling skills to tap out the ground novice that is Hunt.
Either way, this is basically the main attraction in many people's minds.