Brian Bowles will return from an 18-month layoff to take on George Roop at UFC 160.
Last seen being submitted by Urijah Faber at UFC 139, Bowles remains No. 8 in the UFC bantamweight rankings, but his spot on the list could be on the line in this bout with Roop.
Roop recently fought at 135 pounds for the first time inside the Octagon and defeated Reuben Duran. While it wasn't an overly impressive showing, Roop's length does make him an intriguing addition to the UFC's bantamweight division.
A bout with Bowles gives Roop the opportunity to have a breakthrough in the 135-pound class, while it allows Bowles to ease back into competition after a lengthy hiatus.
Brian Bowles: Strengths and Weaknesses
Conditioning has not usually been an issue for Bowles throughout his MMA career, but he has never gone more than 12 months in between bouts. An 18-month absence could have some unusual effects on Bowles' performance.
While Bowles only lands 26 percent of his attempted strikes, the former WEC champion earned a belt with his knockout power, ending Miguel Torres' impressive championship reign with punches.
Bowles, though, is at his best when on the ground. The 32-year-old has multiple submission wins over Damacio Page and has not lost under Zuffa promotions in any fights that saw him score a takedown.
George Roop: Strengths and Weaknesses
While there are obvious medical concerns when a 6'1" fighter is competing at 135 pounds, Roop did not look drained against Duran at UFC 158. If Roop utilizes his kicks effectively from the outside, the bantamweight class could actually be a great fit for the lanky Arizonan.
That said, Roop does seem to be at a speed disadvantage when facing smaller opponents. Because he only lands 31 percent of his strikes thrown, Roop allows a lot of openings for counters. That, coupled with the fact that he holds his chin high, is why Roop has already suffered two brutal knockout losses in his current UFC stint.
Brian Bowles: Keys to Victory
With no submission wins inside the Octagon, Roop would not be much of a threat to Bowles should the fight go to the ground.
As long as Bowles remains wary of the head kick that put Chan Sung Jung away, he should eventually be able to score a takedown on Roop or land a punch that could put the fight to bed in more spectacular fashion.
George Roop: Keys to Victory
If Roop finds himself on his back against Bowles, he's going to have a rough time getting much done.
Six inches taller than Bowles, Roop will want to stay well outside of his opponent's punching range and land low kicks. Once he has Bowles thinking about checking the kicks to his legs, Roop can go upstairs and try to score a fight-ending head kick.
Who will win?
Bowles defeats Roop by knockout (punch) at 2 minutes, 25 seconds of the second round.
Statistics via FightMetric.com.