UFC 164: Fights That Will Make Saturday's PPV One of the Year's Best
UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson's rematch with Anthony Pettis is going to be intense. Rarely will you see a main event with more electricity. If you combine the history between the two, the young age of the combatants and the combined skill level, this fight has the potential to become one of the biggest fights in UFC history.
Pettis is fighting in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He owns a win over Henderson in their first bout, but the champion is hungry for revenge. It is almost as if Henderson needs to beat Pettis to validate his place among the greats of the sport.
A win over Pettis would avenge a bitter defeat after becoming the victim of one of the sport's most famous kicks. It would also warrant a rise in the pound-for-pound standings in the sport for Henderson. He is currently fifth on Sherdog'com's list, but a win over his nemesis should vault him ahead of Anderson Silva.
Henderson's power and defensive skills matched against Pettis' strong ground game and dynamic striking created one classic already. The rematch could ignite a trilogy.
There are so many story lines in this one and so much combined skill, it is hard to imagine it not being good.
The card in Milwaukee is one of the strongest of the year, because the other fights on the main card are compelling as well. Here's a look at two other bouts that are must-see fights.
Clay Guida vs. Chad Mendes
Guida has built his reputation on participating in classic bouts. He's been in five matches that won Fight of the Night honors in their respective events. Only Frankie Edgar (7), Chris Lytle and Sam Stout (6) have been in more.
Mendes hasn't been in any Fight of the Night bouts; this is primarily due to the ease in which he's handled his opponents. His only loss came at the hands of Jose Aldo at UFC 142 in Jan. 2012. Since then, Mendes has stopped three-straight opponents in the first round.
In 43 fights, Guida has lost 13 times, but he has never been stopped. Does Mendes possess the power and explosiveness to do the job?
Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier
Which one of these fights has the best chance to be named Fight of the Night?
Contrasting styles sometimes make the best fights. Koch is similar to Pettis in that he's an athletic and potentially lethal striker. The two train together and are teammates with Roufosport, so that is no surprise.
Poirier has a few facets to his game, but his base is in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This could turn into a classic example of striker vs. grappler with a twist. Koch is also quite accomplished on the ground in his young career. He has already scored seven submission victories.
Aside from the main event, this bout could have the most at stake. The two young fighters are both coming off a loss in their last bout.
Koch was the victim of a brutal TKO stoppage at the hands of Ricardo Llamas, while Poirier was bested by veteran Cub Swanson. Both men are 24 years old and viewed as up-and-coming prospects in the sport.
Neither wants to absorb a second-straight loss. At this point in their careers, moving to the back of the line would be a huge letdown. This is my pick for Fight of the Night.
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