UFC Fight Night 29: 1 Reason to Watch Every Fight
UFC Fight Night 29 is coming soon, marking the return to Brazil for the company. Though there aren't huge names on the card, it promises to be a fun night of fights.
The welterweight division figures to shape up with this event, as three of the top five spots on the card are reserved for 170 pounders. From Demian Maia to Rousimar Palhares, the event promises to be important to a division currently ruled by long-time title holder Georges St. Pierre.
This event should be a good one. Here is one reason to watch each main card fight.
Dillashaw vs. Assuncao: Possible Top Contender Fight
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
All the talk of the bantamweight division right now is the possible Renan Barao-Dominick Cruz square-off and the intriguing Urijah Faber-Michael McDonald bout at UFC on Fox in December.
What about a possible top contender bout in TJ Dillashaw-Raphael Assuncao? Both men are top-10 bantamweights that could crack the top five with an impressive win.
Assuncao is 4-0 since dropping to 135, rattling off wins over Johnny Eduardo, Issei Tamura, Mike Easton and Vaughan Lee. His striking has vastly improved, while his submission game has stayed as strong as before.
Dillashaw is 4-0 as well since losing The Ultimate Fighter to John Dodson. He has earned wins over Tamura, Lee, Walel Watson and Hugo Viana. Like Assuncao, his striking is vastly improved, which compliments his strong wrestling game.
Both men finished Lee and Tamura. Both men have had similar paths to where they are. Both men are dark horses at 135 who could challenge for the belt in the near future.
Pierce vs. Palhares: Welterweight Debut for Toquinho
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
Former middleweight monster Rousimar Palhares has fallen on hard times and will meet a workhorse in the form of Mike Pierce at his new home of welterweight.
It's hard to believe that Palhares can make 170 considering how much muscle he carries around. The dude is built like freight train, which helps him on the ground.
Pierce is the Rodney Dangerfield of MMA, as he seemingly gets no respect. No matter how much he wins, he still finds himself on the prelims. Finally, he gets his chance on a main card.
It's exciting that Palhares is trying out welterweight, but this fight will be far from easy.
Maldonado vs. Beltran: Fight of the Night Contender
Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Fabio Maldonado is never in a boring fight. Joey Beltran is never in a boring fight. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what will happen when these two meet.
Maldonado has a Fight of the Night bonus check from his war with Kyle Kingsbury. He would have gotten one against Igor Pokrajac if Dustin Poirier and Chan Sung Jung didn't put on the Fight of the Year. He took a beating from Glover Teixeira and still managed to make it exciting.
Beltran has two Fight of the Night bonus checks in bouts against Matt Mitrione and James Te Huna. Whether he wins or loses, "The Mexicutioner" puts on barnburners.
I would not be the least bit surprised if this fight earned the Fight of the Night.
Silva vs. Hamill: Brazilian Back on the Rise
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn't long ago that Thiago Silva had hit a valley in his career. He couldn't stay healthy, he hadn't gotten a clean win since 2009 and he couldn't pass a drug test to save his life.
He had one shot to keep his roster spot in his latest outing against fellow Brazilian Rafael Cavalcante. This would be a tough bout pitting Silva up against a former Strikeforce champion.
In an instant one-round classic, Silva earned two bonus checks with the Fight and Knockout of the Night. Not only did he take home a handsome penny, but he ensured that his savage style would continue in the UFC.
Silva is back on the rise, and Matt Hamill is in his way.
Silva vs. Kim: Future Contenders Collide
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Two young guns of the welterweight division occupy the co-main event as South Korea's Dong Hyun Kim meets Brazilian Erick Silva. Both men figure to be top-10 staples in the near future.
Kim is a top-heavy grappler with improving striking. Silva is a jiu-jitsu ace with powerful punches. This may be a great contrast of styles that gives us insight into a future title challenger.
Maia vs. Shields: Grappling Clinic, Title Implications?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The main event has future title implications on the line, as Cesar Gracie rep Jake Shields takes on jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia. If you like a good grappling match, this bout should tickle your fancy.
Maia has reinvigorated his career with a move to the welterweight division. He has dominated in wins against Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story and Jon Fitch.
He is possibly the best jiu-jitsu fighter at 170. His submission skills are nearly flawless, and his control on the ground is uncanny.
Shields is a better wrestler with a good jiu-jitsu himself. He has floated between welterweight and middleweight in his career, but he is 2-0 in his last two 170 bouts against Tyron Woodley and Yoshihiro Akiyama.
This is an important welterweight tilt and could push the winner into title talks.