UFC 166: 5 Reasons to Watch the Card

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistOctober 15, 2013

UFC 166: 5 Reasons to Watch the Card

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    UFC 166 hits Houston this Saturday, and the UFC has lined the card with exciting action from top to bottom.

    Fans of the sport have been inundated with MMA action in 2013. The UFC continues to bolster its brand with card after card, and that has overwhelmed many. With so many cards fans are being forced to pick and choose which events to watch.

    UFC 166 is one to watch.

    Six of the 10 main card fighters are ranked, and that could have been seven if it weren't for Darrell Montague making his organizational debut opposite John Dodson. Two more ranked fighters appear on the undercard. There are high-level fighters throughout the event in important divisional bouts.

    Here are five reasons to set your cable and satellite boxes to the UFC on Saturday.

Kaufman & Eye Will Bring It

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    Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Invicta FC
    Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Invicta FC

    Sarah Kaufman will finally make her UFC debut at UFC 166.

    She was originally scheduled to compete at UFC Fight Night 27 in Indianapolis, but opponent Sara McMann had to drop out of the fight. The UFC failed to find a timely replacement, but Jessica Eye did step up to take on the No. 2-ranked bantamweight.

    Eye was once the top ranked flyweight in the world, and she currently sits at No. 2 in that division.

    Common thought entering the fight may be that Kaufman is simply too big and too powerful for Eye, but don't count out the Ohio native.

    Kaufman loves to scrap, and Eye will be game for that type of fight. Kaufman's last bout was against undersized bantamweight Leslie Smith. It was a back-and-forth stand-up fight that Kaufman barely survived. Eye can equal and surpass Smith's performance. She's that good.

    This is a great fight to answer questions for both fighters. Can Kaufman confirm her high ranking and dominate the former flyweight? Or will Eye prove that she is a factor at 135 pounds by toppling her No. 2-ranked opponent?

    This is one of the best and most intriguing fights on the card, and it's not even on the PPV.

Do or Die for Marquardt/Lombard

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    Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

    Former ranked fighters in the middleweight division will meet in a welterweight clash that could determine their UFC futures.

    Nate Marquardt was the Strikeforce Welterweight Champion until the final fight of the organization. He was defeated by Tarec Saffiedine. He re-entered the UFC as a potential contender, and was unceremoniously welcomed back by Jake Ellenberger.

    A loss would be his third straight, and that is never a good omen for keeping your UFC contract.

    Hector Lombard entered as one of most hyped fighters in a long time. He was supposed to win his debut and perhaps challenge for a belt. He was defeated. Lombard rebounded against Rousimar Palhares, but then proceeded to drop a fight to Yushin Okami. A loss would push his UFC record to 1-3.

    This is Lombard's welterweight debut. How he looks at this weight will go a long way to determining his UFC future and this fight. The loser will be hard pressed to keep his job, and the winner will catapult up the welterweight ladder. This is a big fight for both fighters.

Flyweight Contenders

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    Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    The flyweight division doesn't often get the support that it should. These two talented 125ers deserve your attention on Saturday.

    John Dodson nearly upset the champion earlier this year, and this is his chance to get back in the win column.

    Darrell Montague is one of the best flyweights in the world, but he has yet to step foot in the Octagon. A win would be his fifth straight and could earn him a contender's bout in his next fight. This is a significant fight with potential title implications.

    This fight will set the tone of the PPV broadcast, and if you are ordering the event you need to be seated for this exciting fight.

Melendez vs. Sanchez Will Deliver

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Gilbert Melendez made his long-awaited UFC debut in a title fight against Benson Henderson. He dropped a contentious decision to the now former champion, but he showed where he stands in the division.

    Diego Sanchez returned to lightweight earlier this year, but he missed weight and won a close decision that many saw going the other way to Takanori Gomi. He needs this fight to regain relevance.

    Regardless of the outcome, the one thing we know about both of these fighters is that they bring it. This lightweight bout looks to be a Fight of the Night candidate.

    Sanchez may have the most exciting fight library of any UFC fighter. Melendez has been involved in his fair share of exciting wars as well. This is a fight that will deliver fireworks fans want out of a PPV. Or at least it should.

    Before the heavyweight co-main and main events get underway, the lightweights will set the crowd on fire.

Heavyweight Trilogy

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    If the card was filled with non-ranked fighters and unimportant fights, you would still need to buy the PPV for this fight.

    It is rare to have a trilogy of truly great fighters. The true No. 1 and No. 2 fighters in the world. We get that with Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.

    They will likely meet again at some point, but this is the trilogy fight we are guaranteed.

    The story of the first two fights has been written, and it is well known. There is not much to be said about this fight. This is the heavyweight fight. If you care about elite level fighters taking on the absolute best competition then there is virtually no reason to miss this fight.

    The main event is all any MMA fan should need to purchase UFC 166.

    It is a can't miss fight. It's the two best heavyweights in the world fighting for the third time. It's the heavyweight championship of the world. It's why we love this sport. It's your No. 1 reason to catch the event from Houston.