UFC 166 goes live tonight from the Toyota Center in Houston, featuring a main event between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
While the heavyweight championship is the most highly anticipated fight on the card, there are plenty of other contests that have caught our eyes. These fights make up our most compelling fights on the card, based on fighter status/rank, pre-fight hype and potential to excite.
This contest is not compelling due to the status of these fighters but more because of the potential to excite. Gonzaga, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, loves to bang, and Shawn Jordan, a former football player, will be happy to oblige.
The winner of this fight will make a strong argument for a top-10 heavyweight slot.
Marquardt and Lombard were once top middleweights, but the pair are now struggling to remain relevant in a competitive welterweight division.
Fans ought to be interested in witnessing exactly what Lombard can do at 170 pounds, while this fight's implications on Marquardt's career also make it a very intriguing matchup.
We should learn quite a bit from these two tonight.
In the opening contest of the main card, Dodson welcomes Montague to the UFC in a flyweight contest, and what a welcome it should be.
Dodson is the No. 2 flyweight contender in the UFC, while Montague has never fought on the big stage—though he has fought Ian McCall and Ulysses Gomez. If Dodson wins, he may be in line for another shot against Demetrious Johnson. If he loses, the division discovers a much-needed new face at the top.
Sarah Kaufman the No. 2 women's bantamweight contender, and even though her fight against Jessica Eye is on the preliminary card, it remains a very compelling contest.
Kaufman had a successful stint in Strikeforce, even becoming a champion, but she has yet to compete in the UFC. Meanwhile, Eye debuts in the UFC tonight as well, bringing with her a seven-fight winning streak.
The winner of this fight won't fight for the title in her next outing, but she will make a big jump into contention.
Gilbert Melendez has been in his share of wars (see: Josh Thomson Trilogy), while Diego Sanchez is a Fight of the Night machine, taking home the award in four of his last seven fights.
These two love to bang, and they also have tremendous cardio. After the opening bell rings, fans should be treated to about 15 minutes of high-octane combat. This fight has all the makings for Fight of the Night honors, making it one of the more compelling contests on the card.
The trash talk between Roy Nelson and Daniel Cormier is well documented, and these guys really don't like each other.
This could be a terrific fight, but I'm hesitant to get too excited after each fighter's last outing. Cormier was underwhelming against Frank Mir, while Nelson looked awful against Stipe Miocic.
That said, the disdain these two hold for one another makes this fight a must-watch contest.
The main event of UFC 166 is obviously the fight everyone is tuning in for, and it should be a highly entertaining contest between hands down the two best heavyweights on the planet.
It's also the most compelling matchup.
Dos Santos has fierce knockout power, while Velasquez has fast hands and an undying motor. After the first two fights between the two, the rubber match should fully live up to expectations. And the fact that we get to witness the third fight in one of the better trilogies of all time tonight doesn't hurt.