UFC 168: 5 Reasons to Watch

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistDecember 24, 2013

UFC 168: 5 Reasons to Watch

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The UFC plans on closing 2013 with a boom. That is evident with how stacked UFC 168 is from top to bottom.

    The card is headlined by a pair of title fights that are rematches. Chris Weidman looks to defend his title against all-time great Anderson Silva after scoring one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, while Ronda Rousey looks to defend her UFC title against rival Miesha Tate.

    If you need a reason to watch UFC 168 (which I doubt you do), I'll do you even better.

    I'll give you five of them.

    Despite the fact that the UFC raised the pay-per-view price by five dollars for this event, UFC 168 is worth watching on Saturday, and here are five reasons why. 

1. Biggest Rematch in UFC History

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

    The first encounter between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman gave us a lasting image: Silva dancing around with his hands at his waist and Weidman cracking him into unconsciousness.

    I predicted that Weidman would win the first fight, but I doubt anybody could have guessed how violent and definitive it turned out to be. With the heavy promotion of the card, I'm sure you've seen the image over and over, accompanied by the awful song that goes with it (sorry I'm not sorry, Steven Tyler).

    Weidman vs. Silva II has to be the biggest rematch in UFC history. You have a formerly undefeated champion who was untouchable until his recent loss against the future of the the division, who has all the tools to prove his first win wasn't a fluke.

    That type of storyline demands attention. 

2. Time to Squash the Beef

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    I have a suspect feeling that other than myself, a good 50-plus percent of fans are sick of the Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate rivalry. It has been going on for a while and is still dominating news sites.

    That being said, it has been one of the most personal and heated rivalries in a long time. "Rowdy" hates "Cupcake," and vice versa. It's that simple.

    Come fight time, all the talking ends. Will Tate avenge getting her arm mangled from their first bout in Strikeforce? Or will Ronda continue her reign of dominance?

    Tune in to find out. 

3. Next Heavyweight Title Contender?

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    Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    We all know that Fabricio Werdum is next up to face Cain Velasquez for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. It's obvious.

    However, the winner of an important heavyweight tilt between Josh Barnett and Travis Browne may be the next guy after "Vai Cavalo."

    Both Barnett and Browne are Top 10 guys in the UFC. Barnett represents the old guard that is keeping the division afloat, while Browne is the new blood that is the future of the division.

    Barnett crushed Frank Mir quickly in his return to the UFC, while Browne is 6-1-1 with the company. His only loss came when he injured his leg against Antonio Silva and was finished due to a lack of mobility.

    The winner of this match makes a strong case for top contender once the dust settles between Velasquez and Werdum. It will be interesting, to say the least. 

4. Last Hurrah for Chris Leben or Uriah Hall

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    Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    Not long ago, Chris Leben was the resurgent veteran who was rebuilding his career, and Uriah Hall was the unstoppable force on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter.

    Wow, how things change quickly.

    Hall lost TUF to Kelvin Gastelum and then lost an unwatchable snorefest against John Howard, moving to 0-2 with the UFC. Leben has lost three straight and four out of his last five, including two against midcarders Andrew Craig and Derek Brunson.

    For Hall, a win keeps him employed.

    I doubt the UFC would ever cut Leben, but if he loses, he might hang up the gloves. 

5. Spotlight for Poirier

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    I don't know about you, but I am ecstatic that Dustin Poirier is fighting on the main card over guys like Chris Leben, Uriah Hall and Manny Gamburyan. Nothing against those guys, but Poirier deserves the spotlight due to his talent and excitement level.

    Across from him will be an aggressive brute by the name of Diego Brandao. He promises to bring the best out of Poirier, which is going to lead to an absolute firefight. 

    Poirier has a bright future with the UFC at 145 pounds and should be a featured player. Remember, this is the guy who ensured that we didn't see Jose Aldo slaughter Josh Grispi.