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UFC 168: 5 Biggest Questions That Will Be Answered in Las Vegas

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Chris Weidman, blue shorts, defeated Anderson Silva (yellow shorts) in the second round with a TKO in their Middleweight Chamionship Bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIDecember 28, 2013

During the hype for every MMA pay-per-view event, there are specific questions asked. The level of public interest depends on how compelling and legitimate those questions are. 

In the case of UFC 168 on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, there should be a grand number of interested parties.

Two championships will be on the line and two of the sport's biggest stars will be in action. Anderson "The Spider" Silva will take on "All-American" Chris Weidman and "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey will battle Miesha "Cupcake" Tate.

Both bouts are rematches and come filled with their own history and drama.

As intriguing as those fights are, there are other fights on the stacked card that also offer their own brand of mystery and suspense.

Here's a look at the five most important questions we'll have answered at UFC 168.

 

Is Uriah Hall For Real?

April 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Uriah Hall during the TUF 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout most of the season on The Ultimate Fighter 17, Hall looked like a can't-miss star. He scored three highlight-reel knockouts, but lost in the final to Kevin Gastelum by split decision.

Hall lost his second fight in the UFC to John Howard at UFC Fight Night 26, also by split decision. This is not the beginning most had envisioned for the ultra talented 29-year-old.

He's a dynamic striker with natural athletic gifts that are nearly unmatched in the UFC. If Hall has an Achilles' heel, it's his lack of killer instinct. After demolishing the likes of Bubba McDaniel on TUF, he seems reluctant to let loose with this striking maneuvers.

On Saturday, he faces "The Crippler" Chris Leben. This is a tailor-made opponent for Hall. Leben comes straight ahead; he's not quick and does not have much in the way of defense.

Hall should have the opportunity to land significant strikes, but does he have the heart to finish? For him, that is the only question.

 

Who is the Next Serious Challenger for Heavyweight Title?

It was getting a bit boring seeing Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, Mark Hunt and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva pound on each other—though the latter had one of the greatest fights in MMA history at Fight Night 33. 

Aug 17, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Travis Browne (left) battles Alistair Overeem during a UFC heavyweight match at the TD Garden. Brown won by knockout in one round. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, two new faces have appeared in the heavyweight title picture. Travis "Hapa" Browne and Josh "The Warmaster" Barnett will clash to determine which of them will align himself for a title shot in the future.

Aug 31, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA;  Josh Barnett reacts after beating Frank Mir (not pictured) during the UFC-164 bout at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The winner is said to be set to face Fabricio Werdum, with the winner of that scrap more than likely getting Cain Velasquez when he returns to action late in 2014. 

There are still steps to be taken, but winning on Saturday would be a major statement for Browne or Barnett.

 

Does Miesha Tate Deserve to Be Mentioned in the Same Breath as Ronda Rousey?

March 3, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ronda Rousey punches Miesha Tate during the Strikeforce Grand Prix final at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

For now, Rousey-Tate is a rivalry based in pure dislike, not athletic parity. The two have met in competition in 2012 when both were in Strikeforce. Though Tate gave a spirited effort, she was no match for Rousey.

As a matter of fact, Liz Carmouche put up a better fight than Tate did. In addition to that, Tate lost her last fight to Cat Zingano. Because of knee injuries, Zingano is out of action. Otherwise, she'd probably be facing Rousey on Saturday night.

Tate is essentially a replacement. This is a fight hyped by the drama between the two ladies which was egged on and sensationalized during TUF 18.

All that aside, Tate has to do something to prove she's not just someone who doesn't get along with the UFC women's bantamweight champion. A win would make her a true rival; another loss just makes her a bitter victim.

 

Was Weidman's Victory a Fluke?

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Chris Weidman, blue shorts, defeated Anderson Silva (yellow shorts) in their Middleweight Chamionship Bout in the second round with a TKO at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

I've said it before and I'll say it again. When Silva clowned and got himself knocked out at UFC 162, he didn't just do an injustice to himself, he also cheated Weidman out of the glory that should come with beating the greatest MMA fighter of all time.

In the rematch, Weidman will have the opportunity to prove his win was no fluke. Silva will be trying to prove the opposite.

There will be no games in the Octagon this time. Whoever comes out on top in the main event won't have any questions to answer about the legitimacy of their win. However, if Silva wins, Weidman should get the same prompt rematch The Spider received.

 

Can UFC 168 Compete With the Commercial Success of UFC 100?

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  Brock Lesnar holds down Frank Mir during their heavyweight title bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

UFC 100 is the standard bearer for pay-per-view success in the UFC. The card that featured Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir, Georges St-Pierre vs. Thiago Alves and Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson still has the highest buy-rate of any UFC pay-per-view event at 1.6 million, per MMA Manifesto.

Could the star-studded card at UFC 168 top that—or even come close?

The promotion's popularity has only grown since 2010 when UFC 100 took place. The key is the Rousey-Tate clash. Yes, the Silva-Weidman rematch is big, but as far as the casual fan goes, the way the public takes to the ladies' bitter feud will dictate just how high this card soars in revenue.

 

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