UFC Fight Night 36: 5 Reasons to Watch
Just a little more than one week removed from one of the most disappointing pay-per-view events in UFC history, fight fans are aching for some relevant in-cage action.
Well, their bloodiest dreams have come true. UFC Fight Night 36 is due to touch down this Saturday on Fox Sports 1 in Jaragua, Brazil.
The main event, a middleweight scrap between former light heavyweight king Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida and international superstar Gegard Mousasi, who will be making his divisional debut.
But that's not all. The action is sure to scintillate from start to finish.
Here are five reasons to tune in this weekend for some free Octagon brutality.
Douglas Silva de Andrade is the the newest member of the UFC roster. He'll be replacing an injured Thiago Tavares Saturday night against Zubair Tuhugov, a 23-year-old Russian striking specialist.
If you don't know, Andrade possesses ridiculous power. He's recorded 18 finishes by knockout or TKO in just 22 professional fights, remaining undefeated along the way.
His placement in the UFC featherweight division could hold monumental potential, especially considering the Brazilian market could be a losing a champion if Jose Aldo moves up to 155.
Either way, "D'Silva" is a force to be reckoned with. This video is evidence that the 28-year-old carries unfathomable knockout ability and should turn into one very exciting newcomer.
4. Erick Silva
The divisional momentum of Brazil's Erick Silva has been shaken up so many times you'd think we were living in a snow globe.
But even despite a recent second-round knockout defeat at the heavy hands of welterweight mainstay Dong Hyun Kim, the 29-year-old finisher still possesses future title potential.
That's not to say he'll get there any time soon, but watching Silva is still exciting. The kid often explodes on cue, overwhelming his opponents until they wilt.
It's going to be interesting to see if his aggressive style can stifle that of newcomer Takenori Sato, a Japanese catch wrestler who has rattled off six Welterweight King of Pancrase title defenses and a guy who hasn't been finished in over four years.
3. "Jacare" vs. Tristar
Ronaldo Souza has been on an absolute tear.
Since making the jump to the UFC from Strikeforce, "Jacare" has proven once again why he's considered one of the very best middleweights on the planet.
But as good as the Brazilian has been since making his debut back in May, Francis Carmont has been just as impressive.
Hailing from Canada's Tristar Gym, the rangy Carmont has beaten opponents on the back of athletic wrestling, pinpoint striking and raw strength.
However, "Limitless" has never faced a fighter as well-rounded as Souza, especially considering the veteran is starting to finish guys with his hands.
In any case, to the victor goes the spoils. The winner of this middleweight showdown will be one step closer to a title shot sometime in 2015.
2. Mousasi's Return to 185
The last time Gegard Mousasi fought at 185 pounds, he knocked out Ronaldo Souza back in 2008 with a first-round upkick to win the inaugural Dream middleweight championship.
Now, I know what you're thinking. With success like that, why the heck would Mousasi move up from middleweight?
It's anyone's guess, but he did it with success, submitting Mark Hunt in 2009 before making a light heavyweight title run in Strikeforce.
But that was then and this is now. And the question now is whether or not Mousasi can make a prolific transition to the UFC middleweight division.
The answer to that inquiry is an emphatic yes.
As one of the most overlooked and underrated fighters in the sport today, "The Armenian Assassin" possesses much more potential than people may think.
He's blessed with world-class kickboxing, a chin that has never failed him through 39 professional fights and a collected approach inside the cage that has fueled perennial success.
So don't be surprised if Mousasi is able to get past "The Dragon."
1. Machida's Run at the Belt
Fighters drop down weight classes all the time.
It happens so much that it's becoming second nature as a writer to report on it.
But rarely, and I do mean rarely, does a fighter who possesses the international stardom and decorated resume like Lyoto Machida does make that drop.
That's why the Brazilian's recent expansion into the UFC middleweight division has created unworldly buzz. The kind of buzz that takes a former light heavyweight kingpin and drops him smack-dab in the middle of the most rapidly evolving weight class around.
But it's not like Machida's past accomplishments are just keeping him afloat as a suitable title contender by year's end. No, not even close. The 35-year-old karate master is still producing, evidenced by his recent head kick knockout of Mark Munoz back in October.
So as deep and talent-rich as the middleweight division is today, "The Dragon" is still breathing the type of fire that can take down any unsuspecting opponent. This includes champion Chris Weidman and No. 1 contender Vitor Belfort.
It will be fascinating to see Machida step inside the Octagon in front of a Brazilian crowd and try to stop a true threat in Gegard Mousasi this weekend.
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