UFC Fight Night 39: 5 Reasons to Watch
The UFC is set to return after a short hiatus with UFC Fight Night 39. Headlined by Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, the event hosts a bevy of up-and-comers and veterans who should make for a fun night.
The nine-fight card has been relatively quiet since there have been no injuries outside of the scrapped Alptekin Ozkilic vs. Dustin Ortiz bout. That being said, the card hosts some of the fighters with Middle Eastern backgrounds such as Alan Omer, Ramsey Nijem and Beneil Dariush.
Looking ahead, let's take a look at five reasons for you to watch this card Friday morning/afternoon.
Who Is Bigger (and Badder): Big Nog or Big Country?
The headliner has an interesting matchup of heavyweights with different styles in Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Nelson is a power-punching, mullet-wearing, belly-sporting freak of nature who is known for his one-punch knockouts and his celebratory belly rub. He is not going to out-technique anyone on the feet, but he will certainly test one's chin quickly.
Nogueira is more of a technical boxer with a top-notch jiu-jitsu game. He will want to close the distance on Nelson without overexposing his chin and get on top.
Whose brand of MMA is going to overcome the other? Find out on Fight Pass, as that is the only way to see out who is the victor of the two "Big" fighters.
The Crusher Returns
When Tatsuya Kawajiri finally joined the UFC, hardcore MMA fans salivated at the possibility. Would he be the domination machine we came to know outside the UFC, or would he be a bust?
Well, we found out that he is for real. After a brief moment where he looked tentative and shy under the bright lights, the Japanese buzzsaw cruised through Sean Soriano and scored an impressive finish in Singapore.
On Friday, he takes on an Energizer bunny in Clay Guida, whose style has changed from a wild, wheel-and-deal brawler to a tentative grinder who relies on game-planning.
Kawajiri needs to be wary of getting sucked into a brawl. If he stays away from that, he should be successful with his smothering top game and relentless pace.
Beneil Dariush: Knockout Artist
Our first glimpse at Beneil Dariush was one of great pleasure. He took on a gritty UFC vet in Charlie Brenneman and smoked him quickly on the feet.
He now gets a run in the Middle East, where he has his cultural roots (he is of Iranian descent). He takes on a fellow Middle Easterner in Ramsey Nijem, who has a similar but less refined skill set to Brenneman.
That is usually a recipe for success when a guy has already beaten somebody with the same skills but is tougher. The UFC can build upon Dariush, and that's what the promotion is doing here.
Don't blink: Dariush could end Nijem's night early and violently.
Camozzi vs. Craig: Fight of the Night?
They may not be the best fighters in the middleweight division, but Chris Camozzi and Andrew Craig are always game to put on a good show.
Both men are strikers who prefer to bang on the feet. They can take a serious beating as well, which means that both men could be in business to have a firefight on the feet.
Camozzi is more technical, while Craig is wilder. Those types of matchups are usually entertaining and can earn a guy a bonus check.
This fight is early on the card but is intended to set a good tone to the night. Don't be surprised if you see an awesome fight with some financial benefits for the participants by the end of the night.
Thales Leites...on the Undercard?!
Thales Leites is a former middleweight title challenger. He is 2-0 since returning to the UFC against Tom Watson and Ed Herman.
Yet he is on the undercard of this event.
That seems to be an injustice to a guy who is probably ranked higher than many of the men on the main card. He is a world-class ground fighter who has looked nothing short of impressive since his return to the UFC.
He draws Trevor Smith, who is staying on the roster by the skin of his teeth. This is Leites' bout to lose, and he will have to be impressive if he wants back onto the main card of anything.