UFC on Fox 11: 5 Reasons to Watch

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2014

UFC on Fox 11: 5 Reasons to Watch

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    David Becker

    This coming Saturday will mark the 11th installment of UFC on Fox.

    For over two years, the pulsating promotion has given fans a perennial free look at their product, offering some of the very best fights in the process.

    This weekend in Orlando will not stray from that path.

    Littered with sensational divisional showdowns, heralded Octagon returns and ultimate coming-out parties, UFC on Fox 11 is destined to join its predecessors in the night sky.

    Here are five reasons to tune in and watch one of the best free cards in recent memory.

5. 'Cupcake' vs. 'Girl-Rilla'

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    USA TODAY Sports

    As two of the more notable fighters in the UFC women's bantamweight division prying for resurgent title runs, Miesha "Cupcake" Tate and Liz "Girl-Rilla" Carmouche will be all-hands-on-deck come Saturday.

    Never shy to stand and duke it out, both ladies possess exceptional balance, power, precision and resilience on the feet, suggesting that this could very well turn into one of the best striking matchups the weight class has to offer this year.

    Now while Tate is arguably the more accomplished and dangerous fighter, "Girl-Rilla" is super-athletic, ridiculously strong and always ready to drag an opponent into suffocating waters.

    This should be an awesome display of female dominance and even more proof (as if we needed it) that the girls can easily hold down a top spot on a major UFC card.

4. Head Kicks Galore

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Now while it's borderline insane to ever expect Edson Barboza to land another spinning wheel kick like the one he smacked Terry Etim with a few years back, it's still exciting to wait and see if he does.

    Fortunately for fight fans, or whoever finds themselves channel-surfing this weekend, the Brazilian will be trying to improve on an impressive three-fight win streak when he takes on fellow kickboxing specialist and UFC veteran Donald Cerrone.

    Always capable of finishing a fight in fashion, "The Cowboy" is no stranger to showing up when the spotlight is the brightest.

    If he wants to regain his divisional footing and make a title run that was previously derailed by a Anthony Pettis liver kick, Cerrone will have to outpoint and out-pursue one of the very best kickers in the UFC.

3. Khabib's Lightweight Ascent

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Khabib Nurmagomedov is a name that many fans can't even spell, let alone pronounce.

    His hard-nosed Russian bravado is perfectly fused with an undefeated record and a photo-friendly papakha hat, which all coincides in making "The Eagle" one of the most mysterious and feared lightweights in the world today.

    His divisional ascent has been fueled by unparalleled takedowns, evolving punching power and the ability to tire opponents before the opening round even starts.

    Once his overall brand and potential is crammed down the throats of unassuming fight fans, Nurmagomedov will then own the international recognition and appeal to complete his title run sometime next year.

    This weekend is just another step in the right direction and another chance to witness one of the very best contenders in the game right now.

2. The Return of Alves

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    Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

    Remember Thiago Alves?

    Hardcore fight fans sure do.

    It wasn't that long ago that a young Brazilian with the Octagon mindset and persistence of a pit bull was wreaking havoc within the toughest division in the UFC, ultimately earning a shot at Georges St-Pierre's illustrious title.

    That ravenous welterweight phenom was in fact Alves, but an inability to stay healthy forced the promising talent to collect dust amidst the UFC's injured reserve and miss more than two years of action.

    It now seems that the 30-year-old has hashed out any blips he may have had on his scrambled radar. He seems focused, refueled, hungrier than ever and capable of making serious noise in a newly landscaped 170-pound crop heap.

    His return has been in the books for quite some time and will easily draw massive interest on Fox Sports 1 during the prelims.

1. Hapa's Rise to Stardom

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    David Becker

    As respected and distinguished as Fabricio Werdum is, his future prognosis as a bona fide championship threat doesn't quite stack up against that of Travis Browne.

    Since an apparent leg injury left Browne hobbled and wobbled opposite Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva back in 2012, the towering Hawaiian has dismantled and gutted some of the best heavyweight names in the sport today.

    Whether it was Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett or Gabriel Gonzaga, "Hapa" has made his job look like the work of a true minuteman, ending every one of his last three fights via first-round knockout.

    If he's able to strike his way past the always formidable ground game of Werdum, then Browne should be considered the quintessential top contender.

    That's very exciting news, especially for anyone who thinks Cain Velasquez won't lose in the next 100 years.


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