UFC Fight Night 40: 5 Reasons to Watch
The UFC returns this weekend with UFC Fight Night 40. Live from Cincinnati, the card boasts a solid lineup with prospects and UFC vets alike scattered throughout the card.
Headlining are the welterweights, as Matt Brown takes on Erick Silva. This bout could decide who gets a top-10 opponent in their next bout and who goes back to the drawing board.
Also, middleweights Costa Philippou and Lorenz Larkin will do battle to get back in the win column. Both are at the top end of the division and looking to right the ship from their previous bouts.
With that, let's look at five reasons you should watch this card come Saturday night.
Contender or Pretender?
There are questions surrounding both Erick Silva and Matt Brown coming into this main event. Are they contenders? Are they pretenders?
We are sure to find out.
Brown is on a six-fight win streak and has a ton of fanfare behind him right now. Those wins have come against the likes of Mike Swick, Jordan Mein and Mike Pyle, giving fans a reason to call for a high-level fight. That said, he still needs to prove himself against a top-15 guy.
That's where Silva comes in.
Silva's only slip-ups have come against the likes of Jon Fitch and Dong Hyun Kim, both of whom were top-15 fighters when they met (forget the Carlo Prater DQ, Silva smashed that fool). Other than that, Silva has destroyed all who have come in his path, including Jason High, Charlie Brenneman and Takenori Sato.
We will find out who is real and who is fake here. The winner gets a top-10 fight while the other goes back to the gym to figure out why they cannot break through the upper echelon.
1, 2, 3, 4...I Declare a Striking War
Do you like striking battles? Of course you do, who the heck doesn't?
Well, two of the top-billed fights on the card feature strikers that will get you out of your seat. Those bouts are Larkin-Philippou and Erik Koch-Daron Cruickshank.
Larkin and Philippou will be a clash of styles, as Larkin is a muay thai stylist while Philippou is a traditional boxer. Larkin and Philippou are both immensely powerful, so whoever brings their chin to the bout will likely prevail here.
As for Cruickshank and Koch, both men are heavy kickers with good hands. Koch has shown good top-position striking on the ground as well, though Cruickshank is a good wrestler and can keep this bout standing.
Either way, these two bouts should be more than entertaining.
The Hulk on American Soil
Soa Palelei isn't among the elites at heavyweight right now, but he's getting there, and that's all that matters right now.
After a lackluster, one-fight stint with the UFC back in 2007, Palelei has returned with a 2-0 record inside the Octagon. After winning a sloppy, one-sided affair against Nikita Krylov, the Australian-based fighter quickly dismantled Pat Barry with a takedown and a ground-and-pound fest in Australia.
The UFC has decided to build up The Hulk slowly, opting to give him newcomer Ruan Potts on the main card. Potts is a dangerous man, but he is nowhere near the best fighter Palelei has ever seen.
If Palelei can pace himself and methodically pick apart Potts, he will find himself 3-0 in his UFC return. That type of record is something to build on later, as the UFC can tout him as a potential threat in the heavyweight division.
Eddie Wineland...on the Prelims?!
Eddie Wineland is a former WEC champion. He is also a recent UFC title challenger to Renan Barao.
Wineland is on the prelims. That is questionable at best, considering guys like Potts, Neil Magny and Chris Cariaso made it on the main card over him.
Despite that questionable placement, Wineland continues to be one of the best bantamweights in the world. Needing to prove something after his loss to Barao, Wineland came back in extreme force when he drubbed Yves Jabouin in Chicago.
He now gets a man in Johnny Eduardo that has hasn't fought in two years. A questionable matchup but something that will keep Wineland busy in the interim.
Wineland is worth watching if you have Fox Sports 2. He is a real threat at 135 and continues to be in the top 5 despite the seeming lack of respect he gets from matchmaking.
Free TV, Y'all
Do I really need to explain this one? Despite the lack of real star power on the card, this event is on free TV for all to see (if you get Fox Sports 1).
These events are usually the most exciting and aesthetically pleasing to fans. They offer barn burners and instant classics which turns normal, less-than-popular fighters into guys with fan cult followings.
Plenty of these guys on this card have earned Fight of the Night honors in the past. If they haven't, they probably deserved to at some point.
If you get the channel, watch the event. I am sure you will not be disappointed.