5 Reasons to Watch UFC Fight Nights 43 and 44

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2014

5 Reasons to Watch UFC Fight Nights 43 and 44

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    Strap yourself in: The UFC is coming at you with two events this weekend. So grab a case of a beer, fill up the chip bowl and light the grill, because it's going to be a long day.

    First, on Fight Pass, we get an early (5 a.m. ET) card in America in the form of UFC Fight Night 43. Live from New Zealand, the card boasts local talent and some established veterans who are looking to cement their names.

    Then on Fox Sports 1, UFC Fight Night 44 hits on Saturday night from San Antonio. Also with some top prospects on the card, the event has more star power and some interesting fights to keep you occupied starting at 10 p.m. ET.

    Need five reasons to tune in? Let's take a look at why you should watch the UFC this weekend.

Prospects Galore

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    There may not be a bunch of the top stars in the world of MMA competing, but the future of the UFC will be on display on Saturday.

    On the New Zealand card, most of the guys are little-known fighters who are looking to put their names on the map. With Robert Whittaker, Jake Matthews and Roldan Sangcha-an, among other, the event showcases international talents that are looking to introduce themselves formally to the UFC world.

    Then, in San Antonio, a number of skilled fighters are debuting alongside established veterans. Anthony Hamilton, Carlos Diego Ferreira and Joe Ellenberger are just three of the handful of prospects who are looking to make their official entrance to the UFC.

    If you like prospects, Saturday will be an exciting day for you.

Barnburner in San Antonio

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    The main event of the card in San Antonio is a potential Fight of the Night candidate. It could even be a Fight of the Year candidate.

    Jeremy Stephens and Cub Swanson are rarely in boring fights. Both men like to throw heat on the feet and finish their opponents in violent fashion.

    Not only that, but their styles match up perfectly. Whereas Swanson is more technical and lands with more frequency, Stephens has the natural power to break jaws and expose the smallest of flaws.

    This is the perfect storm. Keep an eye out for the barnburner in San Antonio this weekend.

The Development of Kelvin Gastelum

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    Undefeated at 8-0, Kelvin Gastelum has to be considered one of the best prospects in the UFC. He proved that in his 3-0 UFC start, beating Uriah Hall, Brian Melancon and Rick Story.

    Gastelum is the definition of a hot prospect. He is just 22 years old and has yet to hit his full potential yet. That is a scary thought.

    Consider the fact that he came into this sport basically as a wrestler and has held his ground on the feet with seasoned fighters like the flashy striker Hall and double-digit UFC vet Story.

    Gastelum now has Nico Musoke in his way. A win over him would continue to push him toward a potential Top 10 opponent.

Te Huna in a New Weight Class

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    After a career at light heavyweight, New Zealand native James Te Huna will be adjusting to a new life at 185 pounds. His first fight in the middleweight division? A headlining spot.

    Te Huna is one of the best fighters from New Zealand and carries much fanfare. There should be some added pressure on a guy who will be fighting former Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt.

    Te Huna was a powerhouse at 205. We will see if his power transfers to his new weight class and if he can cut the weight intelligently.

Free TV (and a Subscription)

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    I say it all the time. One of the biggest reasons to watch is because it's free. Well, at least UFC Fight Night 44 is, but if you have a subscription to Fight Pass, UFC Fight Night 43 comes with your monthly fee.

    Sure, these events may not have box office names like Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre at the top of the card, but there are still plenty of potentially explosive fights. The no-name cards are usually the ones that deliver the most action.

    So, be happy. You have nearly a full day of MMA enjoyment coming your way this weekend.