5 Reasons to Watch UFC 175

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

5 Reasons to Watch UFC 175

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    This weekend, the UFC celebrates the biggest fight week of the year, with UFC 175 being the main attraction of the MMA world. Headlined by two title fights and numerous other star-filled bouts, UFC 175 promises to be a must-see event with big implications.

    Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey are set to defend their belts in the co-main events. Weidman faces karate master Lyoto Machida in an intriguing matchup, while Rousey takes on jiu-jitsu black belt Alexis Davis.

    If that's not enough to tickle your fancy, other fighters like Urijah Faber are also set to fight on the star-studded card. Plus, Stefan Struve makes his long-awaited return from a near-career-ending heart condition.

    There are way more than five reasons to watch this card, but we will give you the most important ones here.

Defending from the Dragon

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    Chris Weidman has not fought since December, when he famously checked a leg kick that changed Anderson Silva's career for the worse. It was the American's first title defense, and he passed the test.

    He is already a star. The undefeated fighter has beaten Silva twice and is rapidly improving. He was once just a wrestler, but he has rounded off his game well in working closely with Matt Serra and Ray Longo.

    However, being champion, he is going to be fighting the best in the business. That's where Lyoto Machida steps in.

    "The Dragon" has dropped from light heavyweight to middleweight and looked sensational in the process. He kicked the head off Mark Munoz and won a convincing decision over Gegard Mousasi to earn this shot at glory.

    It's a former UFC champion against a current UFC champion. Weidman will have no easy fight here, but a win will solidify his championship status and ascent of the pound-for-pound rankings.

Grappler's Delight

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    Ronda Rousey has tapped out strikers. She has tapped out wrestlers. However, she has never had an MMA fight with a jiu-jitsu fighter quite like Alexis Davis.

    Despite the fact that the champ may be the best female grappler in the sport, she takes on Alexis Davis, a jiu-jitsu black belt. Davis is very gifted on the mat, though she prefers top position where she drops punches and searches for submissions.

    However, if she fails to get top position, will her jiu-jitsu be negated? Rousey is a great takedown artist, using her world-class judo throws and other types of takedowns to gain smothering top position.

    Eight of Rousey's nine wins have come via submission. Will Davis be victim No. 9 of the armbar, or can she shock the world against the sport's biggest female superstar?

    Tune in to find out.

Heart of a Giant

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    Last time we saw Stefan Struve, Mark Hunt knocked out his teeth and broke his jaw. The giant Dutchman then disappeared for a while. So where did he go?

    Well, Struve was found to have an enlarged heart and other issues with the vital organ. That shelved him for more than a year as he received treatment to save his MMA career.

    Many thought it was the end for him, but he was cleared by a doctor recently to return to fighting. It is a feel-good story that will allow a fan favorite to return to work.

    In his way is power-punching Matt Mitrione, who should make for a fun opponent for Struve. Mitrione is aggressive and powerful, something that could be troubling for the potentially rusty Struve.

    A win in his return would be the ultimate feel-good story for the Dutch mixed martial artist.

Uriah Hall: Contender or Pretender?

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    OK, so beating Thiago Santos won't put Uriah Hall into title talks anytime soon. But Saturday night, we find out if he is truly worthy of being in the top end of the division or just a pretender.

    Hall was vicious during his time on The Ultimate Fighter 17. He knocked dudes out with conviction and had the aura about him that he was future championship material.

    Then he lost to Kelvin Gastelum in the finale and gave an uninspiring outing against John Howard. His star was faded.

    He has since destroyed Chris Leben, effectively saving his job and dream of being a star in this sport.

    An impressive, violent performance against Santos will further distance the memory of his lackluster start in the UFC.

The California Kid...on the Prelims?!

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    Urijah Faber is a former champion. He is a multitime UFC headliner. He is the biggest star in the bantamweight division.

    All that said, he is on the prelims.

    Soak that in for a while. A former champion who has headlined as recently as February is now on the prelims. It is an odd move for a guy who could warrant additional pay-per-view buys if on the main card.

    However, it's easy to see why the UFC did it. The company wants an important fight on the headline of the prelims to help push further buys of the show. Faber is the type of guy who could attract eyes on Fox Sports 1, which could entice people to order UFC 175.

    But also consider that if the UFC wanted an attractive fight in the headline of the prelims, Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione could have served that job well. Fans love heavyweights, and those two athletic, non-fast big men could wag a beautiful war.

    Faber takes on Alex Caceres in an interesting matchmaking decision. "The California Kid" has gone from fighting only Top 10 fighters in his UFC tenure to a guy who has never been in the Top 10.

    Sometimes, the MMA world is crazy.