The UFC recently announced the full main card for Nov. 15's UFC 180 in Mexico City, and several fighters on the card can expect a deafening roar of hometown support.
Headlining the event, Fabricio Werdum will battle Cain Velasquez for the UFC heavyweight title, capping off their season as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, which is currently airing on UFC Fight Pass.
According to a report from MMAFighting's Dave Doyle, Kelvin Gastelum, Diego Sanchez, Erik Perez and Ricardo Lamas—all fighters with Mexican heritage—will also be featured on the main card.
Here's how the full card looks right now:
|Cain Velasquez||Fabricio Werdum||Heavyweight||Main event, for UFC heavyweight title|
|Kelvin Gastelum||Jake Ellenberger||Welterweight|
|Diego Sanchez||Norman Parke||Lightweight|
|Ricardo Lamas||Dennis Bermudez||Featherweight|
|Erik Perez||Marcus Brimage||Bantamweight||Will mark Brimage's second fight at 135|
While Mexico's strong representation will undoubtedly please the crowd in attendance, arguably the best aspect of these matchups is that they all make sense and are all great fights on paper.
Perez (14-6) badly needs a victory after dropping two of his last three, and his opponent, Marcus Brimage (6-3), is coming off two straight losses, putting him in a similarly dire situation. Because of this, both fighters should come out with purpose and intensity, pushing the pace in search of the much-needed "W."
Meanwhile, Kelvin Gastelum (9-0) faces his toughest test yet, as he takes on Jake Ellenberger (29-8). Despite the fact that Gastelum is undefeated in his pro career and Ellenberger is coming off two straight losses, the level of competition each has faced has been dramatically different.
For perspective, Gastelum defeated Nicholas Musoke and Rick Story by decision in his last two fights, while Ellenberger lost to Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald.
Musoke and Story are unranked; Lawler and MacDonald are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the division, respectively. So, while Gastelum definitely has momentum on his side, this fight is far from a gimme for the young welterweight.
Who do you take in these matchups? Can Werdum pull off the upset or will the belt stay with Mr. Velasquez for the foreseeable future?