On paper, UFC Fight Night 50 has more commercial appeal than the injury-ravaged UFC 177 card did. As it turns out, last week's pay-per-view in Sacramento, California, may not have had the star power of a normal big show, but the action was better than expected.
Fans can only hope Friday's nationally televised show from Mashantucket, Connecticut, delivers as well. Headliners Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Gegard "The Dream Catcher" Mousasi will do their best to play their part in a solid showing.
The two top-10 ranked middleweights will engage in an important bout in the rankings at 185 pounds. In addition to fighting for position in the rankings, Souza will be looking for revenge. He and Mousasi have met before, and things didn't end well for the Brazilian. It took place in 2008 during a Dream grand prix bout.
Despite controlling most of the action from top position in the fight, Jacare stood above Mousasi's guard and attempted to fire a lunging right hand at his downed opponent. Mousasi caught him coming in with an upkick that knocked him unconscious. You can see the entire fight here.
Despite being only 29 years old, Mousasi has been fighting professionally for 11 years. He was originally fighting in the light heavyweight ranks of the UFC but recently dropped to 185 pounds.
Along with Jacare, Mousasi has beaten Mark Hunt, Gary Goodridge, Melvin Manhoef, Francis Carmont (in his last bout) and others. He's the real deal, and Jacare is blocking further ascension in the UFC ranks.
Can Mousasi win and move closer to a title shot in the UFC, or will Jacare take that same step?
This is just one of the intriguing bouts on tap. Alistair Overeem will take on Ben Rothwell in a heavyweight co-feature that could have an explosive conclusion. Both men are known for their powerful strikes. The first man to land cleanly will probably be the winner.
Here's a look at the entire card, predictions and viewing information. Just below the table is a closer look at the three biggest fights on the card.
|UFC Fight Night 50 Card, Predictions and Viewing Information|
|Fox Sports 1 Preliminaries||Friday, September 5, 7 p.m. ET|
|Sean Soriano vs. Chas Skelly||Featherweight||Skelly by submission|
|Chris Beal vs. Tateki Matsuda||Bantamweight||Beal by KO|
|Rafael Natal vs. Chris Carmozzi||Middleweight||Carmozzi by decision|
|Al Iaquinta vs. Rodrigo Damm||Lightweight||Iaquinta by decision|
|Fox Sports 1 Main Card||9 p.m. ET|
|John Moraga vs. Justin Scoggins||Flyweight||Scoggins by TKO|
|Nik Lentz vs, Charles Oliveira||Featherweight||Oliveira by submission|
|Joe Lauzon vs. Michael Chiesa||Lightweight||Lauzon by submission|
|Matt Mitrione vs. Derrick Lewis||Heavyweight||Lewis by TKO|
|Alistair Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell||Heavyweight||Overeem by TKO|
|Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza vs. Gegard Mousasi||Middleweight||Souza by decision|
|Card per UFC.com, predictions by Brian Mazique|
Souza Will Get His Revenge on Mousasi
It's hard to make too much of a fight that took place six years ago, but we do know that Souza's ground game has vastly improved since he lost to Mousasi in 2008. That's a positive sign considering he was dominating the action on the mat before he got careless.
There's reason to believe he should still have the edge on the ground, but domination is probably not in the cards for Jacare.
Mousasi is terribly difficult to finish by strikes or submission. He hasn't been stopped in a bout since 2006. Per FightMetric.com, Mousasi's strike defense is at 72 percent, while the average is just 58.
He's also a proficient grappler in his own right, though not quite as persistent or strong as Jacare. The latter relentlessly pursues the takedown to a tune of 3.64 attempts per 15 minutes. Because of Jacare's strong jiu jitsu and Mousasi's lack of power, it's tough to see The Dream Catcher winning this bout.
If I were a firm believer in Mousasi's ability to beat Jacare in the stand-up game, he'd get the nod. Because there's nothing suggesting Mousasi will be able to stay off his back, look for Jacare to control the fight with top position and win a unanimous decision.
Overeem Will Outlast Rothwell
Both Rothwell and Overeem are big punchers with small gas tanks. That's a combination for a fight that can't last very long.
Overeem is the more technical and accurate striker. He'll likely let Rothwell go for broke early and then take advantage of his winded opponent late in the first round or early in the second.
Either way, this one should end in a KO win for The Reem.
Derrick Lewis Will Squash Matt Mitrione
In a night that features a good number of big heavyweights, the Derrick Lewis-Matt Mitrione bout might be the most entertaining.
Lewis has that "it" factor as a striker. He hits like a ton of bricks and fights with a relentlessness that fans will enjoy. Mitrione seems like he should be better than he is. He's as strong as an ox and more naturally athletic than most heavyweights, but it has never really translated in the Octagon.
Friday will be his latest long night. Lewis' power and punching accuracy (65 percent striking) will lead to a quick KO win and more buzz as he attempts to become a player in the UFC's heavyweight division.
Follow Brian Mazique, aka FranchisePlay, the Sports Video Game Journalist.