UFC Fight Night 120 Preview: 3 Can't-Miss Fights from Norfolk Fight Card

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterNovember 9, 2017

Diego Sanchez
Diego SanchezJeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Hungover from UFC 217? Eat a greasy hamburger, drink a sports beverage, hit the sauna and get your head back in the game. UFC Fight Night 120 happens Saturday, and the company's first event to Norfolk, Virginia, comes packed with dynamite.

There are no title fights on the card. Only five of the 12 main-card fighters appear in the UFC's official rankings (for the loaded UFC 217, it was eight of 10).

So sluggishness is understandable, and I would stop short of calling this essential viewing. But if you are a fight fan, there's a good chance you are going to be entertained. The 13-fight slate is packed with action fighters and mouthwatering matchups. Here are the three bouts you can't miss.

For the sake of variety, we will look past the main event of Dustin Poirier vs. Anthony Pettis. That should be a great fight, but it's no fun to pick the main event.

              

Strawweight

Angela Hill (7-3) vs. Nina Ansaroff (7-5)

Odds: Hill -188 (wager $188 to win $100)

Airs on: Fox Sports 1

Former Invicta strawweight champ and The Ultimate Fighter competitor Angela Hill is looking for her second straight win in her second UFC run. Her first fight back was a loss but earned Fight of the Night honors against top contender Jessica Andrade.

Angela Hill (right)
Angela Hill (right)Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Hill brings her hyperathletic muay thai to bear against Nina Ansaroff's kickboxing. Neither of these fighters is exceptionally interested in the ground, though if anyone's going to take it there, it's Ansaroff. But if it goes true to form, this fight will be a striking battle. And that striking battle will be downright pyrotechnic.

                   

Welterweight

Matt Brown (20-16) vs. Diego Sanchez (27-10)

Odds: Brown -315 (wager $315 to win $100)

Airs on: Fox Sports 1

This is as much of a no-brainer as the main event. Perhaps more so. There is zero chance this plays out as anything other than a slugfest.

Matt Brown's American muay thai is one of the more rugged offensive attacks in UFC welterweight history. He has put away good fighters time and again in his career—with extreme prejudice.

Diego Sanchez is one of the greatest berserkers the UFC has ever seen, in any division. At one time known for power wrestling, Sanchez has turned into an unabashed brawler, known and loved for his blood-soaked abandon in the cage and his, uh, colorful lifestyle outside it.

Both of these men badly need a win to get back on top. Brown is 36 and Sanchez 35, but given their styles, they have both aged beyond their years. Brown is a substantial favorite, but Sanchez won't give an inch. That's the attitude fans love and fear.

                 

Bantamweight

Marlon Moraes (18-5-1) vs. John Dodson (19-8)

Odds: Dodson/Moraes -110 (wager $110 to win $100)

Airs on: Fox Sports 1

Here's a hidden gem for the prelim watchers. During his entire five-year UFC tenure, Jackson-Winkeljohn product John Dodson has lost to two men. One of those men is flyweight champ and reigning pound-for-pound king Demetrious Johnson, who beat him twice, hence Dodson's reappearance at bantamweight.

Marlon Moraes (left)
Marlon Moraes (left)Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Dodson remains incredibly athletic, lightning-quick in his movements and packing river stones for a left hand. He's no stranger to the ground or the clinch, either.

Marlon Moraes has good jiu-jitsu, but his real stock-in-trade is muay thai. He loves to wear people down with strikes from the clinch and chew them up in open space. He's not a power striker, but he will slice opponents open and leave them in tatters. If Dodson can't get in on the taller Moraes and land that big left flush, he may be in for a long night with the savvy, well-rounded Brazilian.

           

Odds accurate as of Tuesday and according to OddsShark.