While the main event has the marquee names, the hastily put together co-main event is the fight everyone is most looking forward to, us included, as perennial contender Josh Koscheck takes on rapidly rising prospect Anthony "Rumble" Johnson.
Many are exceptionally high on the talented Johnson, myself included, and with good reason. Over his seven fights in the UFC (5-2, 8-2 overall), the Georgia native has shown dangerous striking and incredible quickness. In addition, Johnson is a massive welterweight, though that proved problematic last time around.
Though Johnson's future is certainly bright, Koscheck is no slouch and will pose a serious roadblock to Rumble's ascent.
Despite his recent love affair with striking, Koscheck is a dominant wrestler.
The former multi-time All-American should return to his wrestling roots and or risk suffering the same fate. While Johnson possesses solid wrestling of his own, it pales in comparison to Koscheck's, and taking this fight to the ground removes the chances of getting KTFO by one of the top strikers in the division.
In addition to utilizing his superior ground skills, the American Kickboxing Academy product should look to make this a marathon, not a sprint.
As previously mentioned, Johnson is a massive welterweight, walking around in the area of 200 pounds before training camp begins. A knee injury before his last bout—four weeks ago at UFC 104—caused him to miss weight by six pounds.
Despite the quick turnaround, Johnson was back up in the neighborhood of 180 pounds at the start of the week, and the effects of repeatedly cutting big weight will certainly take a toll on a fighter's body.
Conversely, weight has never been a problem for Koscheck, and we've seen him go the distance before against the likes of Thiago Alves, Diego Sanchez, and welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.
Make no mistake about it: This is a dangerous bout for both fighters, and Koscheck enters the cage with more to lose than his up-and-coming opponent.
The winner most likely moves one step closer to a title shot, while the loser moves back down the ladder to regroup.
Three losses in five fights certainly doesn't look good on anyone's resume, regardless of who they come against.
If Koscheck wants to avoid that scenario, he needs to follow the blueprint above or else he'll be left looking up at the lights wondering what went wrong.
For the other side of the story, check out Robert Gardner's thoughts on what will make Johnson successful on Saturday.