With the upcoming UFC 109 card in just over 2 weeks its important to keep in mind that all cards despite your personal opinion will carry some relevance and hidden stories to watch out for. The upcoming card on Feb 6th has had its fair share of criticism for being weak on names and important fights but there are a number of sub plots to the event. Keep your eyes peeled and these thoughts in your head and it may make the event a bit more interesting for some of you.
Hall of Famers belong in a 'hall' not the Octagon
Yes Couture vs Coleman is a weak main event for a card but do not underestimate the significance of the first time 2 active hall of famers will meet in the Octagon. Many including myself believe a convincing win for 'The Natural' will place him in title contention at 205lbs. For Coleman this is a chance to cement his legacy as an equal to Couture and as the true founder of the grind em' down style. Trust me there will be a lot of 'Man pride' at stake in this fight and it should be entertaining. Its not a main event, but take it for what it is and enjoy history in the making.
Nate 'The Great' is going, all in!
Marquardt vs Sonnen may be viewed as one sided but its important to remember that Marquardt has a lot more to lose then Sonnen in this fight. Nate is recognized by most people as the No.1 contender in the middleweight division, ahead of Vitor Belfort who is getting the next shot at Anderson Silva. He is all but assured the next title shot as long as he keeps winning. When a fighter enters the Octagon there is a chance anything can happen and with Sonnen a lively opponent, Marquardt needs to be on guard so as not to throw away his title shot. This makes this fight a lot more interesting, with Nate having everything to lose and Chael everything to gain, potentially even a title shot of his own?
Can Paulo Thiago go 2-1 against Team AKA
Having beaten Josh Koscheck by KO and lost a decision to Jon Fitch, Paulo Thiago now finds himself going against the third member of the American Kickboxing Academy's elite welterweights, Mike Swick. This fight is the pick of the card in my opinion and hopefully it will deliver. Swick is coming off a big loss in his career at the hands of Dan Hardy and it will be interesting to see how he bounces back. Thiago is looking to get his second win over a top 10 fighter and over Team AKA and really cement his place in the title mix. Both have displayed good hands, so this fight might be decided on the ground. It could be a classic!!
Can the Sub machine Demian Maia bounce back?
Demian Maia was a surging Brazilian middleweight rattling off 5 straight wins in the UFC. He then ran into the best UFC middleweight not named Silva and was KO'd in 21 seconds. Having now suffered his first taste of UFC defeat he will return against Dan Miller. In a division that is really weak of contenders a good win for Maia at UFC 109 will place him squarely back in contention. Will we see the return to form of the Jiu-Jitsu ace or did Marquardt expose a weakness that Miller can exploit, its MMA after all!!
The debut of 'Mr. Wonderful' Phil Davis
In a fight that will likely be on the undercard and that has largely gone unnoticed, UFC 109 will see the debut of the 4 time All American wrestler who is 4-0 in his young MMA career. Training out of Brandon Vera's camp in San Diego, Davis has been regarded as one of the hottest prospects at 205lbs. Making his debut against Brian Stann will not be an easy task and will give an early indication of how he might fair in the UFC. Lets hope this fight makes the PPV or is shown on Spike.
Another addition to the Gracie legacy?
UFC 109 will also see the debut of another fighter in Rolles gracie. At 250lbs he will be the biggest Gracie to compete in MMA and will be the first to combine his unique family heritage skills with physical size. At 3-0 in MMA competition he is still new to the sport but his Jiu-Jitsu skills have been evident as he has won all 3 fights by submission. The UFC look to be planning a big push for him as they have handed him Mostapha Al-Turk for his debut, a fighter who has looked distinctly unimpressive in his UFC career. Anytime a Gracie steps foot in the Octagon MMA fans should be happy, so this is another interesting thing to watch for at UFC 109.
A fight for Relevance: Serra vs Trigg
The Welterweight division more then any other has moved on and advanced beyond the fighters that made the UFC famous. It has left the likes of Hughes, Baroni, Serra, and Trigg with a fight to remain relevant. Both Serra and Trigg are coming off losses and you have to wonder what desire they have left to keep pushing themselves in a division stacked of young studs. I think Serra has a place in the UFC, he is a former champ and can sell a fight with his smack talk. Trigg on the other hand I think is fighting to stay in the UFC.
So there you have it, a few bits and bobs to look out for during UFC 109. Overall I think this is anther UFC 108 in the making, on paper not the best card, but I think the fighters will hopefully deliver come fight night!