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Ronda Rousey is the biggest star in the known universe.

This may not be the most truthful statement ever written. But it feels that way, here in one of the many rooms that make up the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Rousey, clad in a gray Marilyn Monroe shirt, black leather jacket, designer Chuck Taylors and a gold Octagon necklace, is holding court on a small stage constructed specifically for her.

To Rousey’s left is UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. He is discussing his title defense against Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC 175 on Saturday night. He has twice beaten the best fighter in the history of MMA. He is young, athletic and good-looking. He is a fight promoter's dream.

There are five reporters standing in front of Weidman's stage; Rousey is surrounded by so many journalists and cameras that it's difficult to see her.

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today

Here’s what we know for sure about Ronda Rousey’s future in the Octagon: On Saturday she’ll take on Alexis Davis at UFC 175, she’ll win, and then she’ll go on a vacation.

Given that she opened as an eye-popping 20-1 favorite over Davis, we’d be fools to think anything else about how their fight will go. Rousey will come out of her corner, tinker with a few of the new toys she’s been refining in her striking game and then find a way to finish things, probably on the ground, probably during the first five minutes.

As for every other single thing in her professional life? Well, that’s all a lot more difficult to predict.

Rousey has been going pretty hard since coming to the UFC in February 2013. She’s grown into an industry unto herself, spearheading women’s MMA in a company and mainstream sporting landscape that had historically been dismissive of it. This will be her fourth title defense in 17 months and it’s not as though she’s lacking in other opportunities.

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USA Today

The UFC has a lot riding on this Saturday's pay-per-view event.

With Chris Weidman set to defend his middleweight title against Lyoto Machida and Ronda Rousey putting her women's bantamweight championship on the line against Alexis Davis, UFC 175 figures to be the fight company's biggest PPV of the year, at least so far.

Questions abound regarding this card. Does Weidman really deserve to be the 185-pound champion? Has Rousey given this training camp enough attention, as she's been off making movies? Do either Machida or Davis stand a chance of taking the straps off two of the UFC's next-generation stars?

Ordinarily, you'd have to wait for the event itself to find the answers. Not this time. Bleacher Report MMA lead writers Chad Dundas and Jonathan Snowden are here, they brought their far-eyes and they're ready to look into the future.

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USA Today

As far as main events go, you're not going to find many better than Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida.

The middleweight title fight headlines this Saturday's UFC 175 event in Las Vegas. It is a sublime stylistic matchup featuring two of the best fighters in the world, both of whom have drastically different approaches to combat in the Octagon. Weidman's game is centered around his wrestling and grappling; Machida relies on distance and counter-striking, and both men are capable of pulling a finish out of nowhere.

It's the kind of fight true mixed martial arts fans crave. But it's flying under the radar, and I can't quite explain why.

The lack of attention focused on the main event is probably due, at least in part, to the presence of Ronda Rousey in the co-main event. She is likely MMA's biggest star, and she draws the lion's share of attention. During Monday's media call to promote the event, most of the questions were pointed at Rousey and opponent Alexis Davis. Weidman, the middleweight champion who twice defeated the legendary Anderson Silva, was relegated to the sidelines, fielding just one question during the 35-minute call.

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USA Today

At this point, it’s one of our sport's most persistent jokes.

Five years after the UFC broadcast team prematurely bellowed the dawn of a new day in the light heavyweight division, the “Lyoto Machida Era” has become the “Rickson by armbar” of squandered potential.

When Machida meets Chris Weidman on Saturday at UFC 175, it may not only represent his last opportunity to recapture a world title but also his final chance to avoid going down as the butt of one of MMA’s cruelest memes.

In other words, this is likely Machida’s sole remaining shot at finally becoming the man he was always supposed to be.

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USA Today

With his first anniversary as UFC middleweight champion approaching, it sounds as though Chris Weidman has made peace with never getting the credit he deserves.

It’s hard to believe anyone would doubt him leading up to his UFC 175 showdown with Lyoto Machida—a fight exactly 364 days removed from the first time Weidman toppled Anderson Silva and took a hammer to our delicate sensibilities—yet some fans remain unimpressed.

There was enough weirdness during his two 2013 victories over Silva that those people looking for a reason not to invest in Weidman haven’t. In certain circles, the “fluke” tag still lingers around him like the scent of bad cologne in a New Jersey nightclub.

Surely, though, if the 30-year-old titleholder stomps past Machida in impressive fashion on Saturday, his detractors will start cutting him some slack. Right?

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USA Today

Until the very end, there were many who wanted to believe in Chael Sonnen.

You've heard me say this before, but I will say it again: Sonnen is one of the nicest people you'll meet in mixed martial arts. I mean genuinely nice. He looks you in the eye when he shakes your hand, and he goes out of his way to help people in need. He doesn't want people to talk about those moments, because they go against the "character" he has cultivated over the past few years, and that character is what took him from the preliminary card all the way to main events and network television broadcasts.

And so when Sonnen recently failed a drug test for anastrozole and HCG, you wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was transitioning off testosterone replacement therapy, after all, and that can't be an easy thing to accomplish without some sort of artificial help.

Yes, he made a gigantic mistake in not going through the proper commission channels—or any sort of channels at all, really—because he has been through this sort of thing before, and he knows what the end result will be. But it's still easy to overlook Sonnen's usage of the two aforementioned drugs, because he was transitioning off testosterone usage and taking drugs to help kick-start his body's natural production.

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Troy Taormina/USA Today

For Cub Swanson, perhaps the sixth time will be the charm.

Swanson ran his impressive Octagon win streak to an even half-dozen on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 44, outdueling the headhunting Jeremy Stephens en route to a unanimous-decision victory (49-46 x 2, 48-47).

The win—over an up-jumped lightweight who himself came in on a three-fight roll—might leave him at the very top of a suddenly robust featherweight division.

Then again, maybe not. There is more than just one 145-pound horse in this race.

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USA Today

Jeremy Stephens and Cub Swanson want to believe their stories are still being written.

They both likely shudder to think they would be defined by moments past. Were that the case, Swanson would forever be remembered as the victim of Jose Aldo’s insane eight-second double flying knee at WEC 41; Stephens would be remembered as the guy whose biggest career headlines came after his arrest on felony assault charges just before UFC on FX 5.

Neither would make a particularly proud legacy, so it’s tempting to cast Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 44 main event as a crossroads for both men.

The winner could be granted a future featherweight title shot and perhaps a chance to replace sour memories of the past with a brighter future. The loser shuffles back to the 145-pound pack, known at least a while longer for stuff he’d probably sooner forget.

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USA TODAY Sports

The UFC, in its ever-increasing attempts at expanding its brand around the globe, is running a lot of shows.

This is an unarguable point. Whether or not you believe it is running too many events comes down to your own personal preference. Some of you can't get enough mixed martial arts, and you'll gladly watch two events in one day (like the UFC has planned for this Saturday). For some of you, two events in a single day—and four events in the span of eight days—is simply too much of a good thing.

The massive amount of fight cards the UFC is pushing results in a watered-down product. On Saturday, Nate Marquardt and James Te Huna headline an event from New Zealand that will air exclusively on Fight Pass. Marquardt and Te Huna are a combined 0-5 in their last five bouts. Sure, there are some decent fights on the New Zealand card, but there are a lot of fights filled with competitors most of us have never heard of.

The same goes for the Fox Sports 1 card from San Antonio later in the day. Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy Stephens is a stellar television main event, and there are other intriguing bouts on the card. But there is plenty of filler, too.