Having been spoilt last weekend with a PPV-quality ‘Fight Night’ event, the UFC are back again this Saturday, but with a ‘Fight Night’ card that carries a little less cachet.
While the card may be light on intriguing and meaningful match-ups, there are a few storylines that are worth keeping an eye on.
A Clash of Heavyweight Proportions
Everybody loves a heavyweight fight. The prospect of seeing two foes that are bigger than your average bear throwing leather until one or the other is invariably knocked out is just too good of a show not to miss. When a heavyweight contest is between two combatants as skilled as Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva and Andrei Arlovski, we should be in for one hell of a show.
Here’s hoping we see a different Arlovski to the one we encountered on his return to the Octagon back at UFC 174, where a tentative ‘Pitbull’ took home a disputed decision victory over Brendan Schaub, but if any heavyweight is going to make you fight, it’s likely to be Silva. Despite his huge frame, Silva can shift when he has to and will likely prove a stern test for Arlovski’s battle-worn chin.
The Return of Efrain Escudero
When Efrain Escudero steps in to the Octagon on Saturday, it will be for his third stint with the world’s largest MMA promotion. Having started out his UFC career brightly, taking the TUF 8 crown back when he sort of meant something and then TKO’ing Cole Miller in his first UFC bout not set within the confines of the TUF experience, Escudero ran in to a little trouble and was cut following a 1-2 record over his next three fights. Now 1-2 is hardly a run of form that will get you cut these days, but these were headier times. This was the UFC in 2010, a time when they didn’t have to pad out their weightclasses to meet a demanding schedule and Escudero was disposable, particularly when he missed weight in his final loss to Charles Oliveira.
Having rattled off five wins in six bouts, Escudero was called back by the UFC in late 2011, but the results wasn’t any better this time around, it was worse, with Escudero losing both of his return UFC bouts before being blown out again in 2012. Escudero is now back again following a 4-1 run on the regional circuit (and Bellator), so, is it third time’s the charm for Efrain Escudero?
Fresh Contender in the Bantamweight Division?
With the UFC’s 135lbs division having been blown wide open by a series of events dating back to Dominick Cruz being stripped of the title due to inactivity/injury and including the interim dominance of Renan Barao, as well as the rise of TJ Dillashaw, it is clear for anyone to see that this is a weightclass in a state of flux.
This is where Iuri Alcantara steps in to the equation. Alcantara holds victories over notables such as Wilson Reis and Ricardo Lamas, whilst also running Urijah Faber close, but ultimately losing out in the judges’ eyes. Alcantara is currently on a two fight win streak with a KO victory over Vaughan Lee his most recent accomplishment and with another statement like that registered over Saturday’s opponent Russell Doane, it is likely that we will see Alcantara giving a crack at one of the bigger boys in this hectic division.