After a rare weekend off for the world’s leading MMA promotion the UFC returns this Sat, Jan 25, from the United Centre, Chicago, Illinois, in what promises to be another pulsating, action packed card.

The main event showcases two of the most experienced and well-rounded fighters in the business as “Smooth” Benson Henderson looks to bounce back in impressive fashion, against Josh “The Punk” Thomson, in a battle of former champions.

Yet the undercard boasts an assortment of young up-and-comers who will all be aiming to make a statement and separate themselves from the pack in an increasingly congested UFC roster –

George Sullivan vs. Mike Rhodes

The prelims kick off with two such fighters who embody the UFC’s ever more expansive recruitment policy, as both men make their promotional debuts and will need to make a good first impression if they are to remain long within the organisations welterweight ranks. Sullivan (14/3/1NC) enters the octagon unbeaten since 2011, with five of his last six wins coming by way of KO/TKO, while his opponent Rhodes (6/1) has only one loss, to rising star Brandon Thatch and trains out of the revered Roufousport Academy.

The lightweights will then throwdown as two former TUF contestants enter the cage knowing that their UFC futures hang in the balance. Lifelong martial artist Cruickshank (13/4) was unable to find his rhythm in his last outing, before being forced to tap to an Adriano Martins armbar, while his heavy-handed rival Mike Rio is coming off two tough submission defeats, so prepare for a striking battle as both fighters look to preserve their UFC status.

Prediction – Cruickshank by TKO

Junior Hernandez vs. Hugo Viana

The bantamweight’s then take over what remain of the prelims as Junior Hernandez (13/5) looks to bounce back following a disappointing start to his UFC tenure. His opponent Hugo Viana (7/1) tasted bitter defeat for the first time in his professional career last time out to TJ Dillashaw, so you can expect the “Wolverine” to be in full predator mode as he aims to respond with another impressive performance.

Prediction – Viana by Submission

Chico Camus vs. Yaotzin Meza

An intriguing clash of styles will then take place at 135lbs as the always entertaining Chico “King” Camus (13/4) aims to continue his ascension up the bantamweights ranks, following a closely contested win over Kyung Ho Kang. His opponent, Yaotzin Meza (20/8) is coming of a resurgent submission finish of John Albert and after dropping down a division he will be confident of building upon an excellent bantamweight debut.

Prediction – Camus by Decision

Eddie Wineland vs. Yves Jabouin

As a measure of the UFC’s immense talent pool, former title challenger Eddie Wineland (20/9/1) then takes to the octagon as he looks to rapidly return to the win column after falling short in his title tilt to the now undisputed Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao. His opponent, the ever game Yves “Tiger” Jabouin (19/8) is coming off a hard-fought win over Dustin Pague and will no doubt look to match Wineland on the feet and claim what would be the biggest scalp of his career.

Prediction – Wineland by TKO

Alex Caceres vs. Sergio Pettis

The prelims are headlined by a supercharged matchup between two exciting young bantamweights who have both been earmarked for greater things. Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres (9/5/1NC) has looked a genuine force since dropping down to 135lbs and brings an ever-improving set of skills to the cage after a difficult opening to his UFC career. His opponent, Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis (10/0) is one of the division’s hottest young talents and after cleaning up on the regional circuit he will be confident of providing further evidence of his prodigious talent and follow in the footsteps of his illustrious older brother and UFC Lightweight Champion, Anthony Pettis.

Prediction – Pettis by Decision

sergio pettis small

With the UFC’s continued commitment to the expansion of its weight classes and further escalation of its event calendar, you can expect more fighters to shed the pounds in search of their ideal division, creating a host of exciting new match-ups.


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