Headlined by a challenger-vs-champion rumble between wrestling expert Daniel Cormier and striking mastermind Jon Jones, as well as stacked with balanced preliminary bouts. This show demonstrates how serious the Ultimate Fighting Championship is about revamping it’s Pay-Per-View cards in 2015, and offering enough to draw further attention from the public eye.
Indeed, wrestling specialist Daniel Cormier’s shot at Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones might just be worth the price tag in it’s lonesome. But there are a slew of other fights for you to keep your eye on.
Precedent to the main attraction, Donald Cerrone threatens to upset hopeful unbeaten contender Myles Jury in a crossroads bout.
Cerrone has all of the offensive weapons to make a UFC title run, but he fairs much lesser at protecting himself, or working off the ground. Jury is confident of victory, but to achieve such a goal, he would need to smother and exhaust Cerrone on the ground — or use striking to finish him before he makes his traditional adjustments mid-fight.
Either method bares risks against one of the Lightweight division’s best strikers; not to mention a formidable grappler if given the advantage. He’s much more creative than Jury but also more scattered as the fight treads onward.
It will be difficult to separate these two on fight night, as both have generated impressive wins — and attention — in the parting year. No result is out of the question, and that sets a tone for the remainder of the bill.
While it remains evenly matched, Brad Tavares Vs. Nate Marquardt looks more unflattering to me. The idea of matching two veterans on a UFC PPV is advisable for many reasons — namely, name recognition.
Still, these men both appear disinteresting to watch at this end of their careers. Marquardt has dropped three of his last four and Tavares has skid over his last two, but Marquardt’s recent submission over James Te Huna was revitalizing, while Tavares was ahead against Tim Boetsch when the fellow-veteran closed the curtains. That is the silver lining.
Both still possess something, and we want to know just how much that something is worth to them. Make no mistake, this will be an grueling Saturday evening for both men as they try to save their careers.
Desperation, in MMA, feeds those in need of it. These men are both in need of a win — a spectacular win — and they will try to get it, if nothing else. There is your reason to watch this fight, even if it appears out of place on pay TV.
The next fight you’ll definitely want to see is Kyoji Horiguchi Vs. Louis Gaudinot.
Horiguchi is a Japanese Flyweight with a Shooto background. He has banked three UFC wins including one over Darrell Montague.
Gaudinot is not a pushover, even if a betting underdog. The 30-year-old New Jersey resident is a small-circuit fighter turned fulltime competitor. His win over John Lineker is his case for fame in the UFC, but after a loss to Tim Elliot, he needs to take down Horiguchi if he wants to be on the big stage again.
Will he do that? Most likely, no. All men have their limits, and that is straying a bit out of bounds for his known threshold.
He will try, though, and another man not afraid to try is Josh Burkman. He reclaimed his UFC roster spot with a run of wins in World Series of Fighting, and shouldn’t be overlooked against a sensational striker, Hector Lombard.
Hector Lombard has gradually improved and ultimately exceeded expectations after disappointing losses to Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch. He’s summoned the explosive attack that sent him to the UFC a 31-2 Mixed Martial Artist, winning back-to-back against Jake Shields and Marquardt.
Neither man has faced anyone on the level of each other in a reasonable amount of time. But it is certain that the winner of this one will be back in UFC contention, while the loser may be headed downward fast. That’s the fight, that’s life.
The deeper prelims (Fox Sports 1: 8 PM EST) feature the likes of Danny Castillo, Marcus Brimage, Shawn Jordan, and Evan Dunham in the cage.
It is looking like a good night of action to open up the new year, with a lot at stakes for many of the sport’s finest.
Don’t forget to check out my UFC 182 Predictions FightPicks shortly before the prelims start. Finished off 2014 up +20.27 units.