Thursday, August 11, 2011

What To Watch For: UFC on Versus 5

After experiencing UFC 133 in person, I must admit that it has left me wanting to see more MMA fights! Maybe someone slipped something in my drink over the weekend or the event was so electric that it left me wanting more. Either way, I am looking forward to UFC on Versus 5 this Sunday night and here's some reasons why you should be watching too:

1. Will UFC on Versus 5 be the "Swan Song" for Dan Hardy or Chris Lytle?
This should be an exciting and dynamic main event with two fighters who are coming off losses in which they did not get to entertain the fans the way they like to. Both are known for their stand up game so this could end up being Fight of The Night. But both fighters are in very different places in their careers. Hardy is on a three fight losing streak since earning the opportunity to fight for the UFC Welterweight Championship. The three straight losses have caused some people question if Dan Hardy was really good enough to have ever faught for the title or if he has just been unlucky lately. Contrary to his public gimmick image with his mohawk and sometimes goofy attitude, Hardy is actually a hard worker who has serious Muay Thai skills so he is out to prove he has what it takes to hang in the UFC.
On the other hand, Chris Lytle has been in the fight game since 1999 and has 53 career MMA fights along with 15 Professional Boxing matches. The loss to Brian Ebersole earlier this year broke a four fight winning streak, the longest of his MMA career. Lytle has opened an exploritory committee for a possible political run for Indiana state office in 2012. A second straight loss could possibly convince Lytle to turn his interests full time to politics instead of fighting. Lytle is a fan favorite earning 8 Award of The Night Honors (Tied with Anderson Silva for most in UFC history) so it would be disapointing to see him go.
After Sunday nights Main Event is over, it is possible that the loser will not be seen in a UFC Octagon again for some time.

2. Jim Miller versus Ben Henderson is an unofficial number one contender fight
Thanks to the absorbtion of WEC fighters into the UFC and the draw between Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard in January, there is a serious log jam in the UFC 155 pound division of top tier fighters. Jim Miller is currently on a seven fight winning streak and his only two career losses have been to the two fighters who are facing off in October for the Lightweight Belt: Edgar and Maynard. His next opponent is the former WEC Lightweight Champ Ben Henderson. Henderson is also a talented fighter who has lost only once in his last 12 fights. When he lost to Anthony Pettis in December many people forget that he put up a good fight againt Pettis before that wild kick was landed in the 5th round. During his time in the WEC Henderson finished four of his six opponents so this will be no easy fight for Miller. The winner of this fight will likely fill the void for who gets next after Edgar and Maynard take care of business at UFC 136.

3. Can Donald Cerrone sustain his mommentum?
Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone was a very popular fighter in the WEC and was involved in 10 fights, receiving four "Fight of the Night" awards. But for all of Cerrone's popularity and talent his overall record in the WEC was 7-3-1 and he never officially won more then 2 fights in a row during his time there. Since coming to the UFC "Cowboy" has won two straight fights and has looked excellent. Sunday night he has a showdown with Charles Olivera, a fighter who has similar skills to Cerrone. If Cerrone gets past Olivera then he will have won five straight fights overall (three in the UFC) and usually gaining such mommentum will get the attention of the UFC brass. Cerrone's popularity combined with a solid winning streak would open the opportunity for him to face off against one of the UFC's top tier 155 pound fighters. One thing we know for sure is that Cerrone never backs down from a fight and never disapoints.

4. When will Joseph Benevidez get the respect he deserves?
Joseph Benevidez is the Rodney Danerfield of MMA because no matter what he does he "gets no respect, no respect at all!" Benevidez has two losses in 16 MMA fights and both were against one of the top fighters in the world: UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz. Since 2008 Benevidez is 9-2 with six finishes. Yet most of his career he has been overlooked and even at UFC on Versus 5 fight card he is stuck on the Preliminary Card behind a matchup between C.B. Dollaway and Jared Hamman. Now nothing against Dollaway or Hamman but their fight is ahead of a matchup between a former Bantamweight Champion (Eddie Wineland) and a two time former number one contender (Benevidez). With the UFC opening its doors in 2012 to a Flyweight division (125 pound fighters) this may be one of the last fights for Benevidez at 135 pounds and his matchup with Wineland should be a great fight. So take the time to pull up Facebook for the Prelim fights this Sunday beause you do not want to miss a chance to watch one of the most underrated fighters in MMA before he moves down to his natural weight class and becomes a champion.

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