UFC 135 marks the first time new Light heavyweight Champion Jon Jones will defend his belt and he will be tested against one of the top 205 pound fighters in MMA for the last decade years: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Here are some reasons why you should be watching this Saturday night's UFC fights:
1. How will Jones handle defending his belt for the first time against a former champion and MMA veteran?Jon Jones has 14 Mixed Martial Art fights in his career and won the UFC 205 pound title back in March of this year. By contrast, Quinton Jackson has 14 Knockout/TKO wins in his career, he is a former UFC champion and is the only fighter in MMA history to defeat Chuck Liddell twice. "Bones" Jones has been getting hyped for the last two years now but he has never faced a fighter with the level of experience as "Rampage" Jackson. Jackson has said in interviews leading up to this championship fight that Jones' chin has never been tested and he plans on testing it. Jones is a very talented fighter who still has not reached his true potential yet and down the road he may move up to the Heavyweight division. Facing a fighter like Jackson will tell us a lot about Jones' growth as a fighterr, how he handles a fighter who may be more intense then he is and certainly much more experienced than him.
2. This may be MMA legend Matt Hughes last UFC fight
With 53 MMA fights and 12 championship bouts in his UFC career, Matt Hughes has nothing to prove to anyone. This is the last fight of Hughes' current UFC contract and his wife has wants him to retire already. He comes into this fight against a fighter who many consider a younger version of himself: Josh Koscheck. Both fighters are talented wrestlers who are hard to takedown and have serious power in their hands. Only 5 fighters have beaten Hughes in his career and before his loss to BJ Penn last November Hughes was on a three-fight winning streak. So if Koscheck does defeat Hughes this Saturday night that will be a major ccomplishment for Koscheck and for Hughes losing to a top tier Welterweight fighter whose last loss was to George St. Pierre, there is no shame in that for Hughes. If Hughes does retire after this fight, atleast he will have done it on his own terms without his body or UFC management ending it for him.
3. Nate Diaz versus Takanori Gomi is a pre-UFC 135 "Fight of the Night" candidate
During his time in the UFC Nate Diaz has earned four "Fight of The Night" bonuses for his gritty, hard nosed performances against top tier fighters such as Marcus Davis, Joe Stevenson, and Clay Guida. This Saturday Diaz makes his return to the 155 pound division to face a fighter who likes to stand and bang: Takanori Gomi. Gomi is 1-2 in the UFC but the two fighters he has lost to are Kenny Florian and Clay Guida and both of those fights went past the first round. Gomi is the former PRIDE Lightweight Champion and went 13-1-1 while fighting in PRIDE. It should be noted that he had a loss that was turned into a No Contest after Nick Diaz (Nate's brother) tested positive for marijuana post-fight. Both Gomi and Diaz are coming into this fight after suffering losses so expect these guys to come out motivated and intense. When you have two fighters who will to leave it all in the Octagon and want to put on a show, the fans are the real winners.
4. Both Ben Rothwell and Mark Hunt need wins to stay relevant this Saturday night
Ben Rothwell was the arguably the best Heavyweight fighter during his time in the IFL where he compiled a fight record of 9-0. But since the IFL shut down Rothwell is 2-2 with losses to Andre Arlovski and Cain Velasquez. Mark Hunt back in 2006 had compiled an MMA record of 5-1 and had wins over Wanderlei Silva and Mirko "Cro Cop" Fillipovic. But then he proceeded to accumulate a 6 fight losing streak in MMA with losses to Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko, Gegard Mousasi, Allistair Overeem Melvin Monhoef, and Sean McCorkle. Rothwell and Hunt won their most recent fights and are looking to gain some mommentum in order to stay in the UFC. There was a time that these fighters were considered top tier MMA fighters, now they are fighting to stay relevant in the UFC heavyweight division.