This weekend is one of those magical weekends where the UFC, the worlds biggest mixed martial arts organization, decides to do it just a little bit bigger and put on two fight cards in one day.
That’s right kids, this Saturday, August 23, 2014, in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Macau, China; the UFC is taking over your combat entertainment for the day.
That’s over eight hours of combat for you fight fans to indulge in. That’s 20 fights to consume the greater part of your day. That’s a lot of MMA and if you pay attention there may be some interesting story lines attached to those bouts.
Let’s break down a few of the more intriguing match ups and what may come from them.
The first fight card, UFC fight night 48, which is taking place in Macau, China is littered with unfamiliar names to the American audience, but at the top of the card is two fights that are sure to grab the attention of MMA enthusiast around the world.
The co-main event is a bout between Tyron Woodley and Dong Hyun Kim, two phenomenal grapplers who have become known for their striking as of late and are both sitting in the top ten welterweight rankings.
Kim may be one of the most under appreciated fighters in the UFC right now. Outside of losing to Carlos Condit and getting injured in the first round against Damian Maia, Kim has looked unstoppable winning 10 out of his 13 fight in the organization. And Kim, who is known best for his grind it out style over his career has beaten his last two opponents by KO, living up to the nickname stun gun.
Woodley is what you call a physical specimen. He’s freakishly cut, looks like he could man handle a polar bear and outside of losing to Rory McDonald in his last fight, and losing a controversial decision to Jake Shields in his second fight in the UFC, Woodley has looked every bit the destroyer of cubs around the world, knocking out and breaking bones on all his other opponents.
Who ever wins this fight puts themselves right into title contention talk but it may take a little bit more then a win for Kim to really be in the picture. If Woodley, who is ranked fourth in the division can beat Kim it just puts him right back into the title picture.
Kim who is ranked tenth in the division would get an obvious bump up from a win but if he can do so in impressive fashion, lets say KO or submission, well then that would be three wins in a row by finishing an opponent and put him right in the Matt Brown sweat spot where you cant deny the stats.
The main event at UFC fight night 48 is between Michael “The Count” Bisping and Cung Le.
Bisping is a name that is synonymous with the UFC. He has been around since 2006, won The Ultimate Fighter 3, and has always played the part of bride’s maid, but never the bride. Every time Bisping has a chance a title shot he falls short and with age and injuries starting to catch up with The Count this may very well be his last run at a title shot.
Cung Le is the new ageless wonder. At 42-year-old, Le looks physically better then ever before in his career. Like Bisping, Le began making a name for himself in MMA around 2006 but Le is also seven years his elder. Le is the embodiment of a martial artist. Not in it for the accolades but to truly test himself and this may be the biggest test of his career.
This fight could be the beginning of the last chance for Bisping to get the title shot that has eluded him his whole career. Beating Le wont get him the title but it is a good start and with many top name fighters, like Luke Rockhold, waiting to take a stab at Bisping, his path to a title shot can be a quick one if he plays his cards right.
Le may be walking down the same road as Bisping, but wining this fight on Saturday is imperative if Le is to have any chance at a title shot. His clock is ticking and though he may look unbelievable at his age, he may not be able to perform at the highest level when on the wrong side of 40.
Later on that day, on the other side of the world, UFC fight night 49 will be taking place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, headlined by Benson Henderson versus Rafael dos Anjos.
Unlike the Macau card, Fight night 49 is filled with many talented and somewhat familiar names on the UFC roster. Guys like Max Holloway, Francis Carmont, Thales Leites, Jordon Mein, Mike Pyle and the return of Ben Saunders, are scattered through out Saturday nights event but the main event is what everyone will be tuning in for.
Benson Henderson has been a perennial superstar since joining the UFC. Since joining the organization Henderson has won 9 out of 10 fights, won the lightweight title and has been at the top of the division ever since. After losing the belt to Antony Pettis back in January, Henderson has gone on to beat two top contenders and earn himself the number one ranking in the division.
Rafael dos Anjos has taken a little more interesting path when first introduced to the American market. His UFC career started poorly, losing four of his first eight fights. Since then dos Anjos has won six out of seven and is now ranked fifth in the division the highest ranking of his career. Dos Anjos has never looked better but he has his work cut out for him on Saturday.
Henderson is the clear cut favorite in this bout for a reason. Henderson has fought the best of the best in the UFC lightweight division and there is not much Dos Anjos has to offer that Henderson hasn’t seen. What Dos Anjos may have in his favor is a complacent Henderson. Ben has nothing to gain from the bout, he is already number one in the division and winning this fight would just cement that ranking. Dos Anjos can capitalize on that complacency and earn a victory that could catapult him right to the top, though I don’t see that happening.
So grab your popcorn, get a six-pack of your favorite cold beverage and get your lazy boy set up. Like this article, Saturday is going to be long and filled with possibilities. In the words of Bart Scott, “Can’t wait!”