This Saturday, the next chapter in the UFC's continuing global expansion will hold forth, as UFC 99 should provide fight fans with one of the better non-title fight cards in recent memory.
There are at least three main card fights alone that warrant possible "Fight of the Night" consideration and we'll see the Octagon return of two of the more beloved overseas-predominant fighters in MMA.
But as is the case with any MMA card, there is just as much to be won as there is to be lost. Be it a future title shot, to divisional relevance, to just simply trying to keep a job, the stakes are sailing quite high for more than a few of Saturday's combatants.
This question was posed on this week's edition of Fact or Fiction, but in regards to who stands more to lose this weekend, I find myself siding with "The Axe Murderer" on this front. For
Granted, Silva is dropping down to 185 pounds, and while some are forecasting nothing but sunshine for Silva at middleweight, is there a more discouraging way to limp into the 185-pound scene than with a loss to the former perpetual No. 2 at middleweight?
The facts are facts: Silva's second go-around in the UFC has been a trainwreck. He's the only fighter to not have their hand raised against
While outings against
The problem is, the top striker of the bunch just happens to be the man Silva has been anything but shy about expressing his feelings towards. While a title fight with Anderson Silva would pique the interests of both men, I believe Silva needs some degree of momentum to keep a fight with Anderson fresh.
Sure, you can say he's a fight or two away from a title shot, but I'd hedge to bet they're not going to hold Silva's hand once he officially makes the drop to middleweight. They're not paying him $200,000+ to fight the
This point has been brought up numerous times throughout the week, but Franklin isn't afforded the same luxury at light-heavyweight that Silva is at middleweight. At 185 pounds, Silva becomes quite possibly the top draw in all the division and drawing power can go a long ways into leapfrogging your way into a title shot. Just ask
With Franklin, he just happens to be stuck in the UFC's most star-heavy division and is on the verge of getting lost in the shuffle.
A loss to Silva can only exacerbate this dilemma and not even taking the top-tier fighters like Jackson,
Well, with wins over
While Kongo is to Velasquez what
The unfortunate side for Kongo, should he lose, is that the waters at heavyweight are a bit murkier than they were back in March 2008. With guys like Velasquez, Carwin, and
It took him over a year to get back into contention, and it likely won't be as easy this time around.
Yeah, after his 170-pound debut against
Pending a St. Pierre victory, who's out of the question?
That leaves the next two likely candidates as Swick and maybe even
This one is a no brainer. After a botched 2007 run through the Octagon that wielded only
Al Turk is a very paint-by-numbers fight and despite being classified by some as a submission wrestler, holds only two submission wins to his credit and both of those were via strikes.
Since al Turk is a bigger fighter than Filipovic, it will be interesting see if decides to use his size to his advantage, especially in the clinch, where Filipovic has shown vulnerability against bigger fighters. "Cro Cop's" lone "achievements" since parting ways with the UFC are wins over
From that point forward, who knows where he goes. Apparently Filipovic now holds the dubious honor of being the first fighter to ever sign a one-fight contract, which can only explain the degree of faith and confidence the UFC brass has in Filipovic. Needless to say, Filipovic has to impress this Saturday.
Yup, I know, which one of these names doesn't belong? Still, I figure it's only appropriate to pay some homage to the preliminary card. While there are several fighters on the UFC 99 preliminary card whose stakes are similar to Taylor, I find the scrappy Brit to be in a familiar predicament.
Taylor is someone who has spent his entire UFC career flying under the radar and I don't mean that in the sense that the guy is a diamond in the rough with an absolute wealth of unnoticed talent. Simply put: the kid is a shoe-in for an entertaining fight.
Taylor has only competed five times in the UFC and has taken home "Fight of the Night" honors on three occasions. Not too shabby. Unfortunately, he was on the losing of all three fights, and as such, will enter Saturday having dropped three of his past four fights.