After what seems like two weeks – mainly because it has been two weeks – Pundit Arena’s MMA fight night preview returns with a new format and some very exciting fights from MMA’s elite promotions.
It has been a very interesting week for the UFC with all the focus on UFC 180 and three withdrawals in as many days. With high profile fighters such as Joe Lauzon, Cain Velasquez and now Diego Sanchez all picking up injuries, it has taken the attention away from tomorrow night’s intriguing PPV card in Brazil.
In the main event Chad Mendes fights featherweight champion Jose Aldo once again. In attendance will be Irish superstar, Conor McGregor. Interestingly, all the talk of the Dubliner being next in line for a shot at gold evaporated last night as he has now been matched up with Denis Siver. This contest is due to take place in February.
However, let’s focus on more immediate matters with a selection of this weekend’s biggest bouts.
UFC 179 – Saturday 25th October 2014 – BT Sport from 1am – Chad Mendes (16-1) V Jose Aldo (24-1):
A much anticipated rematch finally gets underway tomorrow night. This contest was due to take place earlier on in the year but an injury to Aldo sidelined the title fight until now.
The challenger, Mendes comes in to this fight on absolute tear with a five win streak consisting of four finishes with notable victories over Clay Guida and Nik Lentz. This five fight win streak has come after he was finished by Jose Aldo – his only loss to date – back in 2012. The American is keen to silence the home crowd in Brazil and take the featherweight belt back to Team Alpha Male.
This may be easier said than done as Jose Aldo has not been beaten since 2005. The Brazilian makes his sixth defence tomorrow night and looks to dispatch Mendes in similar fashion the last time they met.
Aldo has some of the most vicious leg kicks in the UFC but he also has staying power. His stamina and cardio are second to none and has been the distance in three of his last five title defences.
He’ll have to be careful though as Mendes is a finisher but will be wary of Aldo’s very dangerous ground game.
It’s an intriguing contest and one not to be missed.
UFC 179 – Saturday 25th October 2014 – BT Sport from 1am – Phil Davis (12-2) V Glover Teixeira (22-3):
UFC 179’s co-main event features a very interesting light heavyweight bout. Both Davis and Teixeira are coming off losses against Anthony Johnson and Jon Jones respectively.
With both fighters having their win streak cut off, this contest provides a golden opportunity to get themselves back into contention with a big win.
Having both fought and lost on the same card back at UFC 172, Davis and Teixeira will know an awful lot about each other. Advantage for me, is with Glover who came off 5 rounds against the ever dangerous champ, Jon Jones.
This loss has woken up a new animal inside Teixeria who is looking to dish up some punishment similar to that of Anthony Johnson not too long ago.
Davis’ cocky attitude before his fight with Johnson made him look ever so slightly stupid as he was dominated from start to finish by “Rumble”. However, it takes a beating like that for a fighter to come back stronger and ever and having watched Davis’ training camp in the latest ‘Countdown to UFC 179’ video, he looks a far more focused fighter but in this instance I just can’t look past Teixeira in this one.
Bellator 130 – Friday 24th October 2014 – Spike TV from 2am – Linton Vassell (14-3) V Emanuel Newton (24-7-1):
Bellator 130’s main event sees Emanuel Newton defend his light heavyweight title on Friday against relative newcomer Linton Vassell. The Brit Vassell has made three appearances for the promotion and has been pretty much under the radar as he has slowly climbed the ladder from debutante to title challenger in a short space of time.
Vassell has an excellent ground game and showcased this at Bellator 122 in July when he made quick work of Virgil Zwicker by rear naked choke in round 1.
Vassell’s stand up game has been called into question and is always looking for the takedown.
This may play into Newton’s hands as the American has some clean and crisp boxing in his arsenal. The veteran fighter also has his criticisms with exactly 50% of his victories going the distance and only a handful of finishes to his credit.
Newton is also a very game ground fighter and it could prove to be a technical battle should it go to the mat.
All the pressure is on the champion to deliver but the 31 old Brit is hoping to make a big name for himself tonight as he looks to spoil the party and bring that belt home.
It’s a big weekend of MMA action and these are just three of the biggest fights on offer. Be sure to come back on Tuesday as we review these fights and the biggest talking points of the weekend in ‘The Tuesday Takedown’.
Until then, enjoy the fights.
Shane Saunders, Pundit Arena.