UFC Tampa is being headlined by two fighters at the back end of their careers but still near the top of the light heavyweight division. The rest of the card however, is made up of mostly young fresh faced stars looking to make name for themselves in the UFC.
With legendary names such as former UFC light heavyweight Champion ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans and perennial contender Glover Teixeira competing, UFC Tampa is sure to be one for the ages.
In fact with a combined age of 72, the headliners have a combined 52 fights between, 28 of which were UFC bouts – these two are no strangers to the octagon. Far from past their prime though, the veterans are still competing at the very top.
In UFC on FOX 19: Predictions Part 1, we looked at the feature bouts on the Fox Prelims and Fight Pass Prelims and the strawweight opener to the main card. In Part 2, we look ahead to the main event, co-main event and the highly anticipated return of Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Darrell Horcher (Catchweight, 160lbs)
Almost two years to the day since his last fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0) will return to fighting after a series of injuries threatened to ruin his career.
Originally supposed to be headlining the event against Tony Ferguson, Khabib is just happy to still be on the card. The undefeated fighter ground out a unanimous decision victory over current lightweight champ Rafael Dos Anjos in his last outing, and will be looking to get his hands on the champ again as soon as possible.
Relative unknown débutante Darrell Horcher (12-1) is the reigning CFFC Lightweight Champion and has been waiting on a call up to the big stage for some time now. It must seem bitter-sweet to finally get the call up against one of the most feared lightweights in the world on short notice, but I’m sure the UFC will reward his tenacity with a second opportunity should he lose.
Prediction: Horcher…Just kidding! Nurmagomedov of course.
Rose Namajunas vs Tecia Torres (Strawweight)
Rose ‘Thug’ Namajunas (4-2) will be looking to avenge her first loss to Tecia Torres at Invicta FC 6, shortly before filming started for the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Both fighters were on that season and both were eliminated by eventual champion Carla Esparza.
Rose however, made it to the final and ‘The Tiny Tornado’ only made it to the quarter finals as the number three seed.
Tecia Torres (7-0) is technically undefeated as the fights on the show are considered showcase fights and do not affect your record. She will be looking to remain undefeated and with a win would likely be the next in line for a shot at current Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Glover Teixeira vs Rashad Evans (Light Heavyweight)
Teixeira (24-4) will be looking to continue his march back to a title shot as he takes on Evans in Sunday nights Main Event. He is currently on a two fight win streak which began with a win over next week’s Interim Title Contender Ovince St. Preux. He will certainly fell that he is only a couple of fights away and if OSP were to win it would only help his case for a title shot having already beaten him.
Rashad Evans (19-4-1) has only fought once since Nov 2013 in a loss to Ryan Bader. His absence has seen him fall out of contention and he will be looking to return to his best. Having beat some of the great fighters in UFC history including Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson ‘Suga’ possesses a threat to any fighter and no amount of time off will take the fight out of him.
Another exciting night of fights leading up to next weeks PPV card, UFC Tampa is one big fight short of being a PPV card itself with some huge names and great fights. Tune in on Sunday.