With respect to Maia vs LaFlare, a match that is exceptionally worthy of your viewership, I can’t in good conscience tell you to cancel your Saturday night plans to stay home and watch fights.
If you’re a casual American fight fan, without a doubt, this event is not on your most anticipated watch-list. Lately, there have been a string of good UFC cards, but we’ve reached my first “Top Reasons to Watch” article on FanRag Sports where I can’t think of very many good ones. It happens, folks. On the plus side, it’s a free event. You can tune into FOX Sports 1 if you’ve got nothing better going on and take a gamble that might pay-off.
Still, I’ll never tug at straws when I can write down the truth. Truly, the entire preliminary card is full of unproven mixed martial artists; it’s an entire group that mainstream viewers would readily ignore. There’s always the opportunity of witnessing a new, rising star, and getting to see him in action before the rest of the world even knows he exists. Still, it’s not the average fan that cares to invest that sort of time into this sport.
Immediately, I can recognize that two of the fights on the Main Card will be a complete wash – But maybe I can spin up some reasons for you despite that:
Amanda Nunes vs Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler should have no chance at defeating a Top-10 Women’s Bantamweight fighter. Nunes is ranked ninth on Today’s Knockout, and also with the UFC’s cumulative rankings. She recently lost to #1 135-pound woman in the world (underneath the champion), Cat Zingano. Baszler on the other hand, holds her only claim to fame through two Fight of the Night losses in Invicta FC, where she is 1-2. She’s 0-1 in the UFC, losing to Bethe Correia.
Baszler has never risen to the occasion to mount an important victory. The UFC matchmakers know that, and they also know their women’s bantamweight division is running desperately thin. Their remedy for that problem, is to make weaker fighters appear strong. So, while Baszler will put up a fight, she is being thrown to the wolves with a bout against Amanda Nunes.
At least that would be true if the women’s rankings meant any more than complete squat!
Really, the division is so thin, that some of it’s so-called Top-10 women might even lose to a complete unknown amateur – and Baszler is better than that. The unknown is always exciting, and I think the potential for an upset by one inconsistent good fighter to another inconsistent better fighter, might be a reason to watch.
Erick Silva vs Josh Koscheck
What can I say about this fight that I didn’t already say in my “Betting Odds Breakdown“? Josh Koscheck is going to get his ass kicked.
If you’re into one-sided floggings, this is the fight for you. I suppose, however, as I foreshadowed above, that even this fight could turn into a snoozer. There’s the distinct possibility that Josh Koscheck relives his moments against Georges St-Pierre, circling endlessly as he eats shots to his bad eye. (Yeah, he has a bad eye… isn’t that responsible of him to compete with?)
Maia vs LaFlare
Truly, this is the ONLY Top Reason to watch this particular UFC Fight Night.
This match has everything: two excellent, top tier competitors, an unknown and unpredictable victor, and a direct correlation to future contendership opportunities for either athlete. We’ve covered it in depth, going so far as to background Demian Maia to show why he’s more than capable of taking the rising star down. Check out the full coverage for Maia vs LaFlare on Today’s Knockout.
Beyond these three fights, I’m sure there will be many competitive matches – just not between anyone you’re familiar with or can easily get excited about. Every now and then, watching a UFC event starts to feel like work for me. This may be one of those times… but you never know. I’ve been surprised before. MMA is like that.