The number one question I get preceding each UFC Fight Night weekend is “Are there any good fights on this besides the Main Event?”
For me, the answer is almost always yes. But I’m a die-hard MMA fan, and not everyone shares my zeal for the sport. So, whenever I reply to that question, I try respond with some degree of personalization. Unfortunately, that’s hard to do in the form of an article.
Still, it’s not remotely possible for me to have a personal, private conversation with all the awesome fans, friends, and readers that hit me up. There just isn’t enough time! Trust me, I wish there was.
What I needed a way to address everyone as a group – one that was less devilishly detailed than my specific fight breakdowns, yet more revealing of the particular event in discussion than the usual Main Event write-ups. So, welcome to my “Top Reasons to Watch” series. From here, you’ll have access to everything else should you want to dive deeper into my Today’s Knockout world, but the freedom to stay put and get a basic understanding of everything at stake in the show.
I’ve got four excellent reasons for you, today. And believe me, there are more – but I can’t take your entire break, can I?
#1 – Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz
We’re in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada. Two guys with fan-bases larger than small nations are going head-to-head in a five-round Main Event, no titles on the line. The casino arena will be packed.
I won’t insult you by hyping this fight up any more than it needs to be. If you’ve never heard of either of these guys – seeing them fight for the first time is reason enough to watch UFC 183. If you have heard of them, I’m wasting my breath – you’re already very interested in watching.
Either way – two guys who fancy themselves better strikers than the other go one on one. Diaz is the boxer. Silva is into Muay Thai. Their both similarly excellent on the ground. I don’t expect it to get there.
#2 – Meisha Tate vs. Sara McMann
Meisha Tate may be the Frazier to Ronda Rousey’s Ali. A big win over Sara McMann gets her back into the title picture, as the Women’s Bantamweight Champion has just about cleaned up shop in her entire division. It’s rare, and improbable, but even with two prior losses to the champ, Cupcake Tate has a better chance at taking down the irrepressible Rowdy Ronda Rousey. Not only that, but she’s a thrilling, complete mixed martial artist.
It could always go the other way, though. Sara McMann is an Olympic Silver Medalist in wrestling. Need I say more? She’s built for battle, with the sort of imposing musculature you’d expect from a disciplined former Olympian. Put them together, and there’s no wonder why this fight is the “main event” of the FOX Sports 1 preliminaries, beginning at 8:00PM EST.
#3 – Joe Lauzon vs. Al Iaquinta
The UFC began referring to Joe “J Lau” Lauzon (pronounced Lo-zon) as the Ka-Ching King. That’s because whenever you earn an ‘of the Night award at a UFC event, you earn a $50,000 bonus check. If you’re a fan of interesting statistics, how about the fact that he’s won $650,000 in Performance & Fight of the Night bonuses.
These are only granted to men and women of considerable talent, who finish their opponents in exciting ways or battle it out blood-and-guts. His 13 ‘of the Nights are a testament to his Pay-per-view value.
Opposing him is Al Iaquinta, somehow the solid favorite in this affair. He’s got KO kickboxing and is trained under the tutelage of Matt Serra & Ray Longo, who carry UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman under their wings. This fight is worth your money. It’s in the 155lb division – Lightweight.
#4 – Come Back Kids Number One & Two
Thales Leites and Thiago Alves aren’t fighting each other (they’re not even in the same weight class), but I’m grouping them together because they share a story. Leites was a prospect in the UFC until he lost in a poor showing to then-middleweight champion Anderson Silva. He dropped another stinker thereafter and got cut from the promotion. Alves, similarly, fought then-champion Georges St-Pierre in the 170lb division, and suddenly his career took a turn. Previously known for a long string of TKO victories, Thiago Alves wasn’t finishing anybody anymore. He could only hope to survive decisions for a 50-50 shot at wins and losses.
Skip to present day. Thales Leites has earned the first two out-right knockouts of his career, more than 25 fights deep into it. After being away from the UFC to hone his striking skills, he’s returned as a contender. Thiago Alves spent two years away recovering from and rehabilitating injuries. His first fight back from two-years of inactivity was a Fight of the Night. All eyes on the two of them, as they make up two great fights on the UFC 183 PPV: Leites vs. Boetsch & Mein vs. Alves.