Gabe Killian’s Sneak Peek into UFC Fight Night 49 in Oklahoma

bensonThe UFC returns with another double-header on August 23rd, as the promotional travels to both China and Oklahoma for UFC Fight Night’s 48 and 49. UFC Fight Night 49 will be live from Tulsa, Oklahoma for the first time since UFC 4 all the way back in 1994, and the first time under the Zuffa banner. The event will feature 10 bouts, including a five-fight main card that will be live on FOX Sports 1 at 10pm ET, with preliminary action getting going on FOX Sports 2 at 8pm ET. The co-main event in Tulsa will be a welterweight contest that was just put together last minute due to a trio of injuries, and action is certainly expected when Strikeforce and WSOF veteran Jordan Mein takes on former WEC welterweight champion Mike Pyle. Mein was originally scheduled to take on American Top Team product and former UFC welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves, but Alves withdrew from the bout due to injury and was replaced by RFA veteran Brandon Thatch, who himself ended up getting sidelined with an injury. Pyle was set to take on Demian Maia, who pulled out due to injury, so it made perfect sense to pair Mein and Pyle against each other. I am more interested in Mein vs Pyle than I was in Mein vs Alves or Pyle vs Maia, but Mein vs Thatch really had me excited. The welterweight who gets his hand raised in this fight will be on a two fight winning streak and one more win away from being right in the thick of things. This is certainly a match-up of youth vs experience, though for such a young fighter, Mein is very experienced, having as many fights on his resume as some retired veterans. I expect this scrap between these two very well-rounded 170-pounders to be competitive and exciting, whether it ends in the first frame or goes all three. The main event of the Oklahoma evening will be a five round lightweight contest between former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and the surging Rafael dos Anjos, who is 6-1 in his last seven appearances inside the Octagon. He is coming off a second round TKO victory over Jason High two months ago on the very same card Henderson defeated Rustam Khabilov via fourth round rear naked choke submission in the main event of the evening. In a quick turnaround for both lightweights, with a victory in this five rounder, they will be hoping to earn a number one contendership bout in their next outing. Henderson vs dos Anjos should prove to be a solid main event, especially if both 155-pounders show up on top of their game. They did not have time off between fights, and went from one training camp to the next, so they should both have their tools fully sharpened in their arsenal. To close out the show, I am expecting this main event to deliver, and possibly take home the evening’s ‘Fight of the Night’ honors. Rounding out the main card will be a pair of featherweight match-ups that also carry ‘Fight of the Night’ potential. In a featured striker vs striker scrap, Hawaii’s Max Holloway takes on American Top Team’s Mirsad Bektic, and kicking things off will be a grappler vs grappler chess-match in the form of Chas Skelly vs Tom Niinimaki.

Written by Gabe Killian

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