This column highlights five past bouts from fighters competing on this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 59. These fights represent some of the highest moments in the careers of their respective participants, and should serve to pique your interest heading into the event. Also, given this Sunday full of NFL Football playoffs (and copious commercial breaks) these bouts can help tide you over in between the action. 1. Benson Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone 1 – WEC 43 Upcoming Bout: Benson Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone 3
This is quite simply one of the most complete MMA bouts ever. From Cerrone’s incredible submission attempts, Henderson’s invincibility to said submissions and subsequent ground-and-pound, to the stand up exchanges from later in the bout, it had a bit of everything. At the time, I scored the bout for Cerrone, but it’s hard to argue this one could have gone either way. The only shame is that after two five-round bouts in the WEC, this pair of top-five lightweights has only been afforded three rounds in a support role of a bout that is extremely unlikely to go its scheduled 25 minutes.
2. Norman Parke vs. Stuart Davies – Cage Contender 6 Upcoming Bout: Norman Parke vs. Gleison Tibau
I’ve discounted Norman Parke a fair bit leading into his bout with Gleison Tibau this weekend. The fact is that Parke is primarily a grappler, and Tibau has some of the best takedown defense in the history of the UFC. The Brazilian’s offensive wrestling isn’t far behind either. Because of my stance, I’ve tried to go back and look through all of Parke’s fights to see something that I’ve missed. He’s certainly made improvements since he’s come to the UFC, but the majority of his success — even going back to his time on the UK regional circuit — still falls in the grappling realm. Maybe he’s able to wear Tibau down and get his grappling going later in this fight, but far more accomplished wrestlers haven’t been able to, so I’d be surprised. Perhaps I’m completely wrong on this bout, and we’ll find out later tonight.
3. Charles Rosa vs. Brylan van Artsdalen – CES MMA 22 Upcoming Bout: Charles Rosa vs. Sean Soriano
Charles Rosa is a fun fighter to watch. From his heavily karate-inspired striking to constant stream of submissions once fights hit the mat, he makes things entertaining wherever he goes. Sometimes he can get a bit over-aggressive on the mat, which allows his opponents to pass his guard, but his recovery is just as good as his other ground attributes. In this bout against Brylan van Artsdalen, you see many of these attributes despite the fight only lasting three minutes.
4. Sean Soriano vs. Elvin Leon Brito – CFA 11 Upcoming Bout: Sean Soriano vs. Charles Rosa
Sean Soriano’s wrestling and cardio have received a great deal of criticism following his first two UFC bouts, but as this bout with a decent fighter in Brito shows, he is actually solid in both areas when not facing a top of the line wrestler like Tatsuya Kawajiri or Chas Skelly. Charles Rosa is not that type of wrestler, so Soriano may be able to control where this fight goes like he did against Brito. He did get himself in some interesting scrambles against Brito that would be far more dangerous with Rosa, however. I do expect a better showing from Soriano in his third UFC attempt however.
5. Joby Sanchez vs. Antonio Banuelos – TPF 20 Upcoming Bout: Joby Sanchez vs. Tateki Matsuda
Joby Sanchez is seen as a pretty high-level UFC prospect, and while his short notice UFC debut against Wilson Reis only showed flashes of that talent, he should have far more of an opportunity to impress against a weaker wrestler in Tateki Matsuda. I criticized Sanchez for his lack of straight punches against Reis, but as this bout with Banuelos shows, he can be very effective with them when he chooses to throw them. In addition to his kicking game — which is his strength — I think Sanchez has the ability to pick up his first UFC victory here, and perhaps he even shows off the power he showed against Banuelos.