Five Fights To Get You Excited For UFC Fight Night 61

This column highlights five past bouts from fighters competing on this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 61. 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. 1. Antonio Silva vs. Alistair Overeem – UFC 156 Upcoming Bout: Antonio Silva vs. Frank Mir

‘Bigfoot’ Silva is so inconsistent in his performances. Sometimes he’ll go out and get blasted by Daniel Cormier or Andrei Arlovski, seemingly unable to absorb any punishment whatsoever. Then he’ll turn around and withstand a ton of punishment against someone like Mark Hunt with no effect. This bout with Overeem shows the better ‘Bigfoot’. He lost the first two rounds, but persevered and ended up getting a memorable knockout. Against Frank Mir, he may have to go through some adversity early on, but he has the ability to score a knockout of Mir at any point. How that (and the fact that he’s no longer on TRT) will play out in the cage remains to be seen.

2. Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo – UFC 107 Upcoming Bout: Frank Mir vs. Antonio Silva

Mir has always done well against physically inferior competition, specifically guys who are slower than him. His two wins over Rodrigo Nogueira, as well as victories over Roy Nelson, an aging Mirko CroCop, and this one against Cheick Kongo all show that. Against Silva, he should have a speed advantage, which could mean good things for him. Technically, Mir still has all the tools necessary to win fights against the lower half of the top 10, but most of those fighters are too good as athletes for him to compete. That shouldn’t be the case with ‘Bigfoot’, and it gives Mir a distinct shot in this fight.

3. Rustam Khabilov vs. Nadir Kadyzhev – ProFC Grand Prix Global Upcoming Bout: Rustam Khabilov vs. Adriano Martins

Most of the press surrounding Rustam Khabilov since he entered the UFC and suplexed Vinc Pinchel back to hell (get it? Because he’s “From Hell”? No? Nothing?) has been focused on his wrestling. He’s more than just a wrestler however, as he showed some striking chops against Jorge Masvidal. This fight from just prior to Khabilov’s entry into the UFC shows that he has a nice ground game to go with the wrestling, with solid guard passing and strong ground-and-pound. Going up against a powerful striker and talented submission artist in Adriano Martins, most expect Khabilov to take this fight to the ground, and he’ll have to show off a bit more of this skillset in order to pick up the win. The good thing for Khabilov is that he has those tools in place already.

4. Tiago Trator vs. Geraldo de Lima – Jungle Fight 59 Upcoming Bout: Tiago Trator vs. Mike de la Torre

Conventional wisdom is that the matchup between Trator and de la Torre is a striker vs. grappler match, with Trator playing the role of striker and de la Torre being the grappler, but if you watch this bout of Trator’s from October 2013, you may not be so certain. The former Jungle Fight champion’s grappling and scrambling is pretty solid, although like with his striking he can be overaggressive and put himself in bad positions. Still, it’s not as though Trator will be completely lost if this bout hits the ground and that could combine with his striking to make this a very successful night for the Brazilian.

5. Cody Gibson vs. Chad George – TWC 18 Upcoming Bout: Cody Gibson vs. Douglas Silva

Well, it wouldn’t really be a Cody Gibson fight if he didn’t get himself caught in a choke at some point, would it? Against WEC vet Chad George, Gibson again struggles with his head placement in scrambles, and George almost ends the bout with a D’arce choke. Unlike against Manny Gamburyan or Ulysses Gomez, however, he managed to escape and emerge victorious. Silva shouldn’t present the same type of submission threat as those other opponents, but it doesn’t take much for a fighter to wrap up a guillotine, so he’ll still have to be wary.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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