Taking-In UFC’s March Match-Ups

Erick-SilvaThe Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has two fight cards ahead of us here in the month of March with UFC 185 (Pay-Per-View) on the 14th and UFC Fight Night 62 (FOX Sports 1) on the 21st. Here, I will be taking a look at which UFC main card match-ups I look forward to most this month, as well as which bouts I look forward to least and my preliminary card highlights. Most looked-forward-to: #1) Erick Silva vs Ben Saunders (UFC Fight Night 62) Out of the 24 UFC match-ups booked for the month of March, this welterweight bout is the one scrap I look forward to most. I think Silva and Saunders are amongst the most entertaining fighters to watch in the UFC’s welterweight division, and I believe they will deliver in their co-main event slot at UFC Fight Night 62 on March 23rd. Silva will again enjoy a hometown advantage heading into this contest, as he has fought in Brazil in seven of his nine Octagon appearances. This is an important fight for both 170-pounders, who look to make it two-in-a-row in the UFC and climb up the promotion’s welterweight ladder. Silva and Saunders are both fantastic strikers with exceptional submission abilities, and I expect a match-up between the two will be incredibly entertaining from start to finish. Regardless of the outcome to this co-main event bout, I think it will be the type of fight where the real winner are the fans. #2) Johny Hendricks vs Matt Brown (UFC 185) After losing his UFC welterweight title via controversial unanimous decision to “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, “Bigg Rigg” is eager to get a win and earn a shot at the winner of the upcoming Lawler vs MacDonald bout. Facing Hendricks at March 14th’s UFC 185 in his backyard of Dallas, TX is going to be Matt “The Immortal” Brown, who is also coming off a unanimous decision loss to Lawler in his latest Octagon outing. UFC 185 is headlined and co-headlined by title fights, but personally, I am more interested in seeing this fight, as I consider it a championship-caliber match-up. This is the fight that would have taken place, if Brown had beaten Lawler in their closely-contested five round war. It is a fight that can end in knockout by either party, or it could be a three round both, and these two welterweights are no strangers to either scenario. #3) Godofredo Pepey vs Andre Fili (UFC Fight Night 62) This featherweight scrap will kick off June 23rd’s main card for UFC Fight Night 62 in Pepey’s native Brazil. I think Pepey and Fili are both very entertaining fighters who, win or lose, are always fun to watch. They are both young and constantly improving their all-around mixed martial arts skill-sets, and both are somewhat flashy fighters, so I think this match-up is an excellent pairing that will likely result in a great fight. Featherweight bouts go the distance more often than not, but these 145-pounders are both finishers, so I favor this particular contest to end in either T/KO or submission. Regardless of how long it lasts, I expect this to be another fun fight from start to finish, leaving the fans pleased despite the final outcome. Least looked-forward-to: #1) Gilbert Burns vs Alex Oliveira (UFC Fight Night 62) Burns was originally slated to take on veteran Josh Thomson in the co-main event of the evening, but the former Strikeforce lightweight title challenger had to pull out of the bout due to injury and was replaced by promotional newcomer Oliveira. This could still prove to be a fairly entertaining bout, but I can’t really seem to find the care for it. I’m looking forward to seeing Burns back inside the Octagon again, and am interested in seeing what Oliveira has to offer, but more likely than not this will be another fight where Burns has no trouble finding a way to get his hand raised. Thomson was a big fight for him, now he finds himself in a lose/lose situation, so he’ll need to pick up the win and hope to again draw a ranked opponent in his next outing. #2) Chris Cariaso vs Henry Cejudo (UFC 185) Cejudo is finally set to make his UFC flyweight debut, after being successful fighting at 135-pounds in his promotional debut with a unanimous decision victory over Dustin Kimura. He failed to make the flyweight limit a couple of times previously under the Legacy FC banner and again for what was supposed to be his UFC debut against Scot Jorgensen. After having issues with his weight cut, the bout was cancelled and UFC President Dana White said he had to move up to bantamweight if he intended on competing inside the Octagon. Following his win at 135-pounds, he gave his word that he would make the flyweight limit if given one last chance. Cejudo gets his chance now in the form of Cariaso, and I expect he will make weight and go on to earn a dominant victory over the veteran. I am interested to see Cejudo make his UFC 125-pound debut and think he will put on a show against Cariaso, but I think the fight is going to be too one-sided in favor of Cejudo, which makes it one of the upcoming main card match-ups I look forward to least. #3) Roy Nelson vs Alistair Overeem (UFC 185) I think it’s a coin-flip whether this fight proves to be exciting or uneventful, but the odds of it not being very entertaining are not why it made my list. I am including this fight because I feel like I am going to feel bad for the loser of this match-up, regardless of whom it is. Chances are it is going to be a boring, three round decision or end in brutal knockout by either party, and I would not enjoy seeing any of those play out. I am a fan of both Nelson’s and Overeem’s and I would hate to see either of them suffer another brutal knockout. Preliminary card gems: #1) Sergio Pettis vs Ryan Benoit (UFC 185) This fight will “headline” the UFC Fight Pass preliminary card for UFC 185 on March 14th and it is one fight I am very much looking forward to. Pettis will be making his UFC flyweight debut in this contest and enjoys a two-fight winning streak, while Benoit is coming off a second round rear-naked-choke submission loss in his last outing, which was his promotional debut and was well over a year ago. Following the loss and extended layoff, taking on Pettis in a big step up in competition and a huge task for the 26-year-old, but I believe he is up for the challenge. This is a fight that may not see its way into the second round. I expect it to be a fast-paced, entertaining scrap with lots of action. I think this is a rare flyweight bout that could end at any moment, so don’t blink! #2) Larissa Pacheco vs Germaine de Randamie (UFC 185) This is a match-up that pits together two women’s bantamweights who will each be looking to return to the win column when they square off in Dallas on March 14th on UFC 185’s Fight Pass prelims. As the very first bout on the fight card, these ladies will get the action started for the evening, and I expect them to get the night rolling on a high note. #3) Daron Cruickshank vs Beneil Dariush (UFC 185) I am a fan of both of these lightweights and very much look forward to what I expect will be a chess-match between the two. They are both well-rounded mixed martial artists, but Cruickshank gets the edge in striking headed into this contest, while Dariush gets the edge in grappling. That said, Cruickshank has solid grappling skills of his own and Dariush is excellent with his hands. I’m not going to be happy seeing either of these guys take a loss, but I expect them to produce fireworks when they step inside the Octagon and go to war on the FOX Sports 1 preliminary card for March 14th’s UFC 185 in Dallas.

Written by Gabe Killian

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