This column highlights five past bouts from fighters competing on this weekend’s UFC on Fox 15. 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. Normally I try my best to find compelling fights outside of the UFC (thus on YouTube and able to be embedded), but with so many exciting veterans on this card, all of these bouts can be found on UFC Fight Pass. 1. Lyoto Machida vs. Chris Weidman – UFC 175 Upcoming Bout: Lyoto Machida vs. Luke Rockhold
Lyoto Machida is an incredibly compelling fighter to watch, but very few of his fights have been memorable. He has had memorable moments — mostly in the form of his quick strike knockouts — but nothing else in his career compares to his middleweight title bout with Weidman. In one of the best fights of 2014, Machida showed incredible resolve, and pushed Weidman as hard as we’ve seen anyone in his career. Machida’s success being aggressive late in the fight was especially promising for those who have often been frustrated by his lack of proactivity in the past, as it adds an extremely dangerous wrinkle to an already tough style to figure out.
2. Cub Swanson vs. Dustin Poirier – UFC on Fuel 7 Upcoming Bout: Cub Swanson vs. Max Holloway
If looking over both Swanson and Holloway’s records doesn’t get you excited for this fight, I’m not sure what to tell you. Swanson is an exciting striker who is prone to scramble-heavy bouts that exhibit every aspect of MMA. He also has tremendous cardio, and that means even his bouts that go to decision –- like this one against Poirier –- don’t lack for action at any point. With a willing partner in both the striking and grappling in Holloway, we could be in store for another featherweight classic on Saturday night.
3. Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon – UFC 155 Upcoming Bout: Jim Miller vs. Beneil Dariush
I hope you guys have Fight Pass subscriptions, since there are so many long-tenured UFC fighters on this card that it’s tough to pick fights from YouTube. This UFC 155 bout shows the good and bad of Jim Miller over the past few years. Offensively, he can be dynamic with his striking and grappling, but he has been prone to slowing late in fights. Against Pat Healy, he got submitted late in the bout, and against Donald Cerrone he ended up getting knocked out after a good start. If he struggles to get rid of Dariush early — and given the Iranian’s submission skills, he will –- Miller could be in a spot where he has to hold on once again, and that could make for a very interesting bout.
4. Takeya Mizugaki vs. Miguel Torres – WEC 40 Upcoming Bout: Takeya Mizugaki vs. Aljamain Sterling
I normally don’t choose losing performances for these bouts, but Mizugaki exceeded expectations so drastically in his WEC debut and the fight was so good that this has to be the second one I select. Despite taking place over six years ago, this fight could also mirror some of the things that may take place in Mizugaki’s upcoming bout against Sterling. Like Torres, Sterling is very good in the clinch, and should be able to outwork Mizugaki there. However, Mizugaki may also be able to use his sharp boxing to give Sterling trouble in some of the exchanges, as he was able to do to Torres. I doubt we see quite the same back-and-forth that existed in Mizugaki’s title shot, but even a hint of that will make Mizugaki/Sterling a fight not to be missed.
5. Diego Brandao vs. Dennis Bermudez – TUF 14 Finale Upcoming Bout: Diego Brandao vs. Jimy Hettes
There is potential for some very fun fights top to bottom on this card, and Diego Brandao is the type of fighter who can be feast-or-famine, even inside of the same bout. He often seems to struggle in his preparation in bouts where he feels he’s overmatched, and that leaves him at a cardio deficit. He looked good at the weigh-ins for his bout against Jimy Hettes, and when that’s the case it allows him to show off his diverse offensive skills, much as he did in his TUF Finale bout against Dennis Bermudez. Hettes doesn’t present the power or wrestling that Bermudez did, so Brandao may not end up in the same bad spots he did in that bout, but we should see some impressive offense out of him early nonetheless.