Early Look at the Main Card for UFC Fight Night 81

UFC-On-FOX-6The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will be making it’s return to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on Sunday, January 17th for UFC Fight Night 81: Dillashaw vs Cruz. The first Fight Night card of the year, UFC Fight Night 81 comes stacked with a 12-fight card that guarantees fireworks from start to finish. Preliminary action for this fight card will get underway at 6pm ET on UFC Fight Pass and will continue at 8pm ET on FOX Sports 1, with main card action to follow at 10pm ET on the same channel. If interested on wagering on this fight card, all betting lines will be made available at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. Kicking things off for the UFC Fight Night 81 main card on FOX Sports 1 will be a lightweight contest between Englishman Ross Pearson and Brazil’s Francisco Trinaldo. Pearson looks to make it two in a row following a split decision win over Paul Felder and Trinaldo aims for another upset, which would put him at five in a row at 155-pounds. This is a solid scrap to get the main card rolling on a high-note, and these veterans are expected to deliver. The next bout on the main card comes in the heavyweight division and sees knockout artists Travis Browne and Matt Mitrione go to battle in an effort to get back into the win column following their latest Octagon defeats. Browne was knocked out in the first round of action by Andrei Arlovski in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate, and Mitrione was submitted by Ben Rothwell with a front-choke in the first round of their bout. The winner of this match-up will have another chance at making a run for the promotion’s heavyweight title, but the loser will be forced to take a long look at the drawing board, and would likely have his back against the wall heading into his next bout. The co-main event of the evening is a lightweight contest between former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez. This surefire barn-burner could very well end up stealing the show, as both 155-pounders are known to deliver fireworks every time they step foot inside of a cage. Pettis last saw action at 10 months ago at UFC 185, where he lost his 155-pound title to Rafael dos Anjos via five round unanimous decision. After an extended absence, he is eager to get back in the Octagon and make another run for the gold. The winner of this match-up has was reportedly promised a title shot, but as we all know, nothing is official until the posters start getting printed. Alvarez picked up his first UFC win at UFC 188 seven months ago, taking a split decision over Gilbert Melendez and he will be looking to make it two straight against Pettis in this rare “winner vs loser” match-up in the UFC’s lightweight division. The former Bellator champion relinquished his title for a move over to the UFC to get a shot at the UFC gold, and with an impressive performance over the former champ, he could meet his goal. Pettis vs Alvarez is a fight that could easily be a main event on it’s own, and it is a gift to be getting it as a co-main event on a televised card. Whether it lasts two minutes or goes all 15, we are likely in for a show. Headlining the evening’s main event is a bantamweight title fight between champion TJ Dillashaw and challenger Dominic Cruz. Cruz is the first bantamweight champion in UFC history and had to give up his title due to being sidelined with injuries. Now healthy, he is ready to take back what he believes is rightfully his; his championship gold. What makes this match-up especially interesting is the fact that Dillashaw has replicated Cruz’s fighting style during the WEC veteran’s absence from the Octagon. It has been working for him so far, but will it work against the guy who invented the style? That is the question on everybody’s minds and the answer to it is the one thing we look forward to most heading into UFC Fight Night 81.

Written by Gabe Killian

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