This column highlights five past bouts from fighters competing on this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 87. 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. Alistair Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar – UFC 141 Upcoming Bout: Alistair Overeem vs. Andrei Arlovski
Remember when Alistair Overeem came into the UFC all horse-meated up as an immediate contender for the title and perhaps the most feared striker in the sport? If not, here’s a quick reminder. And it is quick. Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar didn’t even make it through the mid-way point of the first round before Overeem’s vicious body attack stopped him. Overeem’s kick and knee game could be essential to victory against Andrei Arlovski on Sunday as well, since punching exchanges are where he’s at the most risk in this fight. While it’s unlikely that he mirrors the performance or regains the aura he had following the Lesnar fight, this one could have the same end result of a UFC title shot.
Albert Tumenov vs. Roman Mironenko – Fight Nights 12 Upcoming Bout: Albert Tumenov vs. Gunnar Nelson
The thing that I really like about Tumenov’s performance in this fight is how he approaches following his opponent to the ground. He doesn’t rush in the first couple times Mironenko hits the mat, and only dives in to deliver ground-and-pound when he feels he has a shot at the finish. Even when doing so, he’s careful to not get overaggressive and lose position because of it. That will serve him well against Gunnar Nelson who is far more dangerous on the mat than someone like Mironenko. If Tumenov dives in wildly without having Nelson truly hurt, he could be in danger of being submitted, but if he’s smart he can continue to batter his opponent on the feet waiting for the right opportunity.
Anna Elmose vs. Emma Delaney – Cage Warriors 74 Upcoming Bout: Anna Elmose vs. Germaine de Randamie
The biggest thing that sticks out when watching Anna Elmose is her rare power as a female MMA fighter. I wasn’t able to find a full video of her best knockout, but you can see the very tail end of it on YouTube. Even in her 19 second win over Emma Delaney (below), she lands a very short left hand that drops her opponent before finishing off with a flurry on the ground. Against Germaine de Randamie, she’ll be at a striking disadvantage for the first time in her career, but her power may be the great equalizer.
Josh Emett vs. Christos Giagos – West Coast FC 16 Upcoming Bout: Josh Emmett vs. Jon Tuck
What is Jeff Monson doing back in the UFC fighting at lightweight? Oh wait, that’s just Josh Emmett. Stepping in to fight Jon Tuck on short notice, the 9-0 Emmett was already preparing to defend his WFC lightweight title on the same weekend, so he won’t be as ill-prepared as some think. His first defense of that same title was this January bout against UFC veteran Christos Giagos. Giagos makes basically every fight he’s in fun with his utter regard for defense, and this was no exception. Round 1 of the bout was one of the better rounds of MMA so far this year and Emmett kept the offense coming (courtesy of his overhand right) all fight. Jon Tuck has as stout a chin as they come, so it will be interesting to see if Emmett can hurt him like he did Giagos repeatedly.
Leon Edwards vs. Jonathan Bilton – BAMMA 11 Upcoming Bout: Leon Edwards vs. Dominic Waters
This bout doesn’t have much of a tie-in to Edwards’ bout this Sunday against Dom Waters, but Edwards is such a fun striker that it doesn’t have to. It’s actually quite amusing that the only time Edwards even ended up in a slight bit of trouble in this fight was when he shot in for a takedown. As soon as he went back to striking — even from close quarters — he was dominant. That will be the story against Waters. If it turns into a grappling match, Waters has the edge, but Edwards will be the vastly superior striker.