One of the most anticipated events of the summer is finally here and we are not letting anyone fly under the radar here at MMAValor. This is one of those cards that gives you no breaks from start to finish. Here are 5 fighters in particular that you’re gonna want to keep a close eye on Saturday Night.
Carlos Condit: With 25 of his 26 victories coming by way of the finish, saying the nickname “Natural Born Killer” suits Carlos Condit is an understatement. Condit is one of those fighters who lays it all on the line come Fight Night, which makes him the perfect opponent for one of the quickest rising martial artists coming out of South Korea in Dong Hyun Kim. Kim relies heavily on his judo which leads to his above average wrestling and even some stellar ground and pound when things hit the mat. He’s has yet to fight a Killer like Condit though. The thing about Condit is he can finish you wherever you think you feel most comfortable. This fight could very well decide who gets that spot in a very short line labeled “Welterweight Contenders who have yet to be beaten by GSP” behind Nick Diaz.
Dennis Siver: If Hans Gruber had Dennis Siver on the roster when he decided to take over the Nakatomi Building there may not have been a Die Hard 2. After dropping 3 out of 4 fights in his first stint with the UFC, Siver has taken his 2nd chance to send the Lightweight division a message. Since his come back he’s won 6 out of 7 up to and including a dominant victory over a red-hot George Sotiropoulos who appeared to be unbeatable before he took on Siver. Not only did Siver defeat G. Sots, he made him look like an amateur. His UFC 132 Main Card opponent Matt Wiman brings a cute little winning streak of his own into the Siver fight which includes an impressive victory over Cole Miller and a controversial one over Mac Danzig. No matter how conscious and prepared Wiman is for Siver’s trademark spinning back kick it’s unlikely that he’d see it coming until it’s too late even in his wildest dreams or nightmares. That’s not a knock on Wiman, Siver is just one of those fighters that has put it all together since he hit his 30th year on the planet and could very well put himself in Title contention should he finish Wiman in Vegas Saturday Night.
George Sotiropoulos: When you find yourself coming off a loss for the first time after 8 fights in the UFC, the opponents don’t really get a whole lot easier. When G. Sots takes on Rafael Dos Anjos on the Spike TV portion of Saturday’s card jiu jitsu fans from Brazil to Australia and everywhere in between and beyond will be in for a treat. Sotiropoulos proved that he belongs near the top of the never-ending talent pool that is the UFC Lightweight division with impressive victories over Joe Lauzon and Kurt Pellegrino to close out a 3-0 2010 campaign. George was a huge favorite heading into the Siver bout especially since the bout took place in his own backyard. Siver beat down Sots on his feet leaving the Aussie desperate for a take down to get into his comfort zone and impose some BJJ. The take down attempts on Siver became more and more desperate and almost looked sad as the fight wore on with Siver completing the upset victory and earning a spot on the UFC 132 Main Card while G. Sots finds himself back on the Prelims. Sotiropoulos got a little more rest in between this fight and his last than he did between Lauzon and Siver which you could easily blame on the need he felt to fight in front of his hometown crowd. Sotiropoulos and Dos Anjos are two more Lightweights to watch for at UFC 132 if you like top-notch brazilian jiu jitsu and potential submission of the night action.
Wanderlei Silva: Is it really even necessary to have Wanderlei in this article? When Silva and Chris Leben touch gloves at the center of the Octagon the whole MMA world will be buzzing. No one expects this fight to be anything less than amazing and both of these guys track records tell us that there will be hard punches to the cranium in bunches. Leben has stated that he believes Wanderlei’s chin isn’t what it used to be and he wants to test it. While that may be true it may also not be such a good idea to leave yourself open for counters against a man who possesses such scary power in his hands and knees. Leben will be the first to admit that Wand is the quicker fighter here. With this one looking like a slug fest on paper, that may be the deciding factor for the Co Main Event of this event. Wanderlei is always a fighter that you should watch for, especially coming off a 16 month layoff. It’s clear that “The Axe Murderer” is ready to get back to what he does best, put on a show for the fans and collect the 24th KO of his MMA career.
Brian Bowles: Bowles is coming off a win against Damacio Page where he accomplished something mind numbing. He finished Page with the same move, in the same round, at the same time that he did when the two first met back in 2008. Makes one wonder if it was coincidence or if Bowles is just that good and was just toying with Page. Likely a bit of both. When the former WEC Bantamweight Champion takes on Takeya Mizugaki as the “headliner” of Facebook’s Preliminary Stream we are likely to see more of the same. Mizugaki is a huge talent at 135 and has the ability to stand and trade with the best of the best in his weight class. I just feel like this is one of those fights where the heavy favorite with the better track record gets it done and leaves no question who has the better all around game. On a stacked card that features some of the very best on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s roster, Brian Bowles is one you have to watch. This may be the guy who either takes on Demetrious Johnson for a Title Eliminator bout with a win over Mizugaki or even gets an immediate shot at the winner of Cruz vs. Faber.