Happy New Year MMA fans!
After a glorious 2015 that saw all but two champions from 2014 retain their belts, as well as various tremendous events, 2016’s slate gets underway tonight.
However, the card has not gotten anywhere near the buzz it rightfully deserves. Granted, the headliner has garnered some attention, as well as the co-main. However, in my opinion, it’s one of the best cards on paper over the past several years!
Allow me to explain. The card includes:
• A firefight championship bout for a headliner, that’s already a contender for Fight of the year. Both Carlos Condit and Robbie Lawler have a penchant for bringing the heat, and while it’s doubtful their fight can match the legendary level of Lawler ‘ previous fight against Rory Macdonald from last July, if it even winds up being half as good as that one was, it will still wind up being a Fight of the year candidate for 2016.
• A high level Heavyweight bout between Miocic and Arlovski that may determine the next title challenger, or at least result in a title eliminator for the winner.
• A Welterweight bout between Tumenov and Larkin that will establish a contender. Both men are finishing machines at Welterweight, and it will be violent!
• While Diego Brando vs. Brian Ortega isn’t a high profile bout, its still a fun fight between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts with varying styles that’s sure to end early. Either Brandao will land a knockout in the opening round, or he’ll gas out and allow Ortega to finish.
• Sims/Trujillo isn’t a great PPV opener from a name perspective, both men are knockout artists. Regardless of who winsx the ending is sure to be violent.
The prelim set is also very underrated. Noke/Morono should be fun, as well as the Women’s bout between Ansaroff and Kish.
Also, Michael McDonald finally returns! After a two-year absence due to injury, in which he was pondering retirement due to low pay, “Mayday” will return to the Octagon almost 25 – months after succumbing to a submission loss to Urijah Faber back in December 2013. If he beats the entertaining Masenori Kanehara in their featured prelim bout, he will likely earn a Bantamweight Title eliminator. A loss, and he’ll likely ponder retirement again.
• Poirier/Duffy will finally take place! Almost three months after it was supposed to headline a card on Fight Pass, it has been rescheduled, yet agsin placed on Fight Pass. Without a doubt, it is the biggest fight to ever be placed on the Fight Pass Prelims. It is a main-card level fight, but I get why they put it on Fight Pass (for Irish fans.)
I hope this clears up why this card is such an incredible one in my eyes. Hopefully, it lives up to my expectations.