Sensational knockouts, smooth submissions, and valiant brawls all make a fight card great. UFC 168 has the potential to stand among the greatest fight cards, and given the recent streak of awesome events that the UFC has been putting on, maybe this one will be the titan of them all. Nevertheless, one can’t help but wonder which fights this Saturday are going to stand out.
Knockout of the Night
The first fight that comes to mind here is the main event rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva. The first meeting resulted in a sensational left hook masterpiece from Weidman which put Silva out cold, and you’d be an idiot not to think the same result could happen again. However, logic has to tell Silva to fight a little more cautiously this time around, so the chances of us seeing a one-punch knockout from either party is a little bleak. Many Silva fans are banking that he’ll approach this bout with a much more serious manner and knock Weidman out with ease, but let’s not forget that this man is still undefeated and, at least from what we can tell, knows how to handle himself against Silva on the feet.
This brings me to a few more realistic choices for the potential knockout of the night and that is Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne, and Siyar Bahadurzada vs. John Howard. Starting with the heavyweights, one can conclude that Browne will want to keep this fight on the feet; that means doing everything necessary to keep distance. When you have a tough-nosed veteran like Barnett who can take a punch, he’s going to do everything he can to close that distance. One fighter looking to charge forward and tie up while the other is trying to maintain range with long kicks and knees: that makes a perfect formula for a vicious knockout. Besides, Browne has kind of been on a tear with vicious KO’s lately.
And finally, Siyar Bahadurzada and John Howard. Both fighters are very well-sound on the feet, but Siyar is the one with the vicious power and speed. Howard throws with some good technique and is pretty to watch, but something tells me he’s not going to want to stand with Siyar for very long. Either Howard wrestles Bahadurzada to the ground, or Siyar is given enough space to blast him coming in. Again; one fighter looking to move forward while the other is looking for the knockout. Siyar Bahadurzada is a very strong choice here for knockout of the night.
Submission of the Night
Of course, anytime you have Ronda Rousey on the card you know an armbar is a very plausible scenario. To be honest, this is my predicted choice for which bout the UFC would give a submission bonus to, but I don’t think it’ll be the most deserving. I arrive to Jim Miller for a potential submission of the night award that could very well await him. He’s facing a talented grappler in Fabricio Camoes, but Miller is another animal that has only been tamed by foes much larger than him. Camoes fails to bring any physical advantages, so this could very well be a walk in the park. His kneebar victory over Charles Oliviera has shown that he is not afraid to out-grapple a grappler, and this might just be the case in this bout.
If Miller or Rousey don’t end up getting a submission of the night bonus, I can only conclude that maybe the main event gets it. We know Weidman has the knockout power and striking skills to KO Silva, but don’t forget that he is firstly a grappler. Silva has struggled against fighters who can hold him down and punish him, but Weidman is a finisher (or atleast attempts to) on the ground. We saw Chris get relatively close on a kneebar attempt against in the first round of the first fight which shows he’s more than comfortable going for submissions. One can’t help but wonder that now with Weidman also proving a difficult foe on the feet, maybe this second bout will feature a little more ground work from the two.
Fight of the Night
When looking through the bouts on this card, I name many bouts that could potentially be a fight of the night worthy performance. To limit it down, I’ve selected two bouts that I’d expect to get fight of the night honors. First off, Dustin Poirier and Diego Brandao. Both of these guys are known for being exciting fighters and they’re so different with their fighting styles that this could make for an extremely interesting bout. Brandao is a cannon ball out of the barrel in the first half of the fight, so he makes everything exciting with his aggression and explosiveness. However, Poirier is a very crafty fighter who shines best when counting an opponent that leaves himself open. Expect to see the very best of both men Saturday night.
Next up for me is Chris Leben and Uriah Hall. Honestly, I either see this fight being very disappointing or very action-packed. Leben is a warrior and pushes forward against every opponent while Hall is the crafty striker with devastating power. I’m predicting some very wild exchanges in this bout that are bound to put the crowd on their feet.