Saturday’s UFC on FOX 15 card will feature a solid mix of past champions and headliners, along with a bevy of up-and-coming prospects.
Sprinkle in a little female action and you have the makings of a solid night.
Here’s a look at the media notes, courtesy the UFC, for the card:
Four of the top six ranked middleweights in the world will be on display in Newark. In the main event, No. 3 Lyoto Machida faces No. 5 Luke Rockhold while the co-main will feature top-ranked Jacare Souza taking on No. 6 Yoel Romero. With champ Chris Weidman set to defend his title against Vitor Belfort the following month, this could be considered a tournament of sorts for the next shot at the 185-pound title. One of the most intriguing aspects of the two fights is the fact all four competitors bring a drastically different style to the fight. Machida is known for his unorthodox striking and karate background while Rockhold may be one of the best pure athletes in the sport. In the co-main, Jacare is a world renowned jiu jitsu player and Romero is an Olympic wrestler. (Note: These were published before Romero was injured and removed, with Chris Camozzi taking his place.)
Two of the most recognizable names in the strawweight division will clash in Newark when No. 8 Felice Herrig meets No. 10 Paige VanZant. Known just as much for their beauty as they are their fighting ability, this is a true case of not judging a book by its cover. Herrig is the owner of a 23-5 professional kickboxing record and is a former Muay Thai champion and VanZant is a true mixed martial artist who stormed onto the scene with a third-round TKO in her UFC debut. Both women have the natural ability to market themselves and a win on FOX in front of a national audience could propel one woman to the next level of stardom and more importantly, one step closer to the title.
Aljamain Sterling will put his perfect 10-0 record on the line while Beneil Dariush goes for his fourth straight win as they look to crack the top-15 in the bantamweight and lightweight divisions respectively. With each fighter set to take a big step up in competition facing ranked opponents, the stakes are high. Sterling is a two-time NCAA Div. III All-American wrestler and training partner of Chris Weidman. Dariush takes the bout on short notice and with a quick turn-around after defeating Daron Cruickshank at UFC 185 March 14 via second round rear naked choke.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
When the Octagon touches down in Newark, it’ll be a home game for five fighters on the card. Aljamain Sterling (Uniondale, N.Y.), Eddie Gordon (Freeport, N.Y.) and Gian Villante (Bellmore, N.Y.) are all fighting out of Long Island; while Jim Miller (Sparta, N.J.) and Corey Anderson (Robbinsville, N.J.) are Jersey guys.