The UFC’s first pay-per-view offering for 2013 – UFC 156 – is expected to be make a big splash, as three key bouts take up the marquee billing on the main card.
In the main event, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo puts his title on the line against former UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. Aldo could be looking to make a change in weight classes with a win, while Edgar would become the third fighter in promotion history to become a multi-division champion.
The card also features the return of former UFC light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans, as he takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. There are rumors floating around that Evans could be on his way to a new weight class, but we’ll discuss that later in the article.
And finally, ex-Strikeforce heavyweight champ and No. 1 contender Alistair Overeem is back following a suspension for a failed drug test. Overeem meets Antonio Silva, a match that was set to take place a couple years ago in Strikeforce.
So, what can fans expect to see come Saturday evening on pay-per-view from Las Vegas? Let’s divulge into that:
An actual super-fight between two athletes who want nothing more than to make a statement
Much of the talk over the past several months has surrounded Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre squaring off in a match years in the making. Or, Silva moving up and facing Jon Jones. Well, we actually have a super-fight on the docket for this card.
Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar have been two of the biggest names and faces in the lighter weight classes. Aldo has had no trouble since coming over to the UFC after ruling the WEC, while Edgar owns wins over BJ Penn and Gray Maynard to his credit.
These are two fighters who will bring it all, and both would like nothing more than to secure a finish.
Aldo has been on the sidelines since early in 2012 due to injuries, but his lone match last year was a highlight-worthy one, as he knocked out Chad Mendes and sprinted into the crowd to celebrate with his Brazilian fans. There will be none of that this time, but the KO finish will be on the mind of “Scarface.”
Edgar, meanwhile, experienced an 0-2 year, falling twice – both via decision – to Benson Henderson. The losses cost Edgar his UFC lightweight title and prompted the move to featherweight.
Rashad Evans will stop Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, then say he is headed to middleweight
Rashad Evans is a former wrestler, so he knows all the ins and outs of making a serious weight cut. While Evans has played coy recently concerning rumors of a move to middleweight, UFC president Dana White may have tipped his cap when he said there were “plans” in the works involving Anderson Silva and the UFC middleweight title.
Evans has a tough test in his first fight in several months with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, but a motivated “Suga” has all the tools to become the best in the world again. His lone losses have come to Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida, and the caliber of opponent Evans has went up against is much higher than that of Nogueira.
Add in the prospects of a meeting with Silva down the road, and Evans will make quick work of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s twin brother come Saturday.
Overeem, Silva will not touch gloves prior to their heavyweight war
Alistair Overeem and Antonio Silva have not attacked each other like some other fighters in the media since news of their fight was made official, but that doesn’t mean they share a love for one another.
Overeem made himself an enemy of many fighters by failing a drug test last year, and Silva wants nothing more than to send him back to the lab with a “L” on his record.
“Bigfoot” knows he will need a convincing win over the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion to erase the memory of his loss to Cain Velasquez in 2012 and earn a rematch with the UFC heavyweight champ.
For Overeem, it’s all about proving that he is not a cheater. These two were set to meet in Strikeforce before Overeem exited the Grand Prix tournament, and Silva has been looking forward to this fight for two years.
Silva’s size can normally give his opponents issues, but Overeem is a large heavyweight and should not have any problems figuring out how to pick him apart – much like Daniel Cormier accomplished.
A non-marquee fighter will make an impact
With Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, Rashad Evans and Alistair Overeem gaining much of the recognition in the build-up to Saturday, I have a feeling someone else will exit UFC 156 being talked about.
Who will that be? There’s no shortage of worthy names, as Jon Fitch, Demian Maia, Joseph Benavidez, Ian McCall and Evan Dunham all take part in the action.
But, there is one name on the prelim card that I hope people pay extra-close attention to: Tyron Woodley.
Woodley, a former Strikeforce contender, was defeated by Nate Marquardt in his last bout in a match to determine the welterweight champion. While the loss was a crushing blow for Woodley, he was willing to go toe-to-toe with the former UFC contender in Marquardt for nearly four rounds.
Woodley also has victories over Paul Daley and Tarec Saffiedine to his credit. Saffiedine defeated Marquardt earlier this month. With five submission wins and an excellent wrestling resume to his credit (Woodley was a two-time NCAA Div. I All-American), “T-Wood” has all the tools to make an splash in the UFC.
Photo credit: CombatLifestyle