Dillashaw (8-1) has looked brilliant since falling to John Dodson in their TUF 14 final with a 4-0 mark and finishes in his last three tilts. Assuncao has been equally impressive in four straight victories of his own, improving his overall record to 20-4 in the process. The winner of their meeting may not earn a title-shot as a result, but he will certainly be in position to do so with an instance of subsequent success. Throw in the fact both are exceptional grapplers with some stand-up to boot, and you’ve got a fight worth watching. The 14-5 Palhares’ height has dictated the need to move to welterweight for awhile so the tilt is exciting from that standpoint alone. The stocky submission-specialist is as dangerous a grappler as there is on the UFC roster, and the thought of him facing similarly-sized foes is intriguing, especially when considering the Pierce’s history with Brazilians. He’s spoken about his love of beating opponents from the nation for awhile and is getting the chance to do just that *in* Brazil no less. Additionally, with four straight wins behind him, the 17-5 Pierce is in position to earn a Top 5 foe if he can get by Palhares, ultimately adding one more to the plethora of reasons to watch this pairing. After years of status as one of the top females in fighting, the 16-2 Kaufman will finally make her UFC debut on October 16 when the organization heads to Houston. She’s a former Strikeforce champion with wins over Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche, so she’s obviously the real deal. While opponent Eye may not be as well known, the 10-1 competitor is seen by many as a future star in the sport and understandably so considering her seven-fight winning streak. Lombard (32-4-1) hasn’t looked bad in the Octagon but he hasn’t looked great either, going 1-2 with Split Decision defeats in both of his stumbles. Fortunately, the ferocious Cuban has given in to pressure to slim down to 170 pounds and ply his trade against foes with similar physical dimensions. Taking on the former Bellator middleweight champ will be former Strikeforce title-holder Marquardt, a seasoned veteran with a ton of techniques at his disposal. This clash could easily co-main a smaller card if not be headliner, but UFC 166 is so stacked it’s been lost in the mix. Granted, Sakara (15-10) and Watson (16-6) aren’t exactly contenders now and aren’t likely to be in the future. However, they ARE scrappers who love to stand and bang it out with adversaries. Their outing in England is sure to feature blood, bruising, and a bevy of blows testing each man’s toughness. It has bonus potential written all over it, whether Fight of the Night or Knockout of the Night. Craig is known to be a slugger, though he hasn’t been able to do much more than damage foes in his last few fights. Coming off a Split Decision win over Chris Leben, the 9-1 Craig has some momentum behind him and gets a relatively untested Barnatt to tee off on. Then again, at 6’6”, the undefeated Barnatt could prove to be a prospect worth watching starting by adding an upset win over the always-game Craig to the six victories he’s already laid claim to.
There are plenty of marquee
UFC match-ups understandably stealing the spotlight when looking ahead to October. However, digging deeper also reveals a fair share of scraps with the potential to be pure gold without the same hype as a headliner. Included in the bunch are battles between up-and-coming challengers and a few with the potential to launch the winner into contention for a championship come 2014. Check out six sleepers plucked from , and UFC Fight Night 29, UFC 166 … (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) UFC Fight Night 30