When I woke up this morning and started writing out my outline and to-do list for the day, I got really excited when I wrote, “UFC live discussion” because I have been thinking all week that UFC 167 is tomorrow. Alas, it’s not and as usual, I’m way ahead of myself. But while we still have another week before UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre defends his belt against No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks in what will hopefully be yet another championship Fight of the Year contender, we do have another full slate of quality fights tomorrow night, and they’re the best kind of all – FREE.
The main event for UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson is incredibly and terrifically interesting, in that Vitor Belfort, the No. 2 contender for the UFC Middleweight title, will fight Dan Henderson in a Light Heavyweight contest; however, if Belfort wins, Dana White has guaranteed him a shot at the winner of the rematch between Middleweight Champ Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva. If Belfort loses, though, it’s a title eliminator. You have to admire Belfort’s balls for being open to putting what may very well be his last title shot on the line like this.
Meanwhile, one of my absolute favorite newer UFC fighters and Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner, Rony Jason, will take on Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens and attempt to win his fourth fight in a row since joining the UFC, and hopefully climb into the Top 10 rankings in the Featherweight division.
Also, as our friend Lobster Mobster pointed out, this is a Who’s Who of Who’s Named Thiago? as Paulo Thiago, Thiago Perpetuo and Thiago Tavares are each fighting. Not each other, obviously, but that would be pretty awesome. But I also imagine that Thiago Silva and Thiago Alves are sitting at home right now wondering why they didn’t get an invitation. And Thiago Splitter is wondering if he got into the wrong sport. Basically, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a fighter named Thiago Thiago.
Speaking of Lobster Mobster, you can check out her brilliant and helpful UCF Fight Night primer right here, and you can read along with my always 100% accurate predictions during tomorrow night’s fight, as the online preliminaries start at 6 PM ET and the main card begins at 8 PM ET on Fox Sports 1.
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Prediction: I know I joke about nicknames a lot, but if your nickname is "No Chance," you've pretty much just told all of us to pick Dustin Ortiz.
Prediction: I don't know anything about Martins at all, so I'll pick Cruickshank by default.
Prediction: I'm taking my first Thiago of the night here.
Prediction: TWO! TWO THIAGOS! AH-AH-AHHHHHHHHH!
Prediction: Sicilia is on the ropes here, as he's lost his last two fights in very unconvincing manners, so unless he flips the script tonight and looks like he did in his debut against Cristiano Marcello, he might be staring at a pink slip. That said, I think Pepey takes this one.
Prediction: Come on, I've been praising Rony Jason like he's the second coming of some other really good fighting person guy.
Prediction: "Gentle Boa" is a f*cking awesome nickname, and I guarantee he's said it to a girl at least once while pointing to his crotch. So I'll take Ponzinibbio in this one.
Prediction: I will not be calling a clean sweep for this event's Thiago troop, as I think Thatch continues his impressive winning streak and becomes one of the next welterweights stuck in the division's log jam.
Prediction: I'll take Cavalcante in this battle of the recent banned substances, because if his piss is clean, he's capable of taking a guy's head off with one punch.
Prediction: I think this one could be a contender for Fight of the Night, or at least Submission of the Night, as both of these guys are talented and exciting, and this was supposed to be the original Middleweight Final fight from Ultimate Fighter: Brazil; however, Sarafian pulled out because of an injury. So while Ferreira has the title, Sarafian must be pretty fired up to prove he could have won. I'm taking Sarafian.
Prediction: Belfort wins a close one and locks up his title shot to give the loser of Weidman/Silva a little time off before Weidman/Silva III, unless Weidman wins the rematch and everyone simply moves on with their lives.