Which undercard fights stand out to you on the UFC Fight Night 86 card in Croatia this weekend, and why?
DAYNE FOX, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
There are a lot of unknowns on this week’s fight card, which makes it difficult to pick out an undercard favorite or two. Even worse is the fact there are four heavyweight fights aside from the main event, and there is no division more unpredictable than the big boys. I fear we’re just as likely to get a snoozer as both gas going the distance in some of these bouts as we are to get a highlight reel KO in the first round. Thus I refuse to identify one of those as one that stands out to me.
Maryna Moroz has been fun to watch thus far, but I don’t know enough about her opponent, Cristina Stanciu, to predict if this will be must-see-TV. While Nicolas Dalby has been fun to watch, his opponent Zak Cummings generally hasn’t been. I’ll say Rob Whiteford vs. Lucas Martins will have the most entertainment value as both prefer to stand and trade in what should be a fun stylistic clash.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
The only fight I would specifically name would be Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Derrick Lewis, and that’s largely because Gonzaga used to be a contender. Unfortunately, I think Lewis wins a dull decision but there’s always the possibility of an exciting knockout as well. Other than that, I’m just hoping for some good fights. I don’t have super high expectations, I just want some decent fights to watch.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I am zoned in on one thing: the debut of my buddy Curtis Blaydes. I’ve had the good fortune to see almost every one of his fights, and the man is not only absolutely monstrous in person but he’s a complete killer inside of the cage. Blaydes is a fantastic addition to the UFC roster and can make for a compelling opponent for many of the existing guys who need a fresh opponent. Let me throw out a #XFOMMA for Curtis!
MICHAEL BANE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I can’t tell you a single other fight on the card after the main event. I’m sure there will be some quality fights, and some that may stand out AFTER the fact. However, looking at the event coming up, there is nothing that I will be making an effort to see, and only one fight that I will even bother to watch on DVR. I’ll be at a wedding reception that evening, and it’s not like that fight is Aldo vs. McGregor (an event I would have skipped my own wedding for – it’s okay, like millions of other people out there, my wife doesn’t read what I write on the internet).
It may be that someone needs to take my hardcore MMA fan card away now. I just can’t keep up. Do you remember a time when there was one event a month by a major MMA promotion? It was much easier to tune into every single thing that popped up, much of it on pay-per-view, to get my MMA fix. The cards tended to have more familiar faces, which made it more likely to recognize someone and get amped up about seeing them in the cage. Those days are gone. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I love having the option of not watching a UFC event (and almost all Bellator and WSOF events) because I know I’ll be able to catch one in the near future. This is not a complaint at all.
It’s just pretty impossible to keep track of all the fighters who make their way onto UFC cards anymore, much less the other organizations. Unless this is your only hobby or full time job (props to both those groups), it’s unlikely you’re going to find the time to do so. And I’m fine with that. The deluge of MMA events never leaves me wanting, and always looking forward to the next big thing. I just may not always be able to give an intelligent opinion on a card where I can’t pronounce the names of half the fighters. Thanks for nothing, American education.
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