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7/27/16: Five Best Fights on Saturday’s UFC 201 Card
Saturday’s UFC 201 isn’t the organization’s most stacked pay-per-view event, but there are several fights worth checking out on the card. Here are five that stand out most to me.
5. Francisco Rivera vs. Erik Perez: This card has a lot of fighters who have shown significant promise at times while being maddeningly inconsistent. That’s very much the case with bantamweights Francisco Rivera and Erik Perez, who each need a win to keep themselves relevant in an increasingly crowded 135 lb. field. Rivera’s won just one fight in his last five, but that win was a thrilling KO over Alex Caceres. He was in a ridiculous firefight with John Lineker (though on the losing side), and he’s competitive with everyone he faces. Perez started his UFC career with three excellent stoppage wins, but he’s split four fights since 2012, with both wins coming by decision. He’s capable of exciting fights, and Rivera’s the guy to bring it out of him.
4. Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger: Speaking of promise and potential, there was a time for both Matt Brown and Jake Ellenberger were considered top ten to top five guys in the UFC’s welterweight division. That time has long since passed them by, but they’re both still capable of highly entertaining fights and finishes, Brown more than Ellenberger on the back end of his career. If Ellenberger’s off his game (as he’s been in some recent fights), this could be a showcase for Brown, who needs a big win after losses to three top five fighters in his last four fights.
3. Ian McCall vs. Justin Scoggins: The flyweight division has more often than not delivered entertaining matchups, and both McCall and Scoggins have put together some very good fights thus far in their UFC career. They’ve both struggled at times, though Scoggins has picked up a pair of very solid wins in a row. McCall is entering what might be his last chance at remaining a relevant competitor in the 125 lb. division, and if he picks up a win here he can keep his UFC and MMA run going. A loss could send him out, so that desperation could lead to something big for him here.
2. Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz: A possible No. 1 contender fight at 115 lbs., Rose Namajunas and Karolina Kowalkiewicz may actually provide the most competitive and entertaining fight on this card. Namajunas has made significant strides since her title loss to Carla Esparza after TUF 20, and that was evident in her victory over Tecia Torres in her last fight. Kowalkiewicz immediately established herself as an excellent competitor in the division with her first two UFC bouts, both of which came in the last seven months, and if she comes in and upsets Namajunas, we’re likely to see two elite Polish competitors in the next title fight. Joanna Jedrzejczyk will be watching this fight closely, and fans should be as well.
1. Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley: While it’s not a main event that will sell too many pay-per-view buys, and it’s not the fight many would have picked for the next Welterweight Title bout, in a vacuum this is still a really good fight at welterweight. Woodley’s been out 18 months, and at times he can fight a bit of a duller style, but he’s going to have to fight his best possible fight in order to wrest the title from Lawler’s hands. The UFC Welterweight Champion himself has become a fighter you have to watch, with excellent fight after excellent fight coming in his return to prominence in the UFC. That alone should be enough to bring some expectations for excitement in this headliner.
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