THIS WEEKEND’S UFC 133 line-up is almost unrecognisable to what it was supposed to be. Dropouts and injury withdrawals mean that this event has a patched up feel about it.
However, as it transpired, things have fallen into place very nicely for Dana White and MMA fans are set to reap the benefits of this hastily made card.
Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans are set to do battle once more four years after the judges couldn’t separate them at UFC 73.
Tito, fresh off the back of his first win in 5 years, accepted the fight on short notice in the hope that he would carry some momentum into the fight.
Rashad, on the other hand, will be slightly ring-rusty having been forced out of the Octagon for the last 15 months due to a knee injury inflicted by Diego Sanchez during training.
There was an obvious hatred between the two in the build up to their first fight and that came to a head when Tito shoved Rashad while both were watching another UFC show.
Although there isn’t the same intensity in the build-up this time, the match is brewing up nicely, as this recent clip shows.
With the odds heavily stacked in Evan’s favour, it’s hard to look past him for the win. After being out for so long and having been forced to prepare for 3 different opponents, the motivation will, as always, be with Rashad.
Although Tito is coming off the back of one of the biggest wins of his entire career it is hard to imagine him overcoming a 100% fit and ready Rashad. But how many of you honestly thought he would beat Ryan Bader?
Can “The Phenom” bounce back?
Vitor Belfort suffered the indignity of being the first fighter to be knocked out by an up-kick in the history of the UFC and now he is looking to get back to winning ways over the man with the most ridiculous nickname in the organisation, Yoshihiro Akiyama, or as his friends call him, “Sexyama.”
Akiyama has had 3 fights in the UFC and has received 3 “fight of the night” bonus cheques, although he sports a 1-2 UFC record.
Vitor Belfort’s explosive style set the precedent for stand-up fighters early in the sport, and he should be good enough to overcome a fighter who has never really lived up to is a dangerous opponent for the Canadian as he has a lot more experience and is a clever fighter, but if Rory is to live up to the hype, Pyle is jushis performances of his K-1 and DREAM days.
Dennis Hallman and Brian Ebersole face off in a battle of the veterans as Ebersole looks to build on his upset of Chris Lytle at UFC 127. It was an impressive first UFC performance from the man who is on an 8 fight win streak and he looks to have the edge over the man who has nearly 60 fights to his name.
Another fight on the main card boasts one of the most exciting up-and-coming welterweights in Rory MacDonald as he takes on upset specialist Mike Pyle. MacDonald has been tipped to top the division in the future and at just 22 years of age, he has plenty of time to live up to the potential.
Pyle is the type of fighter he needs to get past. Jorge Rivera and Costantinos Philippou make up the rest of the main card.