UFC on FOX 15 Preview

ufc_FOX15The UFC takes the show to network television for the second time this year as a number of top contenders try to solidify their spots in the title hunt.

The main event features two of the top ranked middleweights while the co-main event features the top contender in that same division.

Then there is the start of the main card that features two fighters in the most unpredictable division in the UFC.

The Women’s Strawweight division has proven to be anything but stable as underdogs continue to make an impact.

First the surprises came at the top after Carla Esparza won the Ultimate Fighter to take the first ever strawweight title but could not defend it in her first fight after the show.

Esparza had held the title in Invicta and showed that she was clearly the best fight throughout the show but Joanna Jedrzejczyk proved to be too much to handle.

Esparza lost the title and a new champion who seemed to come out of nowhere was crowned but that hasn’t been the end of the surprises.

Only last week another surprise changed the division as top contender Joanne Calderwood was preparing for a fight that could have put her at the top of the division.

She came in too nervous though and for that lost to an up and coming fighter in Maryna Moroz, who proceeded to challenge Jedrzejczyk as she sat at ringside.

With Calderwood out of the picture the fight for the top may just come down to the fight that will open the network broadcast at UFC on FOX 15.

Felice Herrig and Paige VanZant are two of the most popular fighters in the strawweight division as they both hold big followings. More than that though they are great fighters.

That combination has left many to believe that they are the two that have the best chance at moving up to challenge for the title.

Despite the fact that Herrig is only ranked #8 and VanZant is at #12 there is a lot of talk about this being the top contender fight.

That is the case in a new division as the rankings are more a guess than a real ranking system. Many fighters have yet to be seen in the octagon and some have only had one fight to prove that they belong.

It takes a lot more to get a good ranking and so the strawweights battle it out with big moves sure to dominate over the rest of the year.

For now though it seems like the matchup between Herrig and VanZant could be the top contender fight especially if one can win in impressive fashion.

Both are well-rounded fighters that are typical in the strawweight division in the fact that they bring a fast pace to the octagon and both have good stamina.

They are built differently though as Herrig has a background in Muay Thai and kickboxing while VanZant is a young fighter who was brought up in mixed martial arts and has never trained any other discipline, although she does hold a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu.

The fight is shaping up to be an even one and if either can get a big win they may be launched into the title conversation.

They are not the only ones on the card that are looking for that though as more middleweights will get their shot at moving up the ladder.

While Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort are set to face-off in May three fighters enter UFC on FOX 15 with a chance to be the next in line.

First there is Ronaldo Souza who currently sits as the top contender in the division after starting his UFC career with four straight wins.mma-sidebar.fw

He has been impressive and he was set to take on his biggest challenge yet in Yoel Romero, ranked #6 in the division.

An injury to Romero ended that fight but Souza remains on the card to fight Chris Camozzi who takes the fight on under two weeks’ notice.

Now Souza is expected to win and win easily and if he can, he likely remains the top contender for the title after the Weidman-Belfort fight.

If Souza can’t get the win it might just open the door for the main event fighters as Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold face-off.

Machida once ruled the light heavyweight division only a few years ago but lost the belt only to climb back up the ladder before losing to Jon Jones.

After that loss Machida decided that changing into the middleweight division was the best chance for him to get back to a UFC title.

His first two fights in the division were successful and led to a matchup again the champion, Weidman, for another shot at another title.

That loss sent him back into the mix but another win has put him at #2 in the division and now gives him a chance at a potential rematch. If he can beat Rockhold and finish the fight early he may very well get his shot as he could jump over Souza.

Rockhold is looking for the same outcome though as he looks to improve on his #4 ranking in the division.

After losing his UFC debut to Vitor Belfort, Rockhold has put together three wins heading into this main event.

As he continues to move up the rankings he takes on a legend in the sport that could only add to his chances of earning a title shot.

He may need more than just a win in this main event but if Souza does lose and Rockhold can impress there is a chance that he is next.

It won’t be easy as it never is against Machida who brings his unique style to the octagon in every fight.

It is not easy to deal with the karate style of Machida and his ability to avoid damage while countering.

He is hard to hit and brings a good BJJ game to the octagon as well, which is what has made him so successful in the UFC.

Rockhold will try to counter Machida’s strange ability with his wrestling background and a great jiu jitsu game of his own.

He is a well-rounded fighter as well with good kickboxing along with his ground game but again he has to figure out the puzzle of Machida.

It is not impossible as Machida has been beaten but more than a few fighters have been unable to figure out how to beat Machida.

Because of that simple fact, Machida will take this one with a second round knockout as Rockhold will fall to the game of Machida and out of the title conversation for the time being.


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