Plenty to Prove in Saskatoon (UFC Fight Night 74 Review)

SASKATOON, SK - AUGUST 23:  Referee Herb Dean (C) calls a stop to the contest as Charles Oliveira (L) of Brazil falls to the ground with an injury against Max Holloway of the United States in their featherweight bout during the UFC event at the SaskTel Centre on August 23, 2015 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The UFC is back to a more normal schedule as the summer begins to wind down and with that comes fight Night in Saskatoon.

These Fight Nights hold a special place in the UFC as they are the events where the future of the sport resides.

Pay per view events, held generally only once a month, are for the exciting prospects to fight in the undercard and the veterans to face-off in the main event.

Fight Night cards are full of fighters that have been a part of the pay-per-view events or fighters who have rarely been heard of and are given a shot to make their way through the long run in division rankings.

Fight Nights are all about fighters getting their chance to prove themselves in front of a bigger crowd and sometimes in major parts to the card.

UFC Fight Night 74 was no different as the UFC had loaded the card with plenty of fighters trying to prove themselves.

From the main event to the first fight there were plenty of fighters trying to show the UFC that they belong both in the UFC and among the top in their division.

This was especially true in the final three fights of the night as almost all of the fighters involved had been to the top but fallen short when they got close to the title.

Patrick Cote knows what that is like in the worst way as at one point he was the #1 contender in the middleweight division.

While fighting for the title against Anderson Silva, Cote blew out his knee and the fight was over with Silva keeping the belt.

Since that title fight Cote has struggled to get back to the top but finally seemed to be on his way after switching to welterweight and winning three of his four fights in the new division.

Now he was set to take on Josh Burkman who himself had been moving up the welterweight rankings at a rapid pace in 2012.

A five-fight win streak that began in 2012 put him in good standing but two losses and a no contest in his last four fights have stalled his rise through the rankings.

Both fighters had experienced the rush of being named one of the top fighters in the division and had that taken away from them when it seemed so close.

Now the two unranked fighters entered the octagon trying to find their way into the rankings in the welterweight division and begin another run to the top of the division.

The fight was fairly close for the first two rounds as the two veterans did not let their opponent get a lot.

Then the third round came and both fighters decided to stand and trade massive shots back and forth sending the fans to their feet.ufc_fn74ii

Eventually Cote landed the right shot and sent Burkman to the mat where he was finished off by the Canadian.

The loss was the first time Burkman had ever lost due to TKO and handed him his second straight loss.

Cote meanwhile won his second fight in a row and his fifth in six fights with an impressive knockout that could translate to a ranking after he made sure everyone noticed him.

After Cote took home the win two more fighters with something to prove stepped into the octagon trying to get noticed.

Erik Silva came into the UFC with plenty of hype as one of the most skilled welterweights and a well-rounded fighter that could push his way to the top of the division.

Yet since entering the UFC he has had a rocky road with inconsistency dominating most of his storylines despite his great ability in the octagon.

Now riding his first two-fight win streak in his UFC career, Silva was looking to put his third straight on the board against a top 10 fighter in Rick Story.

Unfortunately Story was injured before the fight, for the second time, and in his place came one of the hottest welterweights in the UFC.

Neil Magny had put together a seven fight win streak in the welterweight division and seemed to be on his way to a top contender spot.

Then came his first big test in Demian Maia and a loss sent him down to the bottom of the rankings.

Now taking a fight on short notice, Magny is chomping at the bit to get back in the win column to ensure that he can continue to rise through the rankings despite the loss as he took on Silva.

The fight was a dominant one but a dominant one on the side of the man who took the fight on short notice.

Magny was impressive from start to finish controlling the fight but never really putting Silva in much danger.

Despite the split decision it was clear that Magny had won and Silva had once again dropped a fight just as he seemed to get going.

Magny, on the other hand, got back to the win column after losing his last fight and will continue to climb up the rankings as he takes on better fighters in the future.

The main event was no stranger to fighters trying to prove something either as two top ten featherweights carried win streaks into the main event with only one able to continue it after the fight.

Charles Oliveira had won four straight fights after struggling to find consistency in his fights and struggling with his weight through the start of his career.

Max Holloway came into the fight winning all six of his last fights and quickly becoming a name to watch in the division after, himself struggling with consistency at the start of his career.

mma-sidebar.fwBoth fighters were fighting their best as they headed into UFC Fight Night 74 and both were looking to get noticed in a main event fight.

With a win either could have stepped into the contender role with Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor ready to fight later this year to unify the titles.

Although they may not have been given a title shot right away after a win getting the victory was sure to help them climb the ladder faster and show that they are true contenders in the division.

Only one could accomplish this though and from the start t seemed like it was not going to be an easy one for either fighter.

As both continued to feel each other out, Oliveira looked to pull guard and take the fight to mat and when both fighters came up Oliveira was far worse for the wear.

Oliveira came up grabbing his shoulder after his attempt to bring the fight to the ground and the referee was forced to end the fight with the injury.

It may not be the way that Holloway wanted to earn the win but he did earn the win and moved into the top of the streaks in the UFC winning his seventh straight fight.

The loss for Oliveira won’t do much as it was more of a bad luck situation and wasn’t much about losing a fight.

For Holloway better opponents may be coming or a rematch of this one but the fact is he continues to move up and could be only one fight from earning that title shot.

Plenty of fighters had something to prove in Saskatoon and as some missed their chance others took full advantage in a perfect display of what Fight Night is about.



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