UFC Fight Night 86 Preview

ufc-fn86As the UFC progresses towards their biggest event yet in July they are taking a clear focus on figuring out the heavyweight division.

It is not an easy thing with the division in constant flux thanks to the inactivity of the champion and his challengers.

It has been talked about plenty as the heavyweight division is supposed to be a division that the UFC can build on like it has been for every other combat sport.

Yet every year it becomes a forgettable division that many don’t even know about because the title hasn’t been up for grabs since last June.

That is a pattern as Fabricio Werdum has not been the only inactive heavyweight champion in the past few years as it has been a pattern in the division.

With his latest championship fight cancelled and a new one scheduled for UFC 198 every heavyweight is trying to be active to become the next man up.

While there are a number of fighters that have been trying to find their way to the top for a number of years another big issue with the UFC’s heavyweight division is the lack of new talent.

The fighters at the top have been at the top for years, largely due to the inactivity of champions, but nobody has come up from unknown to a contender while breathing new life into the division.

The promotion is trying to fix that issue and the biggest step will be at UFC Fight Night 86 where the main event is full of heavyweights, including some new faces.

Marcin Tybura will make his debut close his home of Poland as the M-1 champion will take on Timothy Johnson who has a 1-1 record in the UFC so far.

Curtis Blaydes makes his debut with a record of 5-0 when he takes on Francis Ngannou who won his UFC debut last year.

All of these fighters will be looking to make a good first impression and for the UFC, the hope is that exciting fights will bring some excitement for the future of the division.

It is not all newcomers though as the co-main and the main event will feature a veteran taking on a rising star as all four fighters try to find their way to the title.

In the co-main event, Gabriel Gonzaga looks to kick-start his career after dropping three straight before finally getting back in the win column in his last fight.

He has not been close to the title for a while now but his latest win could be the start of a climb into and up the rankings before he retires.

His opponent has been making some waves in the heavyweight division with two straight knockouts.

He might just be hitting his stride in the UFC and if he can add a name like Gonzaga to his win column he is sure to find his way to the rankings and begin his climb towards a title shot.

Both fighters may not be in the top 15 right now but a win in Zagreb could be the ticket they need to finally get there.

For Gonzaga, it is quickly becoming his last chance to move back up the rankings while Lewis might be getting his first chance to do so in the UFC.mma-sidebar.fw

Both have plenty to fight for when they enter the octagon but it will be Lewis that will take the win with a knockout in the second round.

In the final fight of the night, the same type of match-up will take place except that this could have immediate title implications.

The next two months will feature the top fighters in the division as Alistair Overeem will fight Andrei Arlovski in early May and the title will be on the line later that month when Werdum faces Stipe Miocic.

That group will include the main event in Zagreb as former champion Junior dos Santos returns to the octagon to fight Ben Rothwell.

It will be a big fight for dos Santos who has only fought twice in the last two years and lost his last fight to Overeem.

He tries to get back to winning and back to trying to get his title back in this main event as he hopes to take the win and take a step towards a title shot.

His opponent has other plans as Rothwell has put the entire division on notice after winning four straight fights and ending all early.

He has regularly stated that the rest of the division should watch out as he is an improved fighter and is on the warpath towards the title.

Much of that is just talk but he is at his best right now and is on a path to the title with a #4 ranking.

A win against a former champion will only boost his chances of a title shot as he goes for five straight against dos Santos.

Like most heavyweight fights this is likely going to be a great stand-up battle but if Rothwell can’t stand up against the boxing of dos Santos he is not opposed to taking the fight to the ground earning submissions in his last two fights.

It should be a great fight but Rothwell doesn’t look like he can be stopped right now, at least until he gets to the top few fighters, and will take the win via decision.

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