UFC on Fuel 5 is this Saturday and will be airing on free TV for all who have access to that ever difficult to find Fuel channel. The undercard will be live on Facebook starting at 1:30pm and the main card will get started on Fuel at 4pm. Here are five reasons why you should tune in to watch.
1. Exciting Young Heavyweights
The UFC's heavyweight division has been undergoing a renaissance in the last few years and both Stefan Struve and Stipe Miocic are part of this new age at heavyweight. Struve is a towering 6'11" and at just 24-years-old is working hard on evolving his skill set. A lanky and crafty grappler, Struve is known for finishing fights on the ground by submission and ground-and-pound. Miocic on the other hand is a golden gloves boxing champion, and while he does have wrestling experience he clearly prefers striking as all but one of his wins have come via stoppage due to strikes.
It is a intriguing matchup as Miocic has good power in his strikes and Struve, despite his huge reach, is very hittable. Struve also has had the reputation of fighting to his own disadvantage, but recently has been more active when it comes to putting fights in places that favor him. Miocic should have an advantage striking and has the power to knock Struve out, while Struve will be in the driver's seat any time the fight hits the ground. This has all the makings of a very entertaining bout.
On the main card two Bantamweight contenders will clash to help solidify their place in a complicated title picture. UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz is side lined with and injury, and Renan "Barao" Pegado has been crowned Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion and they are expected to meet sometime later this year. For every Bantamweight now to have any chance of getting a title shot after the dust settles they have to stay active and continue to win against upper level opponents.
Pickett already had one chance at a title shot and fell short against Pegado, and is buliding back towards another chance. An Englishman by birth, Picket now trains out of the Florida based gym American Top Team, where he has gone from straight grappler to well rounded fighter. Jabouin on the other hand is hitting his peak and has been in and out of contender-ship his whole career and a win here could finally get over the top and get a title shot. This is a match of two fighters at their peak with a lot of line, expect it to the be a very competitive match.
3. The Sass-angle
While most causal followers of MMA tend to be drawn more towards the striking aspects of the sport, Paul Sass' grappling is something every MMA fan can appreciate. Sass is a student of both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Luta Livre, two rival grappling arts originating from Brazil. And the result is Sass' grappling is technically brilliant, extremely aggressive, and just unorthodox enough to be incredibly effective.
Sass is undefeated in his career with 12 of his 13 wins coming by submission, the triangle choke being his speciality. He is set to face veteran Lightweight Matt Wiman who has never been submitted in his career. This is a stiff test for Sass and it very well result in his first loss, but there is sure to be some excellent grappling at some point. If he does pull out a submission win it will be time to give Sass a big named opponent and get his name into title contention.
4. Two Prospects Make UFC Debuts
Two very hot European prospects will make their long awaited debuts in the Octagon. Jimi Manuwa (11-0) was a troubled English youth who now credits MMA for turning him away from the path of violence and crime he was on early in life. Manuwa is a powerful striker who can knock fighters out on the feet, but prefers to take them down and then use ground and pound to finish the fight. Manuwa is powerfully built, even for a Light Heavyweight, but will likely be the smaller fighter when he takes on the hulking Kyle Kingsbury. Bloody Elbow's .gif wizard Zombie Prophet recently posted a Manauwa gallery that is worth a look.
The other prospect is Icelandic Welterweight Gunnar Nelson (9-0-1). Nelson is an extremely well rounded fighter, with high level decorations in Karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. At just 24-years-old the sky appears to be the limit for this young man. He could have jump to the UFC over a year ago but choose to wait and continue building his skills rather than jump for a chance at the big show before he was ready. Back in July Bloody Elbow published a in-depth overview of Nelson and recently Zombie Prophet also produced a .gif gallery for Neslon also, including video of his fights, when it was announced he signed with the UFC.
5. The Football This Saturday Sucks
Even the most ardent college football fans are feeling underwhelmed by the slate of games for this Saturday. While both Miami and Central Florida will be in action for the noon games the late afternoon games, right during the UFC card, are devoid of real serious action. The national game is #14 Ohio State vs #20 Michigan State, but if you are not a fan of Big 10 like myself and thus duty bound to watch the atrocities they call games this year, I advise you to run away from this game. This UFC on Fuel is the perfect thing to get you from the noon games to #4 Florida State's show down with South Florida.