What to expect: UFC Fight Night 58 edition

 

UFC Fight Night 58 wraps up the year of 2014 for the UFC with a stacked ‘Fight Night’ card live from the Ginasio Jose Correa in Barueri, Brazil.  Headlining the show is former champion and middleweight contender Lyoto Machida vs. C.B. Dollaway.  In the co-main event, Renan Barao makes an anticipated return against ranked 135 pounder Mitch Gagnon.  There are always several things you can expect from a fight night and reasons why you should devote your Saturday nights to UFC events, so here are three things you can expect and three reasons you should tune into UFC Fight Night 58 on Dec. 20.

What to expect: UFC Fight Night 58 edition

The return of former No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter, Barao

I’m excited to see Barao finally back inside the Octagon following a devastating title loss to champ T.J. Dillashaw.  People are forgetting how good the Brazilian really is because of his last performance, but if we all think, he’s still one of the best bantamweights in the world.  Gagnon should really not be a test at all for him, the former champ is just better in all areas.  He owns crisp striking, a good ground game, and can end the fight at any time.  I’m expecting a dominant finish win for the former titleholder, getting him back into the “mix” at 135 pounds.

Two contenders will get back into the “mix”, or two new contenders will rise

The main and co-main events are very interesting because they both feature two excellent fighters that have been champions, title contenders, and are still ranked in the top five in their respected divisions, taking on top 10-15 up-and-comers, especially Gagnon.  Right now, since Machida and Barao are both coming off losses to the champs Chris Weidman and Dillashaw, you can’t list them as one in the “mix” for the title.  If they get back into the win column, though, you can.  The interesting part is, if they lose, two new contenders will rise and launch up in the rankings, instantly becoming a contender.  It’d be hard to imagine Dollaway and Gagnon as top five fighters, but if they pick up a win tomorrow night, you can’t argue they deserve a top five position in their divisions.  No matter who wins tomorrow night, there will be one more fighter in the mix for title contention at middleweight and bantamweight.

Will Erick Silva finally make a run at becoming a top welterweight? Yes.

Silva vs. Mike Rhodes, featured on the main card, should be an excellent scrap indeed.  Silva was once ranked at 170 pounds, and Rhodes is also a decent fighter.  Silva was very hyped coming into the UFC, but hasn’t been able to make the run to become a champ or top fighter that he was expected to be able to do.  He hasn’t yet picked up two wins in a row, but coming off a loss, I see him picking up a win here.  I just don’t think Rhodes has the skills to put the 30 year old on a two fight skid.  Anything can happen, though.  I do think that Silva will look fantastic on Saturday night, starting up another win streak, and I see him continuing that win streak, becoming a top fifteen fighter by mid-2015.  I believe he’ll finally begin the run in the UFC everybody was expecting from the get go.

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