The world's largest mixed martial arts promotion will bid farewell to a pioneer of the sport, a man who is already a Hall of Famer. In the very next fight, though, the co-main event of the evening, UFC fans will be introduced to a potential legend in the making -- Jose Aldo.
The current featherweight champion of the world will take center stage to defend his title for the very first time inside the Octagon when he throws hands with Canada's own, Mark Hominick.
Aldo is no stranger to big fights, nor the spotlight; he headlined the one and only PPV offering from the now defunct World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) against the most popular star in the history of that organization, Urijah Faber.
And he destroyed him.
He even did so in front of "The California Kid's" hometown crowd in Sacramento. An impressive feat, no doubt, but performing well in a significant fight in front of 12,555 fans at the Arco Arena is a far cry from making his Octagon debut defending his title against a tough-as-nails opponent in front of his hometown crowd of 55,000 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Tonight, pressure is spelled A-L-D-O.
Aldo rose to fame, as high as he could go considering the circumstances at least, within the WEC, a promotion known for thrilling battles waged by miniature killers.
There was no better example of this than "Scarface," who absolutely obliterated everything and everyone in his path. Our very own Sergio Hernandez described his early WEC days and the plight of the hapless foes he ran over:
The most impressive facet of all these victories is Aldo's killer instinct. I think of fights like Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar where one of the fighters is hurt and beaten on for an extended period of time. You know the fight is pretty much over unless a miraculous comeback can be achieved; you just have to wait it out.
It's not like that with the UFC featherweight champion. You get hit and it's only a matter of seconds before you go down.
Mark Hominick has heard this talk, of course. He's heard that Aldo is a quiet but deadly force to be reckoned with and his status as a pound-for-pound great is cemented further and further with each assured victory, no matter the opponent.
But "The Machine" is no push-over. Not by a long shot.
Hominick has seen the bright lights of the UFC. He's been under the microscope, defeating top lightweights Yves Edwards and Jorge Gurgel back in 2006. In fact, to this day, he's never tasted defeat inside the Octagon.
A winner of five consecutive fights, four of them finishes, the Canadian kickboxer presents a formidable challenge to Aldo's throne.
For as much as pundits are in a rush to put the featherweight champion atop the always troubling pound-for-pound lists, Hominick is in just as much of a hurry to take it all away.
And he'll get the chance to do so tonight, April 30, 2011, in front of a gigantic audience of loyal fans cheering him to victory.
It won't be easy for him to unseat the king of the 145-pound division. Far from it. But it will be just as difficult for Aldo to protect his crown.
The pressure is on. Who will rise to the challenge?