The action does not stop for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), as this Wednesday night (Sep. 4, 2013) the promotion will stage UFC Fight Night 28: "Bader vs. Teixeira" from Mineirinho Arena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, its third mixed martial arts (MMA) event in just eight days.
With the season premiere of the first co-ed season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 with coaches Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate on deck, first up is a two-hour event live on FOX Sports 1 from South America.
A Light Heavyweight clash featured in the main event pits Glover Teixeira against Ryan Bader to determine who can come out on top with his sights set on the gold. Both men are on a different road though, as Teixeira finds himself closer to a title shot with four-straight UFC wins and an undefeated streak that dates back to 2005.
Bader, on the other hand, is even (3-3) in his last six bouts, yet a win over Teixeira would speak volumes if he can get the job done on Wednesday night.
Several interesting storylines, including stylistic matchups, weak divisions and unknown fighters on a nationwide scale generation fighters and heavyweights with uncertain futures are all on the radar, as we take a look at "Five Burning Questions" heading into UFC Fight Night 28 this mid-week in Belo Horizonte.
Drum roll please ...
5. Could this be the weakest card of the year in terms of fighter recognition?
Let us not be too greedy with the past events brought forth to us by the promotion. Surely we have had some forgettable cards this year, but UFC delivers more often than not.
The promotion also likes to have fighters fight in their hometown as often as possible, which obviously generates additional awareness in the country for the event and sells more tickets, as well as develop more opportunities for the fighters to become popular in their home country.
That is all fine and dandy, but the other side of the coin is that when fights are seen on television, to create more of a widespread appeal there has to be fighters that fans are familiar seeing, knowing who they are, too.
Unfortunately for this event as a whole, it lacks that certain aspect.
With 12 born and bred Brazilians (not including the ones by way of America) and seven promotional debutants, the starpower is just not there for an event on network television.
Hopefully, the lack of popular figures on this card does not lean toward the event being banal since we have seen less popular fighters deliver before on the grand scale.
4. Is Yushin Okami vs. Ronaldo Souza as unpredictable as it may look?
Yushin Okami's rugged wrestling and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza's incredible Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills will clash as this co-main match seems as unpredictable as they come.
Usually when two fighters have great pedigrees that are destined to clash, they tend toward making a fight out of skills they are not primarily known for, and it could be the striking that decides this fixture on Wednesday night
Okami has faced opposition known for their stand up in Nate Marquardt, Mike Swick, Hector Lombard and he has done well against those men no matter how ugly his wins may be at times. Okami has also been on the receiving end of some brutal finishes with Tim Boetsch and Anderson Silva coming to mind, but he is one of the most prominent wrestlers in the company.
Perhaps the best wrestler to come out of Japan, thanks in part to his Team Quest camp and training partner, Chael Sonnen (whom he has also fought in the past).
Jacare has had trouble with wrestlers before with Luke Rockhold, but neutralized most of them with his performances against Robbie Lawler, Matt Lindland and Tim Kennedy, so he knows exactly what he is getting himself into with Okami. His striking is getting better but could still use a bit of sharpening and the same could be said with Okami. Souza is also 8-1 in his last nine and with his promotional debut a successful one in demolishing Chris Camozzi in little more than three minutes almost four months ago, he could be the man to watch at Middleweight if he gets past "Thunder."
If this a true example of styles makes fights or will we see an unpredictable result when the Octagon door closes?
3. Does Joseph Benavidez get another title shot in a relatively thin flyweight division with a win?
Benavidez could be exactly like his Team Alpha Male training partner, Urijah Faber. More or less unfortunate in title fights, Benavidez has three losses in his career and two of those are in title fights against Demetrious Johnson and Dominick Cruz in two separate divisions (two of those losses were also suffered to the same man in Cruz).
Seeing how the fight between Jon Dodson and newcomer Darrell Montague pans out at UFC 166, Benavidez could fight the winner of that one, but that further delays Johnson with no real plan of action. Johnson and Benavidez fought to a close fight to determine the inaugural flyweight champion at UFC 152, with the current champion winning a split decision.
There is no reason that this fight should not happen if Benavidez wins on Wednesday night.
With that being said, the 125-pound division cannot make title fights with the same few fighters, but competitors coming off one win are automatically "in the mix" too these days. It looks like that could be the sign of the times if the division cannot generate more athletes on the roster.
2. Can Ryan Bader finally prove he has what it takes against the elite fighters in his division?
Fresh off TUF 8, Bader was a man possessed and looked to be a devastating threat at 205 pounds. Knocking out Vinny Magalhaes in the Finale, Bader began his UFC career undefeated (8-0), winning four more fights after that with victories over veterans Keith Jardine and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. He then lost his opportunity at a title shot when he fell to Jon Jones at UFC 126 in 2011 and further went down the ranks by losing to Tito Ortiz shortly after by guillotine choke, which was one of the most shocking upsets in UFC history.
"Darth" is still a talent to keep an eye on, but for how long can someone be billed as a prospect? He is now 30 years old with 10 UFC fights under his belt (not counting his win over Magalhaes). If he wants to prove he is indeed a force in the division besides his inconsistency by beating veterans, but falling to the best in the division (and losing to Ortiz), he needs to dish out the punishment against Teixeira on Wednesday night ... in front of his opponent's Brazilian faithful.
1. Will a win be enough for Glover Teixeira to earn him a title shot or he is simply not that accomplished yet?
Teixeira, entering his fifth fight in 1.5 years, can steal the Light Heavyweight spotlight if he can beat Bader in front of his peers this mid-week.
The critics say that Teixeira has not beaten a Top 10-ranked opponent thus far in the UFC and it is an understandable assessment. His biggest win is over "Rampage," who looked like he wanted to be anywhere else, but in the Octagon back in January of this year because of personal reasons. In just four fights, Teixeira has three-stoppage wins, but in the interest of fairness, beating James Te Huna, Fabio Maldonado and Kyle Kingsbury should not really cement your title shot.
However, it is a good way to chase it.
Maybe it is because the Chuck Liddell protege and John Hackleman-trained Teixeira was billed as this devastating force by Dana White, whom he said Mauricio Rua would rather be cut than to fight Teixeira and nobody wanted a piece of the Brazilian.
After we understood that the words of "Shogun" were taken out of context, it was somewhat difficult to find an opponent for Teixeira. Rashad Evans made a case for the fight yet did not get it. There were better options for a fight as Machida, Phil Davis, Dan Henderson and Gegard Mousasi are probably the best in the division (even though some are coming off losses) although the timing was not right.
It raises a question if the brass is trying to pat Teixeira's record or if it is just sold on putting him in a title fight to show that the weight class is not as bad as it looks, being arguably the most frustrating division when coming up with contenders and legitimate fights.
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 28 fight card this Wednesday evening (Sept. 4, 2013) right here, starting with the Facebook "Prelims" at 4:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 6 p.m. ET and then main card action (also on FOX Sports 1), which is slated to begin at 8 p.m. ET.