It's a big night (Sat., April 26, 2014) of mixed martial arts (MMA) fights on tap at UFC 172, which will emanate from Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
The pay-per-view (PPV) card features a Light Heavyweight championship fight between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira, as "Bones" looks to make his seventh straight title defense. The card also features another solid 205-pound bout in its co-main event when Phil Davis welcomes Anthony Johnson back to the Octagon.
UFC 172 features plenty of the solid fighters and match ups we've come to expect; however, I wouldn't go as far as to agree with Dana White who calls this "the most stacked card we have ever done." And to be honest it probably isn't even the most stacked card of 2014.
Nonetheless, there will be competition aplenty and it should be a fun card to watch.
With fighters looking to make big performances at the event, here are some of the fighters who are most likely to bring home a performance bonus for their efforts after UFC 172:
Jon Jones (Fighting Glover Teixeira): Jones' recent antics have captured headlines, but it is important to remember that he is a gifted athlete and fighter. He may have his flaws -- both inside and out of the Octagon -- but he is one of the sport's elite and I don't think Teixeira is the guy who can take him down a notch. Jones' striking looks better every time out and his grappling is already on another level. What's more, he is far beyond the skill of any of the opponents Teixeira has beaten to get this title shot. I think Jones takes Teixeira into deep water and finishes him.
Phil Davis (Fighting Anthony Johnson): I really don't see this as a tough fight for Davis. Johnson is a big, bad dude, but he isn't ready to be fighting the contenders in UFC's Light Heavyweight division. Since leaving UFC, Johnson has scored some decent knockouts, but in my opinion, he has not been overwhelmingly impressive and his wins haven't been over high quality opponents. Indeed, Davis is a big jump in skill level from Mike Kyle. Johnson stands much of a chance once this fight hits the mat. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Davis finishes this quickly with a submission.
Luke Rockhold (Fighting Tim Boetsch): Rockhold is ready to become a contender at Middleweight, whereas Boetsch is on the downswing. Rockhold is faster, more technical and overall just the better fighter. I think he's too smart to get finished by a big rush from Boetsch, and if anyone stops this fight before the final bell, it's going to be Rockhold.
Jim Miller (Fighting Yancy Medeiros): This rounds out the four top billed fights for this card, all of which seem to have odd match ups. Medeiros takes this fight on very short notice and Miller is not the kind of guy you can fight with little preparation. Medeiros is a big Lightweight and has good striking, but Miller is a veteran and has the well-rounded skillset to grab a win and do so impressively.
Max Holloway and Andre Fili: These are two exciting prospects in the Featherweight division, and I'm a little surprised UFC has matched them up so early in their careers. Holloway has shown that he can hang with top 145-pound talent and Fili is coming off an impressive win after coming in on short notice for his last bout. Both guys like to strike and both can do some flashy techniques. Expect this to be a fight where both fighters push each other, but neither breaks before the final bell.
Joseph Benavidez (Fighting Tim Elliott): The fact that these guys are both Top 10-ranked fighters shows how shallow this division is. Benavidez is a great fighter, whereas Elliott looks like someone with the skill set of a Brian Ebersole-type fighter. I don't think this fight will even last long -- Benavidez makes opponents below his level look really bad really quickly. And that's what's going to happen here.
Takanori Gomi and Isaac Vallie-Flagg: Gomi is a fan favorite and has been for some time, while Vallie-Flagg brings a high pace and likes to fight in close quarters. However, this fight could be either a barn burner or a stinker, depending on Gomi's ability to break the clinch and Vallie-Flagg's choice of how he will approach this fight. I think both men will go after each other from the first bell and that it will provide a very entertaining fight.
That rounds out UFC 172's top potential performers. The weak "Prelims" under card doesn't have too much to look at, so I think you'd be best off to watch the fights about midway through the Fox Sports 1 broadcast, which will probably be when the fights start to get good.
There will be some fun fights here for sure.