It's more than just grappling this weekend (Fri., April 11, 2014).
The long-time host of one of Brazilian jiu-jitsu's most prestigious tournaments, Abu Dhabi, will play host to a slightly more violent display of martial skill when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hits Du Arena on Yas Island in United Arab Emirates with UFC Fight Night 39.
And you can catch the entire mixed martial arts (MMA) event LIVE on "Fight Pass."
Headlining is a bout between Heavyweight veterans Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Roy Nelson, who are both eager to bounce back from tough losses in their previous efforts. In addition, former Shooto champ Tatsuya Kawajiri will attempt to get his second victory inside the Octagon at the expense of Clay Guida.
With Alptekin Ozkilic injured, we've got just five UFC Fight Night 39 "Prelims" under card matches this time around; therefore, check out the first two below:
185 lbs.: Chris Camozzi vs. Andrew Craig
Even though a broken jaw put an end to his The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 11 aspirations, Chris Camozzi (19-7) quietly made a place for himself in UFC’s middleweight division, winning four straight after a loss to Francis Carmont. Since beating castmate Nick Ring in March 2013, however, he has lost back-to-back matches, including a quick submission loss to Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and a decision defeat against Lorenz Larkin.
Camozzi has finished eleven opponents in his career.
After a solid undefeated start (2-0) to his Octagon career, Andrew Craig (9-2) hit his first career roadblock in the form of Nova Uniao-trained grinder Ronny Markes, dropping a decision to the former Light Heavyweight. Though he rebounded with a win over Chris Leben, Craig struggled with British giant Luke Barnatt and tapped to a choke in round two.
Craig will give up two inches of height to Camozzi.
Honestly, I’m not terribly certain on this one. Craig is an aggressive, but limited, fighter, while Camozzi -- a solid generalist -- doesn’t really have an area of expertise. Most likely, this winds up as a striking battle -- neither man is a technician, but Craig seems to have just a little more power and thus gets my vote.
Camozzi is incredibly durable, so a finish is unlikely. I simply feel he’s less apt to budge Craig or impose his will than vice-versa. Craig wins an entertaining brawl.
Prediction: Craig via unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Alan Omer vs. Jim Alers
When the 25-year-old Alan Omer (18-3) enters the cage this Friday, he will be the first Kurdish fighter to compete in the world’s largest MMA organization. He has won nine of his last 10 fights ... eight inside the distance. This will be his second fight since a two-year hiatus, the previous one a 63-second knockout back in Feb. 2013.
Known as "The Beast," Jim Alers (12-1) has likewise excelled recently, beating his last eight opponents with seven stoppages along the way. He ended his five-fight run in Cage Warriors Fighting Championship (CWFC) as its Featherweight champion, being once scheduled to face Conor McGregor under the banner before injuries intervened.
Just one of his fights has gone to the judges, nine others coming by way of submission.
Though Omer is legit, it’s troubling that he had no fights between Dec. 2011 and Feb. 2014, during which time Alers was tearing up the European circuit. In addition, Alers is a physical beast with great takedowns, making him the likely candidate to dictate position.
Alers’ strength and cardio should win him the day here -- he’s powerful on the feet and has a terrific top game. Omer ostensibly lacks the tools to keep Alers from bullying him around the cage and hurling him down when needed. "The Beast" grinds him down before taking the back and coaxing a tap in the second.
Prediction: Alers via second-round submission
Three more UFC Fight Night 39 "Prelims" fights to preview and predict tomorrow, ranging from Bantamweight all the way to Heavyweight.
See you there, Maniacs.
Remember: MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 39 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. ET, right on through the main card -- also on Fight Pass -- which is slated to begin at 2 p.m. ET.