Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans can barely go two weeks without there being an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event to enjoy. And tonight (Sat., May 10, 2014) the world's leading promotion is set to deliver brings UFC Fight Night 40, which is set to pop off inside U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The FOX Sports 1-televised card is headlined by top welterweights Erick Silva and Matt Brown in a five-round main event and also features a middleweight bout between Constantinos Philippou and Lorenz Larkin, both of whom are eager to return to their winning ways.
This card is one that is worth looking forward to because it presents a lot of top-quality fighters and interesting match ups that will make this a can't-miss free event. The bombardment of commercials that is a characteristic of these free events will be difficult, but the fights will be well worth it.
With so many good fighters on the card, take a look at some that I believe are most likely to score a big bonus check on the night:
Matt Brown and Erick Silva: Brown is a welterweight on the rise, while Silva needs to prove himself against fighters who aren't nobodies. Brown is the type of ridiculous in-your-face type of fighter who may be a foil to Silva's approach of range-striking bombardment, but this should be competitive. Silva made Jon Fitch exciting even when he was gassed completely, so I think this will be a fun fight between two very tough, very game opponents. Definitely a good shout for "Fight of the Night."
Costas Philippou vs. Lorenz Larkin: Sketchy fight here. I could see this being very entertaining or painfully boring, but I'll go ahead and hope for the former. Both fighters present solid striking fundamentals and there's little chance this fight gets taken to the mat. Larkin's diversity will help him, but Philippou is probably the stronger of the two, and I can see him trying to get inside as much as possible to keep Larkin uncomfortable. If both men show up ready to engage, this should be pretty fun.
Erik Koch (Fighting Daron Cruickshank): As versatile and flashy as Cruickshank is, I don't think Koch will have an exceptionally hard time with him. Daron definitely presents some problems, but I think Koch has had more experience and is more effective at doing what he wants to do. Cruickshank is a good test for Koch at lightweight, but I don't think he has any wins on his record that would lead me to believe he'll be able to do much to Koch. "New Breed" will look impressive here and can look forward to bigger fights at lightweight in the future.
Chris Cariaso (Fighting Louis Smolka): Cariaso is deservedly a Top 10 flyweight, and bringing the athleticism and skill set you'd expect from a high-ranked fighter. Smolka is undefeated, but doesn't seem to present anything Cariaso hasn't seen. I believe Cariaso has a significant athletic edge, in addition to being the more experienced, honed fighter, and this will be a fight he can look really good in.
Kyoji Horiguchi (Fighting Darrell Montague): Horiguchi strikes me as a fighter similar to Demetrius Johnson, a small, mobile, athletic fighter who is hard to time. Montague got annihilated in his UFC debut by John Dodson, and he seems to be slower than you'd expect from a flyweight, and that's a problem. I think Horiguchi can outdo him with his athleticism, quick striking and punching power en route to a lopsided victory.
Eddie Wineland (Fighting Johnny Eduardo): Johnny Eduardo is a very skilled fighter who comes out of a top camp in Nova Uniao. That said, Eddie Wineland is a terrific bantamweight and would probably beat most of the top fifteen fighters in his weight class. Wineland is just too much for Eduardo here, and its a little shocking that his fight is given such low billing on a free card.
That wraps up my predictions for the bonus winners on this card. Plenty of the fights on this card look interesting, even ones I didn't mention, and this is definitely one that you can enjoy from top to bottom.
Indeed, the "Prelims" should deliver solid entertainment and the main card is good quality for a free event.
Enjoy the fights!