Here's our complete "Fight Day" preview, breaking down UFC 175: "Weidman vs. Machida," which takes place TONIGHT (Sat., July 5, 2014) from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Here is everything you need to know about the mixed martial arts (MMA) event that takes place later this evening.
Who: Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida Middleweight championship main event (see full fight card here)
What: UFC 175
When: Saturday, July 5, 2014, with 10 p.m. ET pay-per-view (PPV) start time
Where: Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada
How To Watch: PPV main card, FOX Sports 1 and Fight Pass "Prelims" under card, which begins at 7 p.m. ET
Live UFC 175 results: Play-by-play coverage stream
Why It Matters: Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has always been somewhat sentimental when it comes to fight cards revolving around American holidays. And UFC 175 is no different. You can say this card is special because it's the promotion's Fourth of July extravaganza, followed by The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 tomorrow, which takes place at the same venue. If you're keeping count, this is the biggest event of the year, according to the brass and its diehard following, with two title fights on tap.
What's Hot: The two title fights on the PPV main card -- Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida and Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis -- should be fun to watch, as two champions will look to keep their title runs alive. Weidman is still searching for respect from the naysayers who believe he's not equipped to be a dominant champion yet, while Rousey always brings the house down inside the cage, whether you like her or not. There are also a handful of popular fighters competing on the card, including Urijah Faber, Stefan Struve (who returns from health issues) and Uriah Hall.
What's Not: This card was marred by drug testing controversies (read full details here), and that can't sit well with the brass seeing this event will attract more than just the casual fans. The original lineup took a bit of a beating, which left us with decent scraps, but not a stacked event from head-to-toe. You'd think all the stars would come out for this one, yet there are approximately three or four fights tonight that are unmissable, and the rest is just average.
New Blood: Here are the Octagon debutants who compete for the first time under the UFC banner:
-- Guilherme Vasconselos (vs. Luke Zachrich): 3-1, including two submission and one technical knockout win. TUF: "Brazil" 3 cast member, Shooto Brazil and Jungle Fight veteran.
Original Card vs. Actual Card: Not too many combatants suffered from the injury bug, yet three of them left a black eye on this spectacle because of drugs, which became a spectacle in itself.
First off, Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson was briefly linked to this card, but their tussle was moved to UFC 173 to boost interest for that show in late May. Santiago Ponzinibbio was Ildemar Alcantara's original opponent, but the former had to bow out of his battle because of a knee injury, and was replaced by Kenny Robertson.
Now, onto the "juicy" stuff.
Vitor Belfort was Weidman's original title challenger, but after testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) was banned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and prompted other regulatory bodies to throw the treatment out the window, "The Phenom" had to be removed from the main event. He took a pre-fight drug test, and although his results stayed a mystery since he nor the commission had to reveal the results right away, he failed it and became a repeat offender.
That's where Machida stepped in.
Chael Sonnen was supposed to duke it out against Wanderlei Silva after their heated exchanges over the years and on TUF: "Brazil" 3 had fight fans generally excited for their showdown. "The Axe Murderer" ended up no showing a pre-fight drug test, and had to be removed from the card. His case is still being assessed as we speak.
Then, it was quite surprising that Belfort was slotted in Silva's place, billed to share the Octagon against "The American Gangster." That's where things took a turn for the worst.
Sonnen failed a pre-fight drug test, and even though he was removed from the card, his excuse was that he was using the banned substances for him and his wife to have a child. As a result, Belfort was pulled from the card, too. A few weeks later, the West Linn native completely shocked the world by failing a second drug test, in which he was using human growth hormone (HGH) and recombinant human erythroprotein (EPO). He is no longer under contract with UFC (despite retiring after his first failed test) and was booted from FOX Sports as an analyst.
This situation became so sad, pathetic and downright frustrating that we even made a drug test thread here on the site for you to follow.
How The "Prelims" Look: They're nothing special apart from the headlining fight, which is Urijah Faber against Alex Caceres in a Bantamweight fight. The other bouts on FOX Sports 1 include Alcantara vs. Robertson, Chris Camozzi battling Bruno Santos and George Roop locking horns against Rob Font.
The two scraps on Fight Pass feature Luke Zachrich vs. Guilherme Vasconcelos and Kevin Casey vs. Bubba Bush.
We've seen way better.
Who Needs A Win Badly: Here is the list of fighters who need to pull it together tonight to avoid severe consequences:
-- Matt Mitrione (vs. Stefan Struve): 2-3 in his last five bouts, losing by technical submission (d'arce choke), technical knockout and a unanimous decision.
-- Uriah Hall (vs. Thiago Santos): 1-2 in his last three bouts, losing both fights by split decision
-- Kenny Robertson (vs. Ildemar Alcantara): 3-3 in his last three fights, losing by majority decision, unanimous decision and technical knockout
-- Chris Camozzi (vs. Bruno Santos): 0-2 in his last two fights, losing by unanimous decision and technical submission (arm triangle choke)
-- George Roop (vs. Rob Font): 4-4 in his last four bouts, losing by split decision and three technical knockouts
Interest Level: 7.3/10
Like a pretentious music blog, I'm giving this offering an extra three decimal points because of the scintillating main event. Sure, Rousey is cool to watch and all, but this card lacks true depth for it to be the biggest event of the year. A 7.5 rating would be a little too kind, and seeing that there isn't too much outside three main card scraps and the "Prelims" headliner, it's a bit disappointing. It definitely doesn't deserve an 8, and if someone asked you which fights you absolutely couldn't miss tonight, how many would you be able to come up with?
Here is the full UFC 175: "Weidman vs. Machida" fight card below:
UFC 175 Main Event:
185 lbs.: UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida
UFC 175 Pay-Per-View Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
UFC 175 FOX Sports 1 Prelims (8 p.m. ET):
UFC 175 Fight Pass Prelims (7 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Guilherme Vasconcelos vs. Luke Zachrich
185 lbs.: Kevin Casey vs. William Bush
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 175 fight card on fight night, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 8 p.m. ET and then main card PPV, which is slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.