There are several fun mid-week mixed martial arts (MMA) matches set to take place tonight (Weds., April 16, 2014) from Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to pull the trigger on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Nations" Finale, which will showcase several talented fighters scattered throughout the card.
In addition to the trash-talking main event between Michael Bisping vs. Tim Kennedy, TUF: "Nations" Finale features a patriotic "Canada vs. Australia"-themed co-main event between Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke, two TUF titles up for grabs, a bad blood Featherweight scrap (Dustin Poirier vs. Akira Corassani) and a Sarah Kaufman vs. Leslie Smith rematch, one of 2013's hidden treasures.
Indeed, with all the potential for heart-racing action, it will be interesting to see who secures some extra cash with UFC's new performance-based bonuses. Therefore, let's take a look at who are most likely to impress later this evening on FOX Sports 1:
Michael Bisping (Fighting Tim Kennedy): Bisping may not be a clear-cut No. 1 Middleweight title challenger, but he is definitely a very skilled and experienced martial artist. His game is pretty much the perfect foil to Kennedy's, who is essentially a less impressive Chael Sonnen with better submission defense. The submission defense won't matter here, though, because Bisping won't let this fight hit the mat. Between shrugging off takedown attempts, Bisping will have his way with Kennedy on the feet en route to an easy, impressive decision win. Barring a fluke, Bisping is one of the best bets as a bonus winner on this card.
Patrick Cote & Kyle Noke: That's your "Fight of the Night" pick, Maniacs. Two guys with good firepower, iron chins and lots of heart and experience. I was impressed with Noke's win over Charlie Brenneman and I'm excited to see him back in action after his most recent performance in Sept. 2012. Despite Alessio Sakara gifting Cote a win by bludgeoning the back of his head after hurting him badly, "The Predator" showed he still belongs in the Octagon thanks to his exciting back-and-forth win over Bobby Voelker. Both men look a lot faster at 170 than 185 pounds; therefore, expect this to be a high-paced, back-and-forth battle.
Dustin Poirier (Fighting Akira Corassani): I cannot believe this fight is happening ... what a mismatch. Poirier is good at everything and is coming off an incredibly impressive win over Diego Brandao. Corassani is good at what, exactly? His striking is poor and it is just shocking that he has a three-fight win streak in UFC. Robbie Peralta is a fairly impressive win, sure, but he's no where near Poirier's level. This is going to end violently; in fact, I really don't see how Poirier could not win impressively.
Sarah Kaufman & Leslie Smith: Another possible "Fight of the Night" candidate is actually a rematch from Invicta FC 5 almost one year ago. Their first fight was very exciting, with Smith nearly finishing Kaufman in the second round, only to claw back to take a split decision. As much as I don't find women's MMA to have the same quality as its male counterpart, there's no denying that the women fighters put on good fights. And that's something you can expect here. Smith is also coming off a loss coming into her Octagon debut, which should give her extra incentive to try to notch a win here.
Ryan Jimmo (Fighting Ryan O'Connell): "The Real OC" is out of his element here, making his UFC debut against Jimmo. O'Connell strikes me as neither a great athlete nor a good technician, and I expect to see Jimmo take this one with ease. "Big Deal" may get a bad rap for some boring performances, but he has some legit wins and O'Connell really doesn't. O'Connell's four career losses are all finishes, and I expect nothing less from Jimmo.
Mark Bocek (Fighting Mike de la Torre): Bocek -- who can be considered a UFC veteran at this point -- welcomes promotional newcomer Mike de la Torre to the Octagon at this event. De la Torre is pretty athletic and has some promise, but for the most part, he's fairly raw ... and has lost three times via submission (Bocek's bread-and-butter). Expect de la Torre to bring the fight to Bocek early, but to be quickly dispatched for an impressive submission victory from the Canadian.
And there you have it. TUF: "Nations" Finale has some decent fights on tap, as well as some fighters who are poised to turn in memorable performances. These types of sleeper events can be surprisingly spectacular, especially with the sweet blend of fighters and fights about to hit Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1.
Enjoy the show!