Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its third trip to Broomfield, Colorado for the intriguing UFC Fight Night 60: "Henderson vs Thatch" FOX Sports 1 (FS1) event airing live from the 1stBank Center, featuring a welterweight collision between former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, and highly touted prospect Brandon Thatch.
Catch all the action LIVE with a FS1 main card start time of 10 p.m. ET (for up-to-date UFC Fight Night 60 results click here).
Below is everything you need to know to stay on top of the Valentine's Day fight card.
Who: Benson Henderson vs Brandon Thatch
What: UFC Fight Night 60
When: Sat., Feb. 14, 2015, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass
Where: 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado
How To Watch: Main card at 10 p.m ET on FOX Sports 1; FS1 "Prelims" under card at 8 p.m ET; and UFC Fight Pass early "Prelims" at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Live UFC Fight Night 60 results: Play-by-play coverage stream right here
Why It Matters: There are a ton of great storylines to get behind at UFC Fight Night 60, most of which involve highly touted prospects returning to the Octagon as they attempt to climb up their respective division's ladder. In the main event, fans will be treated to the return of Brandon Thatch, a man who has vanquished 11 opponents in the first round in highlight-reel fashion. In the co-main event, one of UFC's rising stars in Max Holloway looks to continue his incredible streak of victories in 2014 that saw him finish four straight opponents. Beyond Holloway and Thatch, UFC has lined up Neil Magny, Ray Borg, Kevin Lee, Chas Skelly, and several other intriguing prospects to look out for this evening.
What's Hot: The single best part of this event is that we finally get a respite on discussing failed drug tests (more on that here). The last two weeks have been nothing but failed test after failed test as the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) was sent reeling following Anderson Silva's two failed drug tests for steroids. As if "The Spider's" failed test were not bad enough, Jon Fitch, Nick Diaz, and Hector Lombard all failed tests recently as well. At least for tonight, we can focus on the fights at hand at UFC Fight Night 60.
What's Not: As someone who lives on the east coast, I am getting sick and tired of 10 p.m. ET start times for FS1 events. It is even more infuriating when a free for television card has six scheduled fights on the main card, meaning it will be Sunday a.m. before the main event concludes in Colorado. Is it really necessary to have Dan Kelly vs. Patrick Walsh on the main card? Couldn't UFC brass slated that bout for 7 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass so the event could have finished a bit earlier? Thankfully the promotion has seemingly got the message at least somewhat, as UFC Fight Night 63 in April will be kicking off in the afternoon at 1 p.m. ET. Soapbox off.
-- Cody Pfister (vs. James Moontasri): Pfister is 11-3-1 in his MMA career, earning four (technical) knockouts and three submission victories. The Colorado native is making his UFC debut on just three weeks' notice, but he has earned his roster spot considering he has not lost since 2011 to UFC veteran Tim Means.
-- Levan Makashvili (vs. Nik Lentz): Makashvili is 6-1 in his MMA career, earning three (technical) knockouts along the way. Makashvili is the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) featherweight champion, most recently defeating Bellator veteran Alexandre Bezerra back in December.
Original Card vs Actual Card:
This card has gone through some major changes since it was originally announced.
The main event was initially slated to be a welterweight contest between Matt Brown and Tarec Saffiedine, but a groin injury sustained by the former Strikeforce champion forced him to withdraw from the bout. Brown was subsequently pulled from the event in order to schedule him against former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 185 -- but with Brown's recent assault allegations who knows if that fight actually goes down.
Once Brown was pulled, the co-main event between Stephen Thompson and Brandon Thatch was promoted to the main event in Broomfield, but only weeks later "Wonderboy" pulled out of the fight with a rib injury. Just as it seemed the event was crippled, former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson agreed to step up to the 170-pound division on short notice to save the card as a "favor" to UFC brass.
The other changes to the card were minor, but here you go:
RFA veteran James Moontasri was scheduled to take on Jake Lindsey tonight, but Lindsey was replaced by UFC debutant Cody Pfister on about three weeks' notice following an injury.
Nik Lentz was scheduled to rematch Thiago Tavares, but an injury to the Brazilian had UFC sign CFFC featherweight champion Levan Makashvili on short notice. Unfortunately, right before the weigh-ins it was announced Lentz came down with the flu, forcing his bout with Makashvili to be cancelled altogether.
If you are simply a casual MMA fan looking to watch "name" fighters, UFC Fight Night 60 "Prelims" won't really give you many options other than the flyweight bout between Zach Makovsky and Tim Elliott.
If you are a hardcore MMA fan, then look out for up-and-coming prospects in James Moontasri, Levan Makashvili, Jim Alers, and Chas Skelly. While I would not expect any of these men to become future UFC champions, these handful of fighters could be providing highlights for years to come.
This may not be the best "Prelims" card in recent memory, but then again it certainly is not the worst.
Who Needs A Win Badly: This portion is reserved for fighters who could be fighting for their jobs tonight, rather than contenders or title challengers needing victory. Let's take a look at those who need to pull it together:
-- Tim Elliott (vs. Zach Makovsky): Even though Tim Elliott has lost two straight fights, I doubt UFC brass would cut the No. 11 ranked flyweight with a third straight loss tonight -- although crazier things have happened. Regardless, it does not bode well for any fighter to lose three straight, so a win for Elliott is paramount in Colorado tonight.
-- Efrain Escudero (vs. Rodrigo Lima): Since winning season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Efrain Escudero has simply been unable to put together an impressive run inside the Octagon -- let alone keep his job intact. The MMA Lab product has already been cut by UFC brass twice, and has a deplorable UFC record of 3-5. Even though Escudero is only on a one-fight losing streak as it stands, a loss to Lima this evening would likely mark the end of his UFC career for good.
Interest Level: 7/10
Ultimately, UFC Fight Night 60 is not the best card we have seen on paper, but often times these are the types of "diamond in the rough" events that provide an unbelievable night of fights and finishes. Lets hope that is the case this evening.
The main event is incredibly intriguing as I am ecstatic to see "Smooth" throw down in the welterweight division, but can he withstand the "Rukus" onslaught in the first round? Considering Thatch has only been out of the first five minutes once in his career, and Henderson is a master of decisions, it will be interesting to see how this fight plays out.
Overall, I am pretty excited for this event, and I hope you are too!
Check out the full UFC Fight Night 60: "Henderson vs Thatch" fight card below:
170 lbs.: Ben Henderson vs. Brandon Thatch
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Max Holloway vs. Cole Miller
170 lbs.: Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Neil Magny
185 lbs.: Daniel Kelly vs. Patrick Walsh
155 lbs.: Michel Prazeres vs. Kevin Lee
125 lbs.: Ray Borg vs. Chris Kelades
FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" (8 p.m. ET):
Nik Lentz vs. Levan MakashviliScratched due to Lentz' sickness
155 lbs.: Efrain Escudero vs. Rodrigo Lima
145 lbs.: Jim Alers vs. Chas Skelly
125 lbs.: Tim Elliott vs. Zach Makovsky
UFC Fight Pass "Prelims" (7:30 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Cody Pfister vs. James Moontasri
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 60 fight card below, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised prelims and main card, slated to begin at 8 and 10 p.m. ET, respectively.
See you then!