Sunday Night Fights!
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Brazil for the top-heavy UFC Fight Night 61: "Bigfoot vs Mir" FOX Sports 1 (FS1) event airing live from the Gigantinho Gymnasium, featuring a heavyweight battle between two men in desperate need of a win as No. 8 ranked Antonio Silva takes on former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir.
Catch all the action LIVE with a FS1 main card start time of 8 p.m. ET (for up-to-date UFC Fight Night 61 results click here).
Below is everything you need to know to stay on top of the latest Brazilian fight night.
Who: Antonio Silva vs Frank Mir
What: UFC Fight Night 61
When: Sun., Feb. 22, 2015, beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET on Fight Pass
Where: Gigantinho Gymnasium in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
How To Watch: Main card at 8 p.m ET on FOX Sports 1; FS1 "Prelims" under card at 6 p.m ET; and UFC Fight Pass early "Prelims" at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Live UFC Fight Night 61 results: Play-by-play coverage stream right here
Why It Matters: If you have been a longtime fan of mixed martial arts (MMA) and UFC specifically, then you have undoubtedly watched Frank Mir's (mostly) incredible UFC run that has seen him conquer many foes, while being vanquished by several others in the process. Ultimately, Mir will be a Hall of Famer once he decides to wrap up his MMA career, and even on a four fight losing streak he deserves one more chance to leave the sport as a victor. Now let's just hope he doesn't go out on his shield.
What's Hot: While the main event is little more than a legacy fight, the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 61 has potential to be an early "Fight of the Year" contender as top ranked lightweights Edson Barboza and Michael Johnson square off. With both men riding winning streaks heading into the Brazil fight card, this bout is the most consequential of the evening as a victory could earn either man a crack at the division's top five.
What's Not: Basically everything prior to the co-main and main event is unbelievably weak. UFC Fight Night 61 is essentially the antithesis of UFC 187 -- and in some ways it is fitting considering this card was constructed with the Brazilian fans in mind, thus the reason nearly every fight on the card will feature a Brazilian athlete.
Original Card vs Actual Card:
UFC Fight Night 61 lost merely one fight, but unfortunately it was a sensational light heavyweight tilt between returning former UFC champ Rashad Evans and recent No. 1 contender Glover Teixeira that was slated for the main event of the evening.
The Brazilian's knee was the culprit forcing the bout to be scratched, and UFC brass opted to pull Mir vs "Bigfoot" from UFC 184 and place it as the main event for UFC Fight Night 61.
How The "Prelims" Look: Bad.
Other than the main and co-main event of UFC Fight Night 61, the nine other bouts are essentially one long "Prelims" session. Providing very little name value other than perhaps Jessica Andrade, this card was clearly geared towards Brazilian fans.
Usually on the "Prelims" I note a few prospects to look out for, but no one really catches my eye in the first six bouts of the evening. If I had to choose a must watch fight, I would say check out the women's bantamweight bout between Marion Reneau and Jessica Andrade, which is slated for the "Prelims" main event on FS1.
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:
-- Frank Mir (vs. Antonio Silva): Former champion or not, Frank Mir can not expect to lose five straight fights and be allowed to step back into the Octagon again. While I highly doubt UFC brass would disrespect Mir with a pink slip, Dana White would undoubtedly force Mir to take a job on the sidelines if he doesn't take out "Bigfoot" tonight. In my opinion, win or lose, tonight will be Mir's last Octagon performance.
-- Antonio Silva (vs. Frank Mir): "Bigfoot" has not won a fight in two years, and getting knocked out in two of his last three contests sure won't help his case if he loses to Mir this evening. While UFC brass is not rushing to cut any heavyweight considering how paper-thin the division is, it would really help the Brazilian's cause to pick up a victory tonight.
Interest Level: 3/10
A weak main event, an enticing lightweight co-main event, and nine other fights that literally mean nothing in the grand scheme of MMA and UFC divisions make up UFC Fight Night 61.
While these types of cards are often the ones that provide the most excitement in regards to violent finishes and fun fights, there is almost nothing to get excited for on this card if you are a casual MMA fan.
The real fight to look out for is Johnson vs Barboza, and if we are treated to a barn-burner, everything else will be just dandy.
Check out the full UFC Fight Night 61: "Bigfoot vs Mir" fight card below:
265 lbs.: Antonio Silva vs. Frank Mir
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (8 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Edson Barboza vs. Michael Johnson
185 lbs.: Sam Alvey vs. Cezar Ferreira
155 lbs.: Rustam Khabilov vs. Adriano Martins
135 lbs.: Iuri Alcantara vs. Frankie Saenz
170 lbs.: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Sean Strickland
FOX Sports 1 Prelims (6 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Jessica Andrade vs. Marion Reneau
170 lbs.: Matt Dwyer vs. William Macario
135 lbs.: Mike De La Torre vs. Tiago Trator
170 lbs.: Wendell Oliveira vs. T.J. WaldburgerCanceled
UFC Fight Pass Prelims (5 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Cody Gibson vs. Douglas Silva
155 lbs.: Ivan Jorge vs. Josh Shockley
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 61 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised prelims and main card, slated to begin at 6 and 8 p.m. ET, respectively.
See you then!