Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Brazil for UFC Fight Night 62: "Maia vs LaFlare" live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) from the Ginasio do Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, featuring a battle between top-15 ranked welterweights in the veteran Demian Maia and the undefeated up-and-comer Ryan LaFlare.
Catch all the action LIVE with a FS1 main card start time of 10 p.m. ET (for up-to-date UFC Fight Night 62 results click here).
Below is everything you need to know to stay on top of tonight's action.
Who: Demian Maia vs Ryan LaFlare
What: UFC Fight Night 62
When: Sat., March 21, 2015, beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Fight Pass
Where: Ginasio do Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
How To Watch: Main card at 10 p.m ET on FOX Sports 1; FOX Sports 2 "Prelims" under card at 8 p.m ET; and UFC Fight Pass early "Prelims" at 7 p.m. ET.
Live UFC Fight Night 62 results: Play-by-play coverage stream right here
Why It Matters: It's difficult to answer why UFC Fight Night 62 matters, but ultimately, it comes down to the main event of the evening. Look, the Maia vs LaFlare fight is not exactly one to ogle at, but it does have at least a somewhat captivating storyline with the Brazilian looking to capture his 14th career Octagon victory at the ripe age of 37. Considering Maia won't be coming close to a UFC title shot anytime soon, and his career prospects are dwindling, the Brazilian has a chance to unseat an undefeated contender in Ryan LaFlare. While it may not be the best storyline of the year, it's the best we've got for UFC Fight Night 62.
What's Hot: Don't miss Gilbert Burns fight this evening. "Durinho" is a legitimate 155-pound prospect who can bring even more depth to arguably the most stacked division UFC currently offers. UFC matchmakers had such faith in the undefeated Brazilian after going 2-0 inside the Octagon that they initially slated the Blackzilian product to face off against former Strikeforce champ Josh Thomson. That was before an injury forced "The Punk" from the bout, but UFC brass thankfully plugged in another prospect, Alex Oliveira, in order to keep Burns on the card.
What's Not: Far too much of the UFC Fight Night 62 event can fall into the "What's Not" category, so let's just stick with the fact that Josh Koscheck is fighting in the co-main event tonight. Why is that so bad? Well, the former No. 1 contender is long past his heyday, losing four straight while getting finished in his last three appearances, including a submission loss a mere three weeks ago at UFC 184.
Some UFC events simply get cut to its knees due to the injury bug, and UFC Fight Night 62 is no exception.
The most excruciating loss on this card was the planned main event tussle between top-ranked bantamweights Raphael Assuncao and Urijah Faber. When the Brazilian bowed out of the fight due to an ankle injury, UFC brass pulled Faber from the event in favor of a featherweight tilt against Frankie Edgar at UFC Fight Night 66.
Ultimately, the Brazilian fans who bought tickets to witness a No. 1 contender fight in the bantamweight division are now being "treated" to a welterweight contest pitting Demian Maia against Ryan LaFlare.
As if that wasn't bad enough, former Strikeforce champ Josh Thomson was pulled from his scheduled fight against Gilbert Burns, which would have likely been the co-main event of the evening. UFC debutant Alex Oliveira took Thomson's place.
The next co-main event bout was also lost when Ben Saunders withdrew from his bout against Erick Silva due to an undisclosed injury, and shockingly, UFC brass chose Josh Koscheck to replace "Killa B."
Finally, Matt Wiman was pulled from his bout against Leonardo Santos and was replaced by Tony Martin.
How The "Prelims" Look: Let's just say not good.
The "Prelims" main event pits Francisco Trinaldo vs Akbarh Arreola, so you have an idea of just how weak the first six fights of the night are.
Honestly, Brazilian fight night events are catered to the Brazilian audience, so it should come as no surprise that the name value early on is very weak.
I would recommend watching the final two "Prelim" fights tonight, but missing them altogether would certainly cause you no harm.
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:
-- Josh Koscheck (vs. Erick Silva): Josh Koscheck was already on this list three weeks ago prior to UFC 184, and following another loss where he was finished, his career prospects are even dimmer coming into tonight's co-main event. The former No. 1 contender has been finished in three straight fights, has lost four in a row, and has shown no signs of being able to fight at an elite level in quite some time. If Koscheck loses tonight, I would be utterly shocked to see him back inside the Octagon.
-- Shayna Baszler (vs. Amanda Nunes): One of the original pioneers in women's mixed martial arts (WMMA) could be on the chopping block tonight with a loss to Amanda Nunes. Baszler has not been very active over the last several years, putting together a meager 1-3 record. In her lone UFC appearance, Baszler was viciously finished by Bethe Correia, and if that happens again tonight, I doubt she would get a third chance inside the Octagon.
Interest Level: 2/10
I honestly can't remember the last time I was this disinterested in a UFC event. Sure, UFC 177 was awful on paper, but at least I could get excited to watch TJ Dillashaw throw down. Thankfully this event is free, so hopefully the fights deliver and fans around the globe are satisfied when it is all said and done.
With 50 or so events each year, UFC brass is bound to put together at least one substandard event, and you have to believe the injury bug will ruin a handful of others.
That's just the way the MMA cookie crumbles.
Check out the full UFC Fight Night 62: "Maia vs LaFlare" fight card below:
170 lbs.: Demian Maia vs. Ryan LaFlare
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Erick Silva vs. Josh Koscheck
155 lbs.: Alex Oliveira vs. Gilbert Burns
155 lbs.: Tony Martin vs. Leonardo Santos
135 lbs.: Shayna Baszler vs. Amanda Nunes
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Godofredo Pepey
FOX Sports 2 "Prelims" (8 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Akbarh Arreola vs. Francisco Trinaldo
145 lbs.: Katsunori Kikuno vs. Kevin Souza
170 lbs.: Drew Dober vs. Leandro Silva
155 lbs.: Cain Carrizosa vs. Leonardo Mafra
UFC Fight Pass "Prelims" (7 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Jorge de Oliveira vs. Christos Giagos
125 lbs.: Fredy Serrano vs. Bentley Syler
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 62 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 2-televised prelims at 8 p.m. ET, and finally the FOX Sports 1 main card slated to begin at 10 p.m. ET.
See you then!