The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) invades Krakow, Poland today (April 11, 2015) for a UFC Fight Night 64 card, which features a heavyweight headliner pairing Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Filipovic.
For the second-straight week, fight fans are treated to an afternoon of mixed martial arts (MMA) action, with the preliminary portion of the event getting underway at 11:45 a.m. ET.
Two of MMA's most seasoned heavyweight sluggers will trade punches for the second time when the Brazilian Gonzaga takes on the Croatian "Cro Cop". Filipovic, who turned 40 years old in September, returns to the UFC after a three-year absence. Gonzaga struggled in 2014 after going 4-1 between 2012-2013.
The co-main event pits British knockout artist Jimi Manuwa against hometown favorite Jan Blachowicz. Both men are capable of putting on a striking spectacle and should provide some fireworks for the fans in attendance inside the Krakow Arena.
Further down the card are tilts showcasing promising talents in Joanne Calderwood and Pawel Pawlak. You can catch all the main card mania, as well as the "Prelims," exclusively on UFC Fight Pass!
Let's begin to take a closer look at the selection of matinee matchups and see which are most likely to deliver finishes.
5. Seth Baczynski vs. Leon Edwards
Tale of the tape: 11 T(KO), 12 submission -- career finishes between both fighters
Once upon a time "The Polish Pistola" was a highly-regarded welterweight known for his ability to end fights. Now, he's struggling to hold onto his job, which is all the more reason to not hold back this afternoon.
Baczynski is a well-rounded 170-pounder, who utilizes his lanky 6'3" frame to his advantage. His opponent, Edwards, is searching for his first UFC win. "Rocky" has a good counter left hand, and uses the muay-thai clinch well (here). I think it may be too little too late for Baczynski. He'll get overwhelmed in one of the first few scrambles.
Prediction: Upset! Edwards via first-round T(KO)
4. Joanne Calderwood vs. Maryna Moroz
Tale of the tape: 5 T(KO), 4 submission
Two undefeated strawweights meet in the Octagon when Scotland's own Calderwood takes on the Ukrainian Moroz.
Moroz is 23 years old and making her UFC debut. She has finished four of her five opponents in the first round and also owns four armbar victories. Calderwood, meanwhile, is one of the best strikers in the women's 115-pound division and is tough as nails.
Her debut was a one-sided beatdown of South Korean fighter Seo Hee Ham. I don't know if I'd count Moroz out, because predicting these striker vs. grappler matchups can be tricky, but the pendulum is swaying towards Calderwood prevailing.
Prediction: Calderwood via second-round T(KO)
3. Pawel Pawlak vs. Sheldon Westcott
Tale of the tape: 9 T(KO), 6 submission
Welterweight prospects battle as "Plastinho" draws the Canadian Westcott.
The 26-year-old Pawlak dropped to 10-1 after being grounded by Peter Sobotta in his Octagon debut. Grappling isn't his forte, despite the fact that he owns two victories by way of inverted triangle-choke. Pawlak possesses above-average striking and can put together solid punch-kick combinations.
Westcott hasn't fought since he was finished for the first time in his career against Elias Theodorou. The 30-year-old is more of a ground specialist than a stand-up fighter. Look at him ragdoll Dan Kelly on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
This bout could go to the judges.
Prediction: Pawlak via unanimous decision
2. Jimi Manuwa vs. Jan Blachowicz
Tale of the tap: 18 T(KO), 8 submission
Watching Manuwa highlights is frightening. The man has brute strength and a variety of strikes to play with. "Poster Boy" was last seen in March 2014 being humbled by former heavyweight top contender Alexander Gustafsson.
Blachowicz has been making some noise of his own, destroying Illir Latifi in two minutes in October. He's also fairly savvy in the wrestling and jiu-jitsu departments.
Prediction: Manuwa via second-round T(KO)
1. Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko Filipovic
Tale of the tape: 29 T(KO), 14 submission
Gonzaga and Cro Cop step into the Octagon one more time in a rematch of their UFC 70 classic. Neither man is close to the kind of fighter they once were, but still very much like to go head hunting.
The 35-year-old Gonzaga has his back against the wall this go around after lethargic efforts against Stipe Miocic and Matt Mitrione. He doesn't want to fall further into the gatekeeper abyss, but that appears likely.
Cro Cop will surely want to avenge one of the biggest upset losses of his career and in the history of the UFC. Time for him to get back to his roots. Unleash that high kick, Mr. Filipovic!
Prediction: Cro Cop first-round T(KO)
Even if you're stuck in transit, keep your phone or tablet tuned to UFC Fight Pass. Enjoy breakfast in bed courtesy of the UFC!
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 64 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m. ET, right on through the Fight Pass-only main card, which is slated to begin at 3 p.m. ET.