Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) serves up an outstanding UFC Fight Night 63: "Mendes vs Lamas" event later today (Sat., April 4, 2015), live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) from the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia featuring a battle between top ranked featherweights as Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas look to earn another UFC title shot.
Catch all the action LIVE with a FS1 main card start time of 1 p.m. ET (for up-to-date UFC Fight Night 63 results click here).
Below is everything you need to know to stay on top of this afternoon's action.
Who: Chad Mendes vs Ricardo Lamas
What: UFC Fight Night 63
When: Sat., April 4, 2015, beginning at 11 a.m. ET on FS1
Where: Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia
How To Watch: Main card at 1 p.m ET on FOX Sports 1; FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" under card at 11 a.m ET.
Live UFC Fight Night 63 results: Play-by-play coverage stream right here
Why It Matters: There are several intriguing storylines heading into UFC Fight Night 63, but the featherweight main event trumps them all. The entire featherweight division could drastically change following Ricardo Lamas vs Chad Mendes. With Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo set to do battle at UFC 189 in July, and top-ranked contender Frankie Edgar taking on Urijah Faber in May, the winner of today's event will either get a UFC title shot, or will be matched up with "The Answer" -- barring a loss to "The California Kid" -- next time out in a No. 1 contender's bout.
What's Hot: This is an absolutely stacked Fight Night event, and the card airs in the afternoon! How could it get any better? With exciting match-ups, pivotal affairs, a sensational main event, and a handful of intriguing UFC debuts, UFC Fight Night 63 should be a memorable event.
What's Not: If you had to find one issue with UFC Fight Night 63, maybe it would be having Gray Maynard and Clay Guida on the card. Obviously we are stretching a bit here, because no matter their recent issues inside the cage, both "The Bully" and "The Carpenter" are established UFC veterans who deserve another crack inside the Octagon.
Not all that much has changed from the original UFC Fight Night 63 event, but fight fans in Virginia did lose the opportunity to see former UFC champ Benson Henderson square off against Jorge Masvidal.
"Smooth" was tabbed as a replacement for Bobby Green after a nasty leg injury, but UFC officials pulled Henderson from the bout against "Gamebred" in order to replace welterweight Stephen Thompson against Brandon Thatch.
Ultimately, Al Iaquinta was put in place of Henderson, and that leaves us with the co-main event later this afternoon.
The only other loss on the card was a scheduled affair between The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veterans Luke Barnatt and Clint Hester. A foot injury for "Headbussa" forced him off the card, and Barnatt was pulled from the event in favor of fighting Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 66.
-- Shamil Abdurahimov (vs. Timothy Johnson): The Russian heavyweight makes his Octagon debut boasting a 15-2 record, including seven (technical) knockouts and four submission victories. Abdurahimov holds victories over Jeff Monson and Sokoudjou.
-- Timothy Johnson (vs. Shamil Abdurahimov): The North Dakota native will look to pull off the upset in his UFC debut, and with four (technical) knockouts and four submission victories in his eight career wins, you can bet Johnson will be looking for the finish.
How The "Prelims" Look: It may not be the best "Prelims" card we have ever seen, but how can you complain with only four fights scheduled?
Each bout has its own unique intriguing features, including former UFC title challenger Gray Maynard looking to rebound from three straight losses against Alexander Yakovlev.
In my opinion, the fight to watch on the "Prelims" is the heavyweight slugfest between Shamil Abdurahimov and Timothy Johnson. Both men are making their UFC debuts, and with a shallow heavyweight division, a big win for either man could catapult them into contender status almost immediately.
Who Needs A Win Badly: This portion is reserved for fighters who could be fighting for their jobs today, rather than contenders or title challengers needing victory. Let's take a look at those who need to pull it together:
-- Gray Maynard (vs. Alexander Yakovlev): "The Bully" has been knocked out in three straight fights and is 1-4 in his last five. While I am shocked Maynard has chosen not to retire, today may be his last chance to accrue a victory inside the Octagon.
-- Alexander Yakovlev (vs. Gray Maynard): With two UFC appearances in the books and two losses on his record, I highly doubt Yakovlev will still be on the roster come Monday if he loses to Maynard later on today.
-- Liz Carmouche (vs. Lauren Murphy): Even if Carmouche loses her third straight UFC bout in Fairfax, I don't suspect UFC officials to cut the former title challenger. Simply put, the UFC women's bantamweight division does not have enough talent to cut someone like "Girl-Rilla." With that being said, a third straight loss never bodes well for anyone.
Interest Level: 7/10
This is a really exciting fight card, and I can not be more pleased with the afternoon start time. Who doesn't love watching fisticuffs while the sun shines bright outside?
The main event is sensational and absolutely pivotal in the featherweight division. Chad Mendes is one of the best fighters in the world without a UFC title, and Ricardo Lamas is criminally underrated even after he has proven his doubters wrong over and over.
With exciting fights throughout, UFC Fight Night 63 should be a fantastic event.
Check out the full UFC Fight Night 63: "Mendes vs Lamas" fight card below:
145 lbs.: Chad Mendes vs. Ricardo Lamas
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (1 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Al Iaquinta vs. Jorge Masvidal
155 lbs.: Michael Chiesa vs. Mitch Clarke
135 lbs.: Milana Dudieva vs. Julianna Pena
145 lbs.: Clay Guida vs. Robbie Peralta
155 lbs.: Diego Ferreira vs. Dustin Poirier
FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" (11 a.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Liz Carmouche vs. Lauren Murphy
155 lbs.: Gray Maynard vs. Alexander Yakovlev
265 lbs.: Shamil Abdurahimov vs. Timothy Johnson
185 lbs.: Ron Stallings vs. Justin Jones
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 63 fight card, starting with the FOX Sports 1-televised prelims at 11 a.m. ET, and on through the FOX Sports 1 main card slated to begin at 1 p.m. ET.
See you for brunch later today!