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UFC Fight Night 67 preview: Five burning questions for 'Condit vs Alves' in Brazil

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Brazil this Saturday night (May 30, 2015) with the UFC Fight Night 67 event, featuring the long awaited return of former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, as he takes on former No. 1 contender Thiago Alves in the main event in Goiania. We here at took a gander at the fight card, and put together five burning questions heading into this weekend.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The "Natural Born Killer" is back.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fans have been patiently waiting for the return of Carlos Condit for well over a year now, and this Saturday night (May 30, 2015), the former interim UFC welterweight champ takes on Thiago Alves in the main event of UFC Fight Night 67, set to go down live on FOX Sports 1 from the Goiania Arena in Goiania, Goias, Brazil.

But that's not all.

The co-main event features a featherweight rematch nearly four years in the making as Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz lock horns once again in a redo of their 2011 No Contest that earned "Fight of the Night" honors.

With an exciting Fight Night event slated to go down in Brazil, pondered "Five Burning Questions" heading into this weekend.

5. Can Jussier Formiga or Wilson Reis earn a crack at UFC gold with a win this weekend?

No, but they can get close!

Even though John Dodson's victory at UFC 187 this past weekend lacked the flash and excitement fight fans hoped to see, UFC brass has no other choice but to put "The Magician" back into a title fight against Demetrious Johnson.

With that being said, No. 4-ranked Jussier Formiga could very well be next in line if he takes out Wilson Reis this weekend in Brazil.

Both men are coming off two straight victories in the flyweight division, and considering "Mighty Mouse" has basically cleaned house during his dominant reign as the champion, any fighter at 125 pounds with any sort of momentum could be the next victim for the flyweight kingpin.

With Joseph Benavidez losing twice to the champ, that leaves the gates wide open for other contenders to make a run at the title. After Dodson's title shot, the other options are Jussier Formiga, Wilson Reis, and Henry Cejudo.

It is time for one of those three men to make a statement.

4. Mirsad Bektic: The next big thing at 145?

Mirsad Bektic was among the most highly-touted prospects in all of mixed martial arts (MMA) when he made his Octagon debut in April 2014.

Showing off a well-rounded game on the regional scene and training with some of the best fighters in the world at American Top Team (ATT), Bektic came into the Octagon with an unblemished 7-0 record and proceeded to win two straight fights.

While the Bosnian has yet to reel off a finish in the UFC, his dominant win over Paul Redmond this past January really showed his potential.

Taking on a dangerous striker and fellow touted prospect in Lucas Martins on the "Prelims" this weekend, Bektic has an opportunity to catapult up the stacked division ladder with a statement victory.

It is time to see what Bektic can really offer against the cream of the crop in the featherweight division. If he can't get by Martins, he likely won't be able to compete against the division's top 10.

3. Can Norman Parke turn his career around and make a lightweight run?

Nearly all MMA fighters lose at some point in their careers, and considering there is only one UFC champion with an unblemished record, fans and fighters alike need to understand that one loss does not pigeonhole someone for the rest of his or her tenure.

Before his January loss to UFC veteran Gleison Tibau, Norman Parke had not lost a fight in five years.

When he won The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "The Smashes," fight fans had a lot of hope the Northern Irishman would make a run inside the Octagon, but after six fights under the UFC banner, he finds himself with a 4-1-1 record.

While that may not seem all that bad, Parke is unranked and has not exactly faced the upper echelon the 155-pound division has to offer.

The skill is there for Parke, but "Stormin" needs to put it all together on fight night in order to make a legitimate run up the ladder.

Taking on an aging but stubborn Francisco Trinaldo, Parke will find himself in a very similar fight to the Tibau battle just four months ago. "Massaranduba" is going to try to make this a dirty grappling fight, and Parke needs to prove he learned something from Tibau's relentless pressure earlier this year.

Parke needs to stick and move, sprawl, and hand Trinaldo his first ever (technical) knockout loss.

That is how you make a statement, but can he get it done?

2. Does the winner of the co-main event between Nik Lentz and Charles Oliveira earn a No. 1 contender fight?

The featherweight division is so top-heavy that fight fans often forget just how stacked this division truly is.

After Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor, Chad Mendes, and Frankie Edgar, there are a handful of really impressive talents in the 145-pound division.

Among those are the grossly-overlooked Nik Lentz and Charles Oliveira.

Lentz is not exactly a "fan-friendly" fighter with his stifling wrestling game, but the "Carny" knows how to win inside the Octagon.

As for Oliveira, the guy only knows how to put on enthralling fights, often times putting himself in danger in order to please the fans -- or simply because he has a low fight IQ.

Lentz got his crack at the top half of the division when he fought Chad Mendes, and while he was thoroughly outmatched, those types of losses can be great learning tools for a fighter. Oliveira, too, felt the wrath of a top-level featherweight as Frankie Edgar dominated the Brazilian back in 2013.

Both men are now on winning streaks -- Oliveira has won three straight over strong competition while Lentz defeated Manny Gamburyan his last time out -- and either could earn a shot at a top contender with a win this weekend.

Who knows? Maybe the winner could take on Max Holloway to determine the next No. 1 contender after Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes get their title shots sorted out.

1. Do either Carlos Condit or Thiago Alves have anything left in the tank to make another run at the 170-pound title?

Carlos Condit may only be 31-years-old, but the "Natural Born Killer" has already fought 37 times in his professional MMA career. Thiago Alves is also 31, fighting 30 times in his career.

Just a few years ago, both men were considered among the very best welterweights in the world, but with Georges St-Pierre manning the 170-pound helm at the time, neither man truly stood a chance against "Rush."

In fact, both men have faced the future Hall of Famer, both losing by unanimous decision -- even though Condit nearly pulled off the massive upset with a head kick.

After to losing to St-Pierre, the Brazilian experienced a major downward spiral as injuries and losses began to pile up. Since his 2009 title fight at UFC 100, Alves has fought only seven times, earning a 4-3 record during that span.

After a 2012 loss to Martin Kampmann in a fight he gave away, "The Pitbull" didn't return to action for two years as he dealt with injuries.

With back-to-back victories and momentum on his side, Alves has a chance to re-emerge as a contender in the 170-pound division, but taking out Condit won't be an easy task.

From 2009 to 2012, the former WEC welterweight champ was widely considered the second best 170-pounder on the planet, and victories over Jake Ellenberger, Rory MacDonald, Dong Hyun Kim, Dan Hardy, and more cemented that idea.

Since then, Condit is 1-3 in his last four fights, including a brutal loss to Tyron Woodley that saw Condit's knee give out on him as he tore his ACL.

Nearly 14 months after suffering his injury, Condit will return to the Octagon to face off against Alves. If the "Natural Born Killer" catches a second wind and beats "The Pitbull" down, he will immediately be back in the title conversation, and maybe one win away from a crack at UFC gold.

With Robbie Lawler earning the UFC title at 33-years-old and nearly 10 years after his UFC debut, you simply cannot count out fighters like Alves and Condit.

Now we have to wait and see who will seize their moment on Saturday night.

For more information on UFC Fight Night 67, including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.

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