It's been far too long.
After 14 Carlos Condit-free months, "Natural Born Killer" is back in action this Saturday (May 30, 2015), taking on former Welterweight title challenger and destroyer of ribs, Thiago Alves, in the main event of UFC Fight Night 67.
Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil, will also play host to a rematch four years in the making between Nik Lentz and Charles Oliveira, who were last seen fighting their way to a dreaded "No Contest" back when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was on Versus.
In addition, K.J. Noons will face Brazilian "Cowboy," Alex Oliveira, and Norman Parke will take on Francisco Trinaldo in a pair of Lightweight battles.
We looked at the first three "Prelims" undercard matches yesterday evening right here. Check out the remaining balance below:
145 lbs.: Rony Mariano Bezerra vs. Damon Jackson
Rony Mariano Bezerra's (14-5) The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Brazil-winning defeat of Godofredo Pepey proved the first of three straight Octagon victories, extending his win streak to eight. Since then, "Jason" has lost two of three to Jeremy Stephens and Robbie Peralta.
He has only ever gone the distance once in victory, submitting eight.
Damon Jackson (9-1) -- known as "The Leech" -- earned Legacy FC's Featherweight title by choking out the venerable Leonard Garcia in 92 seconds. He got his first crack at UFC as a late replacement for Justin Edwards against Yancy Medeiros, tapping to a modified bulldog choke in the second round.
He stands four inches taller than Bezerra at 5'11."
"Jason" may not have as high a ceiling as once thought, but he remains an extremely potent grappler with some power in his wild punches. Jackson, though a capable grappler in his own right, might be outmatched on the ground and doesn't have the technical striking to take advantage of the Brazilian's defensive liabilities.
Despite the dangers, it's still quite likely that Jackson pursues the takedown. Expect Bezerra to capitalize on that, possibly after rocking him with punches, by slapping on a choke for the early submission.
Prediction: Bezerra via first-round submission
125 lbs.: Jussier da Silva vs. Wilson Reis
Once considered the best Flyweight in the world after beating Shinichi Kojima in 2009, Jussier da Silva (17-3) came up short against John Dodson and Joseph Benavidez in his first and third UFC appearances. "Formiga" is currently riding a two-fight win streak over Scott Jorgensen and former Bellator champion Zach Makovsky.
He has tapped eight opponents, six via his signature rear-naked choke.
Following consecutive knockout losses to Patricio Freire and Eduardo Dantas, Wilson Reis (19-5) got a shot at UFC after four straight victories, replacing "Kid" Norifumi Yamamoto against Ivan Menjivar. He's earned the win in three of his four UFC appearances with the sole loss a razor-thin split decision to the much larger Iuri Alcantara.
All nine of his submission victories have come by form of choke.
We've got two of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu artists in the entire 125-pound division, so hopefully we'll get a quality grappling match instead of a mediocre striking battle. I think they're fairly evenly-matched on the feet, with a slight edge to Reis, but it's more fun to consider the ground battle.
And I think Formiga has the edge there.
He should have the edge in takedown defense and, despite Reis' skill on the mat, da Siilva has an almost preternatural ability to take and maintain the back. I believe he can bring that skill to bear against Reis, edging at least the first two rounds in backpack mode for the decision win.
Prediction: da Silva via unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Nicholas Dalby
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (14-4) picked up the Jungle Fight Welterweight championship last July with a knockout of Itamar Rosa in less than two minutes. After a successful title defense, UFC signed "Capoeira" as a back up in case Josh Koscheck wound up unable to replace Ben Saunders against Erick Silva in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Eleven of his victories have come by form of knockout.
Nicholas Dalby (13-0) -- long considered one of the best prospects in Europe -- picked up the CWFC title with a head kick knockout of Ukrainian prospect Sergey Churilov in March 2014. A successful title defense against Mohsen Bahari in Nov. 2015 paved the way for his acquisition by UFC.
The Dane has finished four opponents by way of knockout, including two of his last three.
I'm a lot more on the fence about this fight than I expected to be. Dalby is the cleaner striker and has developed a very solid takedown game to complement it. That said, he's rather hittable and Zaleski has some dangerous counter-punches. In addition, "Capoeira" has the power to knock Dalby's block off and I don't think the opposite is true.
I think it will come down to the wrestling.
Dalby's got some excellent timing on his double-legs, which should pay dividends against his opponent's wide swings. So long as he doesn't commit to a striking battle, expect Dalby to ground him enough for a narrow decision victory.
Prediction: Dalby via unanimous decision
Condit is never in a dull fight and Alves presents a terrific style match up. It's worth watching for them alone ... at least for me.
See you Saturday, Maniacs!
MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 67 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before moving on to the main card, which is slated to start at 10 p.m. ET.