Move over "Mayweather vs Pacquiao," mixed martial arts (MMA) is back on the combat sports forefront!
After a week hiatus, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has put together a riveting event "Down Under" this Saturday night (May 9, 2015), as the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in Adelaide, Australia, plays host to UFC Fight Night 65.
The main event will feature a top-five heavyweight battle between the legendary Mark Hunt and ferocious contender Stipe Miocic. With the heavyweight division as thin as ever, a win for either man could position them into a future title shot.
While the co-main event features lower-ranked middleweights, both Brad Tavares and Robert Whitaker have all the talent to make a run in the stacked 185-pound weight class. Before climbing the rankings, both men need a huge performance in Adelaide.
With a UFC Fight Pass exclusive set to go down this weekend, MMAmania.com pondered "Five Burning Questions" heading into Saturday night.
5. Will North American MMA fans stay awake for the late night fight card?
If you thought a 10 p.m. ET pay-per-view (PPV) start time was late, you may have a difficult time keeping your eyelids open for the 11 p.m. ET main card start time for UFC Fight Night 65 on UFC Fight Pass.
The event kicks off locally on Sunday morning, but with the near 14-hour time difference, MMA fans in North America will be watching the fights go down in the late evening on Saturday night.
The good news is, the main card only has four bouts as opposed to the five you usually tune in for on PPV. With that being said, Mark Hunt and Stipe Miocic will probably step into the cage about the same time as a PPV main event, so the time difference shouldn't be overwhelming.
When you also consider the fact the card is exclusively on Fight Pass, UFC does not have its normal obligations to show commercials or 500 previews for the its next event -- even though they will still probably drown you in previews across five-plus hours.
Grab some coffee if necessary, and be sure you don't miss the "Super Samoan" in action.
4. Robert Whitaker: A future force at 185 pounds?
After winning The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Smashes," fight fans were eager to see how Robert Whitaker would perform inside the Octagon.
After a (technical) knockout victory over Colton Smith in his second UFC bout, an 11-2 record had many believing Whitaker could be a future title contender.
Then came tough losses in back-to-back fights against Court McGee and Stephen Thompson, and the New Zealander's hype train had suddenly come to a halt.
After a bounce back victory over Mike Rhodes, Whitaker opted to move up the 185-pound division, where he put on a career performance against Clint Hester, knocking out the brawling brute in the second round.
With a co-main event slot this weekend against Brad Tavares secured, a win for the TUF victor could propel him into a top-10 middleweight bout his next time out.
A lot of questions will be answered about Whitaker's career prospects this weekend.
3. Does a win for Jake Matthews in Australia earn the 20-year-old a ranked opponent?
Jake Matthews is one of the youngest fighters on UFC's roster, and at 8-0 it would make sense for UFC brass to take his career progress slow.
I believe Joe Silva did a wonderful job setting the Australian up against a lanky striker in James Vick. While Vick poses some problems for "The Celtic Kid," this is a fight that could really propel Matthews up the lightweight ladder if he is able to secure the victory.
Matthews clearly has a ton of raw talent that needs to be sculpted in order for him to be considered a future title contender, and feeding him winnable, but difficult bouts as he progresses is a brilliant move.
I expect the TUF veteran to put a hurting on Vick this Saturday, and then potentially take on a top-15 opponent his next time out.
2. Can Jonavin Webb be the latest CFFC champ to perform well inside the Octagon?
Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) is probably the most well-known regional MMA promotion when it comes to procuring future UFC talent, but Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) is definitely not far behind.
In its history, CFFC has sent numerous champions -- including Dan and Jim Miller, George Sullivan, Charlie Brenneman, Aljamain Sterling, and Levan Makashvili -- to the UFC's Octagon, and most have fared well.
One of the latest signings is former CFFC welterweight champ Jonavin Webb, who takes on Kyle Noke this Saturday night on the Fight Pass "Prelims."
Webb has long been lauded as one of the best prospects in MMA, but his quality of competition has undoubtedly helped him earn an undefeated 8-0 professional record.
"Spyder" has finished six of his opponents, and if he can take out a UFC veteran in Noke this Saturday, who knows how far Webb can take his career.
We could be witnessing another major prospect blossom right before our very eyes in Australia.
1. Does Mark Hunt have one last run in him, or is Stipe Miocic too tall of a task?
In each successive Mark Hunt fight, fans wonder just when his age and years of battles will finally catch up to him.
At 41 years old, the "Super Samoan" is one of UFC's elder statesmen, but he continues to put on impressive performances. Prior to being viciously knocked out by a flying knee courtesy of Fabricio Werdum in his UFC 180 interim title fight, Hunt seemed to be frustrating his Brazilian counterpart on the feet.
Only one fight prior, the legendary warrior knocked out the notoriously durable Roy Nelson in one of the best finishes in UFC history.
Ultimately, it seems when Mark Hunt is counted out, that is when he performs his absolute best.
My head says to pick the younger, more technically sound and well rounded Miocic this weekend, but my heart tells me the "Super Samoan" is not leaving Australia without yet another walk-off knockout.
If Hunt pulls out the victory, I'd be astonished if he wasn't next in line for a No. 1 contender shot or directly slated to fight the winner of Cain Velasquez vs Fabricio Werdum. Can the former K-1 champion get it done once again?
We'll find out this weekend!
For more information on UFC Fight Night 65, including the full fight card, results, news, and more, click here.