Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will make its first stop in Australia in more than one year tonight (May 9, 2015).
UFC Fight Night 65 stampedes into Adelaide with a main event set to produce big bombs. Top 5-ranked Heavyweight stars Stipe Miocic and Mark Hunt will trade leather for up to 25 minutes in the evening's headliner. Prior to that, up-and-coming Middleweight standouts Brad Tavares and Robert Whittaker will take center stage, looking to take the next step up the 185-pound ladder.
Rounding out the Fight Pass-only main card, which will begin at 11 p.m. ET this evening, are bouts featuring veteran Light Heavyweight contenders and undefeated Lightweight prospects. If you're ready to watch some sizzling mixed martial arts (MMA) action in the "Land Down Under," give me a, "Hell yeah!"
Or, just check out my bonus predictions for UFC Fight Night 65's card below. And be sure to let me know if we're on the same page in the comments section!
4. Jake Matthews vs. James Vick
Tale of the tape: 4 T(KO), 7 submission -- total career finishes between both fighters
Two promising and undefeated 155-pound fighters will go head-to-head when the Aussie, Matthews, looks to defend his home turf against The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 veteran, Vick.
Vick and Matthews are both on long win streaks and have each won at least two Octagon fights. Each fighter enjoyed a perfect 2014, but possess two different offensive styles.
The 28-year-old American Vick is a solid striker, but has not claimed a stoppage since his debut fight with fellow TUF alum Ramsey Nijem.
Typically, the 6'3" Texas native will look to pick you apart from range by using his length. It's also clear that Vick wants a knockout.
But, will he get it?
"Celtic Kid" is a formidable foe with well-rounded ability and will be fighting close to home, where he's forged quite the career. The 20-year-old stud has got strong hands, good wrestling and excellent Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Matthews is an expert at escaping even the most hostile positions.
This one could nab "Fight of the Night" honors.
What to watch for: Vick's length and Matthews' pressure
Prediction: Matthews via third-round submission
3. Anthony Perosh vs. Sean O'Connell
Tale of the tape: 13 T(KO), 13 submission
Perosh aims to put together back-to-back wins for the first time in more than three years when he tangles with O'Connell.
The 42-year-old "Hippo" has an appetite for destruction and a ridiculously fast finish rate. Perosh's strength lies in his his grappling where he's made men pay for giving up their backs. He is not without weakness, though.
Although they've gotten much better, his hands still sag largely behind the prowess of his jiu-jitsu game.
O'Connell is a big bruising bully and welcomes an all-out brawl. He also likes to make things dirty in the clinch.
An overpowering force, the 31-year-old disciple of MMA journeyman Jeremy Horn has used his strength in the clinch to reverse takedown attempts. O'Connell's takedown defense will undoubtedly be put to the test tonight.
The question is: Will he be up for the challenge?
What to watch for: The clinch battle
Prediction: O'Connell via first-round technical knockout
Brad Tavares vs. Robert Whittaker
Tale of the tape: 10 T(KO), 7 submission
The Xtreme Couture-trained product, Tavares, has his sights set on climbing the ladder at 185 pounds once again, and tonight he looks to halt Whittaker's recent surge.
Tavares is coming off of a less-than-stellar showdown with former middleweight top contender Nate Marquardt. If he wants to position himself among the division's best, the 27-year-old will need a more convincing performance this evening.
Often times he relies too heavily on his kickboxing, which is something that's played a role in his decision-heavy UFC record. That's great, but if you're fighting men like Yoel Romero and Tim Boetsch -- two fighters with aggressive styles -- it may not work out so well.
With that being said, Tavares is a tough, durable and well-rounded fighter. But he's not taking on an over-the-hill fighter in Whittaker.
The 24-year-old likes to push the pace and will sometimes shoot in when he sees an opening. Whittaker will also throw a variety of streaks to keep his opponent's honest. He's able to strike with confidence because of his impeccable takedown defense.
"The Reaper" has been stifled before against former professional kickboxer Stephen Thompson, but luckily for him, Tavares isn't on the same level. I see this fight either ending early, or going the distance.
For me, I'll pick the latter.
What to watch for: Tavares' striking defense
Prediction: Whittaker via unanimous decision
Stipe Miocic vs. Mark Hunt
Tale of the tape: 15 T(KO), 1 submission
Would it be safe to say that one of these two fighters will be leaving the Octagon $50,000 richer, with the other being helped up off of the canvas?
Miocic and Hunt are two of the heavyweight division's best and are known for their handiwork in the striking department. The "Super Samoan's" approach is much more linear than his opponent's. A few overhand rights, mixed in with a couple of uppercuts.
He lives and dies by the knockout. Hunt was last seen being taken out in a title bout with current interim 265-pound titleholder Fabricio Werdum.
Miocic, on the other hand, puts together potent combinations, including these left jab-right crosses that stunned the normally durable Fabio Maldonado. And though he ultimately lost against perennial tough guy and former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, the 32-year-old still put a beating on him.
There's not discrediting Hunt's everlasting knockout power, but it's tough to see him getting past the stronger, faster Miocic.
What to watch for: Miocic's jab
Prediction: Miocic via third-round technical knockout
This fight card contains a variety of different styles and fighters. Short, tall, big or small, the men competing on tonight's main card all bring the heat and grappling.
We can't promise -- though we wish we could -- an evening of jaw-dropping highlights.
What we can promise you is that MMAmania will stay with you as UFC Fight Night 65 kicks off with complete LIVE results from the first fight to the last right here.