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Tim Means is UFC 189's 'Fighter to Watch' tonight in Las Vegas

"Dirty Bird" faces off with No. 5-ranked welterweight Matt Brown on the FOX Sports 1 'Prelims' portion of the UFC 189 pay-per-view in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's a must-watch showdown!

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brings a broken, but still colossal, UFC 189 pay-per-view (PPV) to MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, TONIGHT (Sat., July 11, 2015) for the promotion's annual early-summer blockbuster.

Broken and banged up, but far from disappointing is the PPV. Two title tilts line the apex of the card and feature the very best of the Welterweight and Featherweight divisions.

Two-time title challenger Chad Mendes will take the place of injured champion Jose Aldo to fight for the 145-pound interim strap against the electric Irishman Conor McGregor in the evening's main course. Prior to that, Robbie Lawler will seek to make the first successful title defense of his career when he puts the 170-pound belt on the line against familiar foe, No. 1 contender Rory MacDonald, in the co-main event.

Also on the card are meetings that feature Top 15-ranked Featherweight standouts Dennis Bermudez and Jeremy Stephens, while burgeoning Welterweight contenders collide in an effort to move up the ladder when Gunnar Nelson tangles with Brandon Thatch.

Though most of these men have much to gain, I would argue Tim Means is participating in one of the more overlooked bouts of the night. "Dirty Bird" is in the midst of his second UFC run, asserting himself as a threat in the 170-pound division.

Means has won four of five fights since he re-debuted in the Octagon against Neil Magny at UFC Fight Night 40. The 31-year-old gets the biggest opportunity of his combat sports career, however, when he steps into face the No. 5-ranked Matt Brown in the featured FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" bout.

Means' mixed martial arts (MMA) career began when he was a 20-year-old. The New Mexican began his professional career at Middleweight, rattling off quick technical-knockout victories over Josh Barlowe and Nathan Brown. Then, in an amateur bout, Means rag-dolled future World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) competitor Noah Thomas.

For 10 minutes, Thomas was taken down at will by Means and thoroughly controlled in the grappling department. On the feet, he soundly destroyed Thomas with a variety of vicious elbows, knees and straight punches.

Means would win his next amateur fight via unanimous decision, but that would mark the beginning of the end of his four-fight win streak.

Having fought twice in the span of a month in June 2004, he allowed himself a bit more breathing room between bouts and made his way back into a cage in September of that year. Means fought Frost Murphy and lost via a triangle choke in the second round.

The Murphy loss was compounded by additional losses against Luke Caudillo (TKO - injury) two weeks after and future UFC combatant Spencer Fisher (triangle choke). Both were early, first-round stoppages.

Clearly, Means had hit a rough patch, one that could very well cause a fighter to second guess his options. He won his next cage foray over July Guiterrez in March 2005 and then took a near four-year hiatus from the sport because of an aggravated battery charge, as well as a pain-medication dependency.

His life was turned upside-down to say the least, but Means kept his head on straight and got clean for himself and his family once he was released from prison in 2009.

Means went right back to work and was rolling immediately. The American starched five-straight opponents in the first-round, four of those victories coming by way of technical knockout and one via rear-naked choke.

Then, for the second time in his career, Means' momentum was thwarted by his own aggression, losing a fight versus Jaime Jara by guillotine choke.

His striking can be deemed a little bit reckless. Means likes to sit in the pocket and trade bombs quite often despite typically holding a reach advantage over his opponents.

He prefers to strike where he will be in most danger, but this is because it allows him to utilize knee strikes and elbows. It also gives Means the opportunity to possibly throw or trip his opponent, which is something he does quite well.

Following his second-career loss, Means would go on a torrid run -- the longest win streak of his time in the fight game. He won eight fights in a two-year span, arguably nine if you count his majority draw to Dom O'Grady in July 2010 in which he had a point deducted.

Means avenged the draw in a split-decision win over O'Grady in Dec. 2010.

Over the nine-fight span, he picked up notable victories over future Strikeforce, UFC and Bellator fighters Bobby Green, Cody Pfister and Ricky Musgrave ... all three were finishes.

More specifically, Means brutalized Green, blooding him up with elbows, forcing "King" to retire after 10 minutes. In the process, he claimed his first championship in Oct. 2010 -- the King of the Cage (KOTC) Junior Welterweight belt.

The aforementioned carnage culminated in Means capturing his second title -- the KOTC Lightweight championship -- in a 30-second mauling of Tye Brown in Jan. 2012.

After collecting his second title, Means was signed to a contract by UFC and faced the significantly smaller Brazilian Bernardo Magalhaes, battering him into oblivion.

Next up on his docket was Grudge Training Center product Justin Salas. "J-Bomb" lasted barely more than one minute.

Losses to more experienced high-level fighters like Jorge Masvidal and Danny Castillo in 2013 would see Means depart UFC. However, a quick turnaround in Legacy FC, where he clobbered MMA journeyman Pete Spratt and Artenas Young, helped him earn his way back into the Octagon.

Since May 2014, Means has been in some tough contests, as well as some one-sided ones. Magny gave him trouble with his length and wrestling, while Marcio Alexandre put a scare into the striker with a high kick in the second-round of their Dec. 2014 barnburner.

With a four-fight win streak in tow -- his most recent victory a third-round, arm-triangle choke win over George Sullivan at UFC on Fox 15 in April -- Means will face the toughest test, in the most important fight of his career against "Immortal."

The 34-year-old Ohio native is quite similar to Means. Brown possesses a no-nonsense, go-for-broke type of style that should mesh well with Means' gameplan and will hopefully produce a "Fight of the Night" candidate.

Brown is coming off of two-straight losses to top-flight competition in Lawler and Johny Hendricks. His coming out party was a sensational technical knockout win over well-rounded Brazilian Erick Silva in May 2014.

Brown finished Silva off the only way he knows how and that's with myriad knees, punches and elbows. His takedown defense leaves much to be desired and could be the difference maker if Means wishes to make life a bit easier on himself.

I would look for a throw or trip by Means if he is danger of losing their fight and needs to score points. Both he and Brown have also shown the ability to launch offense off of their back, or better yet, find ways out of precarious situations and go back to exchanging on the feet.

A win for Means would immediately send him into -- or right around -- a position in the Top 10 of the weight class.

It will be a close one. I want to say Means, but my heart says Brown. He needs to avoid a third-straight loss and will need to end it to get the "W."

Brown via second-round technical knockout.

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