Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will be back on your television screen for free, as the WME-IMG mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion presents UFC Fight Night 101 later tonight (Sat., Nov. 26, 2016) from inside the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Headlining the event is a middleweight bout between Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson. Also, Kyle Noke takes on Omari Akhmedov and Andrew Holbrook meets "Celtic Kid" Jake Matthews.
What UFC fight is on tonight? UFC Fight Night 101
Who is fighting tonight at UFC Fight Night 101? Robert Whittaker vs. Derek Brunson is the Fox Sports 1 main event
When does UFC Fight Night start: Tonight (Sat., Nov. 26 2016), beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass
Where will UFC Fight Night 101 take place? Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
How can I watch UFC FIght Night 101? Main card start time at 10 p.m ET FS1; "Prelims" undercard start time at 8 p.m. ET on FS1; and UFC Fight Pass early "Prelims" start time at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Where can I get live UFC Fight Night 101 updates and results tonight? Live UFC Fight Night 101 play-by-play coverage is right here.
While it hasn't been billed as a No. 1 contender's bout, the matchup between Brunson and Whittaker can have some title implications, as each are riding impressive five-fight win streaks. Currently, the 185-pound division is crawling with contenders just waiting for their chance at a title fight against division king Michael Bisping. Top contender Yoel Romero will most likely get first dibs, while Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo Souza wait in the wings. That said, the winner of this 185-pound fight can perhaps take on one of the aforementioned contenders to stamp their own ticket to the big dance.
The rest of the card isn't so hot. I'm sorry, but when you run it down, there aren't too many bouts -- other than the headlining act -- on this event that really get me going. None. The star-power is lacking in a bad way. And it's a shame for the Australian fans, too, as the last event held "Down Under" featured Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm, Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valeria Letourneau and Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva, among others. I get that Luke Rockhold was injured and his bout against Ronaldo Souza, which was set to be the main event, was ultimately scrapped; but to not add a little more depth to the event was just a bad move on the promotion's behalf.
Original Card vs. Actual Card:
Luke Rockhold was originally going to rematch Ronald Souza in a middleweight main event that would have provided the next title challenger in the division. But after Luke sprained his ACL, Brunson and Whittaker were promoted as the new headliners.
Apart from Rockhold's unfortunate setback, Dominique Steele was forced out of his matchup against Kyle Noke with an injury and was ultimately replaced by Omari Akhmedov.
Alex Volkanovski, Tyson Pedro, and Jenel Lausa will look to make a splash in their Octagon debuts. Pedro is the local favorite and is currently undefeated at 4-0, while Luasa has won four straight. Volkanovskis, meanwhile, looks to keep his winning streak alive, which currently sits at 10.
How The "Prelims" Look:
Not too good, if we're being honest. The main card isn't that great to begin with, so there wasn't much hope for the preliminary portion of the event. I mean, Chris Camozzi is perhaps the most well-known name competing on the undercard. After that, it looks like the fights were just basically booked to fill out the event with no other implications or meaning attached.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Let's just say both Whittaker and Brunson need a win to solidify their status as a future contender. A loss will send either of them tumbling down and their rise up the ranks to a shot at the title will be that much tougher. Why? Well, they have both have won five in a row and they still can't get the love when it comes to the title conversation. So just imagine having to start from scratch, winning five more in a row and still fighting for respect in a highly-competitive division. It's just a tough situation all around.
Interest Level: 4/10
I really hate to keep bashing the card, but it's been a long time since UFC has shelled out an event like this. UFC 205, UFC 206 and UFC 207 took all the top talent and high-profile names, so there wasn't much to go around for this event. And I hate to beat a dead horse, but this is another prime example of "over-saturation." Too many events and not enough star-power to go around. If events like these are what UFC hopes to help them continue to globalize, it isn't going to work. And they probably don't have to push that hard anymore, as UFC is already a worldwide phenomenon. People will still likely come out in droves, because it's not often that an event goes to Australia, but if a card like this is the norm moving forward, expect a decrease in attendance. Thankfully, the WME-IMG regime is prepared to focus on "quality" instead of "quantity" moving forward, which means fight fans won't be force fed these types of cards. I get it, it's "free" and not on pay-per-view (PPV), but come on, put a little more effort into it.
UFC Fight Night 101 Full Fight Card:
FOX Sports 1 Main Event:
185 lbs.: Derek Brunson vs. Robert Whittaker
FOX Sports 1 Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Andrew Holbrook vs. Jake Matthews
170 lbs.: Kyle Noke vs. Omari Akhmedov
155 lbs.: Yusuke Kasuya vs. Alex Volkanovski
205 lbs.: Tyson Pedro vs. Khalil Rountree
115 lbs.: Seo Hee Ham vs. Danielle Taylor
FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" (8 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Chris Camozzi vs. Daniel Kelly
155 lbs.: Damien Brown vs. Jon Tuck
170 lbs.: Jonathan Meunier vs. Richard Walsh
125 lbs.: Geane Herrera vs. Ben Nguyen
UFC Fight Pass "Prelims" (6:30 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Daniel Hooker vs. Jason Knight
135 lbs.: Marlon Vera vs. Ning Guangyou
125 lbs.: Jenel Lausa vs. Yao Zhikui
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