As always there are a number of questions that will be answered during the course of tonight’s UFC event. In this article we look at eight of the most significant ones.
1. Can Roy Nelson put on a performance against Brendan Schaub that will set him up as a major force in the heavyweight division?
After failing to impress Dana White with his fighting abilities for much of the current season of TUF, Roy Nelson’s performance tonight may be highly significant in terms of how much of a future he has in the promotion, and where in the heavyweight ladder he will be placed.
An impressive win would be a major boost for him at this stage, whereas a second-rate performance, even if it leads to a victory, may consign him to undercard obscurity for the time being.
2. Can Brendan Schaub keep this fight standing?
Due to Roy Nelson’s advantage if this fight goes to the floor, Schaub’s best hope is to keep this fight standing. That will be easier said than done of course, but he has shown an ability to get back to his feet from dangerous positions already in this season.
Nelson may also be seduced by the idea of putting on an ‘entertaining’ stand-up fight as he seeks respect from both the fans and UFC president Dana White, which could work to Schaub’s advantage.
3. Who’s chin will give out first, Kimbo or Houston’s?
Neither fighter has a cast-iron chin. Kimbo’s was exposed when a jab from Seth Petrucelli prematurely ended his last MMA fight, while Houston Alexander has suffered back-to-back K.O losses during his time in the UFC. One way or another this fight is going to end violently, but the winner may well be decided by who can take a punch as much as who can throw one.
4. How much has Marcus Jones striking improved since the show?
Marcus Jones defeat to Brendan Schaub in the semi-finals of the show further emphasized the weaknesses in ‘Big Baby’s stand-up game. Despite that, there’s no doubt that Jones will hold a significant advantage over Mitrione if this fight goes to the mat,and that will be his blueprint for success in this fight.
If for some reason Plan A doesn’t quite go as intended however – as happened against Schaub – has Jones striking improved enough to keep him in the fight?
5. Can Jon Jones make the transition from being a eye-catching striker, to being an effective one?
For someone so new to the sport, Jon Jones highlight reel is already as impressive as some battle hardened veterans. Despite this, the string of quick K.O and TKO’s that punctuated his early fights have so far failed to materialize during his stint in the UFC.
If he can prove that he still has that power, and has indeed become a more technical fighter under Greg Jackson’s tutelage, then the UFC could very well have a new star emerging in the division.
6. Can Frankie Edgar make enough of an impact against Matt Veach to hand him the No.1 contendership in the lightweight division?
Along with Gray Maynard, Frankie Edgar (10-1) is pushing hard for a title shot against the winner of Penn Vs Sanchez at UFC 107 after recent wins over hermes Franca and former champ Sean Sherk. Like Maynard the one thing he has lacked is an emphatic victory, with seven of his last eight fights going to the judges scorecards.
If he is going to do it, tonight would be the night, and it could put him just out in front as the next title challenger.
7. How much of a ratings draw will Kimbo Slice prove to be in the season finale?
If there is one thing that Kimbo Slice has been successful at so far in his mixed martial arts career, it’s his ability to generate huge viewer ratings. He helped break records for the TUF show this season, but after suffering another defeat will he still hold the same hold over viewers?
8. Will Rampage Jackson make an appearance at the event?
Having announced yesterday that he will come out of retirement to finish off his current UFC contract, will Rampage make an appearance at the TUF Finale? It would seem unlikely due to his ongoing war of words with Dana White, and with filming still on-going for the A-Team movie he is starring in, but as a coach on the show will he feel obligated to make an appearance, and if so, will we see yet another exchange between himself and Rashad Evans?