Tonight, you’re probably aware there’s a pretty good MMA show on free TV (yes, I know, cable TV isn’t free where I live either, but you know what I mean). UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann 2 features the rematch of a fight of the year contender in Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann, plus a lightweight bout with title implications in Donald Cerrone vs. Rafeal Dos Anjos in the co-main event, and some nice undercard action besides.
It’s the easiest decision in the world for an MMA fan to try and catch this one. But this morning, I’m taking a look at three more reasons to watch tonight — three which you may not have considered.
1) Among the preliminary bouts to be aired on Fox Sports 2 is a match-up with some pretty extraordinary circumstances. Please, if you have time and ability to watch, look out for the welterweight bout between Jason High and James Head. No, not because of their oddly similar sounding names. Head, a proud resident of Oklahoma City who still works as a drilling engineer when he isn’t training, has pledged to donate his entire fight purse tonight to the relief efforts for victims of the recent tornado in Oklahoma. Along with his blue collar and apparent heart of gold, he’ll bring some solid striking and jiu-jitsu against High, a former Nebraska wrestler now training with American Top Team in Florida. A winner in promotions like Strikeforce and DREAM, High lost his UFC debut to prospect Erick Silva in June – so the stakes are high for him as well. Expect some fireworks here.
Speaking of the DREAM promotion (RIP), this event features a miniature Japanese invasion, with two notable bantamweight fighters from the Land of the Rising Sun looking to turn a new corner in their careers.
2) First is Hatsu Hioki, who enjoyed considerable success in Shooto and Sengoku – including a memorable brawl with Lion Takeshi in 2010, among my favorite bouts of that year — before his current UFC run. A victim of an uneventful decision loss to Clay Guida in January, Hioki is another whose head is on the ZUFFA chopping block. He’s got an open game, strike- and submission-heavy; and might find himself on his back again tonight as his opponent Darren Elkins is another solid wrestler. Still, Elkins tends to be very active, so I think the exchanges in both standup and ground will be entertaining. This bout will also be among the preliminary bouts televised on Fox Sports 2.
3) The other is Takeya Mizugaki, who may still mostly be known for his WEC days, taking a then-dominant champion in Miguel Angel Torres to the limit back in 2009. Mizugaki is a good all-around fighter and particularly sharp boxer. He tends to keep a good pace, but lacks the power or submission skills to put his opponents away, and ends up on the wrong end of decisions. He’s facing the colorful 23 year old Erik Perez, who came to yesterday’s weigh in wearing a lucha libre mask, and playfully flashed a peace sign instead of having the usual stare down. Another Jackson’s MMA product, Perez boasts an eight fight winning streak, including a 17 second knockout at UFC 150 against Ken Stone. It’s a nice bit of matchmaking here: a youngster who has shown explosiveness vs. a steady veteran. This bout will be on the Fox Sports 1 main card.
We will have full coverage tonight! As always: thanks for reading, and enjoy the fights.