No headline title fight.
No normal Saturday night viewing party.
So, why should we care about UFC Fight Night 39?
That’s the $10 question.
Why $10? Because that’s the price it will take to see the event, which airs Friday afternoon exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
In the main event, former interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira takes on Dana White’s favorite fighter – not – Roy Nelson. The co-main boasts Clay Guida and Tatsuya Kawajiri, while another key main card bout will see welterweights John Howard and Ryan LaFlare collide.
Six very solid names right there, but no “marquee” draws outside of maybe Nelson. Nonetheless, this card has the chance to really make an impact.
Nogueira is a legend in this sport, much like the old guard of MMA in Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture. He, though, made his name outside of the UFC and the U.S., leaving many to still question whether he is on the list of all-time greats.
“Minotauro” can bring it. Just ask Dave Herman or Brendan Schaub, both of whom were finished by the Brazilian.
In Nelson, Nogueira will get a willing opponent. There will be no feeling out process. “Big Country” is coming to Abu Dhabi to bang and knock “Big Nog” to the canvas.
The former Ultimate Fighter winner has shown his heavy hands in first round knockout victories over Cheick Kongo, Matt Mitrione and Dave Herman. He’s also already defeated a legend in Mirko CroCop, so this is nothing new.
Guida, meanwhile, has given himself another chance to climbing the ladder by moving down to featherweight. His initial experiment went well, as he defeated Hatsu Hioki, but act two was disaster, falling to Chad Mendes. He’ll face a relative UFC newcomer in Kawajiri in the co-main event.
Kawajiri has a strong following outside the Octagon, and Guida will need to be more aggressive to come out with his hand raised.
Howard and LaFlare are still a few pegs from cracking that list of contenders in the UFC’s welterweight division, but they are both presented with a good opportunity to inch closer vs. one another.
Since returning to the promotion, Howard has looked like his old “Doomsday” self, while LaFlare is another of these “East Coast” fighters who are tearing up the Octagon.
The prelims also feature some solid fighters, as Thales Leites – a former title contender to Anderson Silva – is in action, along with a handful of fighters looking to gain ground in their respective divisions.
So, is it worth $10? Sure. But the better question might be, can you watch mid-day UFC without leaving work early?