UFC Fight Night: Hamburg takes place on Saturday night and we have a few big fights on that card. The card features the return of a previous light heavyweight title challenger who is a big star in the sport. We also have a light heavyweight that previously stumbled on the last stretch to contendership and is looking for redemption. In the enticing main event we see two heavyweight legends battle for divisional supremacy.
Ryan ‘Darth’ Bader steps back into the octagon for the first time since a crushing knockout loss to Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson. Before facing Johnson, Bader had been on a four fight win streak, building his case for a championship opportunity.
However, in hindsight Bader feels like he looked past Johnson as he eyed the belt and as a result, lost by TKO. He plans to make his fight on Saturday night a moment of redemption. But first, he must get past Illir Latifi.
‘The Sledgehammer’ is a powerhouse striker and wrestler. He prefers to knockout his opponents with huge shots or pick them up and slam them than put on a technical clinic. Hence the nickname.
With that being said, I believe Bader has a really good chance of getting back in the win column. Bader is a really underrated fighter. He puts on exciting bouts and is a generally well-rounded fighter.
He has technical wrestling ability and precise striking but everything he does is intended to have a devastating effect. Bader doesn’t try to out-point his opponents, he tries to finish the fight every time. This fight could bring out the best in both men.
Once every so often in MMA, a fight comes along that has so much drama, intensity and technical martial arts that it is considered an instant classic. Daniel Cormier’s first light heavyweight title defence against Alexander Gustafsson was exactly that. It was a five round war that saw the Swede coming up short once again.
Prior to that fight ‘The Mauler’ lost by decision in another championship bout against Jon Jones. Needless to say, Gustafsson was bitterly disappointed. After briefly questioning his future in MMA, he is returning to the octagon opposite Jan Blachowicz.
Blachowicz is a dangerous opponent, he previously dominated Latifi, so this is hardly an easy fight for Gustafsson. If you want my prediction: it all depends on how committed to fighting Gustafsson is now. If there is even an inclination of retiring left in Alexander, Blachowicz could find it.
Although, if he has found that spark, that love of martial arts again, then he has all of the tools to get it done. I genuinely believe he is one of the best light heavyweights out there at the moment.
It seems strange that the headline bout of this card is not taking place on a pay per view. Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett are two legendary fighters in the sport who have been dominant in their division for decades. Given that both of these men have been fighting for so long it is almost odd that they haven’t already fought.
The story to this one is fantastic and yet it has barely been promoted. Barnett and Arlovski have both won heavyweight world championships but as they are both in their veteran years they are on a collision course. This match could be an absolute barn-burner.