UFC: Fight Night 40 Preview

The last time the UFC hosted an event in Ohio, George W. Bush was still President and the organization was still in its relative infancy. MMA’s premier company will return to the Buckeye State Saturday for the first time since 2007 at UFC 77 with a TV contract in tow, preparing to host the 40th installment of its "UFC:Fight Night" series.

The event, which will take place at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, will broadcast its main card live on Fox Sports 1 and features several intriguing matchups that provide the potential for some fireworks. Here is everything you need to know about the second UFC event in the last three weeks.

Fight With the Most Knockout Potential

Costas Philippou vs. Lorenz Larkin

That would be the co-main event, a middleweight bout. Both fighters are standup artists who love to turn fights into boxing matches. Both have also shown in the past that they have the ability to finish fights with one punch. These are two desperate fighters who will be looking to land one big blow to get their careers back on track.

UFC Fight Night - Open Workouts

The 34-year old Phillippou (12-4, pictured) was on a five-fight win streak as recently as 2012 and, after a knockout of contender Tim Boetsch at UFC 155, seemed to be on the cusp of a title shot. Now, however, after two straight losses, he’s slipped to No. 12 in the rankings and time is running out on his title window. He must survive ‘The Monsoon’ Larkin (14-2), who defeated top contender Robbie Lawler less than two years ago.

Most Underrated Fight

Rafael Natal vs. Ed Herman

Outside of the obviously significant main and co-main events, Rafael ‘Sapo’ Natal’s middleweight bout with the 33-year old Herman has more significance than any on the card. Natal has flashed elite skills in the past, winning five of six fights before Tim Kennedy knocked him out in the first round last November. The Brazilian Natal needs a bounce-back victory over Herman, but more importantly, he needs to start proving that he can defeat top competition on a consistent basis.

UFC 167: Weigh-InsHerman (pictured) may not be truly elite, but he is a solid fighter who has secured 10 of his last 12 victories by knockout or submission and had this to say about his opponent in the lead-up to Saturday’s fight: “[Natal]'s a talented, respectable opponent, but he's getting knocked out.”

Natal needs a sustained run of success to help him begin cashing in on his talent. He needs a win to start that run, but it won’t be easy against ‘Short Fuse’ Herman.

Fight of the Night

Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva

No surprises here, this is the main event for a reason. Brown and Silva are the No. 7 and No. 14 welterweights in the organization, respectively and both are coming off first-round knockouts in their previous fights. Brown has won six fights in a row and seems to be on the verge of serious title contention, especially after he knocked out No. 12 Mike Pyle in his previous matchup.

UFC Fight Night - Open WorkoutsSilva (pictured) has alternated wins and losses since he entered the UFC with much hype in 2011 and, seven fights later, he is looking to build some momentum and work his way up the rankings. At just 29 years old, the Brazilian still has plenty of time to put together a résumé worthy of a title shot and a win over Brown — a rising star — would be a good first step in that quest.

It will not be easy as the fight will be held in the Ohioan Brown’s backyard and he will have to look to stay away from Brown’s finishing power (he’s won 11 of 18 fights by KO/TKO) while trying to land one of his huge strikes himself. This could be another fight that ends with one punch.

 

Now, for your viewing pleasure…

The complete card for UFC: Fight Night 40

Preliminaries (UFC Fight Pass) – 6:30  PM EST    Weight Class

Anthony Lapsley vs. Albert Tumenov                        Welterweight

Ben Wall vs. Justin Salas                                           Lightweight

Nik Lentz vs. Manny Gamburyan                               Featherweight

Preliminaries (Fox Sports 2) – 8:00 PM EST

Eddie Wineland vs. Jonny Eduardo                           Bantamweight

Yan Cabral vs. Zak Cummings                                  Welterweight

Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darrell Montague                         Flyweight

Ed Herman vs. Rafael Natal                                      Middleweight

Main Card (Fox Sports 1) – 10:00 PM EST

Chris Cariaso vs. Louis Smolka                                 Flyweight

Soa Palelei vs. Ruan Potts                                        Heavyweight

Neil Magny vs. Tim Means                                        Welterweight

Erik Koch vs. Daron Cruickshank                              Lightweight

Costas Philippou vs. Lorenz Larkin                           Middleweight

Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva                                         Welterweight

Photo Credit: Getty