UFC 175 Full Preview

UFC175-FOXSPORTS-16x9For any fan of the UFC, the card put together for Fourth of July weekend has to be one of the most anticipated of the year. UFC 175, which will take place Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas features two undefeated champions defending their crowns, as well as some intriguing undercard bouts that feature fighters who are desperate for wins.

This event comes at the perfect time for the organization. UFC 174 in Vancouver was something of a flop, with a number of under-whelming fights and a Main Event that caused some fans to head for the exits even as the fight was still happening. In hopes of a rebound, the UFC is featuring two of its brightest stars, Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey, on the same card. With the event scheduled for a holiday weekend in Vegas, UFC 175 should provide some fireworks (was that the worst pun ever? I think it was). Here’s everything you need to know about the UFC’s seventh Pay-Per-View event of 2014.

Fight with the best KO/TKO potential

Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis

Ultimate Media DayThis is a pretty obvious choice. I promised in my preview of the Main Event yesterday that I would spend time gushing over Ms. Rousey, so here we go.

Rowdy Ronda has now had nine fights as a professional. In exactly zero of those fights has she allowed the judges to decide the outcome. Nine fights, nine knockouts. The first eight were with her trademark armbar, with seven of those coming in the first round.

Rousey expanded her repertoire, however, in her most recent fight against fellow Olympic medalist Sara McMann. She dropped the challenger with a knee to the body, putting everyone on notice that, as scary as it may be, the 27-year old is still improving. She will look to it an even 10 knockouts in a row against 29-year old Alexis Davis. Davis is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and might be close to Rousey in terms of wrestling ability, so we’ll be able to see just how much Rousey’s striking has improved. Just don’t expect this fight to go a full five rounds.

Key Quote: “Karma is going to come right back at you. That's why I'm going to win the belt. Karma is going to come back to her. There's some boundaries you have to have. But I can only imagine the pressure she feels in this situation. She's brought it on herself, all this sh*t talking, calling people out.” –Alexis Davis, on Ronda Rousey’s trash talking

Most Underrated Matchup

Urijah Faber vs. Alex Caceres

Ultimate Media DayFaber’s nickname is ‘The California Kid’ but he isn’t really a kid anymore at 35 years old. As a younger fighter, he was the main meal ticket for the WEC, holding the featherweight belt there for over two years between 2006 and 2008. However, since he lost the title to Mike Brown, Faber has been defeated in five straight championship bouts, including two in the UFC after it merged with the WEC in 2010.

Faber now competes as a bantamweight and in his most recent fight was brutally roughed up and finished in the first round in a title shot against Renan Barão. Now the Isla Vista, California native takes on up-and-coming youngster Alex Caceres in what he hopes will be the first step in the road to another title shot. Caceres is an alumnus of The Ultimate Fighter, Season 12 and is currently ranked No. 13 in the bantamweight division, according to UFC.com. He hasn’t lost since February of 2012.

This fight isn’t even on the Main Card, but it has a number of interesting storylines. Does the Kid still have it? Is Caceres elite? Who has better hair? This certainly has the feel of a main card fight, even if the powers that be don’t think so.

Key Quote: “He’s not afraid to try. A lot of people count themselves out before they even start. He’s the type of guy that goes in with offense. He lands big punches. He does submissions. He’ll move all-around. In my opinion, those are the most dangerous guys to fight: guys that are really there to fight.” –Urijah Faber, on Alex Caceres

Most Intriguing Matchup

Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione

The intrigue surrounding this fight is multi-layered and has been building since early last year. To begin with, Struve is a seven-foot-tall behemoth out of the Netherlands who doubles as the tallest fighter in the UFC. His opponent, Matt Mitrione spent six seasons in the NFL before turning to MMA shortly after his career ended in 2005.

Beyond the interest in seeing two mammoth men slug it out over three rounds, however, there is a personal touch to this fight that makes it even more captivating. Struve, at just 25 years old, was rocketing up the heavyweight rankings until early 2013, when, after a fight against Mark Hunt, it was discovered that ‘Skyscraper’ had a rare heart condition that only allowed him to receive 60-70 percent as much blood to the heart as a normal person.

In more than a year since, Struve has been working to get his condition under control so he can fight again. However, during that time, before Struve had been cleared to resume fighting, Mitrione specifically requested that the two match up in the sidelined fighter’s return. Struve took that to mean that the former Purdue football star thought he would be an easy win. There will be no love lost when these two enter the Octagon for Struve’s first fight in more than a year.

Key Quote: “It’s just kind of pathetic. I would never do something like that. Big mistake by him because I’m gonna absolutely show this guy.” –Stefan Struve, on Matt Mitrione asking for a fight while Struve was sidelined

And now for your viewing pleasure…

The complete card for UFC 175:

Early Preliminaries (UFC Fight Pass)-6:30 PM EST

Weight Class

Kevin Casey vs. Bubba Bush

Middleweight

 

Luke Zachrich vs. Guilherme Vasconcelos

 

Middleweight

 

Preliminaries (Fox Sports 1) 8:00 PM EST

 

 

Rob Font vs. George Roop

 

Bantamweight

 

Bruno Santos vs. Chris Camozzi

 

Middleweight

 

Kenny Robertson vs. Ildemar Alcantara

 

Welterweight

 

Urijah Faber vs. Alex Caceres

 

Bantamweight

 

Main Card (Pay-Per-View)-10:00 PM EST

 

 

Russell Doane vs. Marcus Brimage

 

Bantamweight

 

Thiago Santos vs. Uriah Hall

 

Middleweight

 

Stefan Struve vs. Matt Mitrione

 

Heavyweight

 

Ronda Rousey (C) vs. Alexis Davis

 

Bantamweight (Woman’s)

 

Chris Weidman (C) vs. Lyoto Machida

 

Middleweight

 

Dylan Sinn is a freelance contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSinn or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.