UFC

Three Reasons to Watch UFC on Versus 5

We thought you might need a little more persuading

If you’re an MMA fan, what else are you going to do on a Sunday night when there are free fights on your television?

Just in case you’re not quite sold simply on the outstanding price point for this event, here are a couple additional selling points to help sway you.

Chris Lytle

1. Main Event Excitement

Remember a few months back when everyone was praising Strikeforce for just making cool fights opposite the calculated match-making of the UFC? Well, this fight is as exciting — and more evenly matched — than the efforts Strikeforce was putting forward.

And it has some meaning to it, too.

Dan Hardy comes in on a three-fight losing streak and a loss here will mean the end of the road for “The Outlaw.” That’s crazy to imagine considering Hardy was standing opposite Georges St-Pierre less than 18 months ago. He’ll need to show a sense of urgency — and continued improvement on the ground — to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat.

Meanwhile, Chris Lytle hasn’t been in anything but entertaining fights since losing to Matt Serra on The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale; he’s earned five Fight of the Night awards in the 13 fights since. He’s got very good boxing, an underrated submission game and adamantium in his chin which makes him comfortable and dangerous in every position.

These two talked on the media call about giving the fans their money’s worth and I expect them to deliver.

2. Lightweight Eliminator

The meeting between Jim Miller and Ben Henderson is the most meaningful bout on the card and could produce the next lightweight title contender.

Miller has won seven straight with his only two losses coming to the #1 and 1A fighters in the divisions, Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. He’s stepped it up a notch in his last two fights, finishing Charles Oliveira and Kamal Shalorus after peeling off five straight decisions. UFC President Dana White has said a victory here will earn the Whippany, New Jersey native a title shot.

Knowing that and coming off a solid win of his own at UFC 129, Henderson will definitely be out to continue making a name for himself in this one. The former WEC lightweight champion looked very good in beating Mark Bocek in Toronto, a tough grappler who gave Miller fits back in 2010. Henderson has a well-rounded approach and some of the best submission defense in the game, two things that could make him a much tougher challenge for Miller than some people might think.

There’s a little bit of tension between these two as well. When the WEC merger was announced, Miller went on record saying he thought the newcomers would struggle to find their place with their UFC counterparts. Henderson hasn’t forgotten that and I’m sure he’d like to be the guy who dashes his opponent’s championship dreams.

3. The Replacements

First, Donald Cerrone agreed to fill in for an injured John Makdessi. Then Oliveira jumped onto the opening created when Paul Taylor was forced from the card. Now we have a tremendous lightweight contest that wasn’t even originally on the schedule and we get to watch it for free.

Both these guys are always entertaining, coming forward behind their hands and feet. They each extremely well-rounded, capable of finishing things in numerous ways, and they both like to put on a show.

Cerrone is coming off a dominant win over Vagner Rocha, while Oliveira looked outstanding opposite Nik Lentz before landing an illegal knee. He’s made a smart decision to get back in the cage quickly, and Cerrone would fight every month if the UFC would let him.

This could be quick and explosive or 15 minutes of back-and-forth awesomeness. Either way, you’re going to want to watch.

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