You know, besides the fact that it’s free
UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou isn’t the most prolific card the organization has put together. Unlike the more recent televised fight cards, there aren’t a collection of recognizable names and easy-to-sell bouts that draw you in right away.
But that doesn’t mean this event is entirely without value and intrigue.
Here are three good reasons why you should tune in to Spike TV later tonight.
1. The Two Jakes
Jake Shields is looking to rebound from two very different losses, one in the cage, one outside of the cage.
This is his first fight since beating defeated by Georges St-Pierre at UFC 129 in April. More recently and of much greater significance, this is his first bout since losing his father Jack late last month.
In speaking to Shields last week, he remained on this card because it’s what his dad would have wanted, so you can be sure he’s going to leave it all in the cage tonight.
Jake Ellenberger is looking to make a name for himself outside of the hardcore MMA community. This is the most high profile fight of his career to date, and a chance to prove himself as a legitimate contender in the welterweight division.
Despite a four fight winning streak featuring three stoppages, and an electrifying UFC debut loss to Carlos Condit that could have gone either way, Ellenberger is kind of the forgotten man in the 170 pound ranks. That will change if he’s able to come away with a win here.
2. The Two Ultimate Fighter Winners
While the show has faded over the years and the success of those to emerge as “The Ultimate Fighter” has varied over the years, there is always interest in how those fighters perform out of the gate.
Court McGee makes his second appearance after winning Season 11. He hasn’t fought in nearly a year after a knee injury forced him from the UFC 131 card this summer, but he showed great resolve in battling back to earn a stoppage win over Ryan Jensen in his post-TUF debut.
Like McGee, Season 12 winner Jonathan Brookins has been sidelined by injuries. He’s been forced out of a pair of bouts since winning the show, and now drops to featherweight for his first non-TUF-related fight in the Octagon. Brookins gets a very stiff test in his return, facing 12-1 Erik Koch in a bout that should put the winner in the upper tier of the 145 pound division.
Both McGee and Brookins showed promise during their time on Reality TV, and getting a chance to see how they continue to develop is certainly worth watching.
3. The Return of Alan Belcher
Fast forward 12 months and Belcher still hasn’t stepped into the cage again. The 27-year-old was forced from his main event meeting with Maia due to detached retina in his right eye that nearly ended his career.
Prior to the injury, Belcher was viewed as one of the top emerging talents in the 185 pound ranks. His wins over Patrick Cote and Wilson Gouveia followed a narrow split decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 100, a bout many people believe Belcher had won.
After starting his UFC career 1-2, Belcher has gone 6-2 over his last eight, and finally gets back into the cage tonight. While it might take some time to shake off the rust and regain the momentum he’s lost, the fact that he’s back fighting is awesome.
And just in case you need another reason to tune in and root for him, here you go: Belcher has won four consecutive Fight Night awards, so you know he always puts on a good show.