UFC comes to the ‘Land Down Under’ with its next Fight Night event on Saturday, 18th Nov in Sydney, Australia. After suffering multiple setbacks; including Jesse Taylor being flagged by USADA, Mark Hunt being pulled out of the main event by the UFC and Joanne Calderwood’s injury, the card is now all set to deliver with a heavyweight clash featuring former champion Fabricio Werdum vs. Marcin Tybura in the main event and Bec Rawlings vs. Jessica-Rose Clark as the co-main event.
- Jessica Clarke, Shane Young, Adam Wieczorek, Nadia Kassem and Tai Tuivasa are making their UFC debuts on this card
- Alexander Volkanovski finally gets an opponent in Shane Young, after losing two of his previous opponents due to injuries
- Fabricio Werdum at 40 years is the oldest fighter on the card. Even at this age, Werdum continues his journey back to the heavyweight title by quickly accepting a fight in just over 40 days
- Nadia Kassem at 26 years is the youngest fighter on the card. She makes her UFC debut on a four–fight winning streak
- After missing weight twice in the women’s strawweight division, Bec Rawlings moves to make a debut in the flyweight division
ALEX CHAMBERS VS. NADIA KASSEM
Alex Chambers (5-3) returns to the octagon after a two-year long hiatus. The last time she fought was in 2015 against Paige VanZant, which resulted in a one-sided beatdown. She has seen mixed results since her debut back in 2014 and fell short against better skilled strawweight’s. While Nadia Kassem’s MMA experience from lesser known organizations make her an underdog, her four wins via KO/TKO in round 1 could put Alex in serious trouble. If Alex can get pass the initial pressure and take Nadia to the ground, she’s got all the skills to spoil the youngster’s debut.
RASHAD COULTER VS. TAI TUIVASA
Knockout artist Tai Tuivasa (5-0) gets to make his UFC debut after a yearlong delay due his knee injury and now that he’s ready to bang, faces against another KO specialist Rashad Coulter (8-2). Both Tai and Rashad have finished their opponents via KO/TKO making this one hell of a heavyweight clash. Tai is a training partner of Mark Hunt, making his fighting style almost like the Super Samoan. With a short fighting record, Tai’s biggest win has been against the veteran James McSweeney last year. Having lost his first fight in UFC via KO Rashad is still a tough test for Tai, who’s heavy hands and crisp striking can put him on the canvas.
WILL BROOKS VS. NIK LENTZ
Brooks and Nik were earlier scheduled to face each other at UFC 216 but fell apart Former Bellator champion Will Brooks failed to live up to the hype with which he entered the UFC last year. Having lost his last two fights against guys with the surname Oliveira, Brooks has one thing less to worry against Nik Lentz. Another loss to a tried and tested Lentz will only lead him be cut from the UFC roster. It’s a must win for Will Brooks who can redeem his position as a potential lightweight prospect with a performance that can get the UFC schedule another fight for him early next year. Nik Lentz will be competing for 19th time inside the octagon with mixed results. Despite the ups and downs Nik has managed to actively compete from the past eight years mostly against mid-level competition. If both these lightweights want to be taken seriously, then they can’t risk another loss on their record.
BEC RAWLINGS VS. JESSY ROSE CLARK
After an unsuccessful run in the strawweight division, Bec Rawlings moves up to the flyweight division. The original matchup with JoJo Calderwood would have been the show stealer, but Bec, must settle with the late replacement fighter Jessy Clark. With a record of 2-3 in UFC and having lost her last two fights, Bec is in a do or die situation. Without any notable wins in her career outside UFC, Jessy lacks the experience needed to deal with the strong brawler. If Bec keeps the fight on the feet and plays on her aggressive pace, she can outclass the newcomer and pick a much-needed victory.
TIM MEANS VS. BELAL MUHAMMAD
Tim Means is one dirty bird and he’ll be the biggest test of Belal’s fighting career so far. Belal has proven his toughness in his previous fights but against a veteran like Tim who takes pleasure in picking apart his opponents will be a tough challenge to handle. Tim’s aggressive pace and long range will find its target landing combinations and nasty elbows that will test Belal’s durability as the rounds progress. The only viable option for Belal would be to outwrestle Tim, grind and wear him out. The odds are stacked against Belal who could be easily out struck and played in almost every element of the fight game. Belal would have a tough time cracking Tim, but having proved his mettle in times of adversities, this could be his biggest win.
FABRICIO WERDUM VS. MARCIN TYBURA
Marcin Tybura was originally slated to fight against Hunt, but having been pulled out due to medical precautions, Werdum stepped in against the Polish heavyweight. Marcin had rough start in the UFC, but picked up three wins in row. Andre Arlovski was his latest victim and the biggest win of his career. Having initially prepared for a striking war against Hunt, Marcin now faces a Muay Thai and BJJ expert, who could finish the fight both with strikes and submissions. Stylistically this is a bad matchup for Marcin, who could survive the early rounds, but the fear of submission would always hang over his head and holding him back. If the fight sticks on the feet, there’s slight chance for Marcin to surprise Werdum and go for a quick finish. It would be his biggest win and take his stock right up. Werdum wouldn’t want to risk a loss to a lower ranked fighter. But a win also wouldn’t solidify his case for a title fight.