It has been almost a month since the last official UFC soiree, and to fight fans it has felt like an eternity. To shake off the ring rust comes Fight Night Rotterdam, already the strongest contender for the most exclusive cards of the year. This 10-fight event offers some of the most best match-ups of 2017. Here are the reasons to watch Fight Night Rotterdam:
1 – Dark Horse Heavyweights When you bring the #7 and #8 ranked heavyweights together, you can be assured that both are eyeing the matchup as an opportunity to catapult their standing to next-level status. Both fighters are on an upward trajectory, with Alexander Volkov on a four-fight winning streak, and Stefan Struve pulling off two impressive victories that demonstrate a huge leap in expertise.
At 79 inches tall, Volkov would tower above most humans, let alone most fighters, until this encounter with the 84 inch Struve. With Struve also possessing a significant reach advantage and a penchant for finishing fights, it would be easy to predict the bigger man would win. But Volkov’s expert kickboxing game is a perfect foil for the hometown hero’s approach, and there is a reason he has remained undefeated since joining the UFC in 2016. Regardless of who you have in this fight, it is near impossible that this isn’t a bout that will send ripples through the division for years to come.
2 - History in the Making
Marion Reneau will make UFC history Saturday by becoming the first 40-year-old female fighter to enter The Octagon. The high school PE teacher will take on scrappy UFC newcomer Talita Bernardo in a matchup that will absolutely see both bantamweight stars determined to make the most of this main card opportunity
3 - New Sheriff in Town
When you hear someone say Silva in regards to the UFC, it’s natural that your brain would think Anderson. But given time and continued success, Felipe Silva might be a name equally hallowed in the promotion’s history. Undefeated in mixed martial arts, including his new career in the UFC, Silva is a menace at finishing his fights (seven of his eight career wins). But he’ll get no easy evening from Mairbek Taisumov who has taken home 4 consecutive KO/TKO wins without making it look too hard.
4 – Absolute Beginners
True to the concept that the next great fighter might well walk among us, Mike Santiago and Zabit Magomedsharipov not only make their UFC debuts in Rotterdam, but they do it against one another. Santiago competed on the first season of the fortuitous Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, and while he didn’t walk away with a contract on that night’s episode, his performance was not far from the minds of the UFC matchmakers. Magomedsharipov enters with a metric ton of well-deserved hype for his impeccable striking. Legitimate Fight of the Night potential lingers in this bout.