DERRICK LEWIS VS TRAVIS BROWNE
Winner of five straight, Derrick Lewis wasn’t in his best form against Shamil Abdurakhimov in December, but don’t expect Travis Browne to try and wrestle “The Black Beast” for five rounds in Sunday’s main event either. That’s good news for fight fans and for the heavyweight contenders, because there’s little chance that the winner of this one walks away without an impressive and decisive victory, along with a jump up the rankings ladder.
JOHNY HENDRICKS VS HECTOR LOMBARD
This may be the most interesting fight on the Halifax card simply because we will get our first look at Johny Hendricks as a middleweight. Of course against Hector Lombard, Hendricks won’t be in with the typical tall and rangy 185-pounder, as both are 5-foot-9, but to see “Bigg Rigg” fighting without the burden of the previous day’s weigh-in sapping him of all his energy is a good thing, not just for the fighter, but for his fans.
SAM SICILIA VS GAVIN TUCKER
Nova Scotia’s own Gavin Tucker has been impressive on the local circuit, going 9-0 with eight finishes split between knockouts and submissions. TUF 15 alumnus Sam Sicilia is a knockout artist with one-punch stopping power. The odds of this featherweight bout going the three-round distance are slim and none, but oh what fun it will be to watch.
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ELIAS THEODOROU VS CEZAR FERREIRA
This clash between Elias Theodorou and Cezar Ferreira is notable for being a meeting of former TUF winners, but more importantly, the one emerging victorious on Sunday could make a case for a spot in the top 15, with Ferreira already having won three straight heading into a bout against the swarming Theodorou.
SARA MCMANN VS GINA MAZANY
Unbeaten Gina Mazany has quite the task ahead of her in her UFC debut, as she faces a fighter in Sara McMann who is not just a top ten bantamweight contender, but an Olympic Silver medalist showing the best form of her career. McMann appears to have figured out the MMA game, and if she truly has, she’s going to be a tough out for anyone at 135 pounds.
ALESSANDRO RICCI VS PAUL FELDER
One of several bouts making a run for Fight of the Night honors is the lightweight clash between strikers Alessandro Ricci and Paul Felder, and if the two stand for 15 minutes, we might be seeing something very special. But if we’re talking game plans now, Felder has the edge in Octagon experience and on the mat, and that might be his best way of securing a win on Sunday night.
NORDINE TALEB VS SANTIAGO PONZINIBBIO
Two of the more underrated fighters at 170 pounds are Nordine Taleb and Santiago Ponzinibbio, but that may not be the case much longer, as a win by Canada’s Taleb gives him another big victory following his knockout of Erick Silva last year, and a win by Ponzinibbio gives him four in a row. That may be enough to propel “Gente Boa” into the top 15 of a stacked welterweight division.
CARLA ESPARZA VS RANDA MARKOS
The storyline heading into the bout between Carla Esparza and Randa Markos focuses on the bad blood that surfaced on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter, but the better one is that Esparza needs this one to keep her hopes of regaining her strawweight title alive and that Markos also needs a victory in order to start fulfilling her potential at 115 pounds. High stakes bouts are so much more interesting.
AIEMANN ZAHABI VS REGINALDO VIEIRA
There’s a lot of pressure on newcomer Aiemann Zahabi to perform, as he’s the brother of renowned Tristar coach Firas Zahabi, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering the Montrealer in the slightest. And while he’s going to get a fight out of former TUF Brazil winner Reginaldo Vieira, if he keeps the first time Octagon jitters under control, a star may be born at 135 pounds.
JACK MARSHMAN VS THIAGO SANTOS
A strong candidate for Fight of the Night honors, Thiago Santos and Jack Marshman will be looking to end this bout from the start, and while Santos has the edge in that category early on, Marshman proved in his UFC debut against Magnus Cedenblad that he will walk through fire in order to get his hand raised. Yeah, sounds like a Fight of the Night to me.
GERALD MEERSCHAERT VS RYAN JANES
Often, a fighter waits a long time to get his call to the UFC, and when it comes, he wilts under the pressure. Gerald Meerschaert isn’t that guy, and in addition to beating Joe Gigliotti in his debut, he declared war on the entire middleweight division. Next up is Canada’s Ryan Janes, who was pretty impressive in his own right in defeating Keith Berish in his first Octagon bout. UFC FIGHT PASS fans should enjoy this matchup.