Two of the UFC’s top lightweights, Kenny Florian and Evan Dunham are expected to clash Super Bowl weekend according to Florian, who announced they had both verbally agreed to the bout during this week’s broadcast of “MMA Live“.
The Super Bowl is scheduled for Feb.6, 2011 (who will be playing?), which means Florian and Dunham would clash at the tentatively scheduled UFC 127 on Saturday, Feb. 5, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Florian (14-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Gray Maynard at UFC 118 in August. Maynard’s strong wrestling played the decisive factor in the match as he was able to put Florian on his back, use ground and pound and control position for much of the fight. Prior to that, Florian choked out Takanori Gomi at Fight Night 21 in March and did the same to Clay Guida about three months earlier.
Dunham (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) is coming off the first loss of his career, a split decision against Sean Sherk at UFC 119 in September. Much like Florian’s loss to Maynard, Sherk’s wrestling seemed to be the deciding factor. However, Dunham’s loss to Sherk was a much closer fight than Florian’s loss to Maynard. In fact, many think Dunham should have got the win.
Before Sherk, Dunham had won 11 straight bouts and four straight since arriving to the UFC in Feb. 2009. Beginning with a first round TKO over Per Eklund at UFC 95, Dunham dispatched his opponents one after the other, each a bigger name than the last.
Next it was a split decision over Marcus Aurelio at UFC 102, an armbar submission over Efrain Escudero at Fight Night 20, and then a split decision over Tyson Griffin at UFC 115. This 28-year-old Xtreme Couture fighter from Oregon has proven his name belongs among the top in the division.
For Florian, this fight is a must win. For Dunham, a win over Florian would shoot him near the top of the ranks. Nobody has used Florian as a stepping stone, but if there was ever a rising star who has the potential to do that, it is Evan Dunham.