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Five talking points heading into UFC 131

It has been a steady diet of MMA the past couple of weeks and now we look forward to UFC 131 that will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, this coming weekend. The event will be headlined by a heavyweight showdown between Shane Carwin and Junior dos Santos.

Of course, Brock Lesnar was scheduled to face Dos Santos but had to pull out of the fight due to his health issues. The event looks somewhat lackluster on paper because there’s not a lot of star power, but there are some interesting things to look for going forward. Check it:

  • Obviously Carwin/Dos Santos is a huge heavyweight matchup with the winner getting the chance to face the current champion Cain Velasquez later this year. Both guys have knockout power and this fight probably won’t get out of the first round so it should be exciting. You have to think that Carwin has way more on the line here. He’s coming off a loss to Brock Lesnar, hasn’t fought in almost a year, and is already 36 years old. Junior dos Santos is undefeated in the UFC and is still relatively young. Neither guy of these two guys have proven to be legitimate PPV draws, nor is Cain Velasquez, so it’ll be interesting to see how all of that unfolds on the business side of things later this year. The PPV buyrate for this event should give us a better idea going forward about the drawing power of Carwin and Dos Santos.
  • Kenny Florian’s first foray into the featherweight(145lbs) division will take place on this card as he will take on WEC veteran Diego Nunes. Florian is certainly on the short road to a UFC featherweight showdown with current champion Jose Aldo, and a win against Nunes will start the ball rolling in that direction. It should be noted that Florian is coming off a loss to Gray Maynard, so he certainly wouldn’t want to loss two fights in a row even with the change in weight classes.
  • Mark Munoz will be looking to make leap up the UFC middleweight ladder when he locks horns with grappling ace and top ten middleweight Demian Maia. The only loss Munoz has as a middleweight is the split decision loss to top 3 middleweight and #1 contender Yushin Okami. Munoz has won 2 fights in a row since then and a win over a top ten fighter in Maia would certainly insert him back into the ‘contender’ conversation.
  • The UFC heavyweight division will welcome a new face at UFC 131. Dave “Pee Wee Herman will debut against Jon Olav Einemo and look to make a name for himself in a shallow division. Herman has competed in a number of different organizations throughout his career, holding a career record of (20-2), only going to a decision once while finishing 19 of his opponents. An impressive win here could catch the eye of the UFC brass and welcome a matchup with a more notable name in the future.
  • The UFC middleweight division has often been referred to as the most shallow in regards to contenders for the UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. However, a number of different fighters are beginning to emerge to possibly contend for the title one day. One highly touted prospect will be looking to make it two wins in a row in the UFC as he’ll be taking his second fight on short notice for the promotion. Chris Weidman(5-0) will be facing Jesse Bongfeldt on the Spike TV televised portion of the event. Weidman took out UFC veteran Alessio Sakara in his promotion debut, taking the fight on two weeks notice. Weidman is widely considered to be one of the top middleweight prospects in the world and will turn 27 years old later this month.

So there you have it. A huge heavyweight matchup with title shot implications. We have a top lightweight fighter dropping down for his featherweight debut. We have a huge middleweight matchup that will determine if one fighter is still relevant, and if the other is on the rise. We’ll see a good heavyweight prospect make his promotional debut, and a middleweight prospect back in action again. Be sure to stay turned to Pro MMA Now for previews of each fight on the main card each day this week!

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