The UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz event is set to take place this coming Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a stacked card on paper before losing the main event with Georges St. Pierre having to pull out of his welterweight title defense against Carlos Condit due to injury. We’ll be previewing the main card fights as always each day this week, but I wanted to take a look at five big questions heading into this event. Check it:
The original UFC 137 main event was Nick Diaz getting a title shot against Georges St. Pierre, but that was pulled because Diaz failed to attend a few press conferences to promote the event. Dana White has gone on record that Carlos Condit will wait for Georges St. Pierre to heal from his injury to receive his title shot. However, some people out there believe that Nick Diaz could leapfrog Condit if he wins impressively against Penn. What if Penn beats Diaz though? Would the UFC be willing to have Penn and GSP square off for a third time with GSP dominating Penn the second time while also winning the first bout? Diaz would probably be a bigger PPV draw than Condit so it’ll be interesting to see how it all unfolds on Saturday night.
I want to say “Yes”, but it’s difficult to say. Kongo is a UFC veteran with a solid record but this fight is kind of tailormade for Mitrione. Kongo’s chin is rather suspect nowadays and he probably doesn’t have the wrestling ability needed to really test Mitrione. Mitrione’s strength is his striking though so it’ll be interesting to see how he performs against Kongo who has some weapons standing himself. A win would put Mitrione at (6-0).
I think this question is probably rhetorical but it’s something we have to take a look at. I think Cro Cop will defnitely be cut or retire with a KO loss here as he has lost two straight via KO. Cro Cop could have some value on the upcoming UFC Japan card in February so if he fights well in a losing effort I could see him on that card Nelson has lost two straight as well but they were against top ten fighters via decision. This fight is definitely Nelson’s to lose so he needs to impress here.
- Will Hatsu Hioki reverse the curse of Japanese fighters getting waxed in the UFC?
Hioki is thought by many to be a top three featherweight in the world and will be making his UFC debut against George Roop. There are a lot of Japanese fighters that have been left in a trail of destruction in the UFC after coming over with high expectations. Roop is hit or miss in that he can fight well at times and other times just get steamrolled. Let’s see if Hioki can get on a roll and replace Yushin Okami as the most successful Japanese fighter in the UFC.
- Could UFC 137 be do or die for Brandon Vera?
It’s amazing to me that Vera is 34 years old. It seems as though it was just yesterday that he said he wanted to be the light heavyweight champ and heavyweight champ at the same time. Vera has lost three in a row, but the third loss was overturned when Thiago Silva cheated on his drug test. Vera was actually cut after that loss, but then brought back into the fold after the news about Silva came out. He’ll be facing Eliot Marshall this weekend in a fight that he should win, but a loss here would pretty much signal that he’ll be cut from the promotion. That’s scary if you are Vera with Strikeforce probably not being available as an option in a couple of months.