Five huge questions going into UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping

UFC on FX 7We’ve had a small break between UFC events since UFC 155 took place on December 29th, but we’re gearing up for UFC on FX 7: Belfort vs. Bisping which will take place on Saturday night.

The event will take place in Brazil so you already know the crowd will be crazy hyped with a popular Brazilian (Belfort) in the main event. The casual fan probably will not recognize many names on the card, but these events are usually the ones that have people on the edge of their seat while they are going on. There are some questions going into this event that need to be addressed so we’ll point them out as we always do. Check it:

Is this fight the last hoorah for Vitor Belfort?

I’m not referring to a retirement bout, but more so a bout that if he doesn’t win he’ll be cast as gatekeeper for the reminder of his career. He just lost to Jon Jones in his last fight which happened to be a gift wrapped title shot due to the shenanigans around the cancellation of UFC 151. He has already been highlight reel KO’ed by Anderson Silva in his middleweight title shot. Silva likely has no interest in fighting him again at this point. Belfort will be 36 years old in a couple of months so the clock is moving overtime for someone that relies on speed and power to get it done against his opponents. A loss against Michael Bisping would be devastating because this is the type of opponent that Belfort could have some success against if he’s in shape. However, it’s a five round fight and the longer it goes the faster chances of winning go down the drain.

Will Daniel Sarafian finally get his moment to shine in the UFC?

Sarafian was supposed to debut at UFC 147 to determine the winner of the “TUF: Brazil” reality show, but an injury forced him off the card. He has been on the shelf every since and will be taking on TUF 7 finalist C.B. Dollaway. Apparently, Sarafian has gained a ton of notoriety in Brazil since he is in the co-main event slot of the card. Dollaway has some solid wins under his belt, and a win over him would certainly boost the stock of Sarafian even more. Keep an eye on this stat as Sarafian has won six of his seven bouts via submission, and half of Dollaway’s losses have come via submission.

Can Ben Rothwell make it two consecutive wins as he takes on Gabriel Gonzaga?

Rothwell is currently setting at (2-2) in the UFC and is coming off a big KO win over Brendan Schaub at UFC 145. Rothwell looked like the guy that had rattled off 13 consecutive wins at one point in his career in that fight. It’s clear the guy still has skills and is only 31 years old. Gonzaga isn’t what he used to be and even suffered a loss against Brendan Schaub in 2010, but a win would certainly keep the momentum on Rothwell’s side. In a division as shallow as the heavyweights, all it takes is three or four solid wins and you’re in title contention. Don’t blink in that one.

Will Khabib Nurmagomedov continue to make noise it the UFC lightweight division?

Nurmagomedov is currently (2-0) in the UFC after his close unanimous decision win over the always tough Gleison Tibau in his last outing. There are some folk that believe Tibau won that fight but I thought Nurmagomedov was the more active fighter and did enough to get the nod. He’ll be taking on another UFC veteran of a similar mold in Thiago Tavares. Nurmagomedov is only 24 years old so he’s still learning his body and what works best for him as he continues to gain experience in the cage. He has shown considerable promise in the UFC, and three consecutive wins would certainly shoot him on up the crowded UFC lightweight ladder.

Will Edson Barboza be able to get back on the horse after a crushing upset KO loss against Jamie Varner?

Barboza was making a name for himself going into the fight with Jamie Varner, but one big right hand was the beginning of the end for the Brazilian striker. It was the first career loss for Barboza, and often times fighters have a hard time rebounding after getting knocked out like that. The other angle is that he was supposed to be the superior striker and that could shake his confidence going into this fight with UFC newcomer and undefeated Lucas Martins (12-0). Martins had only allowed one of his opponents to reach a judges decision. This could be a dangerous fight for Barboza, and an opportunity for another young Brazilian to take his place in the pecking order of rising contenders.

Be sure to make ProMMAnow (www.prommanow.com) your home for UFC on FX 7 coverage this week. Main card fight previews will begin on Tuesday and finish up on Friday with the main event.