[ads2]The UFC 164 PPV event will take place on Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The event will be headlined by the UFC lightweight title fight between champion Ben Henderson and challenger Anthony Pettis. The fight is a rematch from their 2010 encounter under the WEC banner with Pettis earning the split decision win to become the final WEC lightweight champion.
The co-main event will feature a heavyweight bout between two former UFC heavyweight champions in Frank Mir and Josh Barnett. Barnett is making his first UFC appearance since 2002, where he was stripped of the UFC heavyweight title after testing positive for banned substances after a victory over Randy Couture.
The card is a deep card on paper and should give us a great night of fights. Let’s take a look at the top five questions heading into this event.
Will Henderson have enough in the tank to avenge his prior loss to Pettis, or will history repeat itself and Pettis goes on to become a legit star in the promotion?
This should be an interesting scrap. Henderson has defended his belt three times since winning it, but two of those wins have come via split decision. The majority of fans choose not to root for him for whatever reason, and he’s not a huge draw win it comes to popularity. I’d have to say that Henderson has fought much better competition than Pettis since they last met with Henderson showing more improvement in his overall skill set in my opinion. Henderson could certainly grind out another win, but if Pettis is able to stop Henderson impressively it could give the UFC exactly what they are looking for in terms of someone they can promote. If the bout goes the distance I expect Henderson to get the nod, but if it doesn’t, the belt will probably be changing hands for the first time since UFC 144.
Does Frank Mir lose his third consecutive fight and fade off into the sunset, or does Josh Barnett make a splash in his return and announce his presence among the top heavyweights?
Frank Mir has lost back-to-back fights against two of the best heavyweights on the planet in Daniel Cormier and Junior dos Santos. However, at 34 years of age Mir is no spring chicken anymore with six of his seven losses coming via TKO. That type of punishment tends to add up rather quickly, not to mention that Mir’s cardio has always been questionable at best. In Barnett, Mir will face someone that’s almost impossible to stop and one who has never been submitted in his MMA career. Mir is a submission specialist who usually catches this opponents early in the bout, but Barnett is a savvy veteran with a background in catch wrestling who understands the nuisances of the ground game. It’ll be a tough fight for Mir, and he’ll be fighting for relevancy on Saturday night.
Does Chad Mendes put himself back in the number one contender’s spot with a win over Clay Guida?
Mendes earned a shot at UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 142 and was promptly dispatched via KO in the first round. However, Mendes has now won three consecutive bouts since the loss and has shown improvements in his striking to go with his wrestling background. There’s a small log jam of featherweights vying for the top spot to challenge Aldo, but an impressive win over a veteran like Clay Guida could launch him to the front of the pack. Guida hasn’t fought in the UFC on FOX 6 event in January where he won a questionable split decision over Hatsu Hioki.
Which fighters saves their UFC career on Saturday night between Ben Rothwell and Brandon Vera?
Rothwell has alternated wins and losses in the UFC (2-2) since joining the roster in 2009, and is coming off a submission loss to Gabriel Gonzaga in his last outing. Vera is moving back up to the heavyweight division after competing as a light heavyweight for the past few years. Vera is coming off a TKO loss against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in his last outing in August 2012. Vera has gone (1-3, 1NC) since November 2009 and was on the verge of being released from the promotion after his loss to Thiago Silva(that was changed to a no contest after Silva failed his drug test). Both fighters REALLY need a win on Saturday night.
Which former number one contender gets back in the win column on Saturday night between Erik Koch and Dustin Poirier?
Both fighters have been on the verge of title shots in their young careers, and both are coming off losses in their last outing. Koch suffered a beatdown at the elbows of Ricardo Lamas in January, and Poirier lost to the now highly ranked Cub Swanson in February. The great thing about both fighters is that they are young and still have time to develop, but one of their paths will be severely altered after Saturday night. This is sort of a like a gatekeeper’s match between two prospects to see which one has the most promise going forward. It’s kind of sad to see at this point as both fighters are only 24 years old, but as they say, the show must go on and the best will separate themselves from the rest. This is my early pick for “Fight of the Night”.
Stay tuned to ProMMAnow.com for more UFC 164 news and coverage this week.