The UFC is back in action this weekend after a small hiatus. UFC on Fuel TV 6: Franklin vs. Le is live from Macau, China this Saturday morning. Because it's an international card, the main card airs live starting early at 9:00 a.m. ET / 6:00 a.m. PT.
For this primer, we'll take a look at the 5 main card fights leading up to the Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le main event. Be sure to also check out our coverage of Franklin vs. Le, plus the prelims. The card features a lot of talent from the Asian MMA scene as the UFC looks to build up a fun event for the local audience. Let's take a look at the main card fights, starting with the night's co-main event.
Light Heavyweight: Thiago Silva (14-3(1)) vs. Stanislav Nedkov (12-0)
Brazilian striker Silva takes on the undefeated Nedkov in the co-main event. A few years ago, Silva was 13-0 and on the verge of becoming a title contender. But things have gone sour for him as he has not won a fight since 2009. That's partly due to missing a year of action due to a failed drug test. He's coming off a loss in April, and badly needs one of his trademark vicious KO wins to reestablish himself. Nedkov is a perfect 12-0 fighting for the 2nd time in the UFC. The Bulgarian fighter had some good wins in Sengoku before scoring the upset over Luiz Cane in Rio last year. Given the current state of affairs at 205, a decisive win for either man here could launch him up the ranks.
Welterweight: Dong Hyun Kim (15-2-1(1)) vs. Paulo Thiago (14-4)
The Stun Gun is, in some ways, in a similar position as Silva. Undefeated in his first 16 pro fights, including a big UFC win over Nate Diaz, Kim suffered his first loss last year at the hands (or, more accurately, knee) of Carlos Condit. He bounced back with a win, but then lost to Demian Maia in a strange injury. He's looking to get back on track here. Paulo Thiago is a similar story. The tough Brazilian fighter made a huge name for himself in his UFC debut, knocking out Josh Koscheck in a major upset. But he's only won 1 of his last 4, and is coming off a big KO loss to Siyar Bahadurzada. Thiago has been fighting the Welterweight elite ever since he set foot in the Octagon, and this fight only continues his tough schedule.
Lightweight: Takanori Gomi (33-8(1)) vs. Mac Danzig (21-9-1)
What can you say about Takanori Gomi? The man is a legend of the Japanese MMA scene, ruling over the Pride Lightweight division with an iron fist for years, and establishing himself as the world's #1 in that division. His post-Pride career has not been as successful, including his current 2-3 run in the UFC. He's always dangerous thanks to his punching power, and will always be a fan favorite. Mac Danzig is the season 6 winner of The Ultimate Fighter. He ran through the competition there, but has never really found his footing in the UFC, going 4-5 since winning the show. His UFC career has seemed virtually over a few times, but he always manages to bounce back. He's coming off a win over Efrain Escudero.
Lightweight: Tiequan Zhang (15-3) vs. Jon Tuck (6-0)
Tiequan Zhang will be representing his countrymen here as the lone Chinese fighter on the card. He came to the US in 2010 in the WEC, and started his career as an impressive 15-1, including a win over Pablo Garza with his signature guillotine choke. He's lost his last 2, both in the UFC. The UFC clearly wants him to be a big player in China, but he needs to win here to make that happen. Tuck makes his proper UFC debut here. He's undefeated in his professional career, including holding a win over One FC stand-out Eduard Folayang. UFC fans may know him from TUF Live where he lost to Al Iaquinta in the qualifying round - Tuck is the fighter who suffered a horrendously broken toe during the fight, yet still gutted his way to a decision loss.
Bantamweight: Takeya Mizugaki (15-7-2) vs. Jeff Hougland (10-5)
Mizugaki made his mark on US fans in his WEC debut where he went the distance with then champion Miguel Torres. To a large degree, he's lived off that fight ever since. He's been on a consistent "win 1, lose 1" pattern ever since that Torres fight, taking out many opponents, but stumbling against the upper echelon of Urijah Faber, Brian Bowles, etc. He's a puncher that serves as an entertaining 135 pound gatekeeper. Hougland has a weird career. He's a 10 year pro, but those 10 years include a 2 year layoff and a 4 year layoff. His current run started in 2010, and he was 5-0 in that run before losing to Yves Jabouin in his last fight. I have a tough time rating Hougland, though I suspect this will be a tough night for him.
UFC on Fuel TV 6preview content from Bloody Elbow:
- UFC on Fuel TV 6 Fight Card - Mookie Alexander
- Bloody Elbow staff picks and predictions - Tim Burke
- Dissection: Thiago Silva vs. Stanislav Nedkov - Dallas Winston
- Dissection: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Paulo Thiago - Dallas Winston
- Dissection: Takanori Gomi vs. Mac Danzig - Dallas Winston
- Dissection: Tiequan Zhang vs. Jon Tuck - Dallas Winston
- Dissection: Alex Caceres vs. Motonobu Tezuka - Dallas Winston
- Dissection: Prelim Card - Dallas Winston
- Weigh-in results - Brent Brookhouse
- Hyun Gyu Lim out of UFC on Fuel TV 6 - Tim Burke
- Paulo Thiago's daunting WW schedule continues - Mookie Alexander
- UFC on Fuel TV 6 betting lines - Tim Burke
- Video: Nate and Dallas preview UFC Macao
- Judo Chop: Gomi vs. Kawajiri - Jack Slack
- Judo Chop: Anderson Silva, Cung Le and the side kick - Jack Slack