This Saturday, the UFC returns with UFC on Fuel TV 2. As always, we will take a look at the complete fight card and give you a quick run down of all the action. For this show, we've broken the primer down into three parts. Click here for the Facebook live stream prelims, and check back later for the Thiago Silva vs. Alexander Gustafsson main event. Remember, this show airs early on Saturday - prelim action on Facebook, starts at 12:30 p.m. ET / 9:30 a.m. PT, with the main card following at 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. PT.
The UFC has put together an intriguing card here with a lot of match-ups that should appeal to the hardcore fans. Things like the Featherweight debut of Dennis Siver, the 2nd UFC fight of Brad Pickett, and the debut of Siyar Bahadurzada all grab my attention. But for the casual fan, there's not quite as much of note here. The biggest name on the undercard (and, I would argue, on the entire show) is Brian Stann. But don't let any lack of name recognition dissuade you from watching - this has the potential to be a great show.
Rankings come courtesy of the USA Today / SB Nation Consensus MMA Rankings.
DaMarques Johnson vs. John Maguire | Brad Pickett vs. Damacio Page
The semi-main event of the evening is this battle between Middleweight sluggers. Brian Stann looks to rebound here as he is coming off a UFC 136 loss to Chael Sonnen. That defeat was Stann's first loss since his drop down to Middleweight, putting him at 3-1 at 185. Prior to moving to Middleweight, Stann was a Light Heavyweight, and was a WEC Light Heavyweight champion. Stann trains with Greg Jackson, who has helped round out his game a bit, though the Sonnen fight showed that Stann remains firmly a striker. Thanks to his military background, Stann will always be "in the mix" and it will be interesting to see what happens should he win here.
Sakara is a UFC veteran who now trains out of American Top Team. He had a rough start to his UFC career, but seemed to turn it around and has put together a nice 3-1 streak in his last 4. But this is his first fight back in over a year as he suffered a torn ACL last year. Injuries have plagued him of late - since 2008 he's only fought once per year. Another stand-up artist, he seems hand-picked to get Stann back on track as the victim of an exciting highlight reel KO.
Brazilian fighter Paulo Thiago burst onto the UFC scene at UFC 95 with a shocking KO win over Josh Koscheck. He immediately looked like a new force in the Welterweight division, but has since stumbled a bit, going 1-2 in his last 3. He's still in the top 25, but just barely, and is now looking to hold onto his relevance. Thiago's very public other job as a member of Brazil's special operative police force makes him a great story, but he needs to get back on track.
Siyar "The Killer" Bahadurzada is a Golden Glory trainee whose UFC debut has been a long time coming. After winning titles and tournaments in Shooto and United Glory, Siyar was lined up to make his Strikeforce debut last year, but contract issues held that up. Then, he was scheduled for UFC 142, but had to step out due to injury. Now he finally gets his shot in the UFC. He's an exciting fighter, though hasn't fully been tested against the UFC level of opponent. He could make a big splash here.
More main card fights after the jump.
This fight marks the Featherweight debut of German kickboxer Dennis Siver. Last year, Siver made a big impact in the Lightweight division, putting together a great 8-1 run and looking poised to make a challenge for the Lightweight title. But a loss to Donald Cerrone put a halt to those plans. Now, Siver looks to get back in the win column at a new weight. It will be interesting to see how the stocky Siver makes the transition down to 145, but if he keeps his power, he'll be a real threat. Brazilian Diego Nunes welcomes him to the division, playing the same role for Siver that he played for Kenny Florian last summer. A training partner of champion Jose Aldo at the famed Nova Uniao camp, Nunes is a solid all around fighter. He's coming off a good win over Manny Gamburyan. As an interesting sidenote, while Nunes has been very successful lately, it's also been 4 years since he stopped an opponent.
This Welterweight fight is probably the one with the least sizzle on the main card. Johnson was a runner-up in season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter. Since then, he's had an average, if unremarkable UFC career. He's currently coming in off a win over Clay Harvison. Maguire makes his second UFC appearance here, having defeated Justin Edwards by unanimous decision at UFC 138. Including that Edwards win, he's on a 6 fight win streak. Maguire comes out of the UK, but has a BJJ base as opposed to the stand-up more often favored by British fighters. This is his biggest step up in competition.
This Bantamweight contest opens up the show, and should do so with a bang. Pickett is a very talented fighter, far better than his 0-1 UFC record would indicate. That 1 loss was a swift defeat at the hands of Renan Barao that didn't show Pickett's great strengths. The 8 year veteran was 3-1 in the WEC, with wins over Ivan Menjivar and Demetrious Johnson. Despite his nickname of "One Punch," Pickett is actually a very talented wrestler, who used his takedowns to get that win over Mighty Mouse. Page is another WEC veteran; he was 3-2 there. The Greg Jackson trainee made the jump over to the UFC last year. He lost his UFC debut via a Brian Bowles guillotine, and has been inactive in the year since that fight. He's a solid journeyman kind of fighter, but not someone I see making a run to the top.
Bloody Elbow UFC on Fuel TV 2 coverage: