I've started writing MMA articles over at the SBNation Hub site for Tampa Bay focused on Florida MMA and Florida based fighters. It is mostly casual fans, but I'm occasionally going to post a few articles here in fanposts. This is partially because I always love input from BE readers and, honestly, because BE pulls insane numbers and I want to get a little of that over at SBNation TB and show off how good MMA coverage is for traffic.
So please read through the first two points and then hit that link.
1. Exciting Young Heavyweights
The UFC's heavyweight division has been undergoing a renaissance in the last few years and both Stefan Struve and Stipe Miocic are part of this new age at heavyweight. Struve is a towering 6'11" and at just 24-years-old is working hard on evolving his skill set. A lanky and crafty grappler, Struve is known for finishing fights on the ground by submission and ground-and-pound. Miocic on the other hand is a golden gloves boxing champion, and while he does have wrestling experience he clearly prefers striking as all but one of his wins have come via stoppage due to strikes.
It is a intriguing matchup as Miocic has good power in his strikes and Struve, despite his huge reach, is very hittable. Struve also has had the reputation of fighting to his own disadvantage, but recently has been more active when it comes to putting fights in places that favor him. Miocic should have an advantage striking and has the power to knock Struve out, while Struve will be in the driver's seat any time the fight hits the ground. This has all the makings of a very entertaining bout.
On the main card two Bantamweight contenders will clash to help solidify their place in a complicated title picture. UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz is side lined with and injury, and Renan "Barao" Pegado has been crowned Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion and they are expected to meet sometime later this year. For every Bantamweight now to have any chance of getting a title shot after the dust settles they have to stay active and continue to win against upper level opponents.
Pickett already had one chance at a title shot and fell short against Pegado, and is buliding back towards another chance. An Englishman by birth, Picket now trains out of the Florida based gym American Top Team, where he has gone from straight grappler to well rounded fighter. Jabouin on the other hand is hitting his peak and has been in and out of contender-ship his whole career and a win here could finally get over the top and get a title shot. This is a match of two fighters at their peak with a lot of line, expect it to the be a very competitive match.