UFC on Fox fight card primer: Stipe Miocic vs Gabriel Gonzaga

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bloody Elbow presents a preview of UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Thomson in our fight card primer series. Here we look at the co-main event: Stipe Miocic vs. Gabriel Gonzaga.

In the co-main event at UFC on Fox 10: Henderson vs Thomson, Heavyweights collide with Stipe Miocic (10-1 MMA; 4-1 UFC) taking on Gabriel Gonzaga (16-7 MMA; 11-6 UFC). The UFC Rankings have Miocic as the #8 contender at Heavyweight, with Gonzaga at #12. UFC on Fox 10: Henderson vs. Thomson airs live from Chicago this Saturday, January 25 with a fight time of 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT for the main card.

This is an interesting clash for what it means to both men. In the always volatile world of Heavyweight, anyone feels just 1 or 2 impressive wins away from title contention, and both of these fighters could be in those talks very soon. For the loser, it will definitely be a real step backwards. Here, Miocic is playing the role of young lion to Gonzaga's gatekeeper. The result of that classic match-up will say a lot about where each man is headed inside the Octagon.

How do these two stack up?

Miocic: 31 years old | 6'4" | 80" reach
Gonzaga: 34 years old | 6'2" | 76" reach

What have these two done recently?

Miocic: W - Roy Nelson (UD) | L - Stefan Struve (TKO) | W - Shane del Rosario (TKO)
Gonzaga: W - Shawn Jordan (KO) | W - Dave Herman (KO) | L - Travis Browne (KO)

How did these two get here?

Stipe Miocic started his career with a very strong 9-0 run, but saw his first loss last year against Stefan Struve. Refusing to let that derail his plans, Miocic bounced back with a vengeance, taking out another Heavyweight gatekeeper in Roy Nelson last June. That Nelson win was huge for Miocic, immediately making him a contender. Here, he'll try to use his wrestling background and strong striking game to keep that momentum going.

More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC on Fox: Henderson vs Thomson

Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga was a UFC Heavyweight title challenger way back in 2007. But a subsequent 3-5 run saw him released from the UFC in 2010. Since then, he's a very solid 5-1, with 5 violent and impressive stoppage wins. Many wrote Gonzaga off after that losing run, but he's surprised a lot of people on this latest run. He is the underdog here, but as Mirko Cro Cop can tell you, that doesn't mean you should rule Napao out.

Why should you care?

Rising fighter vs. gatekeeper always has my interest, plus this one has the promise of serious violence. I'm in.

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