The leading preliminary card matchup is in the lightweight division, as Evan Dunham (13-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) fights Brazilian veteran Gleison Tibau (26-8 MMA, 11-6 UFC). Dunham is coming off a FOTN loss to T.J. Grant, while Tibau is looking to build off of his recent win against Francisco Trinaldo in Brazil.
This is literally the only prelim fight where both fighters' last 3 fights have come exclusively in the UFC. It should be a good measurement of where these two stand in the shark tank that is lightweight, and you can catch this and the other 3 prelim fights on FX live at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Dunham: 31 years old | 5'10" | 70" reach
Tibau: 29 years old | 5'11" | 71" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Dunham entered the UFC as one of the better prospects in the lightweight division, and he certainly justified that claim in his first several fights. His biggest fight would come in 2010 against Sean Sherk, and while the majority of fans and commentators thought Dunham earned a 29-28 nod, Sherk was awarded a controversial split decision. His plummet continued following a TKO loss to Melvin Guillard in January 2011. He bounced back nicely with wins over Shamar Bailey and Nik Lentz, but came up short against Grant as mentioned earlier. This fight with Tibau could very well be his last chance to salvage the early promise of him being a potential top 10-15 LW.
When Tibau debuted in the UFC in 2006, Evan Dunham had yet to compete in pro MMA. So while Gleison is two years younger he's very much a veteran of the sport. This recent UFC stretch of 6 wins out of his last 8 is the best run of his career. His best win in that span was a split decision over Rafael dos Anjos in San Jose in November 2011. He's best known for his incredibly large physique, which comes from his self-admitted large weight cuts. While he is on a good run of form, his historical problem has been defeating 2nd and 1st tier lightweights, and Dunham probably qualifies as 2nd tier. A win over Dunham would be one of the better victories he's had, and could potentially warrant a step up in competition.
Why should you care?
It's the leading prelim fight for a reason. Dunham is fun to watch and the size and strength of Tibau should really be an interesting matchup for him.