UFC 180: Werdum vs. Hunt airs live from the Mexico City Arena in Mexico City this Saturday, November 15. The main card airs on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and 7:00 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.
There have been some pretty bad UFC PPV cards as of late, but this one is tough to top. You have a mildly interesting but potentially very lopsided main event, two other good fights on the PPV main card and then... nothing. Things take a serious downward turn after those top 3 fights, Just how bad is the rest of the card? Well, of the 16 other fighters on the card, only 3 have pages on Wikipedia. Not exactly the most scientific assessment, I admit, but it's not good.
So, for this BE fight card primer, we take a quick look at the three top fights at UFC 180 and call it a day. Let's see what we have:
A title fight (even though it may be interim) is always cause for some excitement, as is the rare Werdum fight and the inclusion of the Super Samoan, so this is one to check out for sure. Of course, it's somewhat damaged by the fact that Hunt is a late replacement for Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, which may play a factor in his conditioning for the fight. Werdum (18-5-1 MMA; 6-2 UFC) has looked great since returning to the UFC in 2012. Always a submission ace, Werdum has added a strong striking game and is 4-0 in this run. He comes in off a seriously impressive destruction of Travis Browne in April. Hunt (10-8-1 MMA; 5-2-1 UFC) is one of the most unlikely UFC title challengers. He came to the UFC on a 5 fight losing streak, lost his first fight in the Octagon, and then flipped a switch and went on a rampage. Since then, he's KO'd Struve, Nelson, Kongo, and gone the distance with Bigfoot Silva in a much loved fight. He was close to title contention when he was KO'd by Junior dos Santos in May 2013. With Hunt at age 40 and Werdum at 37, this is likely one man's last shot at the gold.
Ellenberger (29-8 MMA; 8-4 UFC) has a combination of strong wrestling and KO power in his hands that has made him a good challenger at 170 pounds. He had a great run in 2011 that included a memorable win over Jake Shields and put Ellenberger just outside title contention. But he's struggled somewhat as of late and is coming in off back to back losses where he did not fare well. Still, those losses come against Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald - not exactly slouches. Word is he has rededicated himself here and we will see a focused Ellenberger. If we do, he could do quite well. Gastelum (9-0 MMA; 4-0 UFC) is the upset winner of TUF 17. Despite coming in to that show as a young, inexperienced fighter, Gastelum emerged victorious, and has kept his undefeated streak alive in the UFC, including a big win over Rick Story. Gastelum is a tough grinder who is soaking up MMA knowledge and comes out better every fight. It will be interesting to see where the ceiling is for this 23 year old.
Lamas (14-3 MMA; 5-1 UFC) had a great run in the WEC and UFC, culminating in a well deserved shot at Jose Aldo earlier this year. Lamas lost that fight, but has since rebounded with a decision win over Hacran Dias. He's your classic grinding fighter who will look to outwork his more dynamic opponent as he plays gatekeeper here. Bermudez (14-3 MMA; 7-1 UFC) is undefeated since losing in the TUF 14 finals to Diego Brandao. He's looked great in his current 7 fight win streak, and comes in off a submission victory over Clay Guida. He's also eared 5 fight bonuses in his UFC career, and is seen by many as a future world champion.
And, as far as I'm concerned, that's it for this card. Oh sure, there are two more PPV fights, plus the TUF: Latin America finals, and, admittedly, a pretty intriguing Women's fight between #6 Jessica Eye and #13 Leslie Smith (that one is probably worth tuning in for), but unless you are a total die hard, this is what is interesting at UFC 180.
Join us here at Bloody Elbow tonight to discuss all the action.