There are plenty of things to do on a Saturday night. However, most don’t involve watching two men locked inside of a cage attempting to punch, kick, knee, and choke their way to victory. In reality, though, few things match the excitement.
For the second time this year, the octagon heads north of the border for a UFC event as UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort takes place this Saturday night (Sept. 22) from the Air Canada Center in Toronto. Two championship fights headline the card as Jon Jones puts his light heavyweight championship on the line against Vitor Belfort and Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson clash for the first flyweight title fight in UFC history.
If you weren’t planning on tuning in already, here are five reasons why you should invite some friends over, order a few pizzas, grab a couple beers, and tune into UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort this Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT, only on pay-per-view.
5. Featherweight Fury
Two of the most exciting fighters in the featherweight division clash in a main card bout at UFC 152 when hard-hitting striker Cub Swanson takes on submission ace Charles Oliveira.
Swanson has emerged as a potential future title challenger over the last year after back-to-back knockout wins against George Roop and Ross Pearson. The 28-year-old was pegged as an inconsistent fighter not long ago but his skills appear to be coming together at the right time. Of Swanson’s 17 professional wins, six are by knockout, seven are by submission, and the remaining four are via decision.
Oliveira is one of the youngest fighters on the UFC roster at 22, but already has an abundance of experience inside the Octagon, as UFC 152 will mark his eighth appearance in the UFC. The Brazilian has fought his last two bouts in the featherweight division and has finished both of his opponents with impressive submissions.
The styles of Swanson and Oliveira have the makings for a great fight. Both men rarely hold anything back and should be looking to finish the fight with every passing moment. The UFC matchmakers did a brilliant job putting this match up together because fireworks are guaranteed.
4. A Marquee Middleweight Matchup
Top middleweight contenders collide in one of the headline bouts at UFC 152 in Toronto as “The Ultimate Fighter” season 3 winner Michael “The Count” Bisping meets one of the hardest hitters in the UFC at 185 pounds in Brian “All American” Stann.
Bisping lost his last fight to Chael Sonnen by razor-thin unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 2 in January. The loss brought an end to Bisping’s four-fight winning streak and forced the British fighter to restart his climb up the middleweight ranks. He was scheduled to fight Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 but pulled out of the bout to undergo minor knee surgery. Look for Bisping to try and make a statement against Stann to prove he is worthy of being a top contender.
Stann rebounded from a difficult loss to Chael Sonnen with a hellacious beating of Alessio Sakara at UFC on FUEL TV 2 last April. The former WEC champion has won four of his last five contests and will attempt to continue his assent up the middleweight rankings with another win at UFC 152.
Bisping vs. Stann is an important fight for the future of the UFC middleweight division. “The Count” has stated on more than one occasion that an impressive win over Stann is going to earn him a title shot, which raises the stakes for not only him, but Stann as well. Bisping defeating Stann would show he can get by a hard hitter and in Stann’s case he would show he is capable of beating some of the very best in the world. There is no clear-cut number one contender at 185-pounds, a great showing for either man could slide them into that spot.
3. Witness History At 125-Pounds
The first flyweight champion in UFC history is set to be determined in the co-main event of UFC 152 with Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson set to vie for the vacant 125-pound title.
Benavidez knocked out Yasuhiro Urushitani in March to earn his place in the flyweight tournament final but has sat on the sidelines for a number of months waiting for the other finalist to be named. The time has finally come for the former two-time bantamweight title challenger and he will be eager to win a world championship in a major organization for the first time.
Johnson has had a more grueling road to the flyweight finals as he was forced to fight Ian McCall twice after the first bout between them was ruled a draw. Fortunately for the Johnson, he was the decisive winner in the rematch and was able to gain more cage time as a flyweight fighter. Johnson’s speed and durability are a handful for anyone to deal with.
Don’t blink when Benavidez and Johnson step into the cage at UFC 152 because you might miss something spectacular. Two of the quickest fighters in the UFC will share the cage and whoever is refereeing this fight is going to have to be on their toes to avoid the action. When you put the combination of speed, skill, and determination these two have in the cage together, you have the ingredients for a great fight. When you add the fact it is a five-round title fight into the mix, you have the making for an instant classic.
2.Vitor Belfort Looks To Shock The World
After a series of complicated events dating back to the end of August, Jon Jones will defend his light heavyweight championship against former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 in Toronto on Sept. 22.
Jones defending his championship for the third time when he defeated bitter rival “Suga” Rashad Evans via unanimous decision at UFC 145 last April. The fight was the first five-round bout of Jones’ career and he displayed solid improvements in his striking by assaulting Evans with standing elbows. The 24-year-old will be riding an eight-fight win streak including four-straight wins over former UFC champions heading into UFC 152.
Belfort will fight in the UFC for the 16th time in his storied career at UFC 152. The Brazilian has fought the best fighters in the world all over the globe for years and will compete in Canada for the first time in his career. The former UFC light heavyweight champion last fought at UFC 142 last January, submitting Anthony Johnson in the first round. Belfort is one of the most exciting fighters in the world; he has crippling knockout power in his hands that can put any man to sleep with one shot and black belt level jiu-jitsu skills to back it up.
While Vitor Belfort may not be the opponent everyone had in mind for Jon Jones, the Brazilian was the UFC 205-pound champion in 2004 after taking the belt from Randy Couture at UFC 46. The 35-year-old returns to the light heavyweight division for the first time in exactly five years with the opportunity to claim the title. He is a huge underdog but had the ability to turn the MMA world on its head with one punch. One of the reasons to watch Jones vs. Belfort is the fact Jones is so talented that all of his fights are can’t miss, the second reason is to see if Belfort can pull out the shocking upset.
1. Two Championship Fights
For just the third time in last three years, a UFC event will see two title fights take place.
An event with two title fights is always worth watching, especially when one features the world’s Num. 1 ranked light heavyweight in Jon Jones, and the other pits the two best 125-pound fighters on the planet against one another. All four athletes competing in their respective title bout are considered elite and look to solidify themselves at the top of the rankings with strong performances on Saturday night.
There is always something intriguing about championship fights. Maybe it is the higher stakes, or maybe it is the fact the athletes have to compete for a grueling 25-minutes opposed to 15. Whatever it is, UFC is offering two title bouts on Saturday’s card, making it a must-watch for any MMA fan.
This article was written by Mike Bohn, founder and lead writer of FightCove.com. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBohnMMA. Also, be sure to follow @FightCove on Twitter and “Like” Fight Cove on Facebook.