The upcoming UFC 198 event this weekend, on Saturday 14 May 2016, is set to be hosted in the heartland of Jiu-jitsu, Brazil. The return of the UFC to Brazil shows a strong connection between the Brazilian jiu-jitsu roots of the organization that stem all the way back to UFC 1 where Royce Gracie shocked the world to prove the dominance of Gracie Jiu-jitsu in the competitive no-holds barred world of combat sports.
The UFC has come a long way since that first event some 23 years ago, however, the love of the fans in Brazil has only grown. This weekend they will get to see their current heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum, square off for in his first defence of his UFC heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic, the #1 ranked contender. Werdum gain notoriety in mid-2010 when he stunned the MMA world by stopping Fedor ‘the Last Emperor’ Emelianenko, the top ranked heavyweight in the world at the time. He rose to take the UFC heavyweight title away from the former dominant champ, Cain Velasquez in a third round submission.
Saying that he has found a worthy opponent in Stipe Miocic, who has risen to be the number 2 contender for the heavyweight title, is an understatement. Miocic began as a division 1 wrestler for Cleveland state and then found MMA in 2005 when he went into the gym to help a friend train and, as he puts it, never left. With a strong skillset in Thai boxing and a great wrestling game, Miocic is well rounded and could cause problems for Werdum with his striking. Werdum has greatly improved his striking game as he showed in the Cain matchup and his ground work is solid. This is set to be the main event of the evening and we can see why.
Brazilian veteran of the cage Vitor Belfort is set to clash with another Brazilian national, Jacare Souza in the c0-main event of the evening. It has been a long career for both these athletes and both of them are looking for a win in this matchup to re-ignite there flailing careers and stay in the top division of the UFC. The winner of this bout is a possible top contender for the middleweight title against the victor of the upcoming re-match at UFC 199 between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman.
For the co-co main event of the evening we see the highly anticipated Cris Cyborg face off against Leslie Smith. Cyborg, seen by many as the most dangerous female fighter in the world comes into het UFC debut with a lot of expectation around her performance. The fight will be a 140 pound ‘catch weight’ with the favourite being Cyborg. We all wait with baited breath on the outcome of this one as Cyborg has stated she’s taking aim at the title and has called out not only Miesha Tate, but Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey as well. It looks like she certainly has her work cut out for her in her future at the UFC.
The main card opens with the light heavyweight bout between the former champion, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and up and coming star, Corey Anderson. Shogun is always entertaining to watch and puts on good fights, but he may be showing his age by taking on Corey in this fight, either way, it should be very entertaining.
The biggest disappointment on the card was the withdrawal of Anderson ‘the Spider’ Silva in his highly anticipated showdown against Uriah Hall. Silva has had to undergo emergency surgery to remove his gall r and has officially been pulled from the card by the UFC’s Dana White’. In its place we will see a highly contested matchup between Warlley Alves and Bryan Barberena.
It’s not just the main card that’s stacked for entertainment, the prelims are looking incredible as well with Demian Maia building his case for a title shot against Matt Brown. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira takes on Patrick Cummins in the Fight Pass main event and John Lineker faces Rob Font in what could possibly be billed as the fight of the night. Enjoy the action and don’t forget to subscribe for our UFC 198 Review.