Home News MMA UFC Fight Night Abu Dhabi: Full Main Card Preview

UFC Fight Night Abu Dhabi: Full Main Card Preview

(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The UFC makes it’s retun to Abu Dhabi fittingly headlined by top heavyweight bjj practioners.

But before they take center stage in the UAE, Ultimate Fighter season 13 runner up, Ramsey Nijem (8-4) will face fellow lightweight and undefeated fighter Beneil Dariush (7-0).

Nijem is looking to string together back-to-back wins in the octagon and is doing fair after his run in the Ultimate Fighter house. Since then he’s gone 4-2 in competition inside the UFC, most recently taking a unanimous decision from Justin Edwards at UFC Fight Night in Georgia.

Dariush doesn’t remember what a decsion victory is.

He’s won by decision just once and that was in his debut in 2009. However, since then he’s decided he doesn’t care to hear the final bell sound. Even when he made his UFC debut he made no exception, submitting Charlie Brennaman at UFC Fight Night 35 by rear naked choke in the first round.

Then the undefeated Ryan LaFlare (10-0) looks to be continue his undefeated streak against John “Doomsday” Howard (22-8).

LaFlare is an acquisition from the Ring of Combat promotion, where he won his first seven fights, however even upon entering the UFC he still hasn’t let go of the zero in his record. He broke in to the UFC defeating Ben Alloway at UFC on Fuel TV 9, Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC Fight Night 32 and Court McGee at UFC on Fox 9 all by unanimous decision.

John Howard will attempt to deliver LaFlare’s first defeat as he is in the midst of his second stint in the UFC and has found success winning back-to-back bouts upon his return.

He first took care of the highly touted Uriah Hall by split decsion at UFC Fight Night 26 and also had his hand raised over Siyar Bahadurzada at UFC 168 by unanimous decision.

The co-main event features the 4th most famous carpenter to walk the earth (Jesus, Bob Vila, Tim “The Toolman” Taylor) Clay Guida (30-14) against a former Dream and Strikeforce lightweight number 1 contender Tatsuya Kawajiri (33-7).

Clay “The Carpenter” Guida who will make his 19th octagon appearance with his longevity in the UFC attributed to his appeal to the fans. Clay has 8 post-fight awards including 5 ‘Fight of the Night’ bonuses and three ‘Submission of the Night’ bonuses. Not to mention two fight of the year winners under his crowd pleasing tool belt, one with Roger Huerta in 2007, the other with Diego Sanchez in 2009.

Looking to defeat the Carpenter is Kawajiri who has as made a major splash in every organization he’s fought in. Debuting in Shooto in 2000 he went 15-2-2 in the organization and won the welterweight belt over Vitor Ribeiro, while there he defeated UFC vets Caol Uno and Yves Edwards.

Then he migrated to Pride going 4-2 and sharing the ring with former UFC number 1 lightweight contender, Gilbert Melendez and had a match of the year against Takanori Gomi.

Then he had a stint in Dream where he compiled an 8-2 record and competed against Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez and Dream Lightweight champion Shinya Aoki, he also defeated former Strikeforce Lightweight champion and former UFC number 1 contender Josh Thomson in 2010. The Japanese son finally and most recently made his UFC debut defeating Sean Soriano at UFC Fight Night 34.

The Main Event features  2000 ADCC Quarterfinalist against a 2003 ADCC Quarterfinalist in a bjj black belt battle of bulls.

Say that three times fast.

The Number 9 ranked heavyweight Roy Nelson (19-9) will square off against the number 11 ranked heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera (34-8-1).

Since claiming victory in The Ultimate Fighter 10 in the exclusively heavyweight cast, “Big Country” has seen his ups and downs, going 6-5 in the company and gathering more criticism about his belly than possibly his perhaps belly can withstand.

His cardio has been extremely suspect in his last two outings, dropping decisons to Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier at UFC 161 and 166 respectively. However, he still has a beard and a walloping over hand right, he has never been KO’d in the UFC and has used his wicked right to end bouts with Brendan Schaub, Stefan Struve, Mirko Cro Cop, Dave Herman, Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo. Four of the listed victories granted the Duck Dynasty look-a-like ‘Knockout of the Night’ honors.

However the Renzo Gracie blackbelt will have his hands full with the Ricardo Goded blackbelt.

Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera is also lacking consistency in his record after arriving from Pride in 2007, going a mediocre 5-4 in the UFC and hasn’t strung together a streak since 2008.

However, when he wins in the octagon, he wins impressively, he won his debut against Heath Herring at UFC 73 then the Interim Heavyweight title in his encore appearance in the octagon against Tim Sylvia at UFC 81. Big Nog took fight of the year honors in a decsion victory over Randy Couture at UFC 102, ‘Knockout of the Night’ over Brendan Schaub at UFC 134 and submission of the night at UFC 153 over Dave Herman.

Two blackbelts combined only have two submission victories in the 20 UFC bouts between them, (both for Big Nog).

Will this be the time arguably two of the best UFC heavyweight bjj practitioners (outside of Frank Mir) showcase their skills in one of the biggest bjj capitals of the world?


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