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Dublin: 4°C Friday 26 February 2021

Uncaged: 2 for 1 as UFC multitasks with events in Brazil and Germany

This weekend fight fans in this part of the world can have their tea and watch the action.

Dutch middleweight fighter Gegard Mousasi, left, and Mark Munoz from the US.
Dutch middleweight fighter Gegard Mousasi, left, and Mark Munoz from the US.
Image: Michael Sohn

UFC EVENTS IN Europe are usually much more pleasurable affairs for Irish fans as we don’t have to sit up until silly o’clock to watch the action unfold.

So this weekend we get the added luxury of enjoying our dinner while taking in the middleweight-strewn Berlin card instead of the usual supping of coffee to help keep the eyelids open at all hours of the early morning.

Only those with the best stamina will try and complete the doubleheader as The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 finale isn’t the most impressive card although the Stipe Miocic and Fabio Maldonado main event has the potential to be an action-packed affair.

In Germany, Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi are looking to prove that they have what it takes to challenge for the title after both suffered losses to Lyoto Machida in their last fight.

While Francis Carmont and CB Dollaway might not be contesting any middleweight title matches anytime soon they will look to put on a show as will rookie flyweights Tom Niinimaki and Nicklas Backstrom.

Someone’s “0”has got to go when unbeaten Englishman Luke Barnatt who is 8-0 in his professional MMA career takes on Sean Strickland who is 14-0.

Munoz and Mousasi want to be in the middleweight mix

For a long time Gegard Mousasi was one of the most exciting fighters outside of the UFC so when Dana White finally did sign him last year big things were expected of him.

The former Dream heavyweight champion and Strikeforce light heavyweight champion limped to a win over Ilir Latifi on his UFC debut and after deciding that he had more chance of a title shot a middleweight, he dropped down to face Lyoto Machida only to be pretty soundly beaten via a unanimous decision.

Mark Munoz was on the outskirts of title contention when he faced Machida last time out but he didn’t make it out of the first round as he was comprehensively dispatched by a brutal head-kick from “The Dragon.”

It is true that Mousasi has not lived up to expectations so far but he possesses a varied and well-rounded arsenal of skills that, on paper, have the potential to make Munoz look rather one dimensional.

Munoz has a great wrestling pedigree and does possess KO power in his hands but Mousasi’s reach advantage should be good enough to keep him at arm’s length allowing him to pick and move from the outside with a varied attack making him a slight favourite to win this one.

As Machida gets ready to face Weidman for middleweight gold later this year, you feel that Munoz and Mousasi really need to make a statement in this bout to stamp their championship credentials and be in with a shot at the winner of Machida/Weidman.

Source: ULTIMATE Highlights/YouTube

Best of the rest

Elsewhere on that card, Luke Barnatt is looking to continue his steady progression through the middleweight ranks as the lanky Cambridgeshire lad continues his impressive start to his UFC career.

He has quickly moved to 3-0 in the UFC and although Sean Strickland sports a 14-0 record, Barnatt’s experience in the organisation coupled with his reach advantage give him the edge in this fight.

Source: Katana MMA/YouTube

Franics Carmont suffered his first UFC loss against Ronaldo Souza back in February which has no doubt set him back a bit but he faces a tough rebound fight against CB Dollaway.

Dollaway has looked in very good nick in his recent fights with a very tight split decision loss against Tim Boetsch the only blemish in his last 4 bouts.

This promises to be a cagey fight as both men are not known to be high volume, high intensity fighters but expect a somewhat resurgent Dollaway to sneak another victory here.

The Tom Niinimaki/Niklas Backstrom bout is an intriguing one as both are relatively unknown with Niinimaki the only one with any UFC experience. He is riding a 12 fight win streak while Backstrom is yet to taste defeat in his pro MMA career.

Niinimaki’s experience could be the telling factor in this fight and even though Backstrom has trained with some well-established UFC stars already, he has his work cut out trying to pick up the win here.

The event in Brazil is for the hardcores and followers of TUF series although Stipe Miocic and Fabio Maldonado’s bout could turn out to be an absolute slobber-knocker and could tempt a few to complete the long slog UFC marathon weekend.

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About the author:

Brian Kirk

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