In the midst of drug test failures, missed weights, cancelled main events, UFC 183 is upon us. Headlined by Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz, the card carries on a long, but not always fruitful tradition of Super Bowl weekend shows for the UFC.
Both Silva and Diaz have missed well over a year of action in time where the UFC is grasping to collect anyone with name value to revive their brand. Along with the aforementioned Silva and Diaz, Georges St-Pierre, Cain Velasquez and many others missed all of 2014, making it the worst PPV year for UFC since before the Ultimate Fighter era.
Silva is heavily favored in the bout, as he could have easily contended at light heavyweight during (and after) his prime years. Nick Diaz has competed at lightweight, but often jumped between there, welterweight, and catchweight bouts, but has succeded against strikers at all weights.
Silva on the other hand has only struggled against wrestlers in his UFC career, and he's in little to no danger of having a double leg take down shot on him tonight. Likewise for Diaz, who has shown an inability to defend a double leg takedown. A stand up battle has been advertised between these two, and by all accounts should deliver.
The co-main event was mired in controversy as #7-ranked Kelvin Gastelum came in at 180 pounds, which is 9 pounds over the welterweight limit (you're allowed a pound) for his bout with #3-ranked Tyron Woodley. This was after he'd been to the hospital and rehydrated, but one has to question his physical well-being after battling the flu all week.
According to Fox Sports 1 broadcasters, the fight almost didn't happen. The general rule of thumb for missing weight is that you forfeit 20% of your purse to the other fighter. Tyron Woodley rightfully held out for more money because of the weight discrepancy, and will instead get 30% of Gastelum's purse. Look for Woodley to try to grind out the already seemingly exhausted Gastelum.
That wasn't the only high profile bout to have a fighter miss weight, as Flyweight title contender John Lineker missed weight for an unprecedented fourth time, coming in at 130 pounds. Win or lose, he's essentially eliminated from title contention, even though his prelim bout with Ian McCall was set to be a likely title eliminator.
McCall was livid about the unprofessionalism of Lineker, and will look to earn his third crack at Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson. You can see the fight on Fox Sports 1.
Another big prelim bout features a couple of names out of Ronda Rousey's graveyard in Miesha Tate and Sara McMann. This is about as high profile as a fight gets in the women's 135-pound division without featuring Rousey, and the two are looking to work their way back up to title contention.
McMann benefits greatly where she always has-- Olympic medal winning wrestling. While Tate's wrestling has been lauded in the past, she's often had trouble with her top game. McMann also has a quick jab that she likes to employ, and will likely utilize it to set up her jab. This fight will also air on Fox Sports 1.
A few familiar names are also featured on the UFC 183 main card, as Joe Lauzon looks to extend his performance bonus record against Al Iaquinta, who has won 5 of his last 6 UFC bouts. UFC 100 co-headliner Thiago Alves will look to get his first winning streak in six years going when he takes on Jordan Mein.
Also, Thales Leites, who you may remember from an underwhelming 2009 title fight against Anderson Silva will take on fan-favorite Tim Boetsch. Leites is interesting in that since the Silva fight, he only lost a close (but uneventful) fight to Alessio Sakara and a fight to Matt Horwich. He'd return and defeat Horwich in a rematch handily, and is currently riding a four-fight UFC winning streak with a new aggressive attitude. Since being cut from the UFC in 2010, Leites has went 10-1.
Wrestling Inc will have full live coverage of UFC 183 starting with the preliminary bouts at 6:30 eastern tonight.