The UFC is returning to the United Kingdom this weekend with an awesome card, especially for hardcore fans. Exciting and talented fighters alike will be there to put on a show and provide fans with entertainment on a Saturday afternoon (if you are from North America).

However, in terms of U.K. talent stepping up and propelling themselves into the center of attention, UFC on Fuel TV 5 is their best chance so far to really shine in the MMA scene. There are numerous talents from the U.K. that could really step up and make a bigger name for British MMA.

Sure, established names like Dan Hardy and Brad Pickett, who have carried the U.K. cross for some time now, are on the card with important fights. Hardy looks to continue his resurgence against Amir Sadollah, while Pickett looks to get toward the top of the division by fighting dynamic striker Yves Jabouin. However, past these two established British fighters, there are a number of other talents on the card that could really put Britain in the spotlight.

For instance, highly-touted prospects Tom “Kong” Watson and Jimi Manuwa are set to make their UFC debuts against Brad Tavares and Kyle Kingsbury, respectively.

Watson and Manuwa have long been on my radar and are guys I think can work their way to the top. A win for both men this weekend would definitely attract more attention toward the U.K. regional scene when looking for prospects.

Also on the undercard will be featherweight hopeful Andy Ogle and veteran prospect Jason Young taking on Akira Corassani and Robbie Peralta, respectively. Both are Brits looking to make a name for themselves. Saturday is their opportunity to show the world that the U.K. has some solid talent in the featherweight division. The lighter weight classes like featherweight are still being built, so wins could really spotlight the potential of the United Kingdom.

Then, there are four established prospects and up-and-comers on the card that represent the future of the U.K. These four men are Che Mills, John Maguire, John Hathaway and Paul Sass.

Maguire and Hathaway are set to fight each other. Although only one of them can win the fight, a valiant effort by both men could really be good for British mixed martial arts. Hathaway is a talented all-around guy, while Maguire is a talented grappler with flashy submissions. Whoever wins may be the next U.K. star at welterweight.

Che Mills may not be the well-rounded messiah of U.K. MMA, but he is flashy, well-liked and marketable. He has a dynamite match-up in Duane Ludwig, a fellow striker that will entertain him with a striking battle. If there is any fight that has a good chance of being “Fight of the Night,” it is this one. Win or lose, Mills will continue to gain fans and give the United Kingdom another star. He is like Dan Hardy, except for the fact that he is not brash and outspoken.

Lastly, a guy who is a diamond in the rough and already has a cult following is Paul Sass. The master of the triangle choke will meet Matt Wiman in the biggest test of his career. Sass is an awesome grappler whose continued exposure is proving that mixed martial arts in Britain is continuously evolving from mostly strikers to well-rounded fighters. Sass represents the future wave of martial artists from the region and can really make a statement with another impressive performance at UFC on Fuel 5.

This weekend will show if these fighters and the United Kingdom alike shine. The more they gain exposure, the more respect they will get. This weekend is vital to U.K. MMA.

Photo: Tom Watson (David Lethaby/Sherdog)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.