For the first time in the UFC’s history, it is traveling south of the border for UFC 180 and an interim heavyweight title fight destined to entertain the fans in Mexico City on November 15.

Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, unfortunately, announced in October that he would have to pull out of a planned bout with Fabricio Werdum due to a knee injury requiring surgery. Fans, the media, and the UFC alike were disappointed, to say the least, that the card was losing its star.

However, to quote The Dark Knight Rises, the fighter filling in for Velasquez may not be the heavyweight Mexico City needs right now but he’s the one it deserves.

Enter Mark Hunt, probably the only fighter outside of Brock Lesnar and Fedor Emelianenko who could make fans almost as excited as they were for the original fight. Although we may not have Cain Velasquez and we lost what was probably a lock for a bonus in Joe Lauzon vs. Diego Sanchez, there are still fights on this card with potential for bonuses.

Performance of the Night

The winner of the main event will bring home one of these awards. Dana, stash $50,000 for a walk-off knockout from Mark Hunt. Lock away the cash in case Werdum locks in a triangle choke and puts Hunt to sleep. I would be shocked if neither Werdum or Hunt pocket one of these bonuses.

Dennis Bermudez is riding a seven-fight win streak and has put on two consecutive performance of the night-worthy finishes. Don’t be surprised if he continues the streak against Ricardo Lamas and continues his rise up the featherweight division.

The darkhorse candidate for an award is going to be Edgar Garcia. Garcia is on a four fight win streak and of his 14 career wins, 12 have come by either knockout or submission.

Fight of the Night

The only way that Werdum and Hunt don’t bring home a performance of the night award is because they just went through a five-round war and are deemed fight of the night. Two of Hunt’s previous three fights were given fight of the night and Werdum earned one in 2012 when he faced Roy Nelson. The main event should be considered the favorite to take this if it goes past the first round.

This award is nearly impossible to predict. The card is full of fighters getting their first taste of a UFC pay-per-view. Some will come out stiff with nervousness and some will come out with reckless abandon, the latter of which could find their bank accounts gaining some extra zeroes come Saturday night.

About The Author

Blane Ferguson
Associate Editor/Senior Staff Writer

Blane can trace his MMA roots, like many others, to the finale of the first Ultimate Fighter season between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin. After watching that incredible fight and cleaning the local Blockbuster of any recorded UFC pay-per-views they had, Blane was hooked on watching the sport and he carried that passion with him to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Blane is a four-year broadcasting veteran of ASU's campus radio including a founder and co-host of the station's combat sports show, The Final Round.