What originally was supposed to be Glover Teixeira vs. Rashad Evans has since transformed to a heavyweight bout with legacy implications on the line.

The UFC returns to Brazil featuring Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva taking on former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in Porto Alegre. Both fighters are leaning on the back-9 of their careers and a win could give them the chance to go out on a high note.

Like most cards that head to Brazil, it’s heavy with Brazilian fighters and talented prospects from the South American country. Despite the card not being loaded with highly ranked fighters, there’s still plenty of reasons to watch it.

Let’s take a closer look.

Sean Strickland

The former middleweight champion of the Southern California-based King of the Cage promotion picked up his second UFC win via split decision against Luke Barnett back in May of last year. He also submitted another TUF veteran before that when he secured a rear naked choke against Bubba McDaniel in March of 2014.

11 of his 15 career wins come via either knockout or submission. He’s got an ability to finish and he’s big for the weight class. When a fighter comes into the UFC with an undefeated record, many fans don’t expect it to last long. Strickland, with another win, would push his record to 16-0 and that’s easy to sell if you’re UFC matchmaker Joe Silva.

Who separates himself from the lightweight pack?

The co-main event probably has the most future implications of any bout on the card. The 155-pound division is easily the most stacked weight class in the UFC and the winner would only build upon that notion.

Michael Johnson and Edson Barboza are both painfully close to placing their name among the legitimate contenders among the lightweights. Barboza is currently ranked 6th and Johnson finds himself sitting 12th, but I don’t believe they are that far apart in talent.

I say the winner of this fight against Al Iaquinta would make for a great future bout.

Winner lives to fight another day, loser needs to hang ‘em up

I don’t think either Mir or Bigfoot would be publicly released by the UFC with a loss, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t encouraged to retire depending on the outcome of this main event.

Both have had fantastic, historic careers. Bigfoot was the first man ever to finish Fedor Emelianenko with strikes, ending one of the most legendary streaks of all time. Mir is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion, has the most wins in UFC heavyweight history, and is in the top 5 for most finishes ever in the Octagon. Mir is a future UFC Hall of Famer, there’s no doubt about it.

Best case scenario: we see a competitive, entertaining fight that goes to the scorecards and both fighters can look back and be happy with their performance and their legacy. Worst case scenario: Mir either snaps one of Bigfoot’s limbs or Bigfoot knocks Mir into a retirement home.

 

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.