After a great afternoon of fights last Saturday, the UFC is back in action this weekend with UFC Fight Night: Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop 2. Heading to Poland for the first time in company history, the UFC has stacked the card with some tremendous local talent, but nothing to really get the casual American fight fan interested.

Outside of the main and co-main events of the evening, the card is filled with either UFC newcomers or fighters who are just hanging on by a thread. As a fan of up and coming talent, I will be tuning in to Saturday’s UFC Fight Pass broadcast, but I’m not sure if this card will move the needle for many others.

With that said though, expect to see some solid fights; especially in regards to the main and co-main events of the evening.

Jimi Manuwa vs. Jan Blachowicz

Manuwa and Blachowicz are two of the UFC’s best kept secrets at light heavyweight. I don’t see either as a true title contender both add great depth to the UFC’s premiere division.

For Manuwa, UFC Fight Night 64 represents an opportunity to get back to his winning ways. After starting his MMA career with 14 consecutive wins by finish, Manuwa suffered the first loss of his career at the hands of Alexander Gustafsson.

Blachowicz on the other hand will be looking to extend his winning streak to seven in front of a home crowd. After defeating Ilir Latifi in his UFC debut this past October, Blachowicz is ready to prove that he is a top 10 talent in the light heavyweight division.

While Manuwa is the more explosive fighter, Blachowicz has more weapons at his disposal. Riding the momentum of his win streak and fighting in front of his countrymen, I expect Blachowicz to really turn some heads.

Pick: Blachowicz via second round Submission

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic

While both Gonzaga and Cro Cop are well beyond their title contention years, this is still an interesting matchup. Even though it’s been nearly eight years ago, Gonzaga’s head kick knockout victory over Cro Cop at UFC 70 is fresh in my mind.

It will be nice to see Cro Cop back in the UFC Octagon because the last time he was here, things did not go well. Cro Cop’s career looked all, but over after three consecutive knockout losses. But following his release from the UFC, Cro Cop seemed to rediscover is love of the game. After going 3-1 in MMA and an impressive 7-1 – that includes the 2012 K-1 World Grand Prix title – Cro Cop is back and ready to end his career on his terms.

Gonzaga on the other hand will be fighting for his UFC livelihood on Saturday. The long time veteran and former title contender has lost in his last two outings and he desperately needs a good showing. Gonzaga will need to get back to basics on Saturday and utilize the ground game he has been neglecting.

Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I have a great feeling about Cro Cop heading into this fight. He seems to have rediscovered his groove in competition and he has the revenge factor heading into this matchup. If Cro Cop the 2012 K-1 world Grand Prix Champion shows up, then Gonzaga is in a lot of trouble.

Pick: Cro Cop via first round TKO/KO

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.