Sure, Fabricio Werdum vs. Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight title is great.

And having a key middleweight showdown between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Vitor Belfort is exceptional.

We also have Cris “Cyborg” Justino’s UFC debut, former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in action and welterweight contenders Demian Maia and Matt Brown locking horns.

But two bouts flying under the radar just might help shape the UFC in the coming years.

First, bantamweights John Lineker and Rob Font will kickoff the FS1 prelims.

Lineker (26-7) has battled weight issues, but is 7-1 over his last eight. The lone loss came to former title contender Ali Bagautinov via decision.

Other than that, and the three catchweight bouts, the Brazilian has looked the part of title challenger.

He defeated Ian McCall last year and holds wins over Yasuhiro Urushitani, Jose Maria Tome and Phil Harris in recent memory. And, his record is a bit of an interesting one, as he started his career 6-5 while competing from 2008-09.

Font, meanwhile, has not lost since his second pro fight in 2012 to Desmond Green. That includes a TKO and KO in his two prior UFC fights over Joey Gomez and George Roop.

A win by either fighter – and a finish at that – could move them right up the pecking order.

The other fight not getting a lot of love was recently pushed to the main card, pay-per-view opener, as Warlley Alves takes on “The Sage Northcutt Killer” Bryan Barberena.

Alves (10-0) is a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil and has already picked up some notable wins despite being just 25 years old. That includes a decision over Alan Jouban and submissions of Nordine Taleb and then-unbeaten Colby Covington last year.

The Brazilian is a large man for the division, but he has shown excellent cardio in going to the distance with Jouban and the third round in his victory over Marcio Alexandre, Jr. that netted him the TUF title.

Barberena (11-3) caught the attention of many when he submitted Northcutt this past January, improving to 8-1 over his last nine.

After finishing Joe Ellenberger in his Octagon debut, Barberena dropped a tough decision to Chad Laprise before accepting the Northcutt fight as a replacement and dominating the youngster.

The welterweight division is top-heavy with contenders at the moment, but these are two young prospects who have plenty of time to get themselves into those spots.

About The Author

Dana Becker
Staff Writer

Dana Becker is an MMA reporter for The MMA Corner. Along with covering the sport, Dana is also a sports writer for a daily newspaper in Iowa, where he lives with his wife and two sons.