One of the top-five flyweights in the world is set to fight at UFC on Fuel TV 6 this weekend, but fans that want to see Yasuhiro Urushitani attempt to earn his first UFC victory will have to watch him do it on the Facebook preliminary card.

Since the flyweight division was created earlier this year there have been several fights between some of the division’s best relegated to the prelims, but Saturday’s fight between Urushitani and talented prospect John Lineker is a big enough bout that there is no excuse for it not to be televised, especially on this particular card.

As far as UFC fight cards go, Fuel 6 is particularly weak, with largely unknown fighters like Tiequan Zhang and Jon Tuck finding ways to make it onto the Fuel portion of the broadcast.

The choice to throw Zhang on the main card makes sense since he’s the only Chinese fighter on the UFC roster and the organization is debuting in China this weekend, but it seems a bit unfair that Zhang gets a chance to shine on the main card just to appease the live crowd, especially when you see fighters as talented as Urushitani and Lineker stuck to streaming online.

An argument could be made that Urushitani and Lineker both came up short in their UFC debuts and need to work their way back up the card, but the fact is that both fighters (especially Urushitani) have earned their chance to showcase their skills in a featured bout.

At just 22 years old, Lineker already has 25 fights worth of MMA experience and his 19-6 record proves he’s no pushover at 125 pounds. The Brazilian missed weight before his UFC debut earlier this year at UFC on Fox 3, and usually a loss under those circumstances would be disastrous and ultimately lead to a fighter getting cut from the roster. However, Lineker put on a “Fight of the Night” performance against Louis Gaudinot before getting submitted in the closing seconds of the second round, and likely saved his job with the performance.

Urushitani wasn’t quite as impressive in his UFC debut, but his level of competition was a bit higher as he fought former title challenger Joseph Benavidez in the opening round of the UFC flyweight tournament. The Japanese fighter was able to make the fight interesting in the first round, but Benavidez came out a bit too strong to kick off the second and floored Urushitani with punches just 11 seconds into the round.

Despite the lackluster performance against Benavidez, Urushitani has one of the best resumes in the flyweight division and even has a win over current No. 1 contender John Dodson. He’s earned his spot in the top five of the division.

This is a main-card-worthy fight, and in a perfect world, it could possibly be slated as high as the co-main event due to Urushitani’s spot among the flyweight elite. Yet, the UFC continues to drop the ball with its mid-level 125-pound fighters and one of the best fights of the weekend is stuck on Facebook.

Hopefully the UFC will figure out how to showcase the flyweights soon, but until that day comes some of the most talented fighters on the UFC roster are going to remain unknown and unmarketable.

Photo: John Lineker (R) battles at UFC on Fox 3 (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

About The Author

Vince Carey
Staff Writer

Vince Carey has been writing about the sport of mixed martial arts since 2010. Although he is just 21 years old, the Omaha-based writer is looking to provide readers with interesting content on all things related to MMA.