The UFC has stacked its end-of-year lineup for 2015 with some of the biggest title and main-event fights in the history of the company.

Aldo-McGregor, Weidman-Rockhold, Rousey-Holm plus a bevy of non-title cardtoppers highlight what should be thrilling capper to a very intriguing year for the Zuffa clan. Of course, when you have fights that steal the spotlight, there are going to be a number of bouts that fly under the radar when it comes to the exposure and attention they deserve.

Here’s a look at what The MMA Corner feels are a handful of the underrated and unheralded matchups that are being overshadowed by bigger names on their respective cards.

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Yoel Romero – UFC 194

It’s hard to believe that a matchup between the No. 2 and No. 3 contenders for the middleweight title falls into the overshadowed category, and on any other card it wouldn’t be. But in this case, it’s going to be near-impossible for Souza and Romero to get the face time they deserve because not only will the title fight in their division (champ Chris Weidman defends against Luke Rockhold) outshine them but the biggest fight of the year (Jose Aldo-Conor McGregor) will outdistance them by miles in media appeal.

Souza has won eight in a row, five of those victories coming in the first round. Of his 22 career wins, 18 of been finishes. While he doesn’t speak much, if any, English, his engaging style and presence give him 10 times what Rockhold would reach on the personality appeal meter. Romero, too, cuts a much more interesting character.

Romero is on a roll, too, with six straight wins including back-to-back third-round knockouts of Lyoto Machida and Tim Kennedy.

Still, Souza-Romero won’t register on the dial like the two title fights especially when there’s the spectacularly personal animosity between Aldo and McGregor which is like no other in UFC history.

Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim vs. Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal – UFC Fight Night 79

This very well has a chance to be one of the most entertaining fights down the 2015 stretch, but the fans and media in Orlando will be far more fixated on the tilt between Benson Henderson and Thiago Alves.

‘Stun Gun,’ who will have home-cage advantage with the fight in Korea, can fire it up with the best of them, especially over the past couple years. He’s gone from having three consecutive victories come by decision to finishing his opponent in his last three wins. He’s won five of his last six including knockouts of John Hathaway and Erick Silva.

Meanwhile, Masvidal should have been cracking the top-10 in the lightweight ranks but he was robbed of a verdict over Al Iaquinta back in April which ultimately forced him to call out Kim. Despite the Iaquinta hiccup, Masvidal has racked up a win over Cezar Ferreira and has taken care of business against notables like Daron Cruickshank and Pat Healy.

Josh Samman vs. Tamdan McCrory – UFC on Fox 17

Rightfully, the Dos Anjos-Cerrone title fight takes precedence with the media and fans who’ll be in Orlando, but this is an intriguing middleweight.

Samman seems to be a forgotten man in the middleweight ranks mostly because of long periods of inactivity illustrated by the fact he’s fought only once in each year since 2011 including the last two in the UFC. The matchup against McCrory will be Samman’s second in 2015 on the heels of his surprisingly easy first-round submission win over Caio Magalhaes. Despite the absences, Samman has impressive finishes to his name particularly a head-kick KO of Eddie Gordon.

At one time, McCrory was somewhat in the UFC mix but he fell out of the picture by going on an up-down win-loss run from 2007 thru 2009. After a five-year retirement stint, McCrory returned to the scene with back-to-back first-round wins in Bellator, both of which came inside two minutes.

Honorable Mentions

Onetime hot prospect Sergio Pettis, whose career started with a 10-0 run, looks to rebound from a loss at UFC 192 … Cathal Pendred, who has made a name for himself by calling out Phil “CM Punk” Brooks, is in action on home soil in Ireland at Fight Night 76 … Tom “I’m Not a Joke” Lawlor goes for a third straight win as he faces Fabio Maldonado in Brazil on a card topped by Vitor Belfort-Dan Henderson 3.

About The Author

Scott Zerr
Staff Writer

Scott joins The MMA Corner having spent the last 14 years in mixed martial arts as Director of Media & Fighter Relations for the Maximum Fighting Championship. He will provide The MMA Corner with insight on breaking news in the sport, plus an insider's perspective on business developments, matchmaking, fighter signings, and much more. In addition to his longtime work in MMA, Scott was a sports reporter before moving into media relations and marketing. After growing up and working in Edmonton, Alberta, Scott has since moved to Bakersfield, California to be with his wife Christina (an avid fight fan, thank goodness) and kids.