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Our questions about UFC Fight Night Orlando

Another weekend means another UFC card, this time emanating from Orlando, FL’s Amway Arena for another go-round on big Fox. This show has undergone some changes, but still has some promise throughout the card.

Helping me examine this show a bit more closely for you fine readers are my Observer writing cohorts “Pretty” Paul Fontaine and “Rugged” Ryan Frederick.

First, The Card

  • Jeremy Stephens vs. Josh Emmett
  • Jessica Andrade vs. Tecia Torres
  • Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi
  • Mike Perry vs. Max Griffin
  • Renan Barao vs. Brian Kelleher
  • Sara McMann vs. Marion Reneau
  • Angela Hill vs. Maryna Moroz
  • Ben Saunders vs. Alan Jouban
  • Sam Alvey vs. Marcin Prachinio
  • Rani Yahya vs. Russell Doane
  • Eric Shelton vs. Alex Perez
  • Albert Morales vs. Manny Bermudez

What fight(s) are you most looking forward to?

Josh: I’m really into the co-main event between Andrade and Torres. It’s two different styles and there are legit title shot stakes on the line here, so no complaints here. I’m also intrigued by the OSP-Latifi fight because in my heart of hearts, I really want the light heavyweight division to be fun again.

Ryan: I am actually looking forward to the headliner between Emmett and Stephens. It’s not a headline fight for a Fox calber card (and I know I’m not alone in thinking this), but it is a good, quality fight. Stephens is an exciting fighter and I see Emmett as a true top-20 talent, but I think Stephens will be too much for him. But, Emmett has a chance like he did against Ricardo Lamas, and it worked out well for him there.

I also like the co-headliner between Andrade and Torres. Andrade has fought for the title before and would love another crack at it, while Torres wants her first title shot. She has to get through a tough matchup as Andrade is always one to press forward. This is a really solid fight.

Paul: I’m a big fan of women’s MMA so I’ll be really interested in all three women’s fights. Ryan and Josh already talked about Torres-Andrade so obviously that’s the most important. Sara McMann vs. Marion Reneau is very intriguing as both are older fighters and probably have one more run toward a title shot in them. Angela Hill vs Maryna Moroz are two fighters with names MMA fans know who are also capable of good fights.

Any dark horse fights?

Ryan: I enjoy it when Mike Perry is on a fight card because you know what you’re going to get: an exciting brawl and Griffin is certainly an opponent who will bring that out of him. This fight was set up for a knockout and I’m sure we will see one. I also see the show opener between Manny Bermudez and Albert Morales as a fight to watch. Bermudez was arguably the most-talented 135-pound fighter outside of the UFC, and now he debuts inside the Octagon. Morales is a game opponent who has had some fun fights, and I expect an early contender for Fight Of The Night to kick things off.

Josh: I love me some Mike Perry so I’m in lockstep with Ryan on that one. Don’t sleep on that Ben Saunders-Alan Jouban tilt either.

Paul: Renan Barao vs. Brian Kelleher in the featured prelim has me interested. Between the two of them, they’ve picked up post show bonus awards in exactly 50% of their fights so the odds of one or both them producing something worth watching is pretty good. Smilin’ Sam Alvey should have a good promo if he wins in the featured Fight Pass prelim, but his fights usually suck.

Any fights a bit overrated?

Ryan: I’m not sure about overrated, but McMann vs. Reneau doesn’t scream excitement. I think McMann has peaked and I don’t see any upward trajectory for Reneau at her age. It’s just a fight that doesn’t have any real meaning when it comes to contender status, and is just there. I’m also not sure about fights involving Barao or Alvey. I expect at least one of those two to win, but I don’t see them as being as good as they once were in their careers.

Paul: The fact that OSP and Latifi are both title contenders says more about the state of the 205-pound division than it does about either guy. Saint Preux is capable of exciting fights but he’s also capable of laying an egg. Latifi looks like a shorter version of the fat heavyweights that usually have boring fights in UFC and that’s pretty much what I think of when I see his name on the card. It’s almost impossible for me to get excited about one of his fights.

Josh: Yeah, I could see McMann-Reneau being a dud. Honestly, there’s not a lot of featured fights on this show that I’m down on. (Yep, that’s a shock to me too!)

Does this show matter?

Josh: You get one and possibly two title contenders with the Torres-Andrade fight and OSP-Latifi if the former gets another impressive win, so I say yes. A big KO win by Perry also puts him in the ‘interesting fight’ category against any number of guys. He may never be a champion, but I think he’s the next big fan favorite if he’s smart about his career.

Ryan: In the grand scheme of things, probably not so much. You are getting a likely title challenger in the Andrade-Torres fight, and Ovince Saint Preux could put himself in the mix whenever the light heavyweight title gets defended next. It’s not a major show, but like the Austin event last weekend, it has potential to deliver good action inside the Octagon. If your focus is on the ratings and business side of the UFC, this show is likely to fall well below expectations (unless they are low already). If your sole purpose of enjoying the UFC is the in-cage action, this has the chance to get you excited.

Paul: Not really, but there are name fighters 10 fights deep on this show and you can’t ask for much more than that on a free TV card. It’s definitely not top-heavy as Stephens vs. Emmett is not exactly the type of marquee main event UFC fans are used to on Fox (although lately it’s been more like this than not). But you’ve got former champs and title challengers on the prelims which speaks to depth and the top three fights on the card all could have title implications relatively soon.

Who wins?

Jeremy Stephens vs. Josh Emmett

  • Stephens: Nason, Ryan
  • Emmett: Paul

Jessica Andrade vs. Tecia Torres

  • Torres: Nason, Paul
  • Andrade: Ryan

OSP vs. Ilir Latifi

  • OSP: Paul, Ryan, Nason

Renan Barao vs. Brian Kelleher

  • Barao: Paul, Ryan
  • Kelleher: Nason