UFC FIGHT NIGHT MANILA
ITS FIGHT WEEK! Torque Sports is very excited for the return of Urijah Faber in the Octagon this weekend for the very first promotional event in Manila Philippines. UFC created an amazing bout to promote this historical fight in a return to the original “Thrilla in Manila”. This Saturday “The Cali Kid” faces “The Answer” Frankie Edgar, in an east coast meets west coast scrap. Thrilla in Manila II.
The two former champs have wanted to face each other as top contenders for quite a long time. With Faber moving to Bantamweight the two have not crossed paths until now. Rumors flew around about a year ago of a “super fight” and possible Ultimate Fighter match up. With Faber looking for big fights and still at the top of his game, an Edgar fight makes perfect sense. Both fighters are coming off big wins and are considered top contenders in their divisions.
The Bantamweight division is ruled by team mate TJ Dillashaw and Urijah has fought and beat just about everyone else in the division. TJ is out with an injury pushing his rematch against former champ Rene Barao back a few months. Dominick Cruz has fought once in almost four years and is still recovering from ACL surgery. Logical match ups for Faber were becoming scarce, and Faber knew a big fight might have to come in different divisions.
With the world waiting on the Aldo vs. McGregor results the long line of fighters wanting a shot at McGregor keeps growing. Just about every top fighter wants to be the first to expose any (before unseen) flaws in his game. With Frankie Edgar running through contender Cub Swanson he rightfully earned a top ranking and consideration for a title shot. The traffic jam gets more complicated when you factor in #1 contender Chad Mendes who has ONLY lost to Aldo and could very easily make a case for another shot at the tile, especially if the belt switches hands in July. Edgar could possible wait a bit longer than he wants for a title shot depending on where the chips fall.
The Faber Edgar fight becomes a logical next step for both fighters. And now the wait is over. Faber looks forward to making a huge statement against a longtime contender and top athlete, just like himself. A win here means the doors are open for bigger name fights, and Faber has been very vocal about meeting any challenge as long as the opponent makes sense. A run at the featherweight belt could also be in Faber’s future with wins against top contenders. But the first challenge runs through manila.
The matchup is essentially a Mirror. Both fighters have a great background in wrestling. Both have been champs, both have stayed at the top of their divisions. Both have beaten top names. Both poses powerful striking and creative grappling. Faber has not lost a non-title fight since entering the UFC, and Edgar essentially retired BJ Penn. So what will the difference be? Faber is looking to be a more creative fighter and capitalizing on his limitless speed. Faber returns to the featherweight division and benefits from being able to add a few pounds of muscle without depleting himself for weight cut. This could mean we will see the strongest and healthiest Faber ever and that is a scary thought for anyone on the other side of the cage.
Before the Main Event gets started an exciting Co-main event between Torque sponsored #7 middleweight Gegard Mousasi faces #12 Costas Philippou. Gegard is coming off an impressive first round KO over veteran Dan Henderson. Gegard a veteran himself at 36-5-2 is looking to put together a win streak here in Manila and make a big statement against a top ranked middleweight. With such a stacked division every win matters and this could be the right time for Gegard to make a run at a title shot.
UFC Fight Night gets an early United States start due to time differences, which means many of us will be enjoying UFC with breakfast and coffee. The under card gets started at a 7am EST and main card starts at 10am EST, making the West Coast a very early start. Weigh ins are early at 7am EST.
Torque is also very excited to have talented fighters on the under card including Li Jingliang, Yao Zhikui and Ning Guangyou. Yao Zhikui gets the show started on the early Fight Pass prelims. Yao had his first UFC fight in Macau China last August that resulted in a split decision loss. Yao looks to jump back and start the show with a bang. Ning Guabyou comes into this fight at 5-2 and the Ultimate Fighter China winner. He faces undefeated Royston Wee from Singapore. In another welterweight bout, Li Jingliang (9-3) takes on The Ultimate Fighter: Edgar vs. Penn veteran Roger Zapata (4-1).