Heavyweights Frank Mir and Mark Hunt, along with welterweight Hector Lombard, are likely to generate much of the buzz and headlines around this Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night 85 card.
But a pair of lightweights might just be the ones who leave Brisbane, Australia with the most glory.
Jake Matthews and Johnny Case are set to square off on the FOX Sports 1 main card, and the winner might find himself on the fast track to a mega bout in the 155-pound division.
Matthews (9-1) is just 21 years old and looked to have gained valuable knowledge last November when he returned from his first pro loss. After scoring submission wins vs. Dashon Johnson and Vagner Rocha to begin his UFC career, “The Celtic Kid” was choked out by James Vick last May.
He didn’t pout and cry on the sidelines, as Matthews quickly signed on to face Akbarh Arreola in November, earning his first UFC TKO win. All five of his Octagon appearances have come from either Australia or New Zealand, as were his first six pro fights.
Matthews has gone to the scorecards just once two years ago, as he owns a total of four knockout and five wins via tap to his resume.
Case (22-4) burst onto the scene in 2014 with a second round submission vs. Kazuki Tokudome. He has since earned wins over Frankie Perez, Francisco Trevino and Yan Cabral, competing in Japan, the U.S., Mexico and most recently Brazil.
A winner of each of his last 12 fights since a 2010 submission loss to former World Series of Fighting champion Rick Glenn, “Hollywood” has finished 18 of his victories – 12 via knockout and six more subs.
The 26-year-old from Iowa has lost just twice overall since suffering back-to-back defeats in his first two fights as an 17-year-old.
Along with Matthews-Case, Bec Rawlings vs. Seo Hee Ham, Ben Nguyen-Justin Scoggins and Ross Pearson-Abel Trujillo are all strong candidates to earn “Fight of the Night” honors.