In the world of baseball, doubleheaders used to be common-place.
Now, with the influx of television and other media, the idea of playing a game in the afternoon and one at night has fallen by the wayside.
Other than when inclement weather occurs, the day-night doubleheaders are a limited thing.
Enter the UFC, as the promotion will host its first-ever day-night doubleheader of MMA action today with UFC Fight Night: Munoz vs. Mousasi and The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 Finale: Miocic vs. Maldonado.
Now only will there be over 20 fights spread across UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1, the events take place in completely different countries. We start in Berlin, Germany with Mark Munoz taking on Gegard Mousasi from the O2 World, and conclude the evening in Sao Paulo, Brazil with two new TUF: Brazil winners being crowned and a headline act featuring Fabio Maldonado and Stipe Miocic.
Here’s a look at some of the more interesting storylines for the double-card, starting in Germany.
Is there anything of interest on the prelims?
Sure, with six fights and 12 fighters, there’s bound to be something happen during the early prelims from Berlin, right? We’ve got an intriguing bantamweight bout featuring Iuri Alcantara and Vaughan Lee, along with featherweights Andy Ogle and Maximo Blanco.
Magnus Cedenblad could be a name to remember going forward in the middleweight division, while Nick Hein and Drew Dober should bring some excitement to conclude the lineup.
But if you can only watch one, make sure to see the first, as Ruslan Magomedov makes his debut against Vikor Pesta. The Russian heavyweight is coming off wins over former UFC champion Tim Sylvia, Mike Hayes and Ricco Rodriguez. He trains out of the Red Fury Fight Team and works here in the U.S. with Greg Jackson.
Can Luke Barnatt take that next step?
At just 26 years of age, and already a veteran of The Ultimate Fighter, Barnatt appears on his way to becoming a force inside the Octagon.
He’s won all eight of his pro bouts, the last three of which have come with the UFC. That includes back-to-back finishes vs. Mats Nilsson and Andrew Craig.
Standing 6-foot-6, the Brit has a perfect body for the middleweight division. In fact, he likely will be a light heavyweight in a few years if he continues to grow.
Barnatt can continue his climb up the ladder with a dominating performance against Sean Strickland.
Will we see the Mousasi-face, or ground-and-pound out of Munoz?
While Munoz agreed to face the former light heavyweight champion on short notice, he was not threat for him, falling early in the fight.
That doesn’t mean Mousasi will have an easy time taking care of the former NCAA wrestler, as Munoz was, at one point in his career, on track to fight for the championship himself.
Munoz needs to use the same kind of style and approach that led him to wins over Tim Boetsch, Chris Leben and Demian Maia over the past few years; and not get into a striking match with Mousasi.
While we haven’t really seen the Mousasi of old since he debuted in the UFC last year, you have to believe it is still there, ready to be unleashed at a moments notice.
What could have been? And what we were left with
At first, we were given Wanderlei Silva-Chael Sonnen for this Brazilian card. That was taken away when issues arose outside of the Octagon. In fact, the two are not fighting at all now, but you already know all about that.
The UFC quickly moved to find a replacement, placing a planned heavyweight match featuring Junior dos Santos and Miocic in the top billing. However, injury struck, taking the former UFC champion out of the fight.
Maldonado agreed to step in and meet the bigger, Top-10 fighter, but does he stand a chance? Miocic is coming off back-to-back wins over Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga. He’s bigger, stronger and maybe even faster.
For Maldonado to succeed, he cannot get into a technical brawl. He needs to pick his spots, try to land a big shot here and there, and maybe even use some dirty boxing and ground attacks to pull the upset.
What else of note on the main card?
Despite losing two main events, the rest of the lineup is pretty interesting for the night, as Demian Maia returns to action and we get featherweights Rony Jason and Robbie Peralta.
Maia will take on Russian Alexander Yakovlev, who is coming off a November decision victory over Paul Daley. He’s won three straight, with his last loss coming to Rashid Magomedov, who is also on this card.
One would have to think Maia has the edge in all facets, but he needs to be mindful of the youngster.
Jason and Peralta could steal the entire day of fights. These two like to stand and trade, and Peralta has talked at length about his desire to put on the “Fight of the Night” with the former Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner.
The best of the rest
Pedro Munhoz, a former RFA champion, seeks a better start when he opens the event against Matt Hobar, while four semifinalist from TUF: Brazil 3 also compete.
The season of TUF was focused more on Silva and Sonnen as coaches, but, as we’ve seen in the past, talent can come from the international seasons of the reality series.
As always, FightLine will have complete coverage of both cards, including play-by-play and quick results, along with post-fight news and information.