When it comes to the numerous UFC events held during the 2013 year; it’ll be 31 by the time this card rolls around, the promotion is definitely saving one of the best for last. To cap a highly active and highly entertaining 20th anniversary year of UFC action, the UFC has a card featuring two massive title fight rematches. In the main event of the evening the legendary Anderson “The Spider” Silva looks to reclaim his place at the top of the Middleweight division when he battles undefeated incumbent champion Chris Weidman. The co-main event of the evening features a long brewing grudge match between the two coaches from the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter as Miesha Tate challenges “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey for her Women’s Bantamweight title.
From the fight capital of the world UFC 168 takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 28, 2013. With a top-loaded card the rest of the bouts may be somewhat lacking in big name value, but the card remains loaded with a number of intriguing bouts with plenty of potential for fireworks. In other main card action Heavyweights Josh Barnett and Travis Browne will brawl it out, Jim Miller will battle Brazilian Fabricio Camoes in a Lightweight tilt and Dustin Poirier will scrap with Diego Brandao in a Featherweight bout that has potential to take home the Fight of the Night Award.
Preliminary Card (Online): Featherweight Bout: Robbie Peralta vs. Estevan Payan
Robbie “Problems” Peralta is a 27-year-old fighter from Escondido, California. Peralta is a member of the Team Xplode MMA Gym in his hometown. Before joining the UFC he fought for a number of big time MMA promotions including Gladiator Challenge and Strikeforce. He holds a professional MMA record of 16-4 with 1 No Contest.
Estevan “El Terrible” Payan is a 31-year-old fighter from Tempe, Arizona. He is a member of the Arizona Combat Sports Gym. He like his opponent has fought for some other notable MMA promotions, including Rage in the Cage, Strikeforce, Shark Fights and Bellator. Payan holds a professional MMA record of 14-4 with 1 No Contest.
Quick Pick: Robbie Peralta via TKO in Round Three
Preliminary Card (Online): Welterweight Bout: William Macario vs. Bobby Voelker
“Vicious” Bobby Voelker is a 34-year-old fighter from Kansas City, Kansas. He is an MMA veteran with over 30 professional fights in a number of promotions including Strikeforce, Titan FC and M-1 Challenge before making his way to the UFC. He is a member of Finney’s MMA Gym and holds a professional record of 24-10, with most victories coming by KO or TKO.
Quick Pick: William Macario via Submission in Round Two
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1): Welterweight Bout: John Howard vs. Siyar Bahadurzada
John “Doomsday” Howard is a 30-year-old fighter from Boston, Massachusetts. Howard has fought at both Middleweight and Welterweight in the UFC, and recently made his UFC return as an injury replacement where he defeated highly touted Uriah Hall via Split Decision. He is a member of the Wai Kru MMA Gym in Boston and holds a professional MMA record of 21-8.
Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada is a 29-year-old fighter from Kabul, Afghanistan. Before joining the UFC he was a prominent fighter in the Asian MMA scene where he fought for Shooto and World Victory Road. Bahadurzada is a prominent striker who trains with Golden Glory in the Netherlands, but also with the Blackzillians in Boca Raton, Florida. He holds a professional record of 21-5-1.
Quick Pick: Siyar Bahadurzada via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1): Featherweight Bout: Dennis Siver vs. Manvel Gamburyan
Dennis “The Menace” Siver is a 34-year-old fighter from Omsk, Russia in the former Soviet Union. Siver is a tough, well-rounded fighter who has reinvigorated his career since dropping to 145-pounds. Siver has a background in Tae-Kwan-Do and Judo as well as holding a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He trains with the MMA-Spirit Gym in Mannheim, Germany. Siver’s professional record stands at 21-9.
Manvel “The Anvil” Gamburyan is a 32-year-old fighter from Gyumri, Armenia, but currently living in Hollywood, California. Gamburyan was a cast member on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter and is notable for his Judo background. Gamburyan is a member of the Glendale Fighting Club in North Hollywood. Gamburyan holds black belts in both Judo and Kyokushin karate. His professional record is 13-7.
Quick Pick: Dennis Siver via Unanimous Decision.
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1): Lightweight Bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Michael Johnson
Gleison Tibau is a 30-year-old fighter from Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. The Brazilian now resides and trains in the United States, training with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. He is known as a mainstay in the UFC’s Lightweight division and for his massive frame, often cited as being one of the largest fighters in the 155-pound division. He holds a career record of 28-9.
Michael “The Menace” Johnson is a 27-year-old fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a member of the Blackzillians, training at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. Johnson is perhaps best known as his stint on the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He currently holds a professional record of 13-8 and is riding high after an impressive victory over Joe Lauzon UFC Fight Night 26.
Quick Pick: Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1): Middleweight Bout: Chris Leben vs. Uriah Hall
Chris “The Crippler” Leben is a 33-year-old fighter from Portland, Oregon. One of the longest serving members of the UFC’s Middleweight division, he is a fan favorite from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a member of the Alliance MMA Gym in Chula Vista, California who is best known for his strong chin and his propensity to brawl. He holds a professional MMA record of 22-10.
Uriah “Prime Time” Hall is a 29-year-old fighter from Spanish Town, Jamaica. He is best known as the runner-up on the seventeenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he delivered one of the show’s most memorable knockouts with a spinning wheel kick. He is a member of the Reign Training Center training under coach Mark Munoz. He holds a professional MMA record of 7-4.
Quick Pick: Chris Leben via Split Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Featherweight Bout: Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao
Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier is a 24-year-old fighter from Lafayette, Louisiana. Poirier is a member of the American Top Team Gym located in Louisiana, but also travels to their home base in Florida. Poirier is a talented grappler who holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He’s a highly entertaining fighter who is extremely well-rounded and has strong cardio. He holds a professional fight record of 14-3.
Diego “DB” Brandao is a 26-year-old fighter from Fortaleza, Brazil. Brandao is an extremely tough fighter who is best known as a cast member and the eventual winner of the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a well-rounded fighter with strong grappling and Muay Thai credentials. He trains with Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His professional MMA record stands at 18-8.
Quick Pick: Dustin Poirier via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Lightweight Bout: Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes
Jim Miller is a 30-year-old fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. He has long been considered a top 10 Lightweight in the UFC’s stacked 155-pound division. He is one half of the fighting Miller brothers, as his older brother Dan is also a UFC fighter. Miller is a well-rounded fighter with a grinding style of ground based fighting. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler and also holds a black belt in BJJ. He trains with the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey. His MMA record is 22-4 with 1 No Contest.
Fabricio “Morango” Camoes is a 35-year-old fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is a top level grappler, being a 3rd degree black belt under Gracie family member Royler Gracie. Camoes represents Team Nogueira, but also splits time with his home gym of Gracie Humaita in San Diego, California. Despite a history in the UFC, he is likely taking on the toughest fight of his career against Miller. His current MMA record is 14-7-1.
Quick Pick: Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Bout: Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne
Josh “The Warmaster/The Baby-Faced Assassin”” Barnett is a 36-year-old fighter from Seattle, Washington. A veteran of MMA he is one of the sport’s Heavyweight pioneers, earning early success in the UFC before leaving the promotion early in his career. He has held numerous MMA titles including the UFC Heavyweight Championship, The King of Pancrase Openweight Championship and was a finalist in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. He trains out of the CSW Catch Wrestling Gym in Fullerton, California. He holds a professional resume of nearly 40 fights, holding a record of 33-6.
Travis “Hapa” Browne is a 31-year-old fighter from Oahu, Hawaii. He is a massive Heavyweight, standing at 6’7” tall and weighing nearly 250 pounds. Browne is a veteran of many notable MMA promotions such as Bellator, Gladiator Fighting Challenge and King of the Cage before making his UFC debut. Browne is a member of Greg Jackson’s Camp in New Mexico. He holds a nearly perfect pro record of 15-1-1.
Quick Pick: Josh Barnett via Unanimous Decision
Main Card (Pay Per View): Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout: Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is a 26-year-old fighter from Riverside County, California. Rousey is a former Olympic judoka, and often uses her judo and grappling skills in her fights. She is a student of “Judo” Gene Lebell and was the first American women to win a medal in Olympic judo competition. Her MMA career has been filled with success as she is the reigning and defending UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and was a former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Rousey trains with the Glendale Fighting Club in Santa Monica, California but is also known to train with the Cesar Gracie Fight Team and the Diaz brothers in Stockton. She holds a perfect professional record of 7-0 with 7 victories via armbar submission in Round One.
Miesha “Cupcake” Tate is a 27-year-old fighter from Tacoma, Washington. Tate is a former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion and a FILA Grappling medalist. Tate is best known for her highly publicized feud and rivalry with Ronda Rousey and the two are fighting after a full season serving as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter. Tate is a well-rounded fighter but does her best work on the mat. She is a member of the Team Alpha Male Gym where she trains daily with top fighters like Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes and her boyfriend Bryan Caraway. She holds a professional MMA record of 13-4.
Quick Pick: Ronda Rousey via Submission in Round Two
Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Championship Bout: Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva
Anderson “The Spider” Silva is 38-year-old fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Silva is a former UFC Middleweight Champion, who dominated the division with 16 consecutive victories and ten straight title defenses before losing to Weidman earlier in 2013. Silva is a dynamic striker with extremely creative Muay Thai skills influenced heavily by a background in Capoeira. Despite his lethal striking skills, he also possesses strong grappling skills and is underrated as a ground fighter. Silva holds a number of accolades in martial arts, including black belts in BJJ, Judo and Tae Kwan Do. Silva is a member of the Black House Gym fighting and training out of Curitiba, Brazil. He holds a professional MMA record of 33-5.
Quick Pick: Chris Weidman via Submission in Round Four