This column highlights five past bouts from fighters competing on this weekend’s UFC 186. These fights represent some of the highest moments in the careers of their respective participants, and should serve to pique your interest heading into the event. 1. Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann – UFC Fight Night 27 Upcoming Bout: Carlos Condit vs. Thiago Alves
Let’s be honest here. I could have just made this entry “Carlos Condit vs. ________” because the important thing about Condit fights is that they have him in them. This just happened to be the fight that the UFC posted prior to this event. Condit’s bouts with Miura, Ellenberger, MacDonald, and Hendricks could easily fit in here as well. The only caveat I have with Condit fights is that they need to be five rounds (like this one), to see his skills really shine through. It’s quite possible that Thiago Alves can find some of the early success that Martin Kampmann was able to in this bout, but it’s highly unlikely he can keep that up for more than a round or two against such a steadily aggressive fighter like Condit. Just like in this fight, at some point against Alves, Condit will just be operating at a pace the Brazilian can’t match, as is the case in most Condit fights.
2. KJ Noons vs. Andre Amado – DREAM 13 Upcoming Bout: KJ Noons vs. Alex Oliveira
This bout shows how adept Noons is at mixing up his attack when his opponent allows him to move forward. This is important because there were several times when Alex Oliveira allowed his opponent to move forward in his UFC debut, even during points of the fight he was in control. Oliveira possesses better lateral movement than ‘Dida’ displays here, but Noons’ edge in hand speed could negate that. One thing to look out for is Noons’ habit of using a boxing bend at the waist in order to avoid strikes. I’m still waiting for a fighter to exploit that, and Oliveira is good enough with his legs — and rangy enough — that he is capable.
3. Wendell Oliveira vs. Thiago Passos – Jungle Fight 32 Upcoming Bout: Wendell Oliveira vs. Darren Till
Wendell Oliveira is one of those fighters that you watch and just think to yourself, “Do something. Do something. Anything.” Sometimes he doesn’t pull the trigger, and sometimes he does. On this occasion in Jungle Fight, he did, and it was a fun little piece of violence. When Oliveira does open up he has quite the offensive arsenal, but is also flawed defensively to almost ensure an entertaining fight. Take his UFC debut against Santiago Ponzinibbio: Oliveira decided to play an aggressive game in that one, and while it burned him, the end result for fans was an exciting 80 seconds. It will be interesting to see what approach he takes against Darren Till, but I’m hoping it’s his aggressive version.
4. Nicolas Dalby vs. Sergei Churilov – Cage Warriors 66 Upcoming Bout: Nicolas Dalby vs. Elizeu Zaleski
Nicolas Dalby takes a much different approach from your average karateka in MMA. He is a constant swarm of kicks from both legs to a variety of different targets. He’s also not married to the idea of “hit without being hit” which can tend to make for fun scraps. Take this one with Sergei Churilov for exampke: Dalby is clearly the more varied and talented striker, but he’s just vulnerable enough to make for fun fight encounters with outmatched opponents.
Oh yeah, he also finishes this fight with one of the best Brazilian kicks ever landed in MMA. Churilov’s dramatic Rolles Gracie-esque fall makes it that much better.
5. Tom Breese vs. Warren Kee – BAMMA 11 Upcoming Bout: Tom Breese vs. Luiz Dutra
This is the most complete performance Tom Breese has put on in his professional career. Even though he only strikes for short periods of time in this bout, you can see clear improvements from his earlier bouts, and his grappling game has always been stellar. One worry about Breese is that despite his size, a savvy fighter may be able to get him into the clinch and control him there to win rounds. Outside of that, he has a very UFC-ready game, and it should be interesting to see how he fares against his first big step up in competition in his UFC debut.