This Saturday’s UFC Orlando will feature two fan favorites headlining the main event in Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson and Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland. However, in this article I will highlight three fighters outside the main event that deserve just as much of the spotlight on them. These are three fighters to watch for during Saturday’s UFC Orlando card.
Surging Middleweight prospect Roman Dolidze will take a major step up in competition, stepping in on late notice to fight eighth ranked Jack Hermansson. Trust me when I say Dolidze is an incredibly live dog. To come in unranked, on short notice, against a top 10 staple of the division and only be a +125 underdog says a lot. Dolidze is on a tear as of late, coming off back to back first round finishes of Kyle Daukaus and Phil Hawes. This was after two back to back lay-and-pray heavy decision wins prior to the two finishes. Dolidze actually credits Michael Bispings constructive criticism while commentating in those fights for the shift in his aggression recently, and trust me you won’t want to miss it when it’s live in action on this Saturday’s Main Card.
Roman Dolidze viciously knocks out Phil Hawes 😱 #UFCVegas63
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) October 29, 2022
While I may have been introducing some of you all Roman Dolidze, that likely is not the case with Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa. Going on a five fight knockout streak from October 2020 to February 2022, Tuivasa’s been drinking a warm beer out of spectator’s shoe for every falling heavyweight along the way. It was his first round Knockout over the polarizing Greg Hardy in July 2021 that would sky rocket Tuivasa into mainstream fame and an MMA household name. Let it be clear, however, I am not highlighting Tuivasa in this article for his post fight celebrations. Tuivasa is absolutely electric in the Octagon, and a lot more skilled than many gave him credit for. Tuivasa was all but counted out coming into his last fight against former Interim Heavyweight Champion Cyril Gane, but wound up giving Gane a much tougher test than just about anyone had expected. Tuivasa even scored a second round knockdown on the French beast, almost knocking him out cold. Following the fight, Gane said in the post fight press conference that after fighting them both, Tai Tuivasa punches harder than Francis Ngannou. That sentence alone should make you drop everything and tune in the second Tuivasa makes that walk.
— Violent Money TV (@VM_TV_) August 28, 2022
Bryan Barberena for the majority of his UFC career had been a win-loss guy, never putting together more than a two fight win streak. It is worth noting the guys he was losing to were names like Randy Brown, Vicente Luque, Colby Covington, and current UFC Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards. He even landed a big knockdown on Edwards and was as close to finishing the future champion as anyone ever has been. Recently, Barberena has put together a streak of three consecutive wins including a brutal standing TKO over former champion Robbie Lawler in his last fight in July. That wasn’t the only Welterweight legend he beat on the streak, as he also broke the hearts of 18,630 Ohioans (myself included) in attendance for UFC Columbus. Where Barberena and Columbus native Matt Brown put on one of the greatest three round wars of the year, with Barberena coming out on top of a close, bloody, Split Decision. This Saturday Barberena will look to yet again out-violence another UFC veteran and legend in former Lightweight Champion, Rafael Dos Anjos. After being finished by young, rising, Lightweight prospect, Rafael Fiziev; Dos Anjos declared he will be moving back up to 170 pounds for the second time in his career. More importantly, RDA stated he only wants fun fights for the remainder of his career, and this weekend Bryan Barberena will be his huckleberry.
All gas, no brakes ⛽️
— UFC (@ufc) November 29, 2022