As the dust continues to settle from the epic UFC 217 pay per view, sitting there quietly under the MMA radar is UFC Norfolk: Poirier vs. Pettis. Unbeknownst to some is a fight card littered with storylines and potentially game changing scenarios.
The evening’s main event will feature perennial contender Dustin Poirier taking on former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. One exciting fighter in “The Diamond”, who is looking to put his opponent’s career in serious jeopardy while “Showtime” is a victory away from being seriously respected once again, in an incredibly stacked division.
In the evening’s co-main event, welterweight Matt “The Immortal” Brown will be entering the octagon in his farewell bout vs. Diego Sanchez. Rest assured, that although this is Matt’s swan song, not many people can see him throwing caution to the wind. Look for him to try and earn Performance and Fight of The Night Bonuses to cash out big time, and for his opponent to be more than happy to oblige.
Former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will be taking on Junior Albini, in a tilt many believe that not only will be Andre’s last in the UFC, but one that will see him exit off the highway to the Town of Bellatorville.
And will the same be said of Nate Marquardt, who will be taking on middleweight Cezar Ferriera. In his past 11 fights, Nate has only had his arm raised in victory three times. He’s also on a two fight losing streak. Will the third spell the end for the former King of Pancrase?
There are also a twl bantamweight bouts that pundits will be paying close attention to.
On the main card, Raphael Assuncao will tangle with Matthew Lopez. For my money, Assuncao is a forgotten threat in this division, while the same can be said of John Dodson, who will do everything in his power to prove Marlon Moraes cannot cut in the UFC.
While winning is of paramount importance, I get the sense that Assuncao, Dodson and Moraes may have the mindset that a finish is mandatory in their bouts, so perhaps risk taking may be part of their gameplans.
While the rest of the card still has some high quality bouts, the final one I have my eye on is the lightweight tilt between Sage Northcutt and Michel Quinones.
Northcutt is a fighter the UFC would really like to see flourish under the spotlights. He has the look and charisma that could cater to a demographic they want more fans to come out of of. For the hardcore fans, he is the anti-fighter, while the mainstream non-confrontational fans, could see Sage as their ideal favorite UFC athlete.
His opponent though is somewhat of an unknown, a surprising commodity with high upside. My first glimpse into the world of “El Capo”, was when I called his fight Caio Rocha at Titan FC 43. It was expected that Rocha was going to win the fight, and either get the call up to the UFC, or fight for the LW title. Instead, Quinones jumped the line - he not only defeated Rocha, but subsequently got called up to the big show.
While his rookie effort inside the octagon did not go as planned, the TKO loss to Jaren Gordon was likely a setback and a an experience to live and learn. He’s now 8-2, the same record as Northcutt, and only one will go to 9-2, while the other, 8-3, something the UFC may not be overly happy with should it be ‘Super Sage’.
UFC Norfolk promises to be a fun card on Saturday night, and to make things better (or zanier), Sean Ross Sapp and I will go live, with the Fightful Post Show Podcast, to recap the event, give our analysis and interact with anyone who will take the time to join us on the live chat.