Lafayette heavyweight champion making UFC debut

SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 19:  (R-L) Daniel Cormier punches Josh Barnett during the Strikeforce event at HP Pavilion on May 19, 2012 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Esther Lin/Forza LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 19: (R-L) Daniel Cormier punches Josh Barnett during the Strikeforce event at HP Pavilion on May 19, 2012 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Esther Lin/Forza LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Matt Ramsay

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship looks to put a cap on some unfinished business it has with its partner Strikeforce when Gilbert Melendez, Strikeforce’s lightweight champion, will face off against UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson this Saturday night, April 20, in San Jose, Calif. This will be the second UFC card in a row shown live and free on network cable TV. This card is certainly worthy of a pay-per-view so be sure to take advantage and watch this one for free.

Also, check out Lafayette native Daniel Cormier taking on Frank Mir in the co-main event, with a guaranteed No. 1 contender spot for Cormier if he wins.

Check below for viewing details.

Main Event: Unification of lightweight titles

Live on Fox

Benson “Smooth” Henderson vs. Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez

Benson Henderson – Colorado Springs, Colo., 5-9, 155 pounds, 17-2-0 (lightweight champion)
Gilbert Melendez – Santa Ana, Calif., 5-9, 155 pounds, 21-2-0 (Strikeforce lightweight champion)

At last, the much anticipated championship match will finally take place to solidify the best lightweight in the world. Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez have a lot in common, both holding two lightweight titles in UFC-owned organizations.

Henderson, the current lightweight champion, was also the lightweight champion in the World Extreme Cagefighting organization. Melendez, the last Strikeforce champion on record, was a lightweight champion for WEC as well. Henderson and Melendez both came from a grappling base and then added other martial arts to their game.

Henderson has been in some epic battles in the past, with two “Fight of the Year” awards.

This could definitely be a third.

Henderson by Unanimous Decision

Co-Main Event:

Frank Mir vs. Daniel “DC” Cormier

Frank Mir – Las Vegas, 6-3, 240 pounds, 16-6-0 (Former Heavyweight Champion)
Daniel Cormier – Lafayette, 5-10, 240 pounds, 11-0-0 (Strikeforce heavyweight grand-prix winner)

Louisiana’s own Daniel Cormier looks to continue his path through the elite of heavyweight mixed martial artists, this time fighting two-time heavyweight champion Frank Mir. Mir is hands down the most experienced UFC heavyweight ever and was at one time on the verge of being the best heavyweight ever in the UFC organization.

This will be another huge test for Cormier, facing his third opponent in his past four fights ranked in the Top 10, all while making his UFC debut this weekend. Cormier won the Grand Prix tournament in Strikeforce, so experience like that will help tremendously.

Cormier will have the advantage on the feet, and it will be interesting to say the least if the fight hits the mat. Mir’s jiu-jitsu is the best in the heavyweight division. However, Cormier is one of the most decorated wrestlers to enter mixed martial arts. With that said, I would have to think both men’s game plans are to keep it on their feet as long as possible. If that happens, Cormier should be able to wear down Mir with his jab.

With a win over a kingpin like Mir, one would have to think Cormier could name his No. 1 contender spot, whether it will be in the heavyweight division or the light heavyweight division.

Cormier by TKO (Strikes)

Nate Diaz vs. Josh “The Punk” Thompson

Nate Diaz – Stockton, Calif., 6-0, 155 pounds, 16-8-0 (The Ultimate Fighter 5 winner)
Josh Thompson – San Jose, Calif., 5-10, 155 pounds, 19-5-0

Nate Diaz and Josh Thompson are both coming off title shot losses in their last outing and now will refocus on getting right back in the title hunt. Thompson has resharpened his tools, but unfortunately will be running into another buzz saw. Thompson has faced Gilbert Melendez three times which is a training partner of Diaz. Diaz has faced stiffer competition throughout his career, not to mention he won the “Ultimate Fighter 5” tournament.

Diaz has 10 post-fight awards just in the UFC alone, so he should have quite the edge in Octagon experience over Thompson.

Diaz by Unanimous Decision

Matt “The Immortal” Brown vs. Jordan “Young Gun” Mein

Matt Brown – Xenia, Ohio, 6-0, 170 pounds, 18-11-0
Jordan Mein – Lethbridge, Alberta, 6-0, 170 pounds, 27-8-0

Brown by Submission (Guillotine Choke)


Live on FX

Chad Mendes vs. Darren Elkins

Francis Carmont vs. Lorenz Larkin

Ramsey Nijem vs. Myles Jury

Joseph Benavidez vs. Darren Uyenoyama

Tim Means vs. Jorge Masvidal

Live on

T.J. Dillashaw vs. Hugo Viana

Anthony Njokuani vs. Roger Bowling

Clifford Starks vs. Yoel Romero