Five most intriguing bouts at UFC 189 and The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale

The fight world has a packed schedule this weekend with UFC 189 tomorrow and The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale on Sunday.UFC 189 New

Even with the unfortunate withdrawal of Jose Aldo, UFC 189 is one of the better offers the UFC has put out in recent memory. And while much has been discussed about the two title fights, specially the interim featherweight bout, now is chance to look ahead to some other bouts of importance.

Below are 5 of the more intriguing fights on the weekend.

5. Cody Garbrandt vs. Enrique Briones – UFC 189
Garbrandt debuted with authority, thoroughly dismantling Marcus Brimage. This is essentially a showcase fight for the Team Alpha Male wunderkind. He should be better than the TUF Latin America veteran just about everywhere. Keep an eye on Garbrandt, as he brings a special type of violence to the octagon and is one the better prospects under 155lbs.

4. Brad Pickett vs. Thomas Almeida – UFC 189
After losing 2 of 3 to top contenders at bantamweight, Pickett tried his hand at flyweight where he no longer had a speed advantage, and he went 1-2. Perhaps at the age of 36, his punishing style of fighting is starting to catch up with him. Nevertheless, Pickett returns to bantamweight in hopes of derailing the hype train of the highly touted Thomas Almeida. Almeida is 2-0 in the UFC and is coming off an excellent knockout win over Yves Jabouin. This fight will likely decide whether Pickett can still hang around the division as a gatekeeper or if Almeida is one to watch among the division’s elite.

3. Stephen Thompson vs. Jake Ellenberger – TUF 21 Finale
Thompson has won 4 in a row and is on the verge of breaking through to contender status. At age 32, the time is likely now or never. Ellenberger is looking to gain some momentum and string a few wins together after a disastrous couple of years. This fight will come down to how long Ellenberger takes before he decides to try to take the fight to the floor and if Thompson can defend the takedown. Thompson will want to keep the fight standing and use his karate style to stay on the outside, avoiding the thunderous right hand of Ellenberger.

2. Gunner Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch – UFC 189
Thanks to a late opponent switch, we are now treated to two of the better prospects both looking to rebound after high profile losses. Nelson will look to follow a similar game-plan as Benson Henderson by taking the fight to the ground and hunting for submissions while Thatch will try to impose his size on Nelson and use his dynamic striking. A loss here with Nelson, specifically a finish, may send Nelson down to lightweight; a move many have been clamoring for since his debut.

1. Matt Brown vs. Tim Means – UFC 189
Two of the most violent men in the UFC go at it in a bout of consequence. Brown needs a win to put an end to a two fight skid while Means is looking to continue his winning streak and break into the top 10. Except much of this fight to be contested in the clinch, as both men are adept in the art of dirty boxing. Expect elbows, knees, fists, blood, and fun. This should be a good one.