Posted 05/29/2014 by Mike Fagan in Untethered MMA

UFC Fight Night 44: Mark Munoz vs. Gegard Mousasi Preview

It feels like the UFC’s run a few of these doubleheader days, but their Wikipedia event page (i.e., the greatest MMA resource on the planet) shows that this is only the second occurrence. The inaugural double event came back in December of 2012 when the UFC followed an FX event in Australia with the The Ultimate Fighter: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson Finale. The UFC will follow a similar pattern here as the Berlin event leads into the The Ultimate Fighter Brazil (3? 4?) Finale, and it’s all available, for the low, low monthly payment of $9.95, on UFC Fight Pass!


The UFC returns to Germany after three-and-a-half years away, and they somehow fell below the very short bar they set for themselves back in 2009-2010. Their first venture, UFC 99, wasn’t all that bad a card. Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva met for the first time at a 195-pound catchweight due to the latter transitioning his career down to middleweight. Cain Velasquez picked up a “questionable chin” tag that would haunt him for the next couple years en route to routing Cheick Kongo. Mirko Cro Cop was the big Euro draw, and he Liddelled/Jonesed Mostapha Al-Turk. The UFC filled the rest of the undercard and prelims with some names we still remember in 2014: Mike Swick, Ben Saunders, Spencer Fisher, Caol Uno, Marcus Davis, Dan Hardy, Terry Etim, Dennis Siver, Stefan Stuve, John Hathaway, and Rick Story.

UFC 122 came just over a year later, and it wasn’t so good. Yushin Okami and Nate Marquardt headlined in a good fight, but one of the worst numbered/big card/whatever-you-want-to-call-it main events in UFC history. (Also, what kind of world do we live in where Nate Marquardt still has a UFC job while Yushin Okami languishes in World Series of Fighting?) Dennis Siver co-mained this thing with Andre Winner, who you probably forgot existed until just now. There are some old UFC names on here – Amir Sadollah, Krzysztof Soszynski, Duane Ludwig, Vladimir Matyushenko – but no one making any sort of mark in 2014′s UFC.

Saturday’s card in Berlin may hold up to UFC 122, especially relative to one being a numbered event (on Spike TV) and the other being a Fight Night on Fight Pass. Munoz and Mousasi is a great fight for free, and holds some relevance in a division that is wide-open outside the top 4-5 spots. Francis Carmont and CB Dollaway is a fight that doesn’t make my boy parts quiver, but doesn’t make me vomit either. The rest of the undercard and prelims is your standard Fight Pass fair, though burying seventh-ranked Iuri Alcantara and Vaughan Lee on a Fight Pass prelim seems like a curious decision.


I’ve long thought Mark Munoz was overrated, benefiting mostly from beating Demian Maia – his signature UFC win – before the latter moved down to welterweight. And I still hold to that, though Munoz’s record, outside of his UFC debut loss to Matt Hamill at 205 pounds, isn’t awful. His three losses at middleweight have come at the hands of Yushin Okami, Chris Weidman, and Lyoto Machida.

Unfortunately for Munoz, he’s fighting Gegard Mousasi, who should slot nicely into that group. Mousasi is 28, and though he’s long in fight years, should be in or near his prime years, where Munoz is 36 and probably cashing checks as his athletic window closes. Mousasi is also likely just a better MMA talent. Munoz’s wrestling pedigree and power suggested a high ceiling, but he never faired well against elite competition (unless we’re counting Maia, and then we’re arguing minutaie). Mousasi doesn’t have as many samples against the elite, but he acquitted himself well against Machida, all things considered, and he’s done a better job of dominating lesser fighters throughout his career.


There was a rumor back in late 2008 that Chuck Liddell would move up to fight Randy Couture at heavyweight. That fight would have gone down at UFC 99, and the winner, apparently, would have earned a shot at the heavyweight title. Brock Lesnar had just won the title from Couture at UFC 91, and would go on to unify his title in a dominant performance over interim champion Frank Mir. Diverticulitis took him out until the summer of 2010, which means the Couture/Liddell winner would have probably fought Shane Carwin for the new interim title (in actuality, Mir fought Carwin at UFC 111).

Of course, the fight never happened. Liddell would be knocked out by Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 97 and then Rich Franklin at UFC 115 before being semi-forced into retirement. Couture dropped a decision to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in a memorable fight at UFC 102 before rattling off the best win streak of his career over Brandon Vera, Mark Coleman, and James Toney. Lyoto Machida ended that run and sent a Couture tooth sailing into the crowd with a jumping kick at the big UFC 129 stadium show in Toronto.

Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. Follow him on Twitter


Mike Fagan