Fight Night 24 Thesis Statement

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UFC Fight Night 119 heads back to Brazil this Saturday and will feature a top talent looking to make a statement, and the return of a former champion. Derek Brunson, the No. 7 ranked middleweight in the world, will take on Brazilian legend Lyoto Machida in a fight that means something vastly different to both fighters.

For Brunson, Saturday’s clash is a chance to defeat a legend and prove that he belongs in the top 5 of the middleweight rankings. He’s coming off a first-round TKO and dismantling of Daniel Kelly in June. Prior to defeating Kelly, Brunson was on a two-fight losing skid with losses to interim champion Robert Whitaker and long-time champion Anderson Silva.

The loss to Silva was highly controversial, as Brunson landed more
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During his respected career, Machida has had key wins over other big MMA names, including Gegard Mousasi, Dan Henderson, Ryan Bader, Rashad Evans, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, BJ Penn and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

Co-main event

Saturday night’s co-main event is a welterweight bout between a highly-ranked veteran and a rising star looking to make a statement.

No. 3 ranked welterweight Demian Maia is fighting for the first time since losing to champion Tyron Woodley in July. He’ll take on the No. 8 ranked welterweight, Colby Covington, with the benefit, or perhaps the added pressure, of fighting in his native Brazil.

Prior to the unanimous decision loss to Woodley, Maia had reeled off seven straight victories, using his superb jiu-jitsu to his advantage against his opposition. Covington has high-level wrestling, which Maia will certainly test. Woodley was the first and only fighter to completely shut down Maia’s takedown attempts, so Covington will have his hands full.

Covington is riding a four-fight win streak, but Maia will without a doubt be his toughest opponent yet. He last defeated Dong Hyun Kim in June, and his last loss was in December 2015 to Warlley Alves. A win over Maia would likely propel him into the top 5 of the welterweight division.

A win for Maia would put him right back in the title conversation, but he
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