On February 5th, 1943, middleweight slugger Jake LaMotta defeated Sugar Ray Robinson via a unanimous decision at Olympia Stadium in Detroit. It was the second of what would eventually total six bouts between the two legends; it was also the only time LaMotta would emerge victorious over his fierce rival. Many years later, the great Robert De Niro would be crowned Best Actor for his portrayal of LaMotta in the critically acclaimed film, Raging Bull…
It’s not very likely that this upcoming February 5th produces a fight with the historic significance of LaMotta versus Robinson, but it is worth noting that UFC Vegas 47 will be held that day. The main event of the evening features middleweight veterans Jack Hermansson and Sean Strickland in a showdown of two of the top ten contenders in the division. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Hermansson vs. Strickland
Although Jack Hermansson has lost two of his last four fights, he is still one of the most highly respected fighters in the middleweight division. Those losses came at the hands of Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori, two of the toughest men in all of Mixed Martial Arts. Hermansson has done more than enough to gain the respect he has among his peers.
He once went undefeated for over two years, from March of 2014 through September of 2016. During that time span, he was able to obtain two European middleweight championships and make his successful transition to the UFC. He is currently ranked sixth in the division by the organization and still hoping for his first shot at the title.Embed from Getty Images
Sean Strickland will enter his February 5th contest on a five-fight win streak. He is currently ranked seventh in the division, yet he has never been given a title shot in the UFC. Fighting is all Strickland knows; he dropped out of school at the age of sixteen and immediately became a professional fighter. For a guy without a high school diploma, he’s carved out quite a niche for himself.
He’ll have his hands full with Hermansson on Saturday, but the obstacles Strickland has overcome in life are far more impressive than any he’s faced inside of the octagon.Embed from Getty Images
Soriano vs. Maximov
Punahele Soriano is 29-years-old and in his third year on the UFC’s roster. Nick Maximov is 24 years old and preparing for just the second UFC event of his career. While Soriano has the advantage in age and experience, Maximov has the advantage in striking. He is seen as one of the best punching prospects in the middleweight division, coming off of his unanimous decision victory over Cody Brundage at UFC 266. Soriano, on the other hand, is one of the best grapplers in the sport.
He was originally introduced to other fighters to help improve their wrestling skills, having won a State wrestling championship in high school and been named an All-American wrestler in college. He fell in love with the sport and decided to turn pro after watching his pupils excel inside the octagon. Soriano versus Maximov will be a clash of contrasting styles. May the best man win.
Rakhmanov vs. Harris
Shavkhat Rakhmanov has gone undefeated in his first two appearances in the UFC. Unfortunately, he’s only fought once per calendar year in 2020 and 2021. With an early start this year, Rakhmanov’s camp has promised that 2022 will see a return to his previous levels of annual activity. Carlston Harris won his first two UFC appearances in May and September of last year.
He is considered one of the most promising prospects in the welterweight division; it took him 19 professional fights to get a chance in the UFC and he’s stated that he plans to stick around for a long time. Rakhmanov and Harris are putting their win streaks on the line when they face one another on Saturday; the winner will climb in the rankings while the loser will be back to square one.
Alvey vs. Allen
At just 35-years-old, there are rumors swirling that light-heavyweight veteran Sam Alvey is on the verge of retirement. That is due to the fact that he’s lost five of his last six bouts, with the lone exception being called a draw. He hasn’t won a fight since June of 2018; if he doesn’t emerge victorious soon, he may very well be removed from the UFC’s roster.
Brendan Allen is coming off of a disappointing loss to Chris Curtis in December. He is looking to get back in the win column and start 2022 off right. He’s the heavy favorite leading up to Saturday’s bout, but he knows he can’t let his guard down against a fighter as experienced as Alvey.
Gore vs. Battle
Middleweight fighter, Tresean Gore is a mystery. After winning two amateur fights in 2014, he went off the radar. He reappeared in 2018, this time as a professional, and quickly won two fights on the regional circuit. What he did during the four years he was away is anybody’s guess.
After taking all of 2019 off from competition, he fought again in 2020, winning yet again. In 2021, he again went the entire calendar year without competing. Somehow, after all of the sporadic appearances he’s made, he finds himself on the main card of a UFC Fight Night at the Apex Center. There are a lot of more deserving fighters who would be thrilled to have this opportunity; he owes it to himself to make the most of it.
Bryan Battle won a UFC contract during the final episode of The Ultimate Fighter back in August of 2021. His upcoming fight on Saturday is his debut as an official member of the roster. His story of training in mixed martial arts just to lose weight in order to save his life is truly inspirational. Win, lose, or draw, Battle has successfully used the sport to turn his life around. For that, he deserves a round of applause.
Erosa vs. Peterson
Featherweights Julian Erosa and Steven Peterson, each fought in regional circuits in the Western United States before finally getting their shot at mainstream success. At 32 and 31-years-old respectively, both men have a lot of good years left, but each knows now is the time to make a serious move in the division.
Neither man is ranked in the top ten and neither man has been given a title fight in the UFC. Fight fans should expect a war when these two men climb into the octagon together; the trajectories of each fighter’s career will be on the line.
How to watch
UFC Fight Night can be viewed on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and on ESPN Plus in the United States. As always, we’ll have all of the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in-depth analysis, available right here at World In Sport!