This Sunday night Halifax, Nova Scotia will play host to UFC Fight Night 105. The rare Sunday night card is headline by a heavyweight clash between Derrick Lewis and Travis Browne. This card seems tailor made to trim some of the fat from the UFC roster. The top three matchups on this card feature fighters who are almost certainly going to be looking for work should they suffer losses on Sunday. The out with the old, in with the new attitude that surrounds UFC Fight Night 105 feels incredibly purposeful in looking at the matchmaking. Let’s take a peek at just what makes this card so ominous.
DERRICK LEWIS VS TRAVIS BROWNE
Derrick Lewis may be the best thing to happen to the UFC heavyweight division in years. His hilarious presence on social media is legendary amongst fight fans and his performances in the Octagon have been explosive. In nine UFC fights, Lewis has only had one fight go to the judges and that was against the always-durable Roy Nelson. He is currently riding a five-fight win streak, which is longer than any fighter inside the top-five or the champion, Stipe Miocic. Clearly he is poised to crack the top-five at heavyweight and a convincing win over Browne should help him do just that. While Lewis is riding a wave of momentum his opponent, Travis Browne has had a precipitous fall from the top. At one point, Browne was 7-1-1 in the UFC and was just one fight away from a title shot. Then he went on a run that saw him go 2-4 over his next six. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and third loss might be all she wrote for the one-time contender. This matchup certainly isn’t doing Browne any favors as the momentum is clearly on the side of Derrick Lewis.
JOHNNY HENDRICKS VS HECTOR LOMBARD
In the co-main event, you have two fighters whose potential for greatness is only matched by their inability to stay relevant. First you have Hector Lombard, the one time Olympian, former Bellator champion, and all around powerhouse. Lombard has never been able to find steady success in the UFC. His up and down results look much worse when you add to them a positive drug test for anabolic steroids following a unanimous decision win at UFC 182. The promise that Lombard brought to the UFC as a 31-2-1 pro was centered on his ability to finish fights and his supreme athleticism. Instead of coming in and making a run at then middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, Lombard lost his first UFC fight and with it his mystique. Now he is being asked to welcome Johnny Hendricks to the middleweight division, a dubious honor. Hendricks is at an all time low point in his career and a loss to Hendricks would surely be a step toward the exit for Lombard. For Hendricks, this fight is quite literally a make it or break it moment. He has lost three fights in a row and in his last two fights he has missed weight. As a result, he is now being forced to move up to middleweight. Many have joked that he will not make the 185-pound weight limit. While that sounds absurd, there certainly could be a part of Hendricks feeling the pressure to have his weight on point for this matchup. A loss in this fight will all but guarantee Hendricks gets a pink slip.
SAM SICILIA VS GAVIN TUCKER
Sam Sicilia always seems to be teetering between good and bad performances in the UFC. Coming into Sunday, he is riding a two-fight losing streak. With the rate fighters are being released from the UFC as of late, it would make sense that the inconsistent Washingtonian would be released should he lose his third. As far as the matchup at UFC Fight Night 105 is concerned, it would appear Sicilia has been given a chance to play spoiler to a debuting prospect. A win and Sicilia stays with the promotion as a “gatekeeper,” a loss and he is more than likely going to be on the next cut list. Sicilia’s opponent, Gavin Tucker, is a top prospect from Canada and who has a penchant for finishing fights. Tucker is 9-0 with 8 straight wins coming by either submission or knockout. For Tucker, a debut against a veteran like Sicilia is a dangerous one; the one thing that is always consistent for Sicilia is his power. Sicilia has power and if he connects on Tucker it could be a short night for the debuting prospect. This fight could go a long way in deciding the immediate future of both fighters, but this is likely a make it or break it moment for Sam Sicilia.