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UFC 119: No title fights? No problem

Mirko Filipovic might not be the force he once was, but the Croatian can still be dangerous. Daniel Herbertson for ESPN.com

With no championship bouts on the line, why watch UFC 119? Despite the fact that there is nothing immediately at stake for the fighters at this particular event, the card has been very well crafted by UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. There are at least a couple bouts on the card that make up for the fact that a title strap is not up for grabs. Personally, I’ve been anticipating Serra vs. Lytle for quite some time, and it ought to provide spectators with the most entertaining fight of the night.

  • Obviously the biggest reason to watch UFC 119 is to see if Cro Cop can actually make it into the Octagon. The Croatian fighter recently sustained a significant eye injury in a last-minute sparring session. The eye-poke heard around the world created waves on the rumor-mills over the weekend, with many reporting that the main event fight between Cro Cop and Mir had been canceled. Although Dana White is continuing to communicate that the fight will go on, Cro Cop still has to pass a final exam before he’s good to go. Keep your fingers crossed.

  • Will Ryan Bader go to 12-0? If he does, it will arguably be the biggest victory in his professional career. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is on a 7-fight win streak and will likely be the favorite in the bout. Winner of this fight will surely leap into light heavyweight title-contender talk.

  • Can former NFL player, Matt Mitrione, beat a UFC fighter not named Kimbo? Despite going 2-0 in the UFC with a win against fellow NFL alum, Marcus Jones, and former street fighter Kimbo Slice, Mitrione has yet to face an opponent with a solid MMA record. Joey Beltran, who sports a 12-3 record, will be the TUF 10 alum’s first true test.

  • Will Frank Mir lose two fights in a row for the first time? Mir, who’s most recent fight was a loss against Shane Carwin at UFC 111, hasn’t been defeated back-to-back in his 18-fight MMA career. Cro Cop’s abbreviated training camp (he took this fight on short notice) and eye-injury might just be the edge Mir will need to get by the PRIDE favorite.

  • Does Serra vs. Lytle win Fight of the Night? Both Serra and Lytle are jiu jitsu black belts that also like to throw the leather. Although there are no immediate stakes involved in their match-up, expect both fighters to leave it all in the cage regardless.

  • Will Sean Sherk continue to dull our MMA senses by bringing yet another fight to a decision? Or will undefeated Evan Dunham, who wins the majority of his fights via submission, show Sherk how it’s done? Win or loss, Sherk hasn’t seen a finish in almost four and half years.

  • Will Melvin Guillard put his money where his mouth is? After his win at UFC 114, Houston-based fighter Guillard, called out Jeremy Stephens for his next fight. Now that the UFC brass has given him his wish, Guillard will now have to put up or shut up.

  • Can Pride vet, Mark Hunt, change his luck when he steps into the Octagon for the very first time? Or does the former kick boxer extend his MMA losing streak to six? His opponent, Sean McCorkle, has a 9-0 record, but no wins against significant opponents. McCorkle might just be the opponent that the 36-year-old Hunt needs to face in order for him to turn around his career.

UFC 119 will be held at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 25. The main event will broadcast via pay-per-view, whereas two preliminary bouts will air on Spike TV.

Main Card (Pay-per-view)

  • Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. Frank Mir

  • Ryan Bader vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

  • Chris Lytle vs. Matt Serra

  • Evan Dunham vs. Sean Sherk

  • Melvin Guillard vs. Jeremy Stephens

Prelim Card (Spike TV)

  • C.B. Dollaway vs. Joe Doerksen

  • Joey Beltran vs. Matt Mitrione

Prelim Card (Un-aired)

  • Pat Audinwood vs. Thiago Tavares

  • Steve Lopez vs. Waylon Lowe

  • T.J. Grant vs. Julio Paulino

  • Mark Hunt vs. Sean McCorkle