Donald Cerrone will attempt to snap the longest losing streak of his career when he meets Yancy Medeiros in the UFC Fight Night 126 headliner on Sunday at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Meanwhile, the heavyweights take center stage in the co-feature, as Derrick Lewis battles Marcin Tybura.
Though short on star power, the event could see a number of fighters pushing for opportunities of more significance by the time it ends. Here are five reasons to watch the UFC Fight Night “Cerrone vs. Medeiros” main card:
1. Turning Point
After a 0-3 record in 2017, Cerrone returns to the limelight in desperate need of a win to get his career back on track. “Cowboy” finds himself pitted against Medeiros, an opponent on a three-fight winning streak who is eager to place himself in the upper echelon of the welterweight division. No one could have foreseen Cerrone’s present difficulties, as he went 4-0 in 2016 with wins over Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, Rick Story and Matt Brown. Does the Jackson-Wink MMA standout still have what it takes to compete at a high level, or has he lost one step too many at age 34?
2. Another “Super” Showcase
Despite a few notable setbacks for Sage Northcutt, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has made it a point to keep the Texan in the spotlight. The karateka draws Thibault Gouti in his latest assignment. Still just 21 years old, Northcutt continues to try to unlock his considera-ble potential with each appearance inside the Octagon. Though some observers may be suffering from “Super Sage” fatigue, his talents are undeniable and make him a must-see attraction here.
3. Homecoming of Sorts
Operating out of Houston, roughly 150 miles from the Frank Erwin Center, Lewis returns to the Lone Star State for just the second time -- he took out Viktor Pesta at UFC 192 -- since he joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster in 2014. A showdown with Tybura awaits. Lewis could use some home cooking after he was victimized by Mark Hunt in a fourth-round technical knockout at UFC Fight Night 110 on June 11 in New Zealand. Expect a warm welcome for “The Black Beast.”
4. Raising the Stakes
James Vick has been unstoppable throughout his career, outside of a June 2016 knockout loss to Beneil Dariush. The Team Lloyd Irvin representative has rattled off three straight wins since -- a run that has him knocking on the door to the top 10 at 155 pounds. Vick’s next challenge comes in the form of Francisco Trinaldo, who has compiled an 8-1 mark over his last nine fights, including a decision victory over the aforementioned Medeiros. Based on their trajectory, past success and compelling styles, this may be the fight to watch.
5. Potential Breakthrough
Legacy Fighting Alliance veteran Curtis Millender will make his UFC debut against former welterweight title contender Thiago Alves. It goes without saying that this could be a career-altering opportunity for Millender. The 30-year-old carries a six-fight winning streak -- he has knocked out his last two opponents with head kicks -- and beating an accomplished fighter like Alves would put him on the map in ways he might not have previously imagined. Millender has not tasted defeat in more than two years and clearly has himself pointed in the right direction.