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ufc fight night 68

When you look at the lineup for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 68 card, it’s hard to pinpoint much of importance in terms of the championship chase.

Yes, heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Matt Mitrione are on the cusp of contending, and sure, Joe Soto fought for the UFC bantamweight title in his debut, but there’s one key component that must not be overlooked.

Dan Henderson.

Like Randy Couture, BJ Penn, Chuck Liddell and countless others before him, each time Henderson steps foot inside the Octagon it just might be his last.

Henderson is one of the all-time greats, dominating over a period of time in multiple weight classes. While he didn’t secure UFC gold, he has went toe-to-toe with the legends of the sport.

As always, FightLine will have you covered with complete results, including live play-by-play of the event.

So, here’s a look at three key fights set for the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans this weekend. And, hint, hint, Henderson is included:

Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch

As previously mentioned, it’s hard to remember the Henderson that wore Pride middleweight and welterweight gold, along with the Strikeforce light heavyweight title from years past.

He’s been on the receiving end of a pair of tough losses to stomach at the hands of Gegard Mousasi and Daniel Cormier in recent years, along with fights vs. Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida.

In fact, Henderson hasn’t beat somebody other than Mauricio “Shogun” Rua since July 2011 when he finished Fedor Emelianenko.

For Boetsch, this fight is a career-defining moment. The 34-year-old is several bouts removed from a four-fight win streak that featured victories over Hector Lombard and Yushin Okami.

To make a statement and remain relevant, he’ll need to forget about a January submission loss to Thales Leites and focus in on Henderson, much like he did vs. Brad Tavares last August and C.B. Dollaway in 2013.

Ben Rothwell vs. Matt Mitrione

Like Boetsch, this could be the fight that sets the tone for the rest of Matt Mitrione’s future.

The Ultimate Fighter alum, who’s made all 12 of his pro bouts inside the Octagon, has looked incredible in stringing together three consecutive wins. Mitrione’s finished Gabriel Gonzaga, Derrick Lewis and Shawn Jordan in that time.

Rothwell, meanwhile, made an impact last September when he finished Alistair Overeem. Now, though, he’ll be the hunted vs. Mitrione.

“Big Ben” has been inside the Octagon with some of the best in the heavyweight division, including Overeem, Mark Hunt, Cain Velasquez, Andrei Arlovski and Roy Nelson.

Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak

So I might have cheated a bit when I mentioned members of all three key fights inside of the opening paragraphs, but this bantamweight affair between Joe Soto and Anthony Birchak has intrigue.

We all remember Soto’s debut, as the former Bellator champion was cast into the spotlight vs. T.J. Dillashaw after Renan Barao passed out cutting weight. Officials moved him from an early prelim into a world title fight, and Soto went 20-plus minutes with Dillashaw.

Now, he’ll face the man he was scheduled to meet on that August night in Birchak, who lost his debut with the UFC last December via submission to Ian Entwistle.

ufc fight night 68

The Octagon heads to New Orleans this Saturday night with another FOX Sports 1 event, UFC Fight Night 68.

Featuring Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch, much of the action airs on FS1 from the Smoothie King Center.

The original main event was to include Daniel Cormier returning home to take on Ryan Bader, but officials placed “DC” in a light heavyweight title fight – which he won, submitting Anthony Johnson late last month.

Along with Henderson-Boetsch, the card includes Matt Mitrione vs. Ben Rothwell, Dustin Poirier vs. Yancy Medeiros, Thiago Tavares vs. Brian Ortega and Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak.

Check out the complete lineup below, along with a video preview:

MAIN CARD (FOX Sports 1/10 p.m. ET)

Middleweight: Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch

Heavyweight: Matt Mitrione vs. Ben Rothwell

Lightweight: Dustin Poirier vs. Yancy Medeiros

Featherweight: Thiago Tavares vs. Brian Ortega

Bantamweight: Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak

Bantamweight: Alex Caceres vs. Francisco Rivera

PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1/8 p.m. ET)

Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis vs. Shawn Jordan

Welterweight: Brian Ebersole vs. Omari Akhmedov

Lightweight: Christos Giagos vs. Chris Wade

Lightweight: Joe Proctor vs. Justin Edwards

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/7 p.m. ET)

Middleweight: Jake Collier vs. Ricardo Abreu

Bantamweight: Leonardo Morales vs. Jose Quinonez

ufc fight night 67

Continuing their incredible stretch of weekly events, the Octagon touched down in Brazil Saturday night with UFC Fight Night 67.

With one perfectly-placed elbow, Carlos Condit served notice that he is still a threat in the welterweight division. Returning after a year-long layoff, the former interim UFC champion scored a finish vs. Thiago Alves after breaking his nose in the second round.

Alves wanted to continue, but the doctor called for the end of the fight. Condit was returning after undergoing knee surgery suffered during a loss to Tyron Woodley.

The co-main event stole the show, as Charles Oliveira ended his “rivalry” with Nik Lentz by securing his seventh submission win inside the Octagon. These two, who fought to a no-contest due to an illegal knee previously, went toe-to-toe through the first two rounds. It was Oliveira, though, who started the third quicker, jumping into a standing guillotine and holding it until Lentz tapped.

Alex Oliveira, who also carries the nickname “Cowboy,” earned a career-defining win when he submitted KJ Noons inside of three minutes. Oliveira replaced Yan Cabral and showed no issues fighting in a different weight class or at home.

In a very slow and methodical battle, Francimar Barroso downed Ryan Jimmo. The highlight, unfortunately, was a nasty low blow that nearly ended it for Jimmo. Brazilian Francisco Trinaldo showed off improved striking, claiming a split decision over former Ultimate Fighter winner Norman Parke.

For Darren Till, his UFC debut vs. Wendell Oliveira went just as his coaches wanted. Till “let Oliveira beat him up” for the first round, taking him down to start the second and knocking him out with a vicious elbow. The English fighter remained unbeaten with a knockout.

Rony Jason gave the Brazilian fans something to cheer about, locking up a triangle choke on Damon Jackson in the prelim main event. Jussier Formiga and Wilson Reis fought to a decision in a key flyweight affair, as Formiga claimed his 18th career victory and could put himself in line for a future title shot.

In a battle of Octagon newcomers, Nicholas Dalby claimed a split decision over Brazilian fighter Elizeu Zakeski, much to the surprise of Dalby. The featherweight division has another up-and-coming prospect, as Mirsad Bektic improved to 3-0 with the promotion after a second round finish of Lucas Martins.

British fighter Tom Breese had a picture-perfect Octagon debut, finishing Luiz Dutra with just two seconds left in the first round to open the card. Also, Juliana Lima earned a decision over Ericka Almeida in early prelim action.

Charles Oliveira and Lentz earned “Fight of the Night” honors, while Oliveira and Jason also picked up “Performance of the Night” bonuses. The attendance was announced at approximately 3,500 inside the Goiania Arena.

Complete results can be found below:

Carlos Condit def. Thiago Alves via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 2

Alex Oliveira def. KJ Noons via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:51 of Round 1

Francimar Barroso def. Ryan Jimmo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Francisco Trinaldo def. Norman Parke via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Darren Till def. Wendell Oliveira via KO (elbow) at 1:37 of Round 2

Rony Jason def. Damon Jackson via submission (triangle choke) at 3:31 of Round 1

Jussier Formiga def. Wilson Reis via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Nicholas Dalby def. Elizeu Zakeski via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Mirsad Bektic def. Lucas Martins via TKO (strikes) at :30 of Round 2

Juliana Lima def. Ericka Almeida via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)

Tom Breese def. Luiz Dutra via TKO (strikes) at 4:58 of Round 1

ufc fight night 67

Welcome to FightLine’s live coverage of UFC Fight Night 67.

Tonight’s card comes to us from the Goiania Arena in Brazil, with bouts airing on UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1.

In the main event, former interim UFC welterweight champion Carlos Condit fights for the first time since March 2014, returning from a knee injury to take on Thiago Alves.

Top-10 featherweights Nik Lentz and Charles Oliveira rematch from a bout that ended in a no-contest after the athletic commission ruled Oliveira had landed an illegal knee.

Other FS1 main card bouts include KJ Noons vs. Alex Oliveira, Francimar Barroso vs. Ryan Jimmo, Norman Parke vs. Francisco Trinaldo and Wendell Oliveira vs. Darren Till.

PRELIMINARY CARD

Luiz Dutra vs. Tom Breese

We kickoff the action with a welterweight affair between Brazil’s own Luiz Dutra (11-3) and the unbeaten Tom Breese (7-0). Dutra is looking for his first UFC victory and is a veteran of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, while Breese has finished all seven of his opponents.

Round 1: A very intense scowl from the face of Dutra, but it is Breese who gains control of the center. He’s the longer, taller fighter in this one is the Englishman. Breese catches a kick and gains the clinch, landing knees to the body. Dutra overpowers him and unloads with quick elbows to the face, spinning Breese against the cage. Breese tees off, but that allows Dutra to work for a takedown. He gives that up and they remain clinched. Nice shots getting through for Breese. Dutra shows his power, landing with a big right, but Breese gains the clinch, scores with a quick trip that he’s unable to finish, but sweeps the leg out. As the 10-second bell sounds, Breese drops him and pounces. Several big-time shots follow on the ground, Dutra covers, curls up and the ref calls a stop to this one with just seconds left.

Tom Breese def. Luiz Dutra via TKO (strikes) at 4:58 of Round 1

Juliana Lima vs. Ericka Almeida

We’ll complete the Fight Pass prelims with a female bantamweight battle featuring Juliana Lima (7-2) and the debuting Ericka Almeida (7-0).

Round 1: Almeida with a straight right that connects and she goes for a takedown, but Lima rolls through and winds up on top. She’s got her legs wrapped very nicely around the neck and is trying to tie Almeida up. Lima with top control and is punishing the body with vicious shots. Even without posturing up and losing position, Lima is landing powerful shot. Almeida grabs an arm and rolls, but she loses it and has herself caught in a possible heel-hook. Lima instead uses it to re-gain top position.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Lima

Round 2: Almeida tries to engage early, but Lima scores with a takedown and we are back to where we spent much of the first. Lima is staying inside the guard and working quick and fast, peppering her with shots to the body and connecting now with elbows. Lots of offense for Lima, but nothing that will end this fight, as Almeida is doing a nice job of defending and looking for submissions. Approaching four minutes this round alone in ground control of Lima, and she decides to posture up and hammer her with rights. The ref decides to stand them up after a few seconds of non-action, but it’s to the benefit of Lima, who grabs the clinch and throws nice knees.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Lima

Round 3: Almeida and Lima doing a nice job of countering each other. Almeida needs to score a finish and she’s going for it, throwing power shot after power shot. Nice front-kick connects from the underdog. She’s stalking Lima down and lands two straight rights that appear to have hurt her. Lima is backing up, not looking to engage. All-or-nothing approach for Almeida forces Lima to shoot for a takedown. She struggles, but gets it with just over a minute left.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Almeida

Juliana Lima def. Ericka Almeida via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)

ufc fight night 67

UFC Fight Night 67 goes down this evening from Brazil, as former interim UFC welterweight champion Carlos Condit returns vs. Thiago Alves.

Along with Condit-Alves, Nik Lentz and Charles Oliveira square off in the co-main event.

Below are key media notes for those two fights, both of which FightLine will have complete coverage of later this evening.

“The Natural Born Finisher”

Since making his pro debut, Carlos Condit has made a living out of finishing opponents. In fact, 27 of his 29 career wins have been either knockout or submission victories, good for a 93-percent finishing rate.

His nine combined knockouts and submissions in the UFC/WEC are third-most in welterweight history, tying him with his opponent tonight, Thiago Alves. The two sit behind only Matt Hughes and Matt Brown.

Condit’s also claimed nine “fight night” bonuses, including five “Fight of the Night” awards.

Leg kicks aplenty

Between Alves and Condit, you can bet there will be leg kicks thrown in the main event.

Condit set the single-fight UFC record for leg kicks landed when he connected on 68 against Nick Diaz, while Alves has landed 232 leg kicks – the most in UFC history.

The former interim champion also gets stronger as the fast progresses, going from 2.7 strikes per minute landed in round one, to 3.65 in round two and 4.62 in round three. He has also landed almost 75-percent of his strikes from a distance and is one of just six welterweights to connect on 100 or more significant strikes twice.

Call him “KO” Alves

Alves has knocked down his UFC opponents a total of 11 times, which is the most among the welterweight division and sixth overall. He is one of only nine fighters in UFC history to knock his opponents down 10 or more times.

The eight knockout wins for Alves are second most in UFC welterweight history behind Brown’s nine.

Lentz likes to wrestle

Nik Lentz has landed 22 takedowns in UFC featherweight fights, which is tied for the second most with Jimy Hettes and six behind leader Dennis Bermudez. He also earned 27 takedowns while competing in the lightweight division, as his 49 total rank 13th all-time.

Lentz is also one of just three fighters to land 20-plus takesdowns in multiple divisions, joining Randy Couture and Demian Maia.

Per 15-minute featherweight fights, Lentz averaged just over five takedowns, including a career-high 10 vs. Diego Nunes. He’s taken down 11 of his 13 UFC opponents.

The submission wizard

Charles Oliveira is the submission leader in UFC featherweight history, finishing off four fights via tap. He is the first and only fighter in the modern era history of the UFC to earn his first six UFC victories via submission.

That includes an anaconda choke vs. Hatsu Hioki and a calf slicer vs. Eric Wisely. The calf slicer is the only one of its kind to take place inside the Octagon.

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