Photo credit: Ed Mulholland, HBO
Tonight there are a cornucopia of choices for your combat sports entertainment. Boxing will probably be the biggest winner tonight as the options scream barnburner that this journalist can only hope the world will pay attention to.
Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Lucas Matthysse
Tonight features two huge fights, one with instant classic written all over it and the other as a potential set-up opponent to the winner of Mayweather vs. Pacquaio.
Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov and Lucas “La Maquina” (“The Machine”) Mathysse face off tonight in the battle of the sluggers. Provodnikov is one of the scarier light welterweights in the world and one need to look no further than his slug fest with Timothy Bradley back in 2013 for proof. Ruslan is trying to extend his winning ways to a two fight win streak since his last win via 5th round TKO over Jose Luis Castillo in Moscow last November.
Lucas Matthysse is currently on a two fight win streak with both wins coming via KO over John Molina, in the 11th round of 12 and Roberto Ortiz in the 2nd round last September. The Molina fight won Fight of the Year (2014) by The Ring Magazine, a testament to Matthysse’s entertaining style. Matthysse’s last loss was to Danny Garcia who stripped him of his WBC, WBA (Super) & The Ring Light Welterweight Titles. Since then he has acquired two WBC titles en route to what will amount to the biggest fight of his career.
Terence Crawford vs. Thomas Dulorme
No one could have predicted the blockbuster year Terence Crawford had in 2014. Three fights and three victories, including a KO over highly touted Yuriorkis Gamboa in Crawford's hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, officially stamped Crawford as the fighter of the year. Now known secretly as the career eliminator, Crawford is the biggest silent threat in the lightweight division. Tonight he makes his Light Welterweight debut against Puerto Rican pugilist, Thomas Dulorme, for the vacant WBO Light Welterweight title live from the College Park Center in Dallas, TX. With this move, the Light Welterweight scene just became real scary.
To give you a look into Crawford's dedication to, and passion for, the sport of boxing, check out HBO's feature "Two Days: Terence Crawford"
Catch all the action live tonight on HBO starting at 9:45pm ET.
UFC on Fox 15: Rockhold vs. Machida
Tonight the UFC presents its 15th installment on Fox Sports where a battle of top Middleweights headlines a pretty awesome card.
Luke Rockhold was the last Middleweight Champion of Strikeforce before the promotion folded into the UFC. Rockhold was on a nine fight win streak, which included his win for the Strikeforce Middleweight title, until he stepped into the UFC and met Vitor Belfort in his debut. After being caught by a spectacular spinning heel kick followed by punches, Rockhold started off the invisible score card between former Strikeforce fighters and the UFC roster 0-1; however, he quickly rebounded.
Rockhold has since gone on a three fight win streak over a list of tough-as-nails competitors: Costas Philippou (TKO via body kick), Tim Boetsch (Submission via inverted triangle kimura) and his nemesis, the vocal Michael Bisping (Submission via guillotine choke).
He will be facing former Light Heavyweight Champion, Lyoto Machida, who since debuting at Middleweight in 2013 has gone 3-1. Machida is fresh off a Performance of the Night win against C.B. Dollaway via first round TKO from a body kick last December.
Also on the card is a dynamite women’s match between Felice Herrig and Paige VanZant, adding to the growing viewpoint that women’s MMA is currently hotter than ever.
Catch UFC on FOX 15 live on Fox Sports tonight at 8pm ET