Three days removed from its International Fight Week, the UFC brings its Octagon to the Valley View Casino in San Diego on Wednesday night, as heavyweights Frank Mir and Todd Duffee headline an exciting fight card that has flown under the radar following the highly publicized UFC 189 event.
Mir (17-9, 15-9 UFC), a former titleholder, is one of the most prolific MMA submission artists in UFC history, having finished eight fights on account of his high level Brazilian jiu jitsu.
Coming off his first UFC victory in nearly four years, a first round knockout of Antonio "Big Foot" Silva, Mir returns to action for the first time in 2015, slated to take on Duffee (9-2, 3-1 UFC), a powerhouse on the feet in his own right.
Duffee, who first fought under the UFC banner in 2009, is looking for his fourth straight win, and third consecutive inside the Octagon, after earning a first-round knockout at UFC 181. He's a heavy-handed slugger, known for quick finishes, as all nine of his career victories have come by way of knockout or TKO.
As with many heavyweight bouts, don't blink, as Mir will likely look for the takedown early to exploit his advantage on the ground. But Duffee will prove to be too athletic, as he thwarts Mir's advances and lands the first-round knockout.
Co-main event: Tony Ferguson vs. Josh Thomson
A bout between top-15 lightweights, this contest between Ferguson and Thomson may have a significant impact on one of the UFC's deepest divisions.
Thomson (20-7, 3-3 UFC) returns to the Octagon for the first time in nearly a year, and is coming off a pair of split decision losses. Ferguson (18-3, 8-1 UFC), on the other hand, hasn't lost since 2012, winning his last five bouts, including a Performance of the Night at UFC 184.
Look for Ferguson to come out early and establish his boxing game, forcing Thomson to the cage wall with low kicks. Thomson will attempt to stay out of Ferguson's range. But with little room to hide inside the smaller cage, Thomson will have no way of evading Ferguson's pressure, as the contest will quickly transform into a grappling match.
Once inside, Ferguson will wrestle Thomson to the ground, where he elicits the second-round tapout.
Holly Holm vs. Marion Reneau
A matchup of top-15 bantamweights, this contest between Holm and Reneau will propel the winner into the division's top-10.
Holm (8-0, 1-0 UFC), a highly decorated boxer, makes her second appearance inside the Octagon, coming off a lackluster decision win at UFC 184.
Reneau (6-1, 2-0 UFC) has been a complete surprise during her stint with the UFC, winning two straight, including a Performance of the Night in her last outing.
Look for Holm to establish her range early, using her kickboxing game to keep Reneau at bay. But again, the smaller cage comes into play here, as Reneau finally gets in close to drag the contest to the ground.
And sometime in the second half of the bout, Reneau will fluster and frustrate Holm with her top game, eventually taking the bout by TKO.
Kevin Lee vs. James Moontasri
A well regarded wrestler and boxer, Detroit's Kevin Lee (10-1, 3-1 UFC) is a rising prospect in the UFC's lightweight division. And at just 22 years old, he looks to be primed for a bright future inside the Octagon.
Moontasri (8-2, 1-1 UFC) is a serviceable opponent, a fighter with enough experience and savvy to stifle Lee early on and keep the bout interesting.
And while Moontasri will defend well in the early stage of the bout, Lee will eventually establish his dominance and control the contest with takedowns and pressure.
Look for Lee to land a late submission in the third round.
Alan Jouban vs. Matt Dwyer
An intriguing prospect at welterweight, Jouban (11-3, 2-1 UFC) looked tremendous in his last outing at UFC 184, unleashing a bevvy of devastating elbows and punches to stop Richard Walsh in the first round.
Dwyer (8-2, 1-1 UFC) is a towering welterweight, standing six-foot-four, who uses his length to keep opponents outside of reach.
Look for Jouban to push forward early on, but Dwyer will backpedal out of harm's way. Jouban will then feint and fake before tying the action up in the clinch.
And while Dwyer will land some knees and strikes in close distance, Jouban will eventually unload his power and take a late TKO.