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UFC 166: Veteran Heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga Needs A Victory To Stay Relevant

Gabriel Gonzaga

Jayne Kamin-Oncea USA TODAY Sports

Gabriel Gonzaga is hoping to make one more serious run in the heavyweight division, so a victory over Shawn Jordan is a must this weekend in Houston at UFC 166. The veteran Brazilian is fresh off an impressive performance at UFC 162, which featured a 17 second stoppage of Dave Herman. It was a good bounce back for Gonzaga after being stopped in the first round by heavyweight contender Travis Browne.

Gonzaga has fought 16 times inside the Octagon, notching 10 victories. He recorded one of the most famous stoppages in UFC history when he decimated Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic with a brutal head kick at UFC 70. At that time, Gonzaga was 8-and-1, and being touted as the next big thing in the heavyweight division. That all came crashing down when he was taken apart and stopped by the legendary Randy Couture in their heavyweight title fight at UFC 74.

Since that time, Gonzaga has gone just 7-and-5, and has failed in most of his battles against high profile opposition, losing to the likes of Shane Carwin, Fabricio Werdum, Brendan Schaub and Junior dos Santos. Gonzaga isn’t one to leave his affairs in the hands of the judges. All 15 of his career wins have been by submission or knockout, and of his seven losses, e’s been knocked out six times.

Jordan is hoping to continue his winning ways and add a high profile name in Gonzaga to his victim list. He’s stopped two straight opponents. Jordan followed up a knockout win over Mike Russow with an impressive first round knockout of Pat Barry at UFC 161.  He is 3-and-1 in the UFC, and his only Octagon blemish was a lackluster decision loss at UFC 149 against Cheick Kongo. Jordan is a solid athlete who packs a serious punch; he’s recorded 14 finishes in his 15 career victories, including 11 by way of knockout.

It’s an interesting matchup; veteran Gonzaga is hoping to show that he’s still a threat and make one more run within the division against a raw talent in Jordan, who can definitely make a name for himself with a third straight UFC victory. This one seems bound to produce an explosive finish one way or the other.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports