3 fights you can’t miss at UFC on FOX Vancouver

Fresh off one the biggest events in the history of the sport at UFC 202, the UFC heads to Vancouver to a show headlined by a title eliminator bout between Carlos Condit and Demian Maia.

The rest of the card is packed with solid fights that are sure to excite the Canadian crowd, but let’s take a closer look at the three best fights at UFC Vancouver, which just so happen to be at the very top of the card.

Demian Maia vs. Carlos Condit

(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Two of the best 170-pound fighters in the world square off in a matchup that could see the winner challenge for the welterweight title next.

Demian Maia has been an absolute beast during his latest run at welterweight, beating the likes of Matt Brown, Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny as part of a five-fight win streak that put him on the doorstep of his second career UFC title shot. In that span, he has posted two submission wins and has only absorbed 59 significant strikes.

Standing across from Maia on fight night is former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit. Condit is coming off a Fight of the Year candidate against Robbie Lawler, where he unloaded a career-high 176 significant strikes. “The Natural Born Killer” is one of the promotion’s more high-pace fighters, landing 4.34 strikes per minute, and it’s hard to remember a time when he was in a boring fight. Not to mention, he’s only fought on free TV twice in the past six years, so it’s a gift to catch such an exceptional matchup, live and free on FOX.

Anthony Pettis vs. Charles Oliveira

Former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis makes his UFC featherweight debut against dangerous submission specialist Charles Oliveira in the co-main event Saturday night.

Oliveira has eight submissions in his nine UFC wins, but he’s a very competent striker as evidenced by his near 50 percent striking accuracy and 3.24 strikes landed per minute. While he has no problem standing with some of the division’s best, he knows his bread is buttered when the fight hits the mat.

Pettis is easily one of the most exciting fighters on the roster, but he hit a rough patch recently at lightweight, losing three straight fights, including a title bout against Rafael dos Anjos. Pettis had finished four straight opponents before his skid and is hoping to get back to that success, in a new weight class, Saturday night.

Paige VanZant vs. Bec Rawlins

(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Tenth-ranked UFC strawweight Paige VanZant looks to return to the win column after suffering her first UFC loss back in December to Rose Namajunas. VanZant took some time off to work on her skills and even took second place in the latest season of Dancing with the Stars, but now she’s back to continue her trek to the 115-pound title.

Standing in her way is gritty Aussie, Bec Rawlins, who has looked better than ever in her last two fights. The TUF 20 alum is 2-1 inside the Octagon, and seems poised to crack the top 15 with a win in Vancouver.

Both women are exceptional strikers, showing above average accuracy and volume in their seven combined UFC fights.

The ladies have a habit of stealing the show on fight night, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happened on Saturday.