Lando Vannata (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

UFC 216’s Hidden Gems

At first glance, UFC 216 isn’t a star-studded fight card with compelling storylines. However, the deeper one looks, the more intriguing these fights become.

The strength of this fight card lies in the depth of solid fights throughout the lineup. For instance, there are two really interesting fights that both fall on the undercard.

The first of these preliminary-card bouts features Lando Vannata against Bobby Green. This fight jumps off the screen. How can it be buried in the middle of an undercard?


Vannata is a 25-year-old Jackson-Winkeljohn product. He has all the tools to be a future champion. “Groovy” is looking to get back on track after a setback in his last bout, where he suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Sweden’s David Teymur. Vannata has an unorthodox style, hence the nickname. It’s a style that appeases fans with its non-stop action.

The man on the other side of the Octagon this Saturday night is a true UFC veteran, “King” Bobby Green. Green has hit a speedbump as of late, losing his last three fights and having seven of his last 10 outings canceled or rescheduled. It is fair to point out that the last three guys to beat Green were Rashid Magomedov, Dustin Poirier and Edson Barboza. So, the “King” has definitely been fighting the best the division has to offer.

This fight has all the ingredients to be an instant classic. These two competitors are hungry, in their prime, and looking to make a statement. This may be the “Fight of the Night.”

Another absolutely salivating contest is the headlining prelim bout between Tom Duquesnoy and Cody Stamann.

Duquesnoy is a 24-year-old French phenom that is looking to make his move up the rankings of the bantamweight division. With a record of 15-1, the “Fire Kid” would love nothing more than to add another impressive highlight-reel finish to his resume.

The man that’s tasked with putting a stop to the Frenchman’s run is the Sparta, Mich.,-born Cody Stamann. The “Spartan” is a hard-nosed, gritty Midwestern wrestler who is looking to make a name for himself in his sophomore outing for the UFC. He is usually a featherweight fighter, but he has dabbled in the bantamweight division. On Saturday night, Stamann will again drop down in weight and attempt to notch another win.

This fight is essentially the striker-vs.-grappler blueprint. We have seen these styles face off many times before, and it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

UFC 216 takes place on Oct. 7, and you’ll have to tune in early to catch these two intriguing prelim bouts. You can thank me later.