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Huerta/Florian Booked for UFC 87

We’ve called it “a Fight of the Year waiting to happen” — and luckily, it’s happening. Sources have confirmed that top UFC lightweight contenders Roger Huerta and Kenny Florian will face each other at UFC 87 (August 9th; Minneapolis, MN), with the winner all but guaranteed an immediate shot at the 155-pound belt.

Huerta is 16-0 with one no-contest in his last 17 fights (22-1-1 +1 NC overall), including six consecutive victories in the UFC; by UFC 87, he will have been inactive for eight months. Kenny Florian most recently dispatched Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 13, and hasn’t suffered a defeat since his title fight against Sean Sherk in October 2006. As Florian told MMAWeekly:

“[Huerta is] a game opponent, and he’s never going to quit. It doesn’t matter how tired he gets, he’s gonna keep going, and those are the kind of guys that I want to fight. He’s on a roll, he’s very confident right now. And I like the kid. I know him personally. He’s a good kid, and we get along great. He has a bright future, regardless of what happens in the fight with me.”

See, when Florian talks trash, it’s so subtle that you barely notice it.

Huerta/Florian is such an outstanding matchup because it seems like both fighters’ career trajectories have been pushing them towards each other. It’s not a title fight, but it has all the importance of one, and will help to establish a clear ranking order in the UFC’s lightweight division. (For the same reasons, Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson is also one of those fights that needs to happen.) Let us know your early predictions in the comments section and in our new poll. For those of you who have bought into the “Roger Huerta is overhyped and hasn’t faced tough competition” line, here’s my rebuttal: Winning 16 straight fights is an amazing achievement no matter who you’ve fought, because 1) every opponent represents a different style challenge that may cause problems for you, even if they’re a lesser fighter on paper, and 2) everybody gets caught once in a while. An undefeated record or a monstrous win streak like Huerta’s shows that a fighter is well-rounded enough to handle whatever he encounters in the cage, and doesn’t make the minor errors in judgment that lead to eating an unexpected right hook.

I’m not saying he’ll win; I’m just sayin’.

Cagepotato Comments

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rustyd86- May 22, 2008 at 6:22 pm
I see huerta taking this one probably in the second. He is stronger, more athletic and the better striker. Florian wont be able to keep him down or out strike him. usually florian fights at his pace but i dont see it happening. i cant wait to see how he reacts when huerta is going 110% the entire time. florian has great bjj and nice elbows but i dont think its enough.
Aaron- April 29, 2008 at 4:08 am
# psh Says:
April 29th, 2008 at 1:48 pm

huerta EASILY

No way is Huerta going to walk away from this one unscathed. Kenny is going to make this one a real battle. I like both fighters, but I am rooting for the old man. Kenflo will win in dramatic fashion. Muay Thai on the feet, BJJ on the ground FTW.
Barry McKockenner- April 29, 2008 at 3:40 am
Like you said, 16 consecutive W's is no fluke, but there will come a time when he will get caught, and i beleive K-Flo is fully capable, and will be the man to do it ... i foresee Mr Sports Illustrated getting his pretty face cut up by those bony ass elbows of Florian.

I also think Sherk is gonna prevail over BJ, i really hope im wrong about that .. but i think i Sherk is a hell of a lot more motivated then BJ is right now, and as great and talented as BJ is, i just think pissed off Sherk, who is 31-2 (2 loses comin from arguably the greatest welterweights of all time) and still feels he has something to prove, will me too much for him this summer.

but i want to see BJ beat him, just to see what BJ will do if it happens, will he make out with Sherk like he did Matt Hughes? will he lick the gloves? will he just bolt out of the arena like he did back in the day? Lord only knows .. hell, i doubt even the Lord even knows w.w.b.j.d. (what would BJ do)
Peterw- April 29, 2008 at 2:42 am
"This fight will be bangin… After Pen beats Sherk I think the winner should have a match against Sherk."

I thin it should go, winner of kenflo/roger vs lightweight champ, loser vs loser of penn/sherk
Kempo Fighter- April 28, 2008 at 9:53 pm
I sincerely believe that Huerta will snatch that tittle shot, just look at the guy, great wrestler (huerta v. Guida), awesome striker in the same fight, plus the guys has balls of steel, he can definately take a shot, plus im very confident that standing he can take it to Kenflo and has the ability to stuff a takedown, plus his muay thai is getting a lot better specially the knees from the clinch. But don't get me wrong i also believe Kenflo is improving constantly and this is mma so it anything can happen. now on the Franklin and Hendo, that would just be effin awesome no matter who winns the match, i think it can go the distance and if Ace looks like he did against lutter Hendo maybe in for a long night of crispy striking from the ACE, but if it goes to the ground where hendo is just SICK then Ace would suffer a little more, and here i go again not to bore you but this is MMA and this is the beauty of this, you just never now. Peace out
psh- April 28, 2008 at 7:48 pm
huerta EASILY
The Truth- April 28, 2008 at 6:52 pm
Any guy that teabags an opponent in the middle of a fight (the Crane fight at 74) has my undying loyalty.
Mondooh 3:17- April 28, 2008 at 6:01 pm
ohh and Sherk your dead!!!!!! (you roid using twat waffle)

ha just thought I'd put that out there
Mondooh 3:17- April 28, 2008 at 5:58 pm

i LOVE THE COMP in this weight class. and both Roger and Ken Flo are great fighters, but I'd have to give it to EL MATADOr over Ken. Not expecting Huerta to bulldoze over KF but his always busy kicks and hands will keep KF on the guard and if he tries to go for a take down Rogers impenetrable sprawl and ground deffense will keep KF from inserting any kind of submission game.... I look forward to seeing some slams from "The Kid" too.

this fight makes my fucken year (expect a fight of the year man)

ROGER HUERTA is one dynamic moffooo

but like I've said BJ RH OR KF I'd like to see any of those three guys go at it in the octagon, or hell maybe a royal rumble type deal if we can get them all three in there BWAHAHAHAHAAAA
Bundy- April 28, 2008 at 5:11 pm
What an exciting matchup, I think Huerta will win, but I think Florian will push him to his limits.
BIG CHRIS- April 28, 2008 at 3:57 pm
Bdizzle, What on earth would that prove?? Whoever wins that fight is next in line for a title shot...Sherk with have to win a couple fights without steroids after he loses to Penn in order to get back in the race....maybe Sherk could fight the one who loses, but the winner deserves a shot at the belt....
little ben- April 28, 2008 at 3:22 pm
War Huerta War!
I give it to Huerta, the only person who frustrated him on the ground was guida. Dont see how kenny will keep him down. If taken to the ground I dont see huerta on his back for too long, on the other hand i see alot of gnp being recieved by kenny, then he is not going want to be on the ground.
Bdizzle- April 28, 2008 at 3:13 pm
This fight will be bangin... After Pen beats Sherk I think the winner should have a match against Sherk.
BIG CHRIS- April 28, 2008 at 2:24 pm
The winner of this fight will be determined by who is officiating....if it is a shaven Mazzogati, then I pick Ken-Flo the winner by 12 consecutive illegal elbows to the top of the head that won't be called.....But if Mazzagati has that mustache again.....who knows what will happen.....

"With Great Mustache Is Great Responsibilty"
-Peter Griffin-
charles- April 28, 2008 at 2:05 pm
well those two seems like they are going to be 75k richer... lol its gonna be an awesome fight... but to me it seems like Florian has face tougher competition than huerta so I gotta give it to Florian - 3rd round TKO via elbow definitly future FOTY candidate
knightrida- April 28, 2008 at 1:14 pm
tony@rbd Says:

“Hes a good kid”. I love that Florian is a 30 year old-12 fight-elder statesman of MMA. That cracks me up."

That's the exact same thing I was gonna say. Who the fuck is florian talking down to Huerta? When he gets his teeth knocked in, is he going to say, "Well, that kid just whooped my ass tonight. Still a good kid though?"

When Huerta wins, this will prove that Florian is the overrated fighter, not "the kid."
C-Bus Allstar- April 28, 2008 at 1:12 pm
I think this is gonna be FOTY. I have nothing but excitement for this match-up. Here's the breakdown:

Kenflo > Huerta on the Ground.
Huerta >(Slightly) Kenflo on the Feet.

I'm thinking this is gonna go to AT LEAST the second round, if not third. Huerta's got EXCELLENT conditioning, so does Kenflo. Huerta's got a bit more punching power, and probably punching prowess, but his Ju Jitsu is lacking compared to Kenflo.

I see this fight on their feet for the first half of the first round, and then on the ground the last half due to a Kenflo take-down. The second round is gonna look a bit different, going to the mat early and staying there. If Huerta makes it past the second round, I don't see him making it to a decision. I'm gonna call it for Kenflo, via submission late in the second round (after Huerta's tank runs out a bit).
Makaveli- April 28, 2008 at 12:52 pm
Roger is an amazing fighter, kenny is riding his hype rite now, which by all means he should, he has a great win streak and has beat some tough guys, but his win over lauzon can not be compared to lets say roger win over clay. Roger was getting beat both rounds. but when a fighter shows how to keep his composure like he did that means hes a dangerous man. He knows what needs to be done, and in my opinion has more strength and more of a champions mentality. Not taking anything away from kenny, but if it stays standing long enough kenny is getting droped end of the 2nd, if it goes the distance, kenny by decision
tony@rbd- April 28, 2008 at 12:27 pm
"Hes a good kid". I love that Florian is a 30 year old-12 fight-elder statesman of MMA. That cracks me up.

Franklin v. Henderson would be a brilliant match up. But can Hendo stay at a weight long enough for it to take place?
Vrax- April 28, 2008 at 12:23 pm
Even without that win streak, performing the MMA equivalent of a rope-a-dope on a guy like Clay Guida defines Huerta as a top-tier 155 pounder.

This is be an exciting and strategic match up. Huerta has some of the best defensive mat technique in MMA today, which will Florian work for any submission. While Kenflo's low kicks will keep Roger off balance should he plant for one of his trademark straight front kicks.

So, the keys for a Florian victory are staying busy, and staying outside on the feet. He should keep using the low kicks to set up and eventual shoot. Once on the ground Kenny should stick to a measured ground and pound plan, making use of those killer elbows.

El Matador, on the other hand, needs to push forward at all times, looking to score early and often with combinations. Florian doesn't possess the KO power needed to force Roger to work from a distance. Huerta has a never ending gas tank and out-pacing Kenflo is his route to victory. Well, that and takedown defense.

I'd book it around
+110 Florian
-120 Huerta.

bmwtech- April 28, 2008 at 12:21 pm
Huerta is a bonafide bada**. Just watch him fight, it will be a great fight, but I think Huerta by submission in the third.