There is some evidence to suggest the UFC's efforts in Europe aren't necessarily going as well as they should or could be. There's no one there doing it better than them on the continent, but there are certainly some that are there more consistently. And that's where we find ourselves with the UFC's push in that space. UFC is trying to solve for inconsistency in terms of producing live events there, but also relevancy. Because of the nature of the pay-per-view space and the growth of Brazil (as well as interest in developing Asia), Europe has taken a back seat. It doesn't pay to put on pay-per-view events there, so that means the cards will naturally be less than what's available in North America. And when that's the priority, UFC simply isn't going to be there as often.
This event is putting much at risk, but is a reminder of that challenge of Europe. Europe is a continent with some of the world's most advanced economies and has populations that adore combat sports, but converting this place into a mixed martial arts hotbed will take a lot more than just time.
At stake: title shot talk and a little bit of legacy. I can't say for sure either fighter will catapult to a title shot if they prevail on Saturday - even impressively - but I confident enough to say they'll be in the discussion. That should be enough motivation, but there's more to the story. Munoz has been seen as inconsistent in his career and Machida is changing weight classes late in the game. Both have some redemptive work to do to not only prove they're ready for the next step, but potentially re-write how they've been viewed by the community. It could even make a substantive difference in how they'll be remembered.
At stake: closing in on the shortlist. Both of these fighters are outside of the shortlist of top fighters in their weight class. Guillard has come close to being a top lightweight, but tripped up right when it mattered. Pearson has also had his moments, but the drop to featherweight proved fruitless and this is his chance to continue climbing up the lightweight ladder. Still, both have quite a long way to go. A win over the other would likely serve as a helpful catalyst for taking a major step up in a stacked division.
At stake: standard prospect development. These are important contests inasmuch as any UFC contest is important. They also have value as a building block for a prospect's career, but not much else. None of these fighters are coming off of loses and none has a style that is necessarily a potential indictment of their opponent's. This is about winning as part of a larger process and that's about it.
At stake: I don't really know. I am still amazed Sakara is in the UFC. It's true he's improved as he's stayed in the organization, but it's a little more than surprising he's still here. As for Musoke, it'd obviously be helpful to make a strong first impression in his UFC debut, but short of that, I have no earthly clue what this fight is about or what it means.
At stake: flyweight title opportunities. Harris won't get a title shot should he beat Lineker. At least, it's highly unlikely (at flyweight, anything is possible, though). He can, however, up his stock tremendously by getting past a fighter who is quickly developing as a fan favorite. For Lineker, if he can find a way to convince UFC brass a stay at flyweight means he can make weight without incident and he prevails victorious on Saturday, it seems very non-controversial to think he'd be on the shortlist for a title shot or number one contender's bout.