It is Eryk Anders fight week. After a layoff of nearly seven months, the former Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker will return to the UFC Octagon on Dec. 3. He is slated to face Kyle Daukaus in a middleweight fight (185 pounds) at the much-anticipated UFC Orlando, a now-rare Fight Night card held outside of Las Vegas.

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Anders (14-7, 1 NC) will enter the arena having lost his last two bouts, a short-notice showdown with Andre Muniz last December and a controversial split decision against Jun-Yong Park in May. Daukaus (11-3, 1 NC), the brother of UFC heavyweight Chris Daukaus, lost his last fight in June and was shelved for much of the rest of the calendar year due to facial injuries.

Both combatants need to get the win in Florida, but this is a fight that favors Anders on the feet. Daukaus has never won by knockout. All of his professional finishes have come by submission. Anders has a trio of knockouts since joining the UFC in 2017, including one up a weight class at light heavyweight.

Daukaus’s Philadelphia grappling pedigree makes him one of the bigger threats on the ground in the 185-pound division. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Anders can hold his own if the fight goes to the mat, though- he has a brown belt. Daukaus is likely to try to force the fight to the ground because of Anders’ power.  

Anders had a very difficult time getting takedowns in his fight against Park, but fight fans probably won’t expect Anders to try for 20-plus takedowns in this stylistic matchup. That is all the more reason for UFC faithful to get excited. Anders is going to try to knock Daukaus out.

UFC Orlando is a stacked card; there’s plenty of reasons to be excited, and for Alabama fans, Anders is reason No. 1. This matchup of statement-seeking fighters in the newly upturned middleweight division cannot be missed.

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