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It's time: A fan's guide to UFC Fight Night 105 in Halifax

The UFC returns to Halifax on Sunday for UFC Fight Night 105. Here’s a fan’s guide to get you ready for the fights at Scotiabank Centre.

Bruce Buffer pumping up the crowd in Halifax in 2014.

Jeff Harper/Metro File

Bruce Buffer pumping up the crowd in Halifax in 2014.

The UFC returns to Halifax on Sunday for UFC Fight Night 105. Here’s a fan’s guide to get you ready for the fights at Scotiabank Centre:

Main Event: Sunday’s main event features a pair of hard-hitting heavyweights when Houston’s Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (17-4, 8-2 UFC) meets Hawaii’s Travis Browne (18-5-1, 9-5-1 UFC). Although Lewis and Browne are ranked eighth and ninth respectively, their fortunes are quite different as of late. Lewis is on a five-fight winning streak, while “Hapa” Browne has dropped four of his last six. It’s worth nothing that all four of Browne’s recent defeats came against former UFC heavyweight champions in Fabricio Werdum (twice), Cain Velasquez and a back-and-forth slugfest with Andrei Arlovski.

UFC/Contributed

Former champions: A pair of former UFC champions will step into the Octagon. Former welterweight kingpin Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks left the division after weight issues and three consecutive losses. He makes his middleweight debut on Sunday against Cuban-born Hector Lombard, a veteran of more than 40 MMA fights. Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza became the first UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion in December of 2014 before dropping the belt to current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her first defence. She meets Canadian Randa “Quiet Storm” Markos, who was a housemate of Esparza’s on The Ultimate Fighter television show.

Gavin Tucker of Newfoundland lives and trains in Halifax. He is making his UFC debut this weekend. (Jeff Harper/Metro)

Jeff Harper/Metro

Gavin Tucker of Newfoundland lives and trains in Halifax. He is making his UFC debut this weekend. (Jeff Harper/Metro)

Rock Solid: No Bluenosers appear this Sunday, but Newfoundland and Labrador will be represented twice. Ship Cove, NL, prospect Gavin Tucker (9-0) lives and trains in Halifax. Tucker makes his UFC debut against veteran Sam Sicilia. St. John’s middleweight Ryan Janes won his first UFC contest in December, and faces American Gerald Meerschaert in the night’s opening bout.

Sleeper matchup: Make sure to catch the final preliminary bout. French-born Tristar product Nordine Taleb battles Argentina’s Santiago Ponzinibbio in an important welterweight matchup. Both fighters have power, sport a combined 9-3 Octagon record and are looking to move up in the rankings. More than half of their career victories have ended in a knockout.

The octagon will be in Halifax again this weekend. (Jeff Harper/Metro file)

Jeff Harper/Metro file

The octagon will be in Halifax again this weekend. (Jeff Harper/Metro file)

Famous Name: If the last name of bantamweight Aiemann Zahabi sounds familiar, you may know his brother. Firas Zahabi is a well-known coach at the renowned Tristar gym in Montreal, home to the likes of UFC legend Georges St-Pierre. Aiemann is undefeated and steps into the Octagon for the first time against Brazil’s Reginaldo Vieira.

TUF matchup: Two former winners of The Ultimate Fighter square off when Canada’s Elias Theodorou challenges Brazil’s Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira in a middleweight bout.

Fans enjoy the UFC in Halifax in 2014. (Jeff Harper/Metro file)

Jeff Harper/Metro file

Fans enjoy the UFC in Halifax in 2014. (Jeff Harper/Metro file)

When to arrive: So, when do the big fights happen? The main card doesn’t begin until 10 p.m., and many of the biggest fights (including Tucker’s debut) likely won’t hit the ring until well after 11 p.m. The 11-fight card starts at 7:30 p.m. with Janes meeting Meerschaert, so plan accordingly for more than 5 hours of action. Doors open at 6 p.m. Consider arriving early if you want to be in your seat for the opening bout, as security measures will be in place at the door.

Beer in your seat: In-seat alcohol will be permitted for Sunday’s event.

Weigh-ins: The ceremonial weigh-ins take place on Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. at the World Trade and Convention Centre. An hour prior to the weigh-ins, UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell will host a Q&A with fans. Both events are free. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.

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