In a year that already has proved to be massive for the UFC, with one major card after another, UFC 205 on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York looks to be the biggest and most important of them all. In honor of such a marquee event, ESPN.com is providing dedicated previews to all 13 bouts on the card, breaking down what's at stake and projecting who will win, along with quotes and statistics for each fighter.
Welterweights: Vicente Luque (10-5-1) vs. Belal Muhammad (10-1)
Odds as of Nov. 2: Luque -167; Muhammad +134
What's at stake?
Luque returns to home away from home
Luque, a member of the Blackzilians, was all too happy to accept a late invitation to UFC 205.
The 24-year-old stepped in for Lyman Good, who was removed from the event after being flagged for a potential doping violation. Luque was born in New Jersey and lived there until the age of 6. He and his Brazilian mother moved to Brasilia, while his father, who is from Chile, remained in New Jersey.
Luque considers Brasilia home, but he has regularly visited relatives in the New York area his entire life. He trains out of Blackzilians in South Florida. In his short four-fight UFC career, he already has fought in Brazil and Florida.
"Part of my heart is in Chile, Brazil and the U.S.," Luque said. "It's why I talk three languages after my fights. I have fans in Chile.
"I've never been inside Madison Square Garden. I've taken the train into Penn Station but only seen it from the outside. This is a very big deal for me fighting in New York. It's definitely not easy to make weight on three weeks' notice, but my body is used to it."
Reality show redemption for Muhammad
Last year, the UFC aired a special edition of its reality show "The Ultimate Fighter," in which two South Florida gyms (Blackzilians and American Top Team) went head-to-head.
It was a nice change of pace for the 21st installment of TUF, but it also meant there were no tryouts. Any UFC welterweight hopeful who didn't train with one of those teams was out of luck.
Muhammad was one of those affected. The Chicago-based fighter watched the series from his couch -- and he wasn't always impressed with what he saw.
"I sat there saying, 'Why did these guys get this opportunity and I didn't?'" Muhammad said. "Just because they were on one of those two teams. I watched the show and said, 'I could beat that guy. I could beat that guy. I could beat that guy.'"
Worth mentioning: Luque was a contestant on that season of TUF.
Luque: 10-5 record (3-1 UFC); three-fight win streak
Luque: Nine of 10 fights won by stoppage (four by knockout, five by submission)
Muhammad: 10-1 record (1-1 UFC); six of 10 wins by decision
Muhammad: five takedowns in two UFC fights
Luque offers a nice replacement for the UFC, as his fights tend to produce plenty of action.
He's a heavy hitter, with a fight-changing right hand and a solid repertoire of knees and elbows from his Muay Thai background. He's definitely more dangerous than Muhammad, but he was absolutely bottled up in his UFC debut against Michael Graves.
Muhammad is a busy boxer-wrestler who mixes in both attributes well enough. On the feet, he'll look to score and move. If Luque lands that right hand, expect Muhammad to turn into a wrestler real quick.
PREDICTION: Luque by first-round TKO.