As well as some huge fights in the ring this weekend, there are also some big fights in the octagon. UFC 209 is going down in Las Vegas headlined by the rematch from UFC 205: Tyrone Woodley Vs Stephen Thompson. I thought the first fight was a great match up and I think Woodley may feel a little aggrieved as he landed a lot of clean strikes and takedowns and at one point did really rock ‘Wonderboy’. However, Thompson showed resilience to keep going and got a draw, setting up this weekends headliner.
A fight that would be eagerly watched by Conor McGregor is the fight for the interim Lightweight belt between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Khabib has an unblemished MMA record and is seen as the biggest threat to McGregor’s Lightweight belt. However, he comes up against ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson who is on a 9 fight win streak and had a notable victory against former Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, beating the Brazilian in Mexico City on an unanimous decision in his last outing. This fight is being touted as the ‘Peoples Fight of the Night’.
This weekend also sees the return of Rashad Evans as he faces Aussie Daniel Kelly. Evans has had to be pulled from his last two cards (205 & 206) because of medical irregularities in his fight medicals but finally gets the opportunity to fight this weekend in his Middleweight debut.
The final fight on the card and a fight I’m looking forward to seeing is the rematch of Mark Hunt Vs Alistair Overeem. Hunt looking to avenge his K-1 loss to Overeem on a UFC card despite a lawsuit against the promotion due to his loss to Former Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar and Lesnar failing a drugs test that took place prior to the event. Hunt went on a scathing attack of the promotion and drug cheats of the sport after the event and his opponent on Saturday failed a drug test back in 2012. Hunt’s attitude towards Overeem and UFC Chairman Dana White was easy to see as he gave a forced handshake and smile to Overeem and barely batted an eyelid at White showing strain towards the relationship between Hunt and the UFC.
This event is following a huge announcement in the week that MMA legend George St Pierre will be returning to fight Michael Bisping after long awaited contract talks were finally agreed with the promotion. He has been inactive in the cage for almost 4 years having previously defending the Welterweight title 9 times before his hiatus. He decided to take a break from the sport but a year later he tore his ACL and that delayed any thoughts of a return. He comes back to a huge title fight against the champion Bisping much to the dismay of highly ranked contenders Yoel Romero and Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza.
I hope for GSP and the UFC that his return is unlike the comeback of veteran BJ Penn. I think it was poor from the promotion to send Penn into a return fight against such a talented young fighter such as Yair Rodriguez and evidently he was beaten comfortably. I think a repeat of this would make fight fans question the loyalty of the promotion to fighters such as GSP and Penn who have moulded it and contributed to its huge brand presence we see today.