As of late, the UFC has had a mixture of cards that have surprisingly over-delivered and predictably underwhelmed. Sometimes fight cards that are stacked with exciting matchups don’t play out as expected. However, UFC 209 looks like one of those cards that can’t fail. Here is why UFC 209 has the potential to be the card that tops all cards.
Running Back UFC 205’s Most Exhilarating Fight
We are all in agreement that UFC 205 was an outstanding event as every fight delivered in their own way. The hype was huge and the card lived up to the hype. The best fight of the night was the welterweight championship contest between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson. The fight was a back-and-forth clash between two completely different styles as Thompson used his timing and karate base land crisp and accurate strikes while Woodley uses his ability to close distance to disrupt Thompson’s timing and his wrestling to take the fight to the mat. The result was a memorable brawl and a gutsy performance from the two welterweight competitors ending in a majority draw, and allowing Tyron Woodley to walk away with the title.
What makes this rematch compelling isn’t just the draw in the first contest, but also how they will adjust their gameplan and fix mistakes made in the first meeting. Both men found success throughout the first contest and each round looking completely different from the last. The battle was a Fight of The Year contender and now Tyron Woodley puts his welterweight title on the line once again against Stephen Thompson in the main event of UFC 209. This clash is the perfect main event to top off what is expected to be a fantastic night of action.
The Two Best Lightweights In The World
Before the welterweight title rematch takes place the two best lightweights in the world will face off for the interim lightweight title. Currently on an outstanding nine-fight win streak Tony Ferguson has proven he is the real deal and a legitimate threat to anybody he meets in the cage. His outstanding win streak is highlighted by wins over top lightweights Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barbosa, and Josh Thompson. To win nine fights in a row inside what is arguably the deepest division in the UFC is an impressive feat. However, Tony Ferguson may have the toughest fight of his career ahead of him.
Undefeated through 24 fights Khabib Nurmagomedov is seen by many as the uncrowned king of the lightweight division. The Russian grappling specialist easily handled his first eight UFC opponents with minimal effort. This includes impressive wins over Michael Johnson, Rafael dos Anjos, and Pat Healy. Thus far into his career nobody has been able to figure out a way to beat Nurmagomedov. His seemingly unstoppable wrestling, amazing cardio, and relentless onslaught have awarded him with dominant victory after dominant victory. That said, Tony Ferguson is not going to accept defeat so easily.
This is likely the most intriguing fight of the night. Both have already proven they are the two best lightweight fighters and they will now face each other with championship gold on the line. Many different outcomes are possible in this great matchup and the clash of styles should make it a battle fans will remember.
Heavyweight Knockout Kings
The heavyweight division is known for it’s knockouts. Where the division lacks in having a multitude of talent it gains in an abundance of knockout finishes. With a total of 27 knockout wins between them Mark Hunt will take on Alistair Overeem in a bout that all but guarantees fireworks.
Alistair Overeem holds a 2008 submission win over Mark Hunt. However, that was a time when Overeem had a smaller frame and a much more submission oriented game. In fact the last submission win for Overeem came in 2009 and he has since won seven of ten fights by knockout giving him 18 knockout wins overall. The pure technical kickboxing of Alistair Overeem has caused issues for many heavyweight contenders and adding his takedown defense and knockout power makes him a daunting task for any in the division. If there is one knock on Alistair Overeem it is that his chin hasn’t held up well losing an eye opening 67% of his fights by knockout.
Although Mark Hunt hasn’t looked too enthusiastic about his return to the octagon the devastating knockout artist has won a miraculous 75% of his fights by knockout. The kind of power Hunt posses has impressed fans for years being able to knockout guys known for their ability to absorb punishment with one shot. This has made Hunt a fan favorite among the mixed martial arts community. Hunt is also known for having an outstanding chin able to take punches that would end most fighters. However, the wrestling and submission defense of Hunt has always been subpar at best and he will need to avoid the ground game to assure he doesn’t get submitted by Overeem again.
Rashad Evans Middleweight Debut
While it might be a little too late for the 37-year-old former light heavyweight champion to start a new, fans have wanted to see Rashad Evans make his debut at middleweight for a long time now. Evans has successfully competed at both heavyweight and more notably light heavyweight, but his frame was always smaller and it appeared middleweight could have been a solid career move for him after he lost the title to Lyoto Machida. Now, at 37, Rashad Evans will look to reinvent himself in a new division. That said, it won’t be easy.
Coming off of two losses Evans will make his divisional debut against accomplished Australian judo competitor Daniel Kelly. Currently 5-1 under the UFC banner and on a three-fight win streak Dan Kelly is actually three years older than Rashad Evans. However he hasn’t fought in MMA nearly as long and the wear and tear on his body may be lesser than that of Evans. The judo specialist brings an interesting challenge for Evans at UFC 209. He has successfully transitioned his judo game into MMA and his sole loss in the sport comes to middleweight contender Sam Alvey.
Lando Vannata vs. David Teymur
One fight that might get overlooked is this battle of talented prospects. Lando Vannetta has quickly risen to popularity after making his UFC debut against top three lightweight Tony Ferguson and nearly pulling off the upset. Vannetta has since defeated John Makdessi in an outstanding performance that provided one of the best knockouts of 2016. The 24-year-old prospect looks to have a bright future and his main card slot at UFC 209 shows that the UFC is ready to give him a push. However, this won’t be easy for Vannetta. His opponent David Teymur is no stepping stone and this will be a very interesting striking match.
At 27 years of age David Teymur is looking to pull off a moderate upset at UFC 209. The confident knockout artist has vowed to bring a different level of striking to the lightweight division. That is a huge statement considering the strikers in the division today. However, the Muay Thai stylist might just be able to back that up. Fighting Lando Vannata will be a tough test. Both men are technical strikers with a great deal of knockout power. This main card fight could mark a defining moment in one of these young prospects career. It is expected to be a war and with both men hoping to impress we can expect fireworks come fight night.