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Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Johnson Rematch Announced for UFC 197

AJ Camacho

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Added to the McGregor/Anos UFC 197 PPV card this March 5th, will be a lightweight contender matchup between No. 5 ranked Tony Ferguson (21-3) and No. 8 ranked Michael Johnson (17-10). The card already features a co-headline main event between Holly Holm and Miesha Tate, but the inclusion of Ferguson vs. Johnson is showing some deeper potential for the rest of the card.

After an impressive 7 fight win streak, this match up for Ferguson is a bit of a surprise. He recently won an impressive upset victory over Edson Barbosa. The early part of the bout had the momentum leaning in Barbosa’s favor as Ferguson jumped, rolled, and dove throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the Brazilian trying to catch him off guard. In a blood soaked scramble, Ferguson eventually defeated Barbosa via his marquee D’arce choke in the second round.

After that bout, many people placed Ferguson in a potential title contention match up with either Anthony Pettis or Eddie Alvarez. This match with Michael Johnson is a surprising step backwards placing Ferguson’s streak momentum on the line for very little potential gain in his division ranking.

The fight is not without merit, though, since the last person to defeat Ferguson was Michael Johson himself via unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 3 (Diaz vs Miller) back in May of 2012. It makes sense that Tony would like to avenge his loss to Johnson, who now finds himself on the declining end of his own 2 fight losing streak.

Michael Johnson has now lost two consecutive decision losses to Beneil Dariush and Nate Diaz respectively. However, before his slide backwards he defeated Edson Barbosa via unanimous decision back in February. Though down in the rankings, Johnson is a still as game and dangerous as he was in their previous match up threatening to stall Ferguson’s drive towards a title.

A win for Michael Johson is important here since the UFC is notoriously brutal for discharging fighters after a 3-fight losing streak. A win will definitely secure his employment with the company and hopefully, nudge him a rank or two back up the ladder. A win for Ferguson wouldn’t mean much to his status in the division but a loss would be a huge setback throwing him back into the pack. The incentive would seem to dictate that Johnson would want to play it conservative for the decision win but the unorthodox insanity of Ferguson’s fighting style would make even that safe gameplan a challenge.

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Fight Announcements

Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando

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The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.

It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.

Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.

In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.

Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.

In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.

UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem

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Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.

Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.

First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)

Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.

Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.

Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.

In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.

UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira

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Mark Hunt Returns to Fight Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221

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UFC 221 in Perth has officially added a another Australian to the main card. Joining Robert Whittaker is the knockout legend Mark Hunt.

The Daily Telegraph first reported that Hunt will be stepping into the octagon to face #9 Curtis Blaydes. Some weren’t sure if we would ever see Hunt fight again after he was pulled from the main event in UFC Fight Night 21 against Marcin Tybura. The UFC removed him due to “medical concerns” while Hunt was stating he was perfectly fine.

After getting evaluated and cleared to fight by Australian and American doctors, it looks like his time has come to return.  Hunt’s last fight was back in June when he derailed the Derrick Lewis hype train with a 4th round TKO win.

Hunt had been adamant about calling out #3 ranked heavyweight Fabricio Werdum and trying to get that rematch booked, labelling Werdum a “chicken shit” and a “coward.”

Curtis “Razor” Blaydes who has an 8-1 record, is coming off a TKO victory due to doctor stoppage at UFC 217 in November. Since losing to now title challenger Francis Ngannou in April of 2016, Blaydes has rattled off three straight wins over Alexey Oleynik, Daniel Omielanczuk, and Cody East.

With all this momentum from the win streak, Blaydes looks to capitalize and win the biggest fight of his career against Hunt.

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