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UFC 200: Rational and Calculated Look

Vinny Craig

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In the months leading up to the event Dana White has called “the biggest event in UFC history”, many will make fantasy scenarios about UFC 200. The thought of four title fights on a single card is appealing, but not logical to a long-term business model. Instead, based off of the fights already announced for the Unstoppable campaign, as well as fights that have already happened, a rational look at what UFC 200 could look like.

Possible Title Fights

At most, the UFC would put two title fights on the same card. UFC 200 may break that rule and possibly have three. With six champions already scheduled to fight before UFC 200, the list of candidates is smaller than you would expect. The four champions left are Conor McGregor (Featherweight), Rafael dos Anjos (Lightweight), Robbie Lawler (Welterweight), and Miesha Tate (Women’s Bantamweight).

Conor McGregor

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It is almost a forgone conclusion we will see the UFC’s biggest star at its biggest event. Despite losing a non-title bout at UFC 196, McGregor still has his Featherweight belt and stated several times in the aftermath he plans to defend it next. The only question, who gets the call?

Former Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar has fought for the Featherweight belt previously. Since that loss at UFC 156, Edgar has five straight wins. After his KO victory of Chad Mendes, Dana White said he “gets whatever he wants”. Edgar has been calling for his shot at the belt for quite awhile now and was presumed the front-runner by White himself.

Jose Aldo, the man McGregor beat for the title, has a valid case for a rematch. Aldo was the single, dominant champ of the Featherweight division since the divisions introduction in 2012.  Just shy of a full decade unbeaten with seven straight title defenses, was undone with a 13 second KO. Aldo, along with Edgar, were reportedly offered a fight against McGregor at a higher weight class to save UFC 196. Aldo stated he is not fight-ready, but in recent interviews has said that he wants on at UFC 200.

Rafael dos Anjos

Dos Anjos had a scheduled fight with McGregor at UFC 196 for his Lightweight belt. Dos Anjos was unable to make it to the fight but seems he’ll be ready for the next opponent. With every PPV having its main event until UFC 200, the possibility of dos Anjos being on there are good. The possibility of super fights has come into play recently as well with Dos Anjos being interested in a fight with Robbie Lawler. Against who, and where, does the Lightweight belt get defended?

The main event on UFC on FOX in April is between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. The fight is expected to be a title eliminator. Nurmagomedov is undefeated in the UFC (6-0) along with in professional MMA (22-0). He is the last person to beat the champion, which also happens to be his last fight. If he can stay healthy, Nurmagomedov is a threat to anyone.

Ferguson has the longest active win streak of anyone in the division with seven. With finishes in five of those seven fights, Ferguson is getting the big fight he deserves. With this fight happening in April, barring a quick turnaround, neither guy will be ready for July, thus making the champ wait.

Nate Diaz picked up the biggest win of his career against McGregor at UFC 196. Despite being at Welterweight, Diaz has risen to the top of title lists in both Lightweight and Welterweight. The unsuccessful move to 170 previously (2-2) gave Diaz a trip back to Lightweight. Diaz is 2-1 in his last three at 155 with the lone loss coming to the champion. If dos Anjos is adamant on fighting in July, either at UFC 200 or the normal July FOX card, Diaz could be the only option left.

Robbie Lawler

Many were expecting the wait of Robbie Lawler’s next opponent was because of Conor McGregor. With the Featherweight champ losing, a super fight for the 170-pound belt is unlikely. Fortunately, Lawler’s division is not short on title contenders and can even bring back a former champion.

Carlos Condit may have just fought Lawler in January for the belt, but the early Fight of the Year candidate had a controversial decision. Condit’s calm display inside the Octagon after his loss was unusual at best and made for an interesting post fight press conference. Condit will only stick around for the big fights (i.e. Lawler or Georges St. Pierre rematches), otherwise, he will retire from MMA competition. With the actual contenders at 170 without a fight, Condit has the best shot at getting that title rematch.

Tyron Woodley was promised a title shot after Johny Hendricks pulled out of their UFC 192 fight two days before. Hendricks was the second to have weight issues for Woodley as his last opponent, Kelvin Gastelum, missed weight by ten pounds. Woodley has taken Dana White’s words to the bank already, waiting for his title shot to appear. He is a winner of four of his last five but is likely the fallback plan if everyone else backs out.

Yes, I am doing it. It has been reported, rumored and denied at least three times now that former pound-for-pound great and longtime Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre will return to the Octagon. No better event than UFC 200 for the French-Canadian, where a title shot couldm and should, be waiting. We saw Conor McGregor be the first to disclose $1 million in a fight, could GSP be the second?

Miesha Tate

She just fought, and won the belt less than a week ago and now she is being talked to be on the biggest event ever. It is simple, Tate has the money fight in her hand if/when she fights Ronda Rousey. Either way, I think Tate fights in July with her opponent determining what event it happens at.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Ronda Rousey prepares to enter the Octagon in her UFC women's bantamweight championship bout against Cat Zingano during the UFC 184 event at Staples Center on February 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Rousey is the money fight for women’s MMA. Her face on a poster gets the casual MMA fan to buy a PPV. For what it is worth, Dana White has said Tate-Rousey 3 will happen next. The Holm fight was not possible for UFC 200 when it came to Rousey’s schedule, but the Tate fight could bring a different tune. If she is not available for UFC 200, PPV’s after July need main events as well.

Holly Holm fought a good fight against Tate. The scorecards showed Holm up 38-37 after four rounds in her first try at a title defense using good striking and takedown defense. Her loss comes at a point where immediate title rematches seem to happen in every division, and she could be next. A Tate-Holm rematch could garner fans as a co-main event or third title fight of a big PPV or a headliner on FOX.

Amanda Nunes showed her worth with a victory over Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 196. Despite her late-fight cardio being non-existent, Nunes fought the smart fight and picked up the decision win. Her fourth win in a row, along with some talking, did some good for her as she got the attention of the champ with her win. A Tate-Nunes fight is the least popular among casual fans, but would be big with fans who watch every event.

Non-Title Fights

While big events like UFC 100, UFC 129 and UFC 168 are often distinguished by their main events, many slots have to get filled to fill an entire fight card. Big events like UFC 200 are the time to show off your future stars and exciting fighters.

Aljamain Sterling, who re-signed with the UFC after a contract negotiation, is a future player in this sport. It’s fighters like him who thrive under the conditions of a big event. He would be a perfect addition to a prelim or even a main card. He has recently called out Bryan Caraway, but a fight with former champion TJ Dillashaw would be ideal for the main card slot. A prelim fight for him could be against Thomas Almeida as the two bright stars of the Bantamweight division go at it.

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A Featherweight bout besides Conor McGregor is expected to be on the main card. Whoever is not chosen between Aldo and Edgar could fight Max Holloway, a guaranteed main card slot. Other guys who could slot for that fight could be Ricardo Lamas, Charles Oliveira or even a Darren Elkins. The ideal matchup would be Aldo against Holloway for the next title shot.

Depending on the Lightweight title situation, a title contention fight is possible. Any combination of Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz, Beneil Dariush and Donald Cerrone. Alvarez-Diaz is a good match up for the main card opener.

Despite losing unimpressively, Sage Northcutt is still a rising star in the UFC. He can fight at 155 or 170 and is the perfect Fight Pass prelim spotlight for an event like this. A fight with Andrew Holbrook already fell through, but seems to fit well with the programming.

In a recent interview, Cain Velasquez said he had successful back surgery and would like to return in July. Well, just so happens UFC 200 is in July and doesn’t have any Heavyweight backing. Velasquez would make sense on a big card with his status.

Veterans, we need veterans. Every fight card, big or small, can benefit from having proven, likeable fighters on it. The biggest event in company history is no different and should see a few veteran fights with very little title talk to them. A couple we could see is Joe Lauzon vs. Ross Pearson or Kyle Noke vs. Siyar Bahadurzada.

With the knowledge given to you, go to @MMALatestNws and give us your rational UFC 200 fight card.

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Events

*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results

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The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.

An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.

The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.

UFC Winnipeg Official Results:

MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT

  • #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
  • #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
    • Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
  • #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45  round 1

PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT

  • #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
    • Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
  • Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
  • Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
  • John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
    • Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
    • Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT

  • Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
    • Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
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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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Fight Announcements

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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