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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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Interviews

Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Announcement

Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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Announcement

*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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