While it may not do blockbuster business, next weekend’s UFC 209 is a huge card for hardcore MMA fans. Headlined by a pair of quite intriguing title conflicts, the card also features plenty of fan favorites, plus several of the highly regarded prospects on the roster at the moment. The most important event is going to be the welterweight title rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson. Their struggle on the huge UFC 205 card proven to be a far better contest than most anticipated, ending in a majority draw. Woodley had the a lot more demonstrative moments in the fight during the first and fourth rounds. But, Thompson managed to back him against the cage for long stretches of the middle rounds, and although he didn’t accomplish much once there he took those rounds. The fifth saw Thompson open up on a tired Woodley and finish the struggle on a solid note, but it was just enough to get him back level on two scorecards. As Woodley and Thompson failed at UFC 205, the co-main occasion could steal the show as well. The interim lightweight title bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson comprises just two of those fighters in the division who’ve taken the long road to their name shots. Nurmagomedov is currently 8-0 within the Octagon and 24-0 entire in his career. He has been tapped for big things considering entering the UFC, and after overcoming a rash of serious harms, eventually seems consistently fit and is favored to win the buckle on March 4th. Ferguson has seen his own lumps in the road on the road to this particular shot. After winning the 13th season of’The Ultimate Fighter‘ back in 2011, he scored three successive wins. He dropped a decision to Michael Johnson in 2012 that just stopped his sanity for a moment. Since that time, he’s reeled off nine consecutive wins against the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, and Josh Thomson, consistently putting on must-see struggles. The combination of both Nurmagomedov’s dominance and Ferguson’s high-paced, all-action approach makes their imaginations of the best bookings in the UFC in some time, and almost makes you forget that there’s a guy out there holding the UFC lightweight title who seems to possess no desire to defend it. The principal card of UFC 209 additionally features a heavyweight rematch between Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt. The two fought in DREAM back in 2008 under a variety of circumstances. Overeem was just beginning his transformation into Ubereem, while Hunt’s commitment to the sport was about based on Mario Yamasaki’s desire to stop fights on time. Both men are a lot of fighters at this time, as Overeem has adopted a far more conservative style and Hunt has rounded out his game significantly. In their first fight, Overeem immediately took Hunt down and filed him, but we haven’t seen too much of his offensive fighting game lately. Will this battle mark its recurrence, or will the K-1 Grand Prix winners participate on the feet? Rounding out the main card, former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans makes his long-awaited middleweight debut against the constantly sudden Dan Kelly. The now 37-year-old Evans is 2-4 in his past six, and has not won a fight since 2013. Kelly, despite turning 40 later this year, has impressed in his UFC run — although the level of competition has been a far cry from what Evans could have offered within his prime — heading 5-1 despite being the gambling underdog in every one of his UFC outings. Finally, one of the rising stars at lightweight gets the chance to show off his striking, but from a technical standpoint this might be his stiffest test yet on the toes. Lando Vannata stormed into the UFC, almost upsetting Tony Ferguson on short note in his introduction, and then scoring the favorite choice for 2016’s knockout of this year against John Makdessi. He will be confronting an underrated opponent in David Teymur, who has a pair of TKO wins his UFC restart after breaking into the organization through TUF. The undercard also includes some struggles to keep your eyes on, as undefeated prospects Mirsad Bektic, Luke Sanders, Paul’The Bear Jew‘ Craig, and Tyson Pedro make their returns. Both have been paired together in a light heavyweight division which desperately needs fighters to grow up the rankings. Meanwhile, Bektic and Sanders face their stiffest professional tests from Darren Elkins and Iuri Alcantara, respectively.

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