Saturday, March 4, 2017
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
UFC 209: Tyron Woodley vs Stephen Thompson 2.
UFC 209 Woodley versus Thompson 2 takes place on Saturday, March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out the earlier fights on the UFC 209 Main Card before getting to the three top fights including the main event between Woodley and Thompson.
LandoVannata (9-1-0) vs David Teymur (5-1) – Both guys land a lot of strikes on average per minute. Vannata lands 5.54 per minute while Teymur lands 4.98 per minute. The difference is that Teymur has more striking power than Vannata appears to have. Vannata’s one loss was to Tony Ferguson. I think Vannata uses Teymur’s eagerness against him.
Prediction: Vannata over Teymur via 3rd-Round KO
Igor Pokrajac (25-13-0) vs Ed Herman (24-13-0) – Herman is more capable with his takedowns than Pokrajac. Not only that, but Pokrajac has gone 0-5-0 with a No Contest in his last 6 battles. It’s hard to see Pokrajac picking it up against Herman in this fight.
Prediction: Herman over Pokrajac via 2nd-Round KO
Todd Dufee (9-3) vs Mark Godbeer (11-3) – Dufee hasn’t fought at UFC since July of 2015. In that battle, Frank Mir knocked out Dufee in Round 1 by out striking Dufee 16 to 9. This is only Godbeer’s second fight at UFC. I think he makes a name for himself by knocking out Dufee in the first round.
Prediction: Godbeer over Dufee via 1st-Round KO
14 Darren Elkins (22-5) vs 13 Mirsad Bektic (11-0) – Elkins rides a 3-fight win streak into UFC 209. He won all three fights via decision. Bektic KO’ed Lucas Martins at UFC Fight Night 2015. He submitted Russell Doane in Round 1 at UFC 204 this past October. I like Bektic’s versatility.
Prediction: Bektic over Elkins via 3rd-Round Submission
3 Alistair Overeem (41-15-0) vs 7 Mark Hunt (12-11-1)
Hunt’s last fight wasn’t fair to the New Zelander. It’s no wonder that Lesnar out struck Hunt 51 to 13, and provided 4 takedowns and 4 passes, to Hunt’s 13 strikes and 0 passes and 0 takedowns at UFC 200. It was almost expected thatLesnar would fail the after-fight drug test…which he did. UFC’s new ownership group forced Dana White to declare the battle a non-contest.
That’s fair to Hunt. He finds himself up against it versus old pro Alistair Overeem. A man who has 56 MMA fights on his record can never be called soft. Overeem had no answer for Heavyweight Champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 this past Sept. 10. I expect things to turn out differently for Overeem at UFC 209.
Alistair has more of a ground game than Hunt does. Not only that, but Overeem’s 8-inch reach advantage should keep Hunt’s striking power at bay.
Prediction: Overeem over Hunt via 3rd-Round KO
Interim Lightweight Title
1 KhabibNurmagomedov (24-0-0) vs 2 Tony Ferguson (23-3-0)
The winner of Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson takes on Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor in the second half of 2017. McGregor versus either Nurmagomedov or Ferguson should make for an excellent battle. This might be the hardest fight on the entire UFC 209 card to handicap. Nurmagomedov and Ferguson match up well.
Ferguson is the more aggressive fighter. He lands 5.23 strikes per minute on average. Also 48% of his wins have come either via KO or TKO. Nurmegomedov only lands 3.82 strikes per minute. But, Nurmegomedov has a 6.14 takedown average while Ferguson prefers to fight standing up.
Ferguson does have a ground game. To beat the undefeated Nurmegomedov, Ferguson must use his 6-inch reach advantage and keep Nurmegomedov from slamming him to the ground. I think that’s going to be tough.
Prediction: Nurmegomedov over Ferguson via 5th-Round unanimous decision
Main Event – Welterweight Championship
C Tyron Woodley (16-3-1) vs 1 Stephen Thompson (13-1-1)
These two threw down at UFC 205 Alvarez vs McGregor this past November. Woodley versus Thompson 1 got the nod for Fight of the Night. The reason is because the two warriors battled to a draw.
The rematch could be another draw. That’s how well these two match up. Although Woodley out struck Thompson 61 to 43, Thompson got the better of Woodley in many of the exchanges. I also believe that Thompson is the hungrier fighter.
The rematch will be close again. My gut tells me that Thompson does just enough to garner the win via decision. I like Thompson to control the fight from the outset with Woodley connecting while looking shaky while connecting.
Thompson wins the rematch.
Prediction: Thompson over Woodley via 5th-Round Decision
Tyron Woodley vs Stephen Thompson
Last night at UFC 209, Tyron Woodley sort of defeat Stephen Thompson.
Across the whole fight, Thompson threw maybe a dozen strikes with real damage potential. He may have deserved to win, but it still was not an impressive performance.
None of this criticism of the decision really lets Thompson off the hook, either. Thompson talked a lot about letting his hands go in the lead up to this match, but he never really did that. Thompson may have been more consistently active than his opponent, but long periods of time still passed where Thompson chose to feint rather than strike.
Feints are important, but so is actually scoring.
For example, Woodley scored his single takedown in the third round and was tired as hell when he returned to his feet. Rather than ramping up the pressure when his foe was least dangerous, Thompson remained patient and picked at small shots. Had he instead jammed a hard body kick into Woodley’s mid-section — the wrestler was far too tired to take another shot — it really could’ve lead to something.
David Teymur vs. Lando Vannata
Teymur def. Vannata by unanimous decision (30-27 x3).
As a late co-main event fill in for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson, rising lightweight prospects Lando Vannata and David Teymur went to war last night (Sat., Mar. 4, 2017) at UFC 209 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It may not have been the matchup casual fight fans were looking for on paper, but it delivered on multiple levels.
Both fighters offered incredible offense throughout this fight. Vannata obviously pressed forward with crisp combinations and slick spinning attacks, but Teymur responded with counter kicks and nasty knees to the body. Neither lightweight conserved themselves at any point in the fight and it allowed for a wonderful exchange of striking and technical angle work to play out in an underrated co-main event. Teymur, who is strictly standup, even mixed in a takedown here and there. In the end, Teymur did enough on the scorecards to walk away with the unanimous decision.
Alistair Overeem vs Mark Hunt
Knockout! Watch Alistair Overeem finish Mark Hunt last night.
Alistair Overeem got back on the winning track after getting knocked out in his previous bout by Stipe Miocic — which was for the Heavyweight title — by knocking out Mark Hunt in the closing moments of their three-round scrap (relive it). In what was a rather tepid first couple of rounds, Hunt and “The Reem” didn’t exactly thrill fight fans with their performances until Alistair connected with a knee to the kisser that folded “Super Samoan” like a lawn chair. For Alistair, the win is a huge step on he road back to a title shot, as a few wins in the 265-pound weight class — which isn’t exactly loaded these days — can put a contender right back in the the thick of things.
Darren Elkins vs Mirsad Bektic
Elkins was beat up from pillar to post from the opening frame by Mirsad Bektic. And when I say beat up, I mean beat up, as he was left battered, bruised, bloodied and left a mangled mess by the third and final round. Anything Mirsad wanted to do to Elkins he did with ease. But, Darren dug deep and clipped Mirsad with a head kick and strikes to pull out an amazing come-from-behind victory to pick up his fourth straight win and hand Mirsad the first loss of his career (see it again here).
Cynthia Calvillo vs. Amanda Cooper
Calvillo def. Cooper by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:19 of Round One.
It was quite the performance for Cynthia Calvillo last night (Sat., Mar. 4, 2017) at UFC 209 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, as she made quick work of Ultimate Fighter standout Amanda Cooper. Calvillo was making her Octagon debut and was originally scheduled to make her appearance on the Fight Pass portion of the card.
After a very brief feeling out period, Calvillo ransacked Cooper once the action went to the canvas. She transitioned with ease, nearly sunk in an anaconda choke, moved to the back and then finished Cooper with a tight rear-naked choke. It was a very dominant performance by the Team Alpha Male youngster.
*Fights labeled as "may not be broadcast" are scheduled to take place before the live broadcast begins. These pre-recorded fights are inserted into the broadcast if time permits. However, due to broadcast time constraints some of these undercard bouts may not be seen on a broadcast. These additional bout can be found as bonus footage on the event DVD.