UFC 209 Preview & Predictions
While UFC 208 failed to impress, UFC 209 will not disappoint with such a stacked card. On March 4, 2017, the octagon will be set at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There are two highly-anticipated fights atop the card–Tyron Woodley will be defending his Welterweight Title against Stephen Thompson for the second time and the interim Lightweight title is on the line in a fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
Fight fans are in for a treat. Keep reading for predictions for the entire main card.
Alistair Overeem vs. Mark Hunt
While the in-cage-action isn’t something you want to miss, the action outside the cage makes this fight that much more compelling.
About a week before the announcement of this fight, Mark Hunt filed a civil lawsuit against the UFC. Hunt is suing UFC President Dana White and previous opponent Brock Lesnar due to frustration over Lesnar failing a drug test before their UFC 200 bout.
Hunt is the first fighter in UFC to remain active while bringing forth a legal battle with the promotion. It will be interesting to see how pre-fight rituals are handled and how Hunt is promoted despite the lawsuit– we’ll see if they even let him near the microphone.
When these Heavyweights step into the octagon, anything could happen. Alistair Overeem (41-15-1 NC) and Hunt (12-11-1) have very different styles of fighting, which will make for an intriguing fight.
Overeem is the more well rounded fighter with knockout power and a fairly high submission percentage. Hunt on the other hand has extreme power and could end the fight with a single shot.
While this fight is very hard to predict because it could go either way at anytime, I am predicting a late round stoppage for Overeem.
Prediction: Overeem via TKO
Lando Vannata vs. David Teymur
Lando Vannata (9-1-0) takes on David Teymur (5-1-0) in what is expected to be a very competitive fight– with both men only having one loss to their name they will be looking to rise in the rankings Saturday night.
Vannata will likely look to take the fight to the ground while with Teymur’s knockout power, he will look to stay standing up.
Through Teymur’s first six pro bouts, he has scored 4 knockouts– proving himself a lethal striker, but I am not sure that will be enough.
Though Vannata specializes in his submission game, he is far from one-dimensional.
Along with his canvas work, he has extreme punching power. I believe Vannata’s versatility will lead him to victory over Teymur.
Prediction: Vannata via Submission
Rashad Evans vs. Daniel Kelly
Rashad Evans (24-5-1) is trying to rehabilitate his career by dropping down to 185 pounds and the aged, but determined former judo Olympian Dan Kelly (12-1-0) is ready to welcome him to the division.
Kelly’s key to victory in this fight is to use his grappling to wear Evans down. While Kelly has clearly been the more consistent fighter as of late, as evidenced by sites that offer MMA betting, Evans will enter the octagon Saturday night with a new level of determination in hopes to prove he still has enough left in the tank.
In a fight that could go either way, I am giving Evans the edge.
Prediction: Evans via Decision
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson
The co-main event Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0) vs. Tony Ferguson (23-3) is MMA at its best. These two are world-class fighters who are in their prime looking to take over the Lightweight division.
In this five-round battle, there is a lot on the line–not only the interim Lightweight title, but also a possible shot at the Lightweight champion, Conor McGregor.
Both fighters have been tested and have come out victorious over several top-10 fighters. Nurmagomedov easily has some of the best grappling skills in the sport currently and Ferguson has a high-pressure style with dynamic finishing skills.
With both men having compelling yet very different styles, this fight is guaranteed to be action-packed.
This fight is very hard to predict because Nurmagomedov and Ferguson are two of the best fighters in the Lightweight division and arguably in MMA today. Someone’s winning streak will come to an end Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena.
Nurmagomedov’s career has been superb thus far and I think he will continue on the path of greatness this weekend beating Ferguson via TKO.
Prediction: Nurmagomedov via TKO
Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson
While the main card and even the prelims have some very intriguing fights, the rematch between Tyron Woodley (16-3-1) and Stephen Thompson (13-1-1) is one of the most anticipated fights of the evening after the first bout was ruled a draw.
Thompson comes in as the top Welterweight title contender even after his first attempt he failed to dethrone the champion– Saturday night he will get a second chance.
This fight much like the first is bound to be very close and it’s not unlikely for this fight to end in a draw yet again. With that being said, despite the first fight ending in a draw, Woodley proved that he is deserving of the title of champion.
In 205, Woodley showed how well rounded of a fighter he truly his as well as his impeccable conditioning and unconquerable spirit.
While Thompson is one of the most dangerous strikers in the sport, Saturday night I believe Woodley will establish himself as the undeniable and undisputed best Welterweight in MMA.
Prediction: Woodley via Decision