UFC 209 took a major hit with the loss of the Tony Ferguson/Khabib Nurmagomedov fight, but the show will go on. This event will be headlined by a welterweight title rematch as champion Tyron Woodley again defends against Stephen Thompson. Also, Lando Vannata faces David Teymur and a pair of top 15 heavyweights will be clashing in the Octagon.
UFC Welterweight Title Fight
Tyron Woodley (16-3-1) (Champion) vs. Stephen Thompson (13-1-1)
Woodley will be making the second defense of his championship, last defending it against Stephen Thompson at UFC 205. Thompson won seven fights in a row before the draw with Woodley and it includes a win over former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks. Woodley is undefeated in UFC pay-per-view main events, defeating former UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler in the main event of UFC 201. Thompson is also undefeated in UFC main event fights, but this will be his first ever UFC pay-per-view main event.
Prediction: This fight should go one of two ways, either Thompson uses his range to pick apart the champion or Woodley uses his wrestling and power strikes to flatten Thompson. The most likely scenario is Thompson picking apart Woodley, which he does before finishing him with strikes in the fourth round.
UFC Lightweight Division Fight
David Teymur (5-1-0) vs. Lando Vannata (9-1-0)
Teymur is currently undefeated under the UFC banner, having defeated Jason Novelli at UFC Fight Night 92. Vannata has won just one of two fights in the UFC, defeating John Makdessi and suffering a defeat to Tony Ferguson. Teymur was a cast member of the UFC Ultimate Fighter 22 and he made it to the quarterfinals of the reality show. Vannata also competed in the Resurrection Fighting Alliance, where he defeated Chad Curry at RFA 32.
Prediction: Teymur is a solid prospect with a positive upside, but Vannata has a great striking game and he finishes Teymur in the opening round.
UFC Middleweight Division Fight
Rashad Evans (19-5-1) vs. Daniel Kelly (12-1-0)
Evans will be making his middleweight division debut in this fight and he is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Kelly has won five of six fights under the UFC banner, with a notable win coming over Antonio Carlos Jr at UFC Fight Night 85. Evans will be entering the fight on a two fight losing streak and he hasn’t earned a victory in over three years. Kelly started off his professional MMA career on a nine fight winning streak, which includes four wins in the Australian Fighting Championships.
Prediction: Evans and Kelly both have solid wrestling games, Evans is the superior one though and he grinds out a decision win here.
UFC Women’s Strawweight Division Fight
Cynthia Calvillo (3-0-0) vs. Amanda Cooper (2-2-0)
Calvillo will be making her UFC debut in this fight and she has competed twice before in the Global Knockout promotion. Cooper has won just one of two fights under the UFC banner, defeating Anna Elmose and suffering a defeat to Tatiana Suarez. Calvillo also won five fights as an amateur, including a win over Invicta Fighting Championships veteran Aspen Ladd. Cooper made it to the finals of the UFC Ultimate Fighter 23, losing to Tatiana Suarez in those finals.
Prediction: Cooper will want to drag the fight to the ground, but Calvillo has a good striking game and she uses that to get a decision win.
UFC Heavyweight Division Fight
Mark Hunt (12-10-1-1NC) vs. Alistair Overeem (41-15-0-1NC)
Hunt has won two of his last three under the UFC banner, with those wins coming over Antonio Silva and Frank Mir. Overeem won the first meeting between the two at DREAM 5 in July 2008, Overeem earned the win with a first round submission. Hunt will be competing for the first time since he filed a lawsuit against the UFC following a bout with Brock Lesnar at UFC 200. Overeem will also be competing for the first time since losing a UFC Heavyweight Title fight to Stipe Miocic at UFC 203.
Prediction: This should be nothing short of a slugfest, but Overeem has the better clinch and he wears down Hunt on route to a second round TKO victory.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Marcin Tybura over Luis Henrique
Darren Elkins over Mirsad Bektic
Iuri Alcantara over Luke Sanders
Mark Godbeer over Daniel Spitz
Tyson Pedro over Paul Craig
Andre Soukhamthath over Albert Morales