Update: Sijara Eubanks has failed to weigh-in for her fight with Nicco Montano, and has been pulled from the title fight. Roxanne Modafferi will be replacing her. A longtime fighter, Modafferi lost in the semifinals of The Ultimate Fighter to Eubanks. Kind of diminishes the importance of the inaugural belt a little, but she probably would have made it there eventually anyway.
What’s up, fight fans? This weekend we have the ability to get double pumped for some combat sport action with the UFC having the Ultimate Fighter finale in Las Veges on Friday, and UFC 218 going down in Detroit Saturday night. Let’s get to it and break ’em down.
Up first, we have the inaugural women’s flyweight belt. A lot of veterans and newcomers threw their hat in for a shot at the title, but ultimately it comes down to Nicco Montano and Sijara Eubanks. Neither of them were ranked higher than 12 when the Ultimate Fighter started, but both beat down some of the best in the world to get a spot in the finale. Pretty historic night for the UFC, and you can bet there are A LOT of female fighters chomping at the bit to have next dibs at the newly crowned champ.
We also get to see what Sean O’Malley can do in the Octagon. This undefeated fighter made quite the splash with a knockout win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series, and the spotlight will be on the brash young fighter when he goes against Terrion Ware, who lost his UFC debut to Cody Stamann back in July. Ware definitely has more experience, but only ONE of O’Malley’s fights haven’t ended in him getting a knockout win.
There’s also a slew of fights between contestants that were on the show and will be looking to make a statement to stay on the UFC roster.
Then on Saturday is when shit starts to get REAL good. UFC 218 has so many good fights I don’t even think I’ll have room to break them all down.
Top billing is the rematch between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo for the featherweight title. Frankie Edgar was originally supposed to fight Holloway, but was sidelined due to injury. Aldo gets the lucky break, and you just know he’s going to be SUPER pissed about that last loss. I won’t try and break down that fight again, but I will say that I don’t think Max Holloway will be as timid as he was in the first fight, and Aldo is going to try and establish those bruising leg kicks early. Yeah, I know Aldo is a legend and one of the best fighters to have ever lived, but legends fall all the time. Holloway is the real deal, and I think he gets it done even earlier this time because he wants to wipe away any doubt that he should have that belt. Aldo is smart, precise, and powerful, but Holloway is all of those plus young and confident, and it just feels like his time. This one should be damn fun to watch.
Man oh man. I can’t believe we get to see Francis Ngannou here. We’ve been dying to see what he can do against top level talent, and he gets that test against one of the most seasoned vets in the division, Alistair Overeem. The Cameroon native only has 11 fights to his name as opposed to Overeem who has approximately 1,782.375 fights, but Ngannou’s punching power was recently tested at the UFC Performance Institute, and it is apparently the strongest on record. He beat out the legendary kickboxer Tyrone Spong, but Overeem just laughed it off. He has to be one of the ballsiest guys alive. Ngannou is one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever seen, but Overeem was that guy not that long ago. God I can’t wait for that fight.
There’s also the chance we see the next challenger for the flyweight title when former gold medalist Henry Cejudo takes on Sergio Pettis. After watching Cejudo’s last fight against Wilson Reis and having my jaw drop to the floor with the speed and power of this punch, I don’t know if the young Pettis can hang. I promise this video isn’t sped up:
Jesus Christ. Pettis is definitely tough, but all of his UFC wins come by unanimous decision, and I really don’t think he’ll outscoring Cejudo at any point. He probably can’t take down the gold medal wrestler, and taking shots like THAT will not end well. Let’s see how Pettis handles it, though. He might surprise me.
God damn. I also can’t believe I get to watch Justin Gaethje again. I saw a few of his fights in WSOF and wondered if that style would get him killed over in the UFC. Turns out it’s still incredibly entertaining, and he took out Michael Johnson with some amazing toughness to boot. Eddie Alvarez is his opponent this time, and the former champ is trying to get back into the title picture by giving Gaethje his first loss. I have no idea who has the advantage here, but I can’t not pick Gaethje simply because I love the way he fights. Even if he loses, it’ll be in entertaining fashion.
On the main card, we also get the treat of Tecia Torres vs Michelle Waterson. “The Tiny Tornado” and “The Karate Hottie” are two of the absolute best female fighters in the world. This one is all about technique, skill, and toughness. If you want to see how two of the top contenders stay at the top, just listen to these two talk and watch their dedication to their craft. I got no picks here. I just really want to see this display of fighter IQ.
I haven’t even talked about the prelims yet, so let’s run through them real fast:
Charles Oliveira and Paul Felder should be an amazing fight with two crafty and tough lightweights just itching to jump into the rankings. Then we get Alex Oliveira vs Yancy Medeiros. Alex has been on point since his loss to Donald Cerrone, but Yancy Medeiros is kind of a crazy person with some damn fine submission skills and a knockout win in his last fight. The lightweight division also gets an infusion of some young tasty morsels when David Teymur takes on Drakkar Klose. Teymur already has a fight of the night bonus to his name, and those 50 g’s are something he will want again. Drakkar Klose better bring more than just a cool name. Oh yeah, we also get Felice Herrig and Cortney Casey to start us off when two badass women look to climb the rankings in the strawweight division.
Oh hey, Felice. Nice to see you.
Damn, that took a little while, but there’s also a lot of shit going down. There are some DAMN good matchups here, and I know my voice will be hoarse and my feet will hurt from pacing around my living room. Yes, I get overly excited for fights sometimes, but I love this shit. Make sure and tune in if you have an itch for violence that needs a little scratch.