By Kyle Boris
When Rashad Evans, a former Light Heavyweight Champion, is on the 9th best fight of the card, you know you’re getting something good.
Three title defenses will headline the first UFC event to take place in New York since the MMA ban was lifted. Besides those three bouts, former champions Chris Weidman, Miesha Tate and Frankie Edgar join Evans on the card.
On paper, this card is shaping up to be the greatest one that Dana White and the UFC have constructed. The card has preliminary bouts that could headline other PPV’s, new champions Tyron Woodley and Eddie Alvarez, undefeated stars Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Khabib Nurmagomedov, a Wonderboy, a cowboy, and that Conor McGregor guy.
With only six weeks until the gigantic event, let’s take a deeper look into the Big Apple’s first UFC card.
Will History Be Made?
Boxing, WWE and other fighting promotions have seen one of their competitors hold two belts simultaneously. However, the UFC has yet to see that happen. Actually, only two UFC fighters have even won a belt in two different weight classes. Randy Couture won the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight titles and B.J. Penn won the Welterweight and Lightweight championships.
If Conor McGregor can defeat new Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez on November 12, he’ll make history on the biggest UFC card of all time. Some wonder if the UFC will force McGregor to vacate one of the championships, but The Notorious one answered that question at the UFC 205 presser emphatically.
“I’m gonna wrap one [belt] on one shoulder, I’m gonna wrap the other on the other shoulder and you’re going to need a f*ckin’ army to come take them belts off me.”
Undefeated + Awesome Names
Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Khabib Nurmagomedov. Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
Even though these three fighters have the most difficult names to pronounce, their records are easy to decipher; they all end with zeroes.
Jedrezjczyk and Kowalkiewicz both head into their Strawweight Championship bout undefeated. Awesome names aside, these two ladies have been untouchable in their time in the UFC. Undoubtedly, Kowalkiewicz’s fourth fight inside the octagon will be her toughest to date. The champ Jedrzejczyk, is 6-0 in the UFC with multiple Fight of the Night bonuses under her belt. The two women will be representing Poland and with a huge influx of Polish residents in New York, you can bet they’ll be flowing into Madison Square Garden to watch one of their own remain undefeated.
Nurmagomedov has competed in 23 professional bouts and has yet to know what it’s like to lose. “The Eagle” was a late addition to the card, but his bout with Michael Johnson could steal the show, most likely on the undercard.
It was rumored that Nurmagomedov and Eddie Alvarez might be in line for a fight, but when the McGregor-Alvarez deal was made, The Eagle still wanted to fight on the NYC card. Michael Johnson wanted Khabib and Khabib wanted him, so the fight was a last minute addition.
Miesha Tate was on top of the world after winning her first championship against Holly Holm. After other fights were canceled, Tate’s first title defense would also headline UFC 200. Tate had finally reached the top, but their was only one problem standing in her way; Amanda Nunes. Nunes pulled off the upset and shocked the world with a submission victory over Tate in the first round.
Four months later , Tate will try to climb her way back and earn a rematch for the belt. The bantamweight division is stacked right now with Nunes, Holm, Tate and Rousey all in the mix. Tate’s opponent at UFC 205, Raquel Pennington could insert herself into the discussion as well with a win over her former coach on The Ultimate Fighter Season 18, Miesha Tate. A dominant win by Tate, however, would definitely force the UFC to give her the rematch against Nunes sometime in 2017.
Long Island’s own Chris Weidman will hold a surefire hometown advantage over Yoel Romero in their middleweight bout. Weidman has been vocal about his desire to fight in front of his home crowd and now that he has the opportunity he will most likely receive one of the bigger ovations of the night. Romero will probably hear some extra boo’s following his failed drug test from earlier in the year.
Frankie “The Answer” Edgar should also be the recipient of loud cheers from the New York crowd because of his well-known New Jersey roots. Edgar is coming off a loss against Jose Aldo at UFC 200 for the interim Featherweight title and could use a win over Jeremy Stephens to keep himself in the title picture once McGregor drops backs down. Stephens, on the other hand, might be able to swing a fight with McGregor down the line with a win against Frankie. If he does, let’s just hope he doesn’t get hit like this again.
video via TheUploader
The Chosen One vs. The Wonderboy
Four of “The Chosen One”Tyron Woodley’s first five UFC victories came by knock out heading into his title match with Robbie Lawler at UFC 201. Would he be able to continue that trend against the champ? Yep. To everyone’s surprise, Woodley knocked out Lawler and took the belt with him. Now, in his first title defense, “The Wonderboy” Stephen Thompson is standing in his way.
The Wonderboy has won seven fights in a row with wins over Johny Hendricks, Jake Ellenberger and most recently, Rory MacDonald. He has four stoppages in his last seven fights so UFC fans can expect fireworks in this welterweight bout.
If all of that doesn’t get you excited, don’t worry; there’s more. Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is fighting, again! The man known to fight any time and any place will do so at UFC 205 against Kevin Gastelum. Rashad Evans returns to fight Army Ranger Tim Kennedy who last fought in 2014. Thiago Alves makes his lightweight debut against the always exciting Jim Miller. Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian, Rafael Natal, Tim Boetsch, Lyman Good and Belal Muhammad are also fighting on the stacked card.
Fans will be keeping their fingers crossed that all the fights go as planned so that UFC 205 delivers fireworks and gives New York City a reason to be the city that never sleeps on November 12, 2016.
Kyle Boris is a contributing editor for YourSitch.com