UFC returns to Las Vegas on Sat. with a pair of title fights on the marquee at T-Mobile Arena, together with Tony Ferguson trying to grab gold for the 1st time in his profession & Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson trying to set a UFC record for many consecutive title defenses.
However just how acceptable of a card is UFC 216 on paper?
Let’s check out the most noteworthy storylines getting in to Sat.’s event.
1. UFC 216 makes an attempt to masquerade as a Las Vegas pay-per-view: There isn’t any need to rub in what we already know — this has not been a stellar yr for UFC. Following a record-breaking monetary run in 2016 & a much-publicized $four billion sale, the 1st 10 many months of 2017 have felt like a nasty hangover. & while UFC 216 has a number of glossy trinkets out front in an attempt to spice up sales & pass off as a suitable PPV card, it is troublesome to argue in that it really is.
The card, additional dented when marketable women’s flyweightwith an injury, merely is not as much as the normal of a UFC PPV card in Las Vegas. Demetrious Johnson’s makes an attempt at PPV have not historically equaled large sales, which is probably going why he went from headlining UFC 215 in Sept. to a co-main slot one month after later an sickness to opponent Ray Borg delayed the fight.
The Tony Ferguson-Kevin Lee light-weight bout, in the meantime, might find yourself being the Fight of the Night. However it additionally screams more Fight Night main event than it does PPV, with the add-on of the interim title serving as a poor cover for the card’s general lack of depth or must-see buzz to a more informal audiences. Suffice it to allege, UFC 217 in New York NY can not come swift sufficient.
2. Is Kevin Lee prepared for this large of a leap? If “The Motown Phenom” can fight nearly as acceptable as he can talk, he could moreover be a show star within the making. However as things stand now, despite a five-fight win streak, Lee has not introduced sufficient proof on the elite level to confidently consider that, at age 25, he is able to disarm such a dangerous & sadistic opponent as Ferguson. However however, in that is the type of foundation in that turns step-up fights in to the virtual “second of truth” they typically turn out to be.
Lee seemed spectacular in submitting Michael Chiesa in Jun. & seemingly raised his public profile by the eye he received in attacking Chiesa at their news source conference many months earlier. & if there’s one thing he seems to have in spades, it is poise & confidence. He’ll need it against Ferguson, who rides a nine-fight win streak of destruction & is as deserving of a title shot as any fighter in UFC. Lee can not make in that very same claim. It will not matter so much if he gets the win, likely establishing a showdown with a fair bigger talker in division champ Conor McGregor.
three. Demetrious Johnson fights for historical past â€¦ again: Johnson will try and best Anderson Silva’s UFC record of 10 title defenses when he faces Borg of their 125-pound title bout. The- stakes stay the same for “Mighty Mouse,” one month after Borg’s viral sickness postponed the bout just two days ahead of UFC 215. The- real query becomes whether or not the added time to prep helps Borg, 24, who enters as an enormous underdog. Borg claims his pulling out in Sept. had nothing to do with a aggressive weight cut. He did, nevertheless, fire his nutritionist within the aftermath. Both means, he’ll have a steep hill to climb against the legendarily well-rounded Johnson, who enters a shot at historical past to much less fanfare the 2nd time around.
four. Derrick Lewis gets another probability at being heavyweight’s next large thing: All through his current six-fight win streak, “The Black Beast” had turn out to be appointment viewing for the usually underwhelming heavyweight division, from his colourful interviews to his violent knack for ending fights. His TKO loss in Jun. felt a bit like a buzzkill, nevertheless, as the lovably large Lewis succumbed to fatigue & the heavy hands of Mark Hunt within the fourth spherical. Contemplating how superficial the division remains, with champion Stipe Miocic fresh in need of marketable opponents, Lewis enters an cultured bout opposite Fabricio Werdum. If Lewis can end the sometimes sturdy former champion, it will be the type of assertion to make us overlook what we saw just 4 many months ago.
5. Tom Duquesnoy might be the one UFC prospect you could know now: At just 24, the native of France has turn out to be a mainstay on “prospects to watch” lists over the past two years of time of time. He lastly made his UFC debut in Apr., when the “Fire Kid” picked apart & stopped Patrick Williams in two rounds. Together with his teenage seems, Duquesnoy has a sure show star high quality that’s troublesome to explain correctly. & while he’ll need to continue to prove himself on the bottom at the UFC level, his putting is dynamic, dangerous & fun fun to watch. The- featherweight takes on Cody Stamann within the preliminary card main event. Overhyping prospects too shortly is a dangerous game (see VanZant & Sage Northcutt), still you may want to learn to pronounce the name Duquesnoy now 'cause there’s acceptable reason to consider this is just the start.