UFC 209 | Saturday, March 4, T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada
We are just days away from the much anticipated re-match between current welterweight champ Tyron "The chosen One" Woodley (16-3-1) and number one contender Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson (13-1-1) for the main event of UFC 209 in Paradise, Las Vegas, Nevada.
These dynamic welterweights first faced each other back at UFC 205 in New York city last November, with the fight ending in a majority draw after five full rounds of back and forth championship action (47-47, 47-47, 48-47).
After the draw, the belt remained with the champ "The Chosen One".
It's unfinished business between these two and now "it's tiiiiime' to settle the score.
Woodley and Thompson took home Fight of the Night honours in their first outing and we can expect to see another epic fight this time around.
With the "feeling out" process well out of the way now, it opens the door for even more action in this rematch.
Tactically, I expect both fighters to adopt a similar game plan to UFC 205. Both fighters are dangerous.
Woodley's explosiveness, takedowns and ability to keep his opponent on the ground, and his KO power, his first touch on the former champ Robbie Lawler put him out (the fastest finish in Welterweight title history) and crowned him the new welterweight champ.
'Wonderboy' has exceptional striking skills, inparticular his use of distance and kicks at range makes him a very dangerous fighter and has timing and accuracy that can put anyone away.
American Top Team teammate Tyron Woodley spends time in his camp at Roufus Sport (home of former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis under the tutelage of renowned striking expert Duke Roufus) and has even brought in fan favourite Sage Northcutt to help with his preparations for the bout.
Northcutt brings a lot of karate style experience to help mimic Wonderboy's unique striking style.
There's no question about Woodley's conditioning this time around, having gone into a fourth and fifth round for the first time in his career in his last fight, proving wrong any doubters about his gas tank.
In their first fight, Thompson was very much the aggressor, with Woodley having most success as a counter fighter and I expect much the same tactics from both fighters this time around.
Prior to his draw with Woodley, 'Wonderboy' had won seven of his last eight fights.
His lone loss was over five years ago to the UFC veteran 'The Immortal' Matt Brown via decision and he hasn't been stopped his whole career.
Perhaps this time around, although I see a similar game-plan employed by both fighters, a notable difference may be in a much greater desire to finish when even a small opportunity presents itself.
Woodley held back at times in their first outing, and this is an area we may see a change.
If their first fight is any indication of how this rematch will pan out, it’s going to be a thrilling one and I can't wait!
I think this time around however, we could see a finish.
Unibet Odds: Woodley 6/4 Thompson 5/9
Tip: Tyron Woodley
Total rounds: Under 3.5
Method of victory: Woodley by TKO/KO
Khabib Nurmagomedov v Tony Ferguson (Lightweight)
Ferguson (pictured above) is unpredictable both on the feet and on the ground, and its on the feet where hee'll have more success against Nurmagomedov.
He could catch the undefeated 'Eagle' but think it's more likely to go the distance as both lightweights are super tough.
This is for the interim title and a chance to face champ Conor McGregor, both fighters are super motivated and hungry and this is one of those fights you don't want to miss.
Over 3.5 rounds, Ferguson via decision.
Unibet Odds: Nurmagomedov 4/7 Ferguson 29/20
Total rounds: Over 3.5
Method of victory: Ferguson by decision
Alistair Overeem v Mark Hunt (Heavyweight)
Both of these heavyweight heavy hitters are capable of a stunning KO.
It's hard to see this one going the distance. Hunt (pictured above) via KO.
Unibet Odds: Alistair Overeem 4/6 Mark Hunt 6/5
Method of victory: Hunt by TKO/KO
Rashad Evans v Daniel Kelly (Middleweight)
It’s tough to count Dan Kelly (pictured above) out, he seems to thrive as the underdog but I think the veteran Evans could edge the tough Aussie out here in a war.
A much needed win here, Evans via decision in his middleweight debut.
Unibet Odds: Rashad Evans 2/5 Daniel Kelly 39/20
Method of victory: Evans by decision
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