Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee are officially set to headline UFC 216 for the Lightweight Interim Belt. The event will take place at the T-Mobile Arena on October 7, 2017.
Ferguson (23-3) has been inactive (not by choice) since November 2016 when he beat Rafael Dos Anjos by decision. Since Khabib notoriously didn’t make weight for UFC 209, Ferguson has been very vocal about wanting another Interim title shot. With Khabib allegedly not healthy enough to fight the UFC looked to fill the fight with another option.
Lee (16-2) made a lot of waves when he defeated Michael Chiesa in June. This came in the wake of a press conference that resulted in punches being thrown leading up to the fight. Aside from his talents inside the cage, Lee gained a lot of fans with his brash behavior and trash talking. In the current state of the UFC it seems the loudest mouth gets fed, in this case it led Kevin Lee straight to an interim bout with Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson has opened as a -260 favorite. Lee comes in at +180. Line movement is currently trending in Ferguson’s favor and Cage Prophet agrees with the trend. We’ll probably see the sharp money continue to fall on Ferguson but hope to see casual interest tighten the line as the fight approaches.
After UFC 214 a lot of questions arose about what would be next for the most recent Welterweight title challenger Damian Maia. Today those questions are answered. Combate reported today that Damian Maia will be fighting Colby Covington at UFN 119 in Sao Paolo, Brazil on October 28.
Covington has been making headlines recently for being outspoken about current champion Tyron Woodley calling him a “boring” fighter and claiming to be on the road to a title shot. For the most part, these claims have been met with eye rolls and disparaging twitter replies. But with the signing of a bout agreement to Maia, Covington could be on the road to a title shot with a victory over the Jiu Jitsu king.
Cage Prophet Prediction: Covington uses a grinding wrestling style to maintain top position and uses ground and pound to keep the fight down and secure rounds. Covington’s entire game plan revolves around going to the ground, except in this instance he will be going to the ground against one of the best Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the world. It’s a bad idea and if he wants to win the fight he will have to adopt the exact game plan he criticized Tyron Woodley for. I think he’ll stick to his strengths which will be proven inferior to Maia’s legendary ground game. I’m hoping to see Maia come in as a slight favorite in the -150 range, if so I will be betting Maia heavily.
What does UFC 217 have in store for us? A LOT. The UFC looks to impress as it returns to Madison Square Garden in New York City to conduct it’s second card in the world’s most famous arena. This card is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated of the year very quickly.
UFC 217 will be headlined by Michael Bisping’s UFC middleweight title defense against returning former welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre
Cody Garbrandt will be defending his Bantamweight Title against former champion, teammate and current nemesis TJ Dillashaw.
Stephen Thompson will meet Jorge Masvidal in a matchup of welterweight contenders. Thompson is coming off of two consecutive title shots where he failed to secure the strap while Masvidal is coming off of a loss to the most recent title challenger Damien Maia. Both men are looking to get back in the win column and as a result the winner should be in a good position to earn a shot at the Title.
These three fights alone could headline and sell a card by themselves, as more bout agreements continue to be signed this card can only get better.
Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw for the UFC Bantamweight Title is officially set for UFC 217. After the bout was cancelled from UFC 213 fans have waited anxiously to hear the results of Garbrandt’s back rehab. It seems that whatever the doctor has been cooking up for Garbrandt has worked and Cody will be putting his Bantamweight title on the line against former Team Alpha Male member and current nemesis: TJ Dillashaw.
With all the smack talk since TUF and the cancellation of UFC 213, it’s a relief to see these two with a date set to finally settle the score. Dominick Cruz is no doubt waiting in the wings to challenge whoever wins for a shot at redemption.
Paul Daley (39-15-2) is set to meet Lorenz Larkin (18-6) at Bellator 183. Both fighters are looking to jump back into the win column on September 23. Daley is coming off a second round submission loss to Rory Macdonald at Bellator 179 and Larkin lost his Bellator debut on the judges score cards against current Welterweight champion Douglas Lima.
This fight is set to be a strikers delight as both men are primarily stand and bang practitioners. Larkin typically finds early success with heavy leg kicks and with little threat of Daley wanting to take this fight to the ground I expect to see dynamic striking on full display right away. However, after seeing Rory MacDonald absolutely dismantle Daley by quickly taking the fight to the floor will we see Lorenz follow a similar game plan? Only time will tell, but on paper this fight jumps out as must see TV.
Bellator 183 takes place at SAP Center in San Jose, California on September 23. The card airs on Spike.
The Bellator 183 card currently includes the following fights:
- Benson Henderson vs. Patricky Freire
- Javy Ayala vs. Roy Nelson
- Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin
- Aaron Pico vs. opponent TBA
Its official! Jason Knight (20-2) has replaced the Korean Zombie to face #3 ranked Featherweight Ricardo Lamas (17-5) at UFC 214 in Anaheim, California.
This bout marks Knight’s first opportunity at a top 5 opponent. A win could launch him directly into title contention. After beating Chas Skelly by TKO, Knight had publicly stated he wanted a top ten opponent in Yair Rodriguez, in response the UFC delivered a top 5 contender in Ricardo Lamas.
Lamas stands as the toughest challenge of Knight’s career to date. His only two losses in his last six fights came from Chad Mendes and the current Featherweight Champion Max Holloway. This fight is as much of a giant opportunity for Knight to jump into the mix of title shot discussions, as it is for Lamas to stake his claim for a shot at Holloway.
Cage Prophet’s initial prediction: it’s all about Jason Knight! Kevin stated on the Podcast that Jason Knight should be climbing the ranks to a title shot over the course of the next year. But we didn’t expect an opportunity this fast. Knight and Lamas are both exciting strikers and we should see plenty of action on the feet early, but we expect to see Knight finish the fight on the ground inside of 2.5 rounds.
Sage Northcutt vs. Claudio Puelles is officially booked for UFC 214. The fight will take place at lightweight in the wake of Northcutt losing 2 fights at welterweight in 2016. Those two losses are significant in the fact that they make up the only losses on Northcutt’s professional record. At 8-2, the 21 year old Texan looks to get his career back on track with a win in the Lightweight division.
Northcutt’s opponent Claudio Puelles (7-2) is earned his way into the UFC as a finalist on last year’s The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America. Puelles has not fought since losing by TKO in November on the show’s season finale.
Cage Prophet’s prediction: This fight looks like a perfect matchup for Northcutt to get back on track. While still only 21, Northcutt has several fights under the UFC banner and is well established in the roster. He had two very tough tests last year in Bryan Barberena and Mickey Gall. Both of those loses are to two men that will continue to climb the ranks of the welterweight division. Dropping down to a lower weight class and fighting a UFC newcomer seems like the perfect equation for “Super” Sage to get back in the win column. We expect Sage to be a heavy favorite, but anything in the -200 range would be a great deal. We will have to wait and see for the betting lines, but regardless of odds we expect to see Sage Northcutt get his hand raised at UFC 214.
In the wake of Bisping’s injury announcement the UFC has scheduled an interim Middleweight title fight. Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero will square off for the middleweight interim belt at UFC 213.
Yoel Romero (13-1) will get his first shot at a UFC title after streaking to the top of the division with 8 wins in the octagon. The former Olympian has wins over Chris Weidman, Jacare Souza, Lyoto Machida, and Tim Kennedy in his last four outings. An impressive resume indeed.
Robert Whittaker brings a stellar resume to the table as well. Having most recently knocked out Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, he also has a first round KO over Derek Brunson. Currently on a 7 fight win streak with a record of 19-4, this young contender is only 26 years of age. Regardless of outcome, Whittaker has cemented himself at the top of the division for years to come as well as the opportunity to be crowned Australia’s first UFC champion.
Stylistically, Whittaker brings striking to the table while Romero offers a world class wrestling pedigree. While also a striker in his own right, Romero carries a considerable advantage in ground game. Can he implement a game plan to nullify the game plan of the young dangerous striker? We will have to wait and see at UFC 213.
Stevie Ray and Paul Felder have officially been booked for the UFC Fight Night 113 card in Glasgow, Scotland.
Scotland’s own Stevie Ray (21-6) is currently enjoying a two fight win streak. With wins over veteran fighters Ross Pearson and Joe Lauzon, Ray looks to test his mettle against against a fellow European Lightweight in the form of Paul Felder. Felder (13-3) finished his last fight against Alessandro Ricci with a standing elbow KO, earning him a performance of the night bonus. Both men are active and exciting strikers, this bout has all the ingredients needed for a fight of the night slug fest.
A headliner for the card has not yet been announced, the card will air live on FS1 on July 16.
It’s a Trilogy! Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem will officially be squaring off to settle the even score of 1-1 at UFC 213. The long feud between the two men has led them to fights in three different promotions over the course of eleven years. In their first bout they met under the PRIDE banner in 2006. After a quick flurry, Werdum emerged victorious by submission in the first round. They met again five years later in Strikeforce where Overeem won by decision. After another 6 years and yet another promotion change, the rubber match will be taking place in the UFC.
Both men have recently lost Title fights to the current Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic, and both men are knocking at the door for another shot at the belt. This is a very important match to decide who will be stating their case to be back in the discussion for another title shot. For both men’s weathered careers their third fight has all the ingredients of a “for all the marbles” rubber match. The winner of this fight could easily be at the top of the title fight discussion while the loser could fall out of the belt’s reach forever.
The UFC has not yet announced a main event for the UFC 213 pay-per-view event, which will take place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Rumors have been circulating however, and it appears we may see another Brazilian star on the card in the form of Amanda Nunes. Time will only tell who the headliner is, but for now this Heavyweight clash is more than enough to look forward to.