This weekend see’s the UFC return to PPV duties, with UFC 206 coming from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. And like pretty much every PPV this year it has been hit by injuries, and no doubt the original main event between Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier and Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson was the most publicized.
Cormier and Johnson were set to face each other for DC’s UFC Light-Heavyweight championship, but Cormier had to pull out due to a groin issue, leaving the UFC without a main event for their penultimate PPV of the year.
So some shuffling around was needed, and a lot of it probably came as a surprise to most. The made the Co-Main Event at the time, Max Holloway vs Anthony Pettis, the main event, but the shuffling didn’t stop there! to ensure they still had a title fight the UFC stripped Connor McGregor of his UFC Featherweight title, made Jose Aldo, who after beating Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 won the UFC Featherweight Interim, the NEW UFC Featherweight champion, and then decided to make Holloway vs Pettis for the Interim title.
This decision was met with a lot of derision from the UFC fan base, as Aldo had essentially been handed a belt, but the biggest problem was, last we heard from Aldo he was RETIRED! Also the fact that even though the Holloway/Pettis fight would have been five rounds anyway, the UFC powers that be decided to put a belt on the line, with some people even joking that they had been given a UFC Interim Title for turning up at work, in an advent calendar and just for participating.
But lets not take this away from Holloway and Pettis, as both are very talented fighters, and the fight was going ahead regardless of the fact that a title is now on the line.
Holloway will go into this fight full of confidence, having won his last nine fights on the bounce, with his last loss being against former two-weight champion Connor McGregor, back in August 2013! The Hawaiian native has won his last two, against Ricardo Lamas and Jeremy Stephens respectively, by decision, and has finished the majority of his sixteen wins by going the distance, with a total of 50% of his wins being in the judges hands. But Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway also knows how to finish a fight with two submission wins, both by Guillotine, and six KO/TKO victories in his professional career.
Pettis on the other hand, has made a return to the Featherweight division, and made a return in an emphatic way by beating Charles Oliviera by submission back in August at UFC on Fox 21. Showtime made the choice to step back down to 145 after going on a three fight loss streak at 155. For his return to the division Pettis took the decision to split his time between RoufusSport and Jackson Wink to help with the transition.
But where Holloway tends to take fights the distance, Pettis is a finisher, having finished sixteen of his professional fights, with the majority of them being by submission (9), but he can also go for the highlight finish and has finished seven of his nineteen fights by KO/TKO.
This fight could go either way, however I feel that Pettis will try and finish this within the first couple of rounds, and truly mark his return to the 145lb division, but Holloway could grind out a result and take this the distance, but this will be a fight worthy of the division, regardless of the gold on the line.
But with any UFC card it isn’t all about the main event, there are some exciting fights to look forward to, the fight pass prelims have Rustam Khabilov vs Jason Saggo and Lando Vannata vs John Makdessi, with the prelims have Valerie Letourneau vs Viviane Pereira, and the main card has Doo Ho Choi vs Cub Swanson.
But for me the fight to watch is the new Co-Main Event, and that is the lightweight bout between Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and ‘The Immortal’ Matt Brown.
Cowboy goes into this bout after a contender for finish of the year against Rick Story at UFC 202 in August. In which the combo he used to down Story looked liked something out of a computer game! But by right Cowboy shouldn’t have been on this card, as he was due to face ‘Ruthless’ Robbie Lawler at UFC 205 in New York City! but with Lawler pulling out and no opponent to be found to replace the former champ, Cowboy will instead don the gloves and enter the octagon in Toronto.
Cowboy does like to finish his fights, with an impressive 23 of his 31 wins coming by either submission or KO/TKO. With all of his last four wins all coming by a finish, with three out the four coming by TKO finish. And on a three win streak Cowboy will go into this one on a high, and probably the favorite to win the bout.
Matt Brown has had a contrasting record in his last few bouts, compared to that of Cerrone. Having lost his last two bouts, to Jake Ellenberger and Damian Maia, in fact Brown has only won twice in his last six.
But like Cerrone, Brown is a finisher, having won 18 of his 20 professional wins with a finish, with two thirds of those wins coming by KO/TKO, and a third by submission.
At the risk of putting the commentators curse on this one, I really can’t see this one going the distance, and a finish will happen, and with the history of both fighters, there’s nothing to say that it won’t win at least one performance award at the end of the night.
UFC 206 happens this Saturday 10th of December, in what is a night sure to excite, with a full card of potentially exciting fights, and the guarantee of a new UFC Featherweight Interim Champion.