So yeah... where are we again? If you haven't kept up with the scuttlebutt of the mma world, Jon Jones tested positive for something, and regardless of his B result, has been pulled from the card. In steps Anderson "The Spider" Silva?!? And is Brock the main event now? Most outlets seem to be showing Tate now headlining which makes sense as it is the only fully legitimate title on the line this night. While the card order may be in question still at the time of this writing, it has been a whirlwind of changes in the 11th hour, and honestly it's just disappointing for us as fans, and these men as competitive athletes. If you haven't seen the clip of DC being told that Jones was pulled yet, well then just trust that this fight meant EVERYTHING to him. It's pretty amazing that we're getting Anderson on essentially 3 days notice. I'm sure it's the last thing the company wanted to have another PR nightmare on their ends right at the eve of their biggest night, but if you've made it this far and are still with me, you know it's going to be an insane night of fights still.
Women's Bantamweight Championship
Miesha Tate (c) vs Amanda Nunes
Your new main event ladies and gentlemen? The last year or so has definitely been the era of unexpected champions. The ones we expected to maintain par for the course all fell by the wayside as countless unexpected new heroes rose up. Ronda was the monster that made Holly the monster killer. And surely if you could kill the monster, this lady that never came close wouldn't stand a chance... until she did. In spite of everything, Miesha does not break. There is something about a fighter who gets tougher the longer the fight goes and knows, really knows, what it means when you need to finish at the end. This strength of Miesha's is going to be the biggest challenge to Nunes who has proven to fade in fights. Known for powerful hands and aggressive flurries, the book on Nunes is that she has to win early here and that she has to finish. The longer the fight goes, it plays into Miesha's wheelhouse. The fellas are all right in presuming we'll have an #andSTILL, but there seems to be something in the water right now that people can't hold onto their belts. Amanda Nunes by early round TKO.
Cupcake: Doc Law, DJ Mark, Gooms
Lioness: Kid P
Brock Lesnar vs Mark Hunt
As our DJ Mark put it, UFC 200 had a lot of quality fights, a lot of known names, but it lacked spectacle. And even though Ariel Helwani wanted to "ruin" the surprise for all of us by doing journalism... this certainly qualifies as spectacle. Brock was a polarizing figure in his mma run, but it cannot be denied the value of his name, and the curiosity that this freak athlete of a man can invoke in every fan. I also have nothing but respect since he has agreed to face Mark Hunt. While the man's record might not immediately signal one of the all time greats to the average fan, please understand that this is one of if not THE hardest hitting fighter the game has seen. If Brock can implement his wrestling, we know that will be a long night for any man. However the images of him reacting very poorly after getting punched by Cain and kicked by Overeem are lasting ones, and Mark Hunt is not a man you want to be hit by. Brock's return is the feat in itself, but Hunt is the one calling this fight, and Buffer will be calling his name. Hunt by walk-off KO.
Super Samoan: unanimous
Daniel Cormier (non-title) vs Anderson Silva
|"This is why I fight" @dc_mma|
You've got to feel for DC. Jones was, is, and might always possibly be the white whale that Daniel never caught. We've given our fair share of grief to the man by referring to him as the "highly disputed" light heavyweight champion, and it's clear that is something that Daniel put's on himself too. His athletic career has been full of second places and what ifs. Becoming the light-heavyweight champion was supposed to erase all of that, however the acquisition of that belt came by result of the champ Jon Jones sabotaging himself. Their lone fight was a career low point for DC, and that loss was something DC didn't want, but NEEDED to avenge. In steps an all time great on about 3 days notice if that? You always want to say Anderson has a shot, but at this stage of their careers this should be all DC. Hopefully his mind is right after the disappointment of Jones, because you always have to respect the greatest, but DC settles for an older legend, since he can't topple the other. DC by projected anger meant for Jones.
Interim Featherweight Championship
Jose Aldo vs Frankie Edgar
|Gonna follow his buddy's lead? @frankieedgar|
Oh boy, how did no one pick Aldo? This fight has the potential to be our :womp womp: bad pick of the night. There definitely seems to be an aspect of us undervaluing one of the greatest champions the sport has ever seen all because of one loss. Aldo has a victory over Frankie already, yet none of us can deny our curiosity of if Conor broke Jose. It happens. Great fighters suddenly go on skids and they lose to guys you'd never have thought possible. Just ask Anderson. Combine this with Frankie really coming on strong. For a guy basically kind of pushed out of the division he was champ of, and having lost a title fight in his new division, you could never be sure if Frankie would still have the motivation to get back to that peak, but he's clearly the best fighter he has ever been now. Frankie starts faster now, and is more aggressive. The book on him was always getting down in the cards early but rallying late. If he can put it on Jose early though, then my friends we'll be introducing another multi-division champ. Frankie by unanimous decision.
Edgar: unanimous... this one feels a little dirty.
Cain Velasquez vs Travis Browne
Call this a mirror to the Brock and Hunt fight. Cain is going to show the world what Brock's gameplan has to be. Browne has some dangerous weapons standing, and you better keep your head on a swivel if you're attempting a takedown, because boy howdy does Browne have some hellacious elbows. Cain has fought many a dangerous striker though, and Cain has implemented his wrestling as a counter with ruthless efficiency. I expect a lot of takedowns early, and for Cain to systematically dismantle Browne. We saw a shockingly gassed Cain when he lost his belt to Werdum, but I think here we see the return of the man we once thought was the baddest on the planet. Cain by 1st round TKO.
Prelim quick hits:
Cat Zingano vs Julianna Peña
Alpha Cat is back! One of my favorite fighters and fights with tremendous heart is fighting a fighter with... also tremendous heart and pace. This is a fight the can vault Peña into the title picture with a win, but so can Cat if she reminds everyone how she KO'd the current champ. #unanimous
Johny Hendricks vs Kelvin Gastelum
He hasn't looked great in a while, but he was still a champion. Kelvin is a great prospect who has dropped some fights, but still has to prove it. We've got a split. The roommates are siding with the ex-champ, the law school boys like the young buck.
TJ Dillashaw vs Raphael Assuncao
|TJ knows Manny! @manny_the_frenchie|
Raphael won the first time, but none of us thinks he will again. TJ might be in a title fight next so that shows you the depth of these prelims.
Sage Northcutt vs Enrique Marin
I think Joe Silva did some better vetting this time in finding Super Sage a showcase fight.
Diego Sanchez vs Joe Lauzon
Coin toss fight, might get sloppy and wild, but should definitely be fun. DJ Mark stands alone on the side of Diego, but it might just be a wise call.
Gegard Mousasi vs Thiago Santos
Gegard gets back to his habit of smoking the non contenders.
Jim Miller vs Takanori Gomi
Gooms goes bold being the only one thinking the Fireball kid has anything left. But how often do Japanese fighters win outside of Asia lately?
It's MMAzing 2016 Standings (as of 7/6/16)
1. Doctor Law - (60-32) - .652
2. Lavender Gooms - (56-36) - .609
3. DJ Mark - (54-38) - ..587
3. Kid Presentable - (54-38) - .587