Saturday night sees two of the very best UFC welterweights go head to head in a bid to establish themselves as the number one contender for Robbie Lawler’s belt. Rory MacDonald and Stephen Thompson are two of the most well rounded fighters at 170lbs and their respective styles make this fight an intriguing one.
Thompson has been tearing through his opposition thus far in his UFC career with his only loss coming at the hands of Matt Brown, however since then he has racked up a six fight win streak beating established names such as Patrick Cote, Robert Whittaker and most recently, former champion Johny Hendricks. Thompson’s karate based style has provided a tough ask for almost all his opponents in his career and he’s proven to be hard to hit by just about everyone he’s faced. His unorthodox striking style has led to him finishing twelve of his seventeen career fights via knockout, which is even more impressive when you consider the opposition he’s faced.
It’s an ominous sign for Rory MacDonald, who shown in previous fights that he’s very ‘hittable’, especially in his last outing against Robbie Lawler where he took possibly the worst beating of his career. MacDonald has come back from adversity before and has shown that he can bounce back from defeat, but I’m not sure facing a fighter on a six fight winning streak is the best person to face when coming off a loss. MacDonald has always been renowned as a well rounded and talented fighter and has been the Tristar prodigy for a number of years and his training at the famous gym has led to him being world class in several facets of the fight game, especially his wrestling which could prove key in this fight.
This fight will be determined by who can impose their style on the other first, if MacDonald can take Thompson down early and keep him there, it could be an early night for Thompson but if he can keep it on the feet, we may yet see another highlight reel finish from the ‘Wonderboy’.
Another welterwieight fight is co-headlining this fight with former lightweight title contender, Donald Cerrone taking on former middleweight title contender, Patrick Cote. Both fighters enter this fight on the back of wins against Alex Oliviera and Ben Saunders respectively and will be looking to continue to gain momentum in one of the UFC’s deepest divisions. With both of these men relying predominantly on their striking ability to finish fights, expect to see the vast majority of the bout take place on the feet and while Cerrone may be new to the welterweight division, expect him to continue his recent run of form over a game but ultimately outclassed, Patrick Cote.
Steve Bosse and Sean O’Connell face off in a light heavyweight fight that if nothing else, promises fireworks. Both fighters possess one punch knockout power and is most likely the reason they feature this high up the main card. Neither of these fighters are anywhere near contention for the UFC lightweight title but they do provide entertaining fights, and whilst both these fighters can end the fight with one punch, expect Bosse to walk away with the win here.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier will meet Thibault Gouti in a lightweight fight that both fighters will be hoping will get their UFC careers back on track after losses in their last outings to Carlos Diego Ferreira and Teemu Packalen respectively. In a division as deep as lightweight, it’s possible that both these fighters are fighting to stay in the UFC and with that in mind, both fighters should come out and look to put on a head turning performance, especially Aubin Mericer who is fighting in front of his home crowd. Both these fighters are submission specialists, so don’t be surprised if the majority of this fight is spent on the canvas with both fighters swapping submission attempts between them.
Scotlands Joanne Calderwood and Valerie Létourneau compete in the very first women’s flyweight fight to be held in the UFC to open up the main card. Both of these fighters are former Strawweights with Létourneau unsuccessfully challenging for the 115lbs title in her last fight and Calderwood defeating Cortney Casey in her last fight. There’s not much on the line for either fighter in this fight, aside from losing obviously, but there’s no guarantee that the UFC will implement a flyweight women’s division anytime soon, so this is all being done for entertainment purposes rather than moving forward in the division. Don’t expect this fight to finish early but do expect some good striking exchanges over the course of the three rounds.
Fights to watch on the undercard; McCrory vs. Jotko, Beal vs. Soto and Bagautinov vs. Herrera
Welsh BJJ Blue Belt and founding member of the Gunnar Nelson Fan club. Known vagabond and all round scumbag.