Following a successful UFC Fight Night 88 event, the world’s top MMA organization is back this weekend with UFC 199 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The card features two title fights as well as a number of other intriguing matchups, and here are the five things you should watch for this Saturday night.
UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will attempt to defend his title for the first time when he takes on long-time veteran Michael Bisping in a rematch. These two previously met in November 2014 with Rockhold, a Bay Area native, defeating Bisping via submission. With 25 fights in his UFC career Bisping, a Brit who currently lives in Los Angeles, has paid his dues in the sport and a win over former long-time champion Anderson Silva in his last outing put him in a good position in the division to be the injury replacement for Weidman. Still, Rockhold has looked unstoppable as of late with a five-fight win streak in the division, with all five of those wins coming by way of stoppage. Considering he beat Bisping not that long ago, it’s not shocking he’s a massive favorite to defend his title. There’s a good chance this fight doesn’t last very long, but it should be exciting for as long as it lasts.
Two long-time rivals meet in a trilogy fight as UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz takes on Urijah Faber in a battle between the top two 135lb fighters in the sport. Cruz and Faber first met in the WEC in 2006, with Faber tapping Cruz out and then met for a second time in 2011 at UFC 132, with Cruz winning a decision over Faber to defend his bantamweight title. Unfortunately for Cruz, injuries derailed his career and he only recently returned to reclaim his belt, earning his title back with a split decision win over T.J. Dillashaw earlier this year. That set up this rematch with Faber, who has won his last three fights in the bantamweight division. At 37, Faber may no longer be “The California Kid” anymore, but he’s still one of the top fighters in the division. Cruz, 31, missed the better part of five years with injuries, but he’s now healthy and the San Diego-based fighter is in the prime of his career and ready to finally put his feud with Faber to rest for good. With not just the belt but also bragging rights on the line, fans should be treated to an intense, competitive bout for the bantamweight title.
Two of the top fighters in the featherweight division meet in an important matchup in their division as Max Holloway takes on Ricardo Lamas. Holloway, who is only 24, is currently riding an eight-fight win steak which is one of the longest win streaks in the UFC and if he can pick up a ninth-straight win over Lamas it would be very difficult to deny him a title shot. However, Lamas is known to play spoiler and the former title challenger will certainly make this a competitive fight. Still, the UFC booked this fight for Holloway to shine and make a statement that he deserves a title shot, and if he can defeat Lamas in impressive fashion, a rematch against UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor might not be far off. That is, if McGregor actually defends his belt – if not, a bout against the winner of UFC 200’s interim title fight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar could await.
Two of the oldest fighters in the middleweight division meet in an important fight in both of their respective careers as the legend Dan Henderson takes on Hector Lombard. Henderson was supposed to fight Lyoto Machida in April, but Machida failed his drug test and Henderson was instead booked against Lombard, who is making a surprisingly-fast turnaround following a TKO loss to Neil Magny in March. Henderson, who at 45 is the oldest fighter in the UFC, is known for his powerful right hand – the “H-Bomb” – and has 15 career knockout wins, while the 38-year-old Lombard has 19 knockout wins himself. Both men are coming off of knockout losses – Lombard to Magny and Henderson to Vitor Belfort – and both desperately need to get back in the win column to remain relevant in the UFC middleweight division. With as much combined power as both fighters have in their fists, there’s a very good chance fans will be treated to a spectacular knockout in this bout.
One of the most exciting prospects in the featherweight division looks to keep his undefeated record intact as Los Angeles native Brian Ortega takes on durable veteran Clay Guida in the headliner of the televised preliminary card. Ortega, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under the Gracies, is nicknamed “T-City” because of his ability to collect victories via triangle choke, having achieved that feat four times in his career. Just 25 years of age, Ortega is already 10-0, 1 NC in his MMA including an impressive 2-0, 1 NC record in the UFC, but there’s no doubt Guida represents his toughest test to date. Guida may be 34 now and on the downside of his career, but with 22 fights in the UFC including wins over the likes of Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis and Rafael dos Anjos, Guida is a tough out for anyone. This fight represents an opportunity for Ortega to pick up the biggest win of his career to date, while a win for Guida would revitalize his career. It’s an excellent fight so don’t forget to watch the prelims before the PPV starts.