It was going to be arguably the greatest fight card on paper this weekend at UFC 200. However, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will not be fighting this weekend, due to a potential USADA violation by Jones. Although this is tough news for fight fans everywhere, we are still going to have an incredible night of fights. Here are a few things you should know heading into UFC 200.
1) Lesnar Returns To Octagon Against Hunt
Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar shocked the MMA world in early June when he announced he would be returning to the Octagon to take on heavy-handed Mark Hunt. Lesnar has not competed in MMA since December 2011 and though he has been doing professional wrestling in the meantime, that doesn’t compare to what he’ll be doing inside the Octagon. Lesnar is an incredible wrestler, but his ability to take a shot has always been questioned and Hunt is arguably the hardest hitter in all of MMA.
Having said that, Hunt is in his 40s, and Lesnar is one of the best athletes to ever grace combat sports. If he’s able to utilize his wrestling, he’ll have a chance to pull off the upset, but he has to watch that chin, because if Hunt touches it, there’s a good chance Lesnar will be taking a nap.
2) Tate Makes First Title Defense Against Nunes
UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate makes her first title defense when she takes on hard-hitting Amanda Nunes. This matchup was a bit of a surprise as most figured Holly Holm, who Tate took the title from, would get an immediate rematch, but the UFC decided to give Nunes the shot at the belt, and it’s hard to argue it as Nunes has won her last three fights and has looked fantastic overall inside the UFC.
Still, Tate is the champion for a reason, and if she can win her sixth fight in a row against Nunes, there’s a good chance the trilogy fight with former champ Ronda Rousey will happen next.
3) Aldo, Edgar Rematch For Interim Featherweight Strap
Two of the best featherweights in the world fight for the second time when former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo fights former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar for the interim featherweight title. These two first met back at UFC 156 in February 2013, with Aldo defending the featherweight title via unanimous decision. That was actually Edgar’s first fight at featherweight, and though he lost, he has looked amazing since, as “The Answer” has reeled off five-straight wins.
Aldo, meanwhile, lost for the first time in a decade in his last outing when Conor McGregor knocked him out in 13 seconds at UFC 194. With McGregor moving up to fight Nate Diaz in a welterweight superfight at UFC 202, the UFC decided to create an interim title for Aldo and Edgar to fight over. The first fight between these two was fantastic, and the rematch surely has the potential to be “Fight of the Night” at UFC 200.
4) Velasquez Looks To Re-Emerge As Heavyweight Contender
Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez returns to the Octagon for the first time since losing his title to Fabricio Werdum in June 2015 when he takes on Travis Browne in a heavyweight bout. Velasquez has been one of the elite heavyweights in MMA for years but injuries have really derailed his career. Now healed up from his latest ailment, he returns to fight Browne, who recently TKOed Matt Mitrione.
It’s a very good matchup on paper, and one that will likely end in an exciting knockout for the fans. The UFC heavyweight division is completely wide open, so the winner of this fight will undoubtedly throw themselves into the title mix, making this a very important fight on a card full of them.
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