After a long break the UFC is back in action this weekend from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with a women’s bantamweight championship and a middleweight contender eliminator matchup. Oh yeah, and a 3-3 fighter faces off with a 1-0 fighter on the pay-per-view main card, so… yeah…
The main card kicks off at 10pm eastern on PPV, while the prelims start at 8pm, on FX (which has the movies, in case you hadn’t heard). The early pre-lim kicks off the evening at 6:15pm on FightPass.
Now let’s get down to business.
- Yes, Brian Kelleher ($7,200) is fighting the literal “Hands of Stone”, but Kelleher himself packs more than decent power in his hands. On top of the power, he also works at an incredibly active pace and lands almost 6 significant strikes per minute. This will fight will most likely come down to whoever is the aggressor, but both fighters will have more than ample opportunity to put a statement on this one.
Mackenzie Dern is being pushed as the “next big thing” in women’s MMA, but Amanda Bobby Cooper ($7,100) would like to slow down that hype train. ABC’s background is in boxing, but she has developed a serious “jack of all trades” game on top of her toughness. Dern did win her debut, but her lack of takedown talent and any real striking game outside of wild overhands leads me to believe that ABC will be able to control this one. And her low price tag will allow you to include the other Amanda on the card in your lineup (you know, the champ).
- I mentioned Mackenzie Dern’s ($9,100) lack of any takedown game above, but that isn’t her only drawback. Yes, if she gets her opponent to the ground she’ll lock up a submission, but she has to get to the ground first. Could she have made improvements since her UFC debut? Sure, but nothing about Dern leads me to believe that she’s put in the work. She’s coming into the fight SEVEN pounds overweight, and was even asked to leave her former camp, MMA Labs, because she was a frequent no-show. Avoid that price tag.
At least Lyoto Machida ($8,900) and Vitor Belfort aren’t headlining a Fight Night card. At this stage of their careers, fighting each other is the only thing these two should be doing, but I’m still not dropping that kind of cash to have the “Dragon” in my lineup.