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Even Without Finalized Card, UFC 200 is a Must Watch Event

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

 

When UFC superstar Conor McGregor steps into the cage, any card he is a part of has the potential to break records in both viewership and dollars earned. So it came as no surprise last week when the UFC announced McGregor would be fighting in the main event of UFC 200. A main event slot on a card as monumental as UFC 200 would be the perfect place for McGregor to make the first defense of the UFC featherweight championship he won last December. Coming off his first loss in the UFC against Nate Diaz (at welterweight), it would make sense for him to return to the weight class he championed and get back to his winning ways. As it turns out, he has other plans, and when you are the reigning pay-per-view king it’s pretty easy to get your way.

At UFC 200, instead of defending his featherweight title, McGregor will instead seek to avenge his loss to Nate Diaz in a rematch that will again be contested at welterweight. Because everyone knows when you add a lightweight and a featherweight you get a welterweight. I believe it was Pythagoras who proved this in 445 BC. With the main event set and McGregor essentially turning his nose up at the idea of a return to featherweight, UFC officials have decided to hold an interim featherweight title fight between one-time featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. This interim title fight will play second fiddle to McGregor, the actual featherweight champion, as he fights for a second straight time outside of his weight class. Ok, whatever.

In addition to these two fights, there have been rumors that a women’s bantamweight title fight may take place on this card as well. The chances of this happening seem slim in my estimation, however. The card already has two five round fights; adding a third would shrink the potential number of fights on the main card and I don’t think that would sit too well with consumers. This card is expected to draw in the casual fan and offering them a total of, let’s say, four fights for the hefty price tag of $59.99 doesn’t seem like the right move to me. The rest of this card does feature some heavy hitters, young talent, and a few fighters who have been known to steal the show. If it manages to stay intact and not lose too many fighters to the injury bug, it would seem that UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby have the foundation laid for a card that should make a huge splash during the peak of summer.

As of now the fight card is as follows:
¥    Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz – Non-title welterweight
¥    Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar – Interim featherweight title
¥    Travis Browne vs. Cain Velasquez
¥    Kelvin Gastelum vs. Johny Hendricks
¥    Derek Brunson vs. Gegard Mousasi
¥    Joe Lauzon vs. Diego Sanchez
¥    Takanori Gomi vs. Jim Miller
¥    Enrique Marin vs. Sage Northcutt
    **As always, card maybe subject to change

Aside from the curious booking at the top of the card, I have to admit, this card is already worth the price of admission. A returning Cain Velasquez will have a lot to prove following just the second loss of his career if he hopes to gain a fast path to a title shot. A surging Derek Brunson will get a crack at a top ten middleweight in Gegard Mousasi. If victorious, Brunson might have the momentum to work his way into the top five at middleweight, assuming he follows up with another win or two. Brunson is certainly one of my fighters to watch for 2016. And then there is my absolute favorite fight on this card, Joe Lauzon vs. Diego Sanchez. On any other card, this fight would be a shoe-in for fight of the night. No two fighters care more about putting on a show for the fans than Lauzon and Sanchez. Both have been prone to bloody wars, and following the announcement of this fight, Lauzon suggested that fans in attendance “might want to pack a poncho.” With this card still a little over three months away, here’s to hoping the health of all those scheduled holds up and that injury bug stays as far away as possible.   

 

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