UFC 209 was a big card that got a lot less big after Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of his fight with Tony Ferguson. The fights on the main card were decent, aside from the main event. But the lack of Khabib and Tony really put a pall over the whole thing for me, I was so pumped for that fight that. Having it fall through the way it did was a huge let down.
I didn’t discuss every fight on the card, just the big name fights.
Stephen Thompson vs Tyron Woodley
This fight was a rematch, and the first bout was a contender for fight of the year last year. There was a lot of anticipation for the rematch, and the fight itself did not live up at all. I think I’m a bit unique in the way I appreciate fights. Any time there’s a big match up, usually a title fight or contender eliminator, I enjoy the fight regardless of how entertaining it is. This fight is no exception, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time because I care about the welterweight division and the implications of either fighter winning. That said, the fight itself was truly terrible. Despite the fact that I was tense on the edge of my seat, if I were to watch it again knowing the outcome, it would be one of the most boring fights ever.
Both fighters were extremely cautious throughout all five rounds. Woodley turned up the gas in the last round and came close to finishing Thompson, but other than that not much really happened. I had Thompson winning 3-2 going in to the decision, but it was extremely close. Hopefully they never book this fight again, as it was a real dog to get through. I’d like to see Woodley defend against the winner of Masvidal vs Maia and Thompson fight the loser.
Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
This fight didn’t happen. I was SOOO excited for this fight, it was the main fight I wanted to see on this card. Khabib had trouble cutting the weight and pulled some shady stuff, and the fight was cancelled. I don’t know if they’re going to reschedule or what, but I was so bummed out this fight didn’t happen.
Rashad Evans vs Daniel Kelly
This was Rashad‘s first fight at middleweight, and his body looked amazing. He looked like a natural middleweight. I’d never seen Kelly before, but he looked like a flabby old man by comparison. I was shocked when Kelly’s awkward standup pressure neutralized Rashad throughout the first two rounds and into the third. Rashad starting to figure it out by the end of the third, but by that point it was too late. Kelly picked up a big decision over Rashad and turned me into a fan in the process.
Alistair Overeem vs Mark Hunt
This fight made me sad. I have a hard time being a fan of Overeem because of the cheating and his tendency to run away during fights, so I was really pulling for Hunt. Plus Hunt has been treated like crap by the UFC for the past year, and I think he’s absolutely in the right as far as that conflict goes. I’ve been watching both fighters since the Pride days, so I was really pumped for this one. Overeem fought a smart fight, he stayed on the outside and used his knees in the clinch. It was a brutal knockout, and I wonder if maybe age and all of Hunt’s legal troubles affected the outcome at all. He seemed content to just stalk Overeem and coil up for that one shot that would put Overeem out instead of putting together combinations.