Date: Sunday 9th April (3am BST)
Location: Buffalo, New York
Venue: KeyBank Centre
The UFC returns to New York with a stacked card and another scintillating rematch, this time between light heavyweights Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier and Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson. Their first meeting went the way of DC who put on a near flawless performance against the dangerous knock-out artist. He weathered the early storm of Rumble, and then proceeded to debilitate him with world class grappling until he found his neck in the last round to capture the vacant title with a rear naked choke.
Broken: Cormier (top) nearing the finish
So what can we expect in the rematch?
Rumble is one of the most dangerous fighters on the entire UFC roster. He possesses terrifying power in all of his limbs and only needs the slightest opening to turn off the lights. What makes DC’s first performance so spectacular is that he ate a vicious overhand right but still went on to execute a perfect game plan and quite frankly break Rumble to earn the victory. Surely he will go about this rematch in similar fashion? Well, this is what DC claims he will do:
‘I am going to go in there and fold Rumble Johnson up like laundry. No wrestling. I am standing up with Rumble Johnson, You say you’re going to knock me – prove it to me on April 8th. I’ll be waiting for you. I am going to stand with this dude. What’s the worst that can happen? – Daniel Cormier
This is a crazy plan against somebody like Rumble as it completely plays into his skill set. This could easily be mind games but DC is so desperate for the fans’ approval that it could tarnish his legacy as one of the best light heavyweights of all-time. He does not get the credit he deserves in and outside the cage but instead of entertaining the fans he can create his legacy just by relying on his exceptional skills and heart.
For Rumble, he will be praying for this approach from DC. Although he is the bigger man (astounding considering he moved up from welterweight and DC moved down from heavyweight), he will not want anything to do with Cormier’s Olympic level wrestling. He knows DC has the engine to grind him down so will predatorily seek openings for his devastating striking.
See below for a statistical breakdown of the fight along with stats of their previous encounter:
The co-main event features two former champions in a middleweight division that is polluted with savages. Former UFC champion Chris Weidman takes on former Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi in a match-up that is just filled to the brim with talent and skill. Weidman has evolved from a wrestling base and has some of the best grappling in the division, whereas Mousasi has evolved from a kickboxing base with elite level striking and some of the best defence in the division. However, this won’t be a classic striker vs grappler contest as both fighters have evolved into complete Mixed Martial Artists. Weidman is the former king of the division, but Mousasi is in the form of his life which makes this fight very hard to predict with the stats illustrating just how evenly matched these fighters are.
Weidman is desperate to bounce back and prove he is still championship calibre as he has suffered his first two career losses in his last two fights. This is completely unknown territory for him and will be a big test of character as he faces a vastly experienced and dangerous opponent who has wins over the likes of Hector Lombard, Jacare Souza, Dan Henderson and even Mark Hunt at heavyweight. This fight could really go anywhere and will surely be a ‘Fight of the Night’ candidate.
See below for a statistical breakdown:
The next fight features bright prospects in the women’s strawweight division, where the unbeaten Cynthia Calvillo will welcome Pearl Gonzalez for her UFC debut. Not many stats to go on here so we have broken down how each of their fights have finished. An impressive performance and finish from either of these ladies could see them catapulted up the rankings.
See below for the breakdown:
Two veterans take the next slot of the main card in the form of Brazilian Thiago Alves and Canadian Patrick Côté. Alves has been crippled by numerous injuries since competing at the top of the welterweight division, and has only fought four times since 2012, with mixed fortunes. He overcame Seth Baczynski in his comeback fight (2014) and spectacularly finished Jordan Mein after being dominated. However, he was humbled in his last two fights against Carlos Condit and Jim Miller, so who knows what Alves we will expect in the octagon. All we know is he will have to be at the top of his game to beat Côté.
Côté is an extremely consistent and durable fighter who is peaking even though he is reaching the end of his career. He has only lost two of his last eight fights, with those being at the hands of Stephen Thompson and Donald Cerrone. Côté will be confident but if the Alves of old shows up he may be in for a painful night.
See below for a statistical breakdown of the fight:
Will Brooks made his long awaited entrance into the UFC last year after dominating the Bellator lightweight division and proudly earning a record of 18-1. Entering a stacked division with bags of potential, he earned a decision victory over Ross Pearson on his UFC debut. However, he suffered his second ever loss to Alex Oliveira; this was a controversial fight from the beginning as Alex Oliveira unforgivably missed weight by nearly seven pounds. He then went on to taunt Brooks after the TKO finish. This was a big set-back for Brooks who will look to take his anger out on his next opponent, Charles Oliveira - who also has a habit of missing weight. Fortunately for Brooks, Charles Oliveira is moving up from featherweight so making weight should not be a problem.
Although Brooks edges the striking stats, they are both equally competent on the feet and are both experts on the mat; Brooks is a phenomenal wrestler and Charles Oliveira is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt; the grappling contest will be fascinating but don’t be surprised if they avoid each other’s strengths and keep the fight standing.
See below for a statistical breakdown:
Striking and grappling stats were sourced via FightMetric.