UFC 209 has an exciting night of combat planned for spectators, with a main event that is sure to awe the audience.
The main event is a rematch between the champion, Tyron ‘The Chosen One’ Woodley, and the challenger, Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson. Their last fight ended in a draw and was a savage battle between two elites of the welterweight division.
The enticing Lando Vannata, famed for a vicious spinning wheel kick knockout of John Makdessi, faces a fellow knockout specialist in David Teymur.
Additionally, Rashad Evans will look to regain momentum following two losses when he battles up-and-comer Dan Kelly. Two prospective strawweights face off as Amanda Cooper fight Cynthia Calvillo. Last but not least, to begin the card, heavyweights collide when Alistair Overeem fights Mark Hunt in what is sure to be a clash of the titans.
This card will be difficult to call but, using the Verdict MMA app, I will share my predictions for UFC 209.
Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson II
It is easy to understand why predicting this fight is difficult considering their last fight ended in a draw. This prediction could very well be incorrect but, there is reason to believe Woodley will win this fight. In their first encounter, Woodley was the aggressor and showed superiority on the ground. Thompson typically uses distance to land kicks and create combinations however, Woodley is explosive and covers distance like a freight train.
In his own analysis of their previous encounter, Dan Hardy mentions Thompson’s karate stance and how this sideways stance may expose him to Woodley’s powerful leg kicks. Although it is unclear whether this will be utilized, it would be cerebral to wear out the kicker’s legs and base, decreasing resistance to bring the fight to the mat. This could also slow Thompson, making it easier to find the knockout shot Woodley so desperately wants. In Hardy’s newest analysis, he notes Thompson will need to be more aggressive in this fight and although this may help him finish the fight or wear out Woodley, it may be his downfall with the champion’s power.
I believe the first two rounds will be quite close. Thompson may come out the aggressor and try to earn respect quickly. Woodley will certainly be looking to control the center of the octagon, explode towards Thompson, and use the cage walls to complement his takedowns. On the canvas, Woodley will meticulously punish Thompson. I foresee Thompson being worn out by the grappling, getting cornered, and being subsequently knocked out. I believe this fight will extend beyond the first, and possibly second round.
It is important to note Woodley’s conditioning must be considered due to his immense muscle mass. I believe it will be difficult for Thompson to slow Woodley because he will be anticipating a takedown or a vicious haymaker. After tiring and possibly hurting Thompson in the first two rounds, I think Thompson will be finished in the third round by a big punch he could not see coming. If Thompson does win, it will be by decision. I cannot see him finishing Woodley as this has only happened once in his entire career.
Regardless, it will be a showdown.
Woodley by third round KO/TKO.
Alistair Overeem vs. Mark Hunt
The preface to a night of violence is a heavyweight showcase between two knockout artists. Mark Hunt is notorious for his ‘walk-off’ knockouts, as he crumbles his opponents and simply strolls away, leaving behind the aftermath that is his opponent. Alistair Overeem is an established kick boxer who is frightening in the clinch and especially threatening at range, with treacherous kicks. However, this is not the first encounter between these two.
Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt used to fight in different divisions while battling under Pride Fighting Championships. Alistair was in the middleweight division, while Hunt was in heavyweight. Eventually, after Alistair moved up to heavyweight, these two forces collided and fought at DREAM.5. Overeem dispatched Hunt via keylock submission soon after the first minute of the fight.
However, both veterans have drastically transformed from their last fight, which seems to have taken place a lifetime ago.
Hunt won two fights by knockout prior to his most recent fight, a no contest match with Brock Lesnar. Overeem was on a four fight win streak before being overwhelmed by champion, Stipe Miocic.
According to UFC fight metrics, ‘The Reem’ has a whopping eight inch reach advantage and six inch height advantage, all of which will aid him in implementing his striking from the outside. Although, Overeem will need to hide his glass chin from Hunt, as Overeem tends to be rocked easily. He can do so by using his range to keep Hunt static and effectively maintain distance. If Hunt gets close, he should be met with knees and body strikes. Overeem should look to attack the legs of Hunt, taking away his base. Most of all, ‘The Reem’ should attempt to essentially beat Hunt into exhaustion. In the UFC, Hunt has only ever been finished once before the second round. Typically, the amount of trauma sustained coupled with severe fatigue is the only way Hunt becomes the hunted.
This speaks to Hunt’s resolve. We could very well see a one-punch knockout from Hunt, especially with Overeem’s glass jaw and tendency to get carried away, as seen in his fight with Travis Browne. However, Hunt does not typically farewell against kickboxers and struggles to obliterate opponents with great footwork. Even worse, Hunt seems to be thinking about his issues outside of the octagon.
Hunt has expressed a distaste for the UFC ever since his fight with Brock Lesnar. Lesnar failed his USADA and Nevada Athletic Commission drug tests before and after the fight, leading Hunt to seek legal action against the UFC, Lesnar, and Dana White alleging racketeering, conspiracy, and fraud. Days ago, the UFC and Dana White filed a motion to dismiss Hunt’s lawsuit, adding to the already controversial situation.
Although Hunt is happy to fight again, he is unhappy with the UFC. This may be distracting Hunt, which could spell for disaster against Overeem.
Hunt cannot be forgotten, especially with his explosive fists. He always has a chance to win by knockout but, as of right now, Overeem seems to have the edge. Overeem will tire Hunt over two rounds, and though this could very well end by decision, I think Overeem’s kicks will be too much for Hunt to handle.
Overeem by third round KO/TKO.
All Fight Predictions
The rest of my fight predictions for tonight are below; the match-ups are on the left and my predictions are on the right.
The event was an interesting one to say the least. Overeem and Hunt played out exactly as predicted, and Hunt was brutally knocked out by a vintage Overeem knee. Calvillo demonstrated brilliant grappling skills and submitted Cooper. Rashad Evans showed his age and was unable to best southpaw fighter, Dan Kelly, who outclassed his opponent. Vannata and Teymur was a thriller, showcasing the dynamic talents both fighters posses. Teymur proved to be underrated and performed tremendously against Vannata.
Woodley and Thompson was disappointing, as the fight was littered with boos. Both fighters were extremely tentative but, Thompson was pressuring Woodley most of the fight. Although Woodley landed a takedown in round three, the fight was essentially a stalemate. In the final minute of the fight, Woodley charged at Thompson and hurt him badly however, it was not enough to finish Thompson. Woodley won by decision however, many feel Thompson won the fight (if anyone). This certainly won’t help Woodley with any ‘money fights’ he has been advocating for.
Although my predictions were not perfect in this card, I’m still satisfied (excluding the main event) because the card was unexpected and new stars emerged.