What a weekend of fights coming up! – Preview of UFC 194, UFC Fight Night 80 and TUF 22 Finale
By Owen Phillips 10/12/15
The three fight nights in consecutive days the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has coming up this weekend is like a visit to the enjoyable Las Vegas buffets – three helpings seems reasonable. It finishes up with the long awaited Jose Aldo versus Conor McGregor featherweight title unification bout at UFC 194 on Sunday (Australian time).
Jose Aldo has been the only undisputed featherweight champion in UFC history with devastating Muay Thai striking in particular his exceptional leg kicks. Chad Dundas on the Co-Main Event podcast this week suggested these leg kicks could be a deciding factor. Conor McGregor has entertained with his charisma out of the UFC’s octagon and his performances inside. He is very tall for the division and uses his reach, patience and precise striking to overwhelm his opponents.
The rest of the main card for UFC 194 contains a co-main event featuring a spectacular middleweight title fight between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold, and other exciting fights that all could be main event material on other fight cards.
UFC Fight Night 80 is the first event of the three (Friday Australian time) and it is headlined by an intriguing women’s strawweight bout between Rose Namajunas and Paige VanZant. ‘Thug’ Rose has explosive submissions, where ’12 Gauge’ VanZant has a well-rounded set of skills. VanZant’s original opponent Joanne Calderwood was going to be a stern test. Now that Namajunas has filled in as an injury replacement, the credentials of VanZant will be tested. Rose Namajunas fought in the inaugural UFC strawweight championship fight against Carla Esparza and fell short of achieving the title belt but is a high level fighter.
Other fights of interest are the co-main event lightweight battle between Michael Chiesa and Jim Miller, and a potential slugfest between Santiago Ponzinibbio and Andreas Stahl. Ponzinibbio loves to entertain the fans by standing in front of his opponents and trading punches until only one competitor is left upright.
Taking place in the middle of the three events on Saturday (Australian time) is The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 22 Finale featuring a scintillating featherweight main event between former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and perennial top contender Chad Mendes. ‘Money’ Mendes has thunderous power in his hands but will it be enough against the boxing stylist and all round mixed martial arts (MMA) techniques of Edgar, who is already a legend of MMA without even the thought of retirement in his future.
The fight to decide the winner of season 22 of TUF is between the season’s standout fighter Artem Lobov and Ryan Hall. In a clash of styles, Lobov is riding high after finishing the reality show with three consecutive knockouts and Hall is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu genius.
A fight not to miss on this card is Edson Barbosa versus Tony Ferguson. Both are extremely exciting fighters to watch with Barbosa’s switch kicks a thing of beauty and Ferguson utilising all sorts of techniques to complement his excellent boxing and movement. David Castillo and Phil Mackenzie from Bloody Elbow described this matchup as ‘like a fantasy fight’.