UFC Set for Huge Weekend with UFC 189, The Ultimate Fighter Finale
It's one of the most anticipated fight weekends in UFC history and we get a full dose of action on Saturday and Sunday night.
Saturday night is the highly anticipated UFC 189 event featuring two title fights. Conor McGregor was scheduled to fight UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. Following an injury to Aldo, the fight has been changed to an interim title fight between McGregor and Chad Mendes. The winner will be crowned a champion, with a future date to unify the belt with Aldo.
The UFC Welterweight Title will also be defended on Saturday night as Robbie Lawler defends against Rory MacDonald. The fight has flown under the radar due to the brash, talkative nature of McGregor. UFC legend Frank Trigg says though that this has always been the fight to watch.
"Lawler/MacDonald has always been THE fight on the card. Both aren't talkers but the fight will be the best fight on the card" - Frank Trigg interview with Jerry Palleschi
UFC 189 takes place on Saturday night live on pay-per-view with a 9:00 CT start time.
Chad Mendes vs. Conor McGregor - Interim UFC Featherweight Championship
Robbie Lawler (c) vs. Rory MacDonald - UFC Welterweight Championship
Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens
Gunnar Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch
Brad Pickett vs. Thomas Almeida
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)
Matt Brown vs. Tim Means
Mike Swick vs. Alex Garcia
Cathal Pendred vs. John Howard
Cody Garbrandt vs. Henry Briones
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Neil Seery vs. Louis Smolka
Yosdenis Cedeno vs. Cody Pfister
The fun does not end on Saturday night. As part of UFC Fight Week in Las Vegas, a FREE show is coming to Fox Sports 1 on Sunday night. UFC Presents The Ultimate Fighter Finale: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians highlighted by a five round Welterweight division fight between Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson and Jake Ellenberger.
Thompson and Ellenberger are both stand-up fighters and are bound to trade punches. When I asked Thompson about the strategy of the fight with two strikers, he says the direction might switch a round in.
"Maybe we'll see a slugfest from him. I think he's going to try and stand up and bang with me in the first round. I think later on he'll figure out that he won't be able to and switch to his wrestling to try and take me down." - Stephen Thompson with Jerry Palleschi
I asked Thompson about the chess match inside the octagon and how he goes about preparing for the fight.
"You do have to go back at video and look at footage and look at it from the beginning of his fights to the end to see if any significant changes were made. You can find out a lot about someone that way. It will be a very technical game. I'm not just going to go out and throw fists to the sky. That would be stupid. He's a banger." - Stephen Thompson
Main Card (Fox Sports 1)
Stephen Thompson vs. Jake Ellenberger
Kamaru Usman vs. Hayder Hassan
Michael Graves vs. Vicente Luque
Jorge Masvidal vs. Cezar Ferreira
Angela Magana vs. Michelle Waterson
Maximo Blanco vs. Mike De La Toree
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)
Josh Samman vs. Caio Magalhaes
Russell Doane vs. Jerrod Sanders
Dan Miller vs. Trevor Smith
George Sullivan vs. Dominic Waters
Darrell Montague vs. Willie Gates (UFC Fight Pass Only)
The Ultimate Fighter Finale: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians takes place on Sunday night at 8:00 CT on Fox Sports 1