Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heads to Atlanta, Ga., tonight (Sat., July 30, 2016) as Philips Arena plays host to the UFC 201 pay-per-view (PPV) event that features a Welterweight title fight as Robbie Lawler defends his strap against Tyron Woodley.
Catch all the action LIVE with a main card start time of 10 p.m. ET (for up-to-second UFC 201 results click here).
Below is everything you need to know to stay on top of the PPV card in "Hotlanta."
Who: Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley
What: UFC 201
When: Sat., July 30, 2016, beginning at 7 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass
Where: Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
How To Watch: Main card at 10 p.m ET on PPV; FOX Sports 2 "Prelims" undercard at 8 p.m. ET; and UFC Fight Pass early "Prelims" at 7 p.m. ET.
Live UFC 201: Play-by-play coverage here.
Why It Matters:
Robbie Lawler has been on a tear since capturing the title in 2014, taking out Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit in two five-round wars that earned him "Fight of the Night" honors, including "Fight of the Year" for his epic war against "Red King."
"Ruthless," though, has just about had it with those types of bouts, as he is looking to put away his upcoming foe quick and early. That's something that doesn't bode well for "The Chosen One," who is on his own journey to prove once and for all he is the best 170-pound fighter on the planet. In the process, Woodley hopes to silence all of his critics and naysayers who felt he wasn't deserving of the title fight.
Oh, and they both like to bang it out on the feet, which has fireworks written all over it.
In main card action, Matt Brown and Jake Ellenberger both look to pick up much-needed wins after suffering losses in their previous bouts. That's more than enough motivation for these two strikers to go out and put on a performance for the fans while trying to impress UFC matchmakers with a dominant to prolong their UFC careers.
Also, the Bantamweight bout between Erik Perez and Francisco Rivera could be the sleeper fight of the night.
I don't like that Wilson Reis -- who was supposed to face Demetrious Johnson for the Flyweight title in the co-main event of the evening -- is now relegated to the undercard after an injury to "Mighty Mouse" and Sean Santella, Johnson's replacement, was unable to get all his medicals done in time.
While you have to respect Wilson's willingness to stay on the card to face last-second replacement Hector Sandoval in order to collect a check, he's taking a huge risk of losing his championship fight, which in turn could lead to even bigger paydays.
Original Card vs. Actual Card:
As mentioned above, a 125-pound title fight between Johnson and Reis was scratched as was an intriguing showdown between Siyar Bahadurzada and Jorge Masvidal. But after numerous injuries, UFC had to scramble to get some last-minute replacements in. You already know how I feel about the Reis replacement, but I'm definitely digging Ross Pearson moving up to Welterweight to face Masvidal.
Hector Sandoval will look to make some noise if he can manage to upset Wilson Reis in his Octagon debut.
Where do we begin.
Demetrious Johnson was bounced from his co-headlining duties against Reis and replaced by Sean Santella. Then, Santella was not allowed to compete due to not having his medicals done in time and replaced by Hector Sandoval. Claudio Silva was forced out of his fight with Siyar, who in turn was forced out of his fight against Jorge Masvidal -- who stepped in for Silva -- with an illness.
While not an "injury," Justin Scoggins was forced out of his fight against Ian McCall after he had weight-cutting issues two days before fight night (details here).
Talk about a headache for UFC officials.
How The "Prelims" Look:
They actually look pretty good, and I'm especially looking forward to seeing how Ross Pearson adapts to 170 pounds against stand up specialist Jorge Masvidal. Also, Nikita Krylov looks to keep his streak going against longtime veteran Ed Herman.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
This portion is typically reserved for fighters who could be fighting for their jobs today, rather than contenders or title challengers needing victory. Let's take a look at those who need to pull it together:
Jake Ellenberger is currently on a two-fight skid, losing to Stephen Thompson and Tarec Saffiedine in his previous two outings. It doesn't get much easier against "The Immortal," who has made it a habit of putting his foes away. Three straight losses won't look good on Jake's resume and could put his time with the ZUFFA-owned promotion in danger.
Interest Level 7/10
I mean, the card was looking rather good before all of the injuries started mounting up. However, when you have Lawler headlining an event, that's always must-see TV, so that helps soften the blow.
Plus, with Johnson's injury, it gives Rose Namajunas and Karolina Kowalkiewicz a chance to steal some shine in the co-main event of the evening and make their own cases for a potential shot at the women's Strawweight strap.
Still, after all the shakeups, it will be interesting to see how many people fork over their hard-earned cash to see the event.
Check out the full UFC 201 card right here:
UFC 201 PPV Main Event:
170 lbs.: UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler vs. Tyron Woodley
UFC 201 PPV Co-Main Event:
115 lbs.: Rose Namajunas vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
UFC 201 PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Matt Brown vs. Jake Ellenberger
135 lbs.: Erik Perez vs. Francisco Rivera
125 lbs.: Ryan Benoit vs. Fredy Serrano
UFC 201 FOX Sports 2 "Prelims" (8 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Ed Herman vs. Nikita Krylov
170 lbs.: Jorge Masvidal vs. Ross Pearson
265 lbs.: Damian Grabowski vs. Anthony Hamilton
125 lbs.: Wilson Reis vs. Hector Sandoval
UFC 201 Fight Pass "Prelims" (6 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Michael Graves vs. Bojan Velickovic
155 lbs.: Cesar Arzamendia vs. Damien Brown
For much more on the upcoming UFC 201 event click here.