Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business tonight (Sat., Dec. 16, 2017) for UFC on FOX 26: “Lawler vs Dos Anjos” from inside Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, featuring a Welterweight showdown between former division champion Robbie Lawler and ex-Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.
Robbie Lawler’s title reign came to a halt at UFC 201 after Tyron Woodley knocked “Ruthless” out in the very first round, ending his run after two successful defenses. Since then, Robbie has gotten back on the winning track by outlasting Donald Cerrone at UFC 214. Now the former champ is hoping to score consecutive wins for the first time in two years by taking out former Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.
That said, RDA is looking for his ticket to the big dance with a win over “Ruthless,” as the Brazilian bomber has looked great since making the jump up to 170 pounds. But, it’s safe to say Lawler will be his stiffest test to date, in any weight class, as Lawler has proven to have the knockout power and ability to end the bout in the blink of an eye. Or, he can simply out-duel you for five bloody rounds if you so desire.
To be honest, it’s a pretty decent fight card all around, though I would’ve liked to see the promotion give Ricardo Lamas a bigger name opponent than Josh Emmett. No disrespect to Josh, but he isn’t even ranked in the top 15. I get it, it was a late fix after Jose Aldo was pulled from the bout to face Max Holloway at UFC 218. Still, I’d like to think a month is plenty of time to get a higher-ranked foe to agree to step in to fight on a nationally televised event against the No. 3 ranked guy in the division.
Original Card vs Actual card:
As mentioned earlier, Lamas was set to face off against Aldo before a late switch. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was set to face off against Jarod Cannonier before “Lil Nog” was pulled due to a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation. In his place, Jan Blachowicz will face Cannonier.
Vitor Miranda was all set to face off against Julian Marquez before he had to bow out with an injury and ultimately replaced by Darren Stewart. Also, Justin Scoggins had to bow out of his fight against Tim Elliot due to a spinal fracture injury.
Julian Marquez will make his official UFC debut after winning on Dana White’s Contender Series, putting his four-fight win streak on the line against the aforementioned Darren Stewart. Pietro Menga was expected to make his long-awaited UFC debut against Tim Elliot, but the English newcomer was pulled from the bout after failing to make weight.
How The Prelims look:
There are some very interesting matchups taking place on the underbelly of the event, including a Lightweight bout between John Makdessi and Abel Trujillo. Both men have fallen out of the UFC spotlight after losing in their previous outings.
The hard-hitting 155-pounders are eager to get back into the win column, which will make for a very competitive scrap. Also, two Welterweights that have failed to live up to their expectations will duke it out on Fight Pass, as Jordan Mein and Erick Silva will collide in what should be an exciting matchup. Mein has lost three-straight bouts, while Silva came up short against Yancy Medeiros in his last fight.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
When Jordan Mein first stepped foot inside the Octagon back at UFC 158 in 2013, people were excited, as many felt he had the tools, experience and looks of becoming a potential star and champion. After knocking out Dan Miller in his debut, Jordan has since cooled off, losing his next two of four, including his last three outings. Should he suffer a fourth-straight defeat, I don’t envision the promotion hanging on to Mein for too long, unless the bout is an exciting one that earns the Canadian a bit more time under the Endeavor umbrella.
Interest Level: 7/10
The main card will feature three intriguing bouts that could have major title implications all around, especially in the welterweight division. We already know the winner of the main event will get the next championship fight at 170 pounds, but the other scrap between Mike Perry and Santiago Ponzinibbio could shake up the title race, too.
Perry, has won four of five since entering the Octagon. That said, “Platinum” has yet to score that staple victory that will catapult him to the top. Granted, Ponzinibbio isn’t the biggest name out there, but it will be his toughest test to date. That’s because the Argentinean has been on a roll as of late, winning five-straight bouts. His last win saw him knock Gunnar Nelson clean out. The winner of this matchup could very well set themselves up for a No. 1 contender’s fight against Colby Covington, or maybe even a showdown against Darren Till.
Who is the “prettier” of the two, is still up for debate.
Opening up the televised portion of the event will be a hard-hitting Light heavyweight bout between former title contender Glover Teixeira and Misha Cirkunov. Both men are desperate for a win, as they each saw stars in their last outings, with Glover getting rocked by Alexander Gustafsson (highlights), while Misha was steamrolled by Volkan Oezdemir.
This one could end early, folks, so don’t blink.
Full UFC on FOX 26 Fight card:
UFC on FOX 26 Main Event:
170 lbs.: Robbie Lawler vs. Rafael dos Anjos
UFC on FOX 26 Main Card (8 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Josh Emmett vs. Ricardo Lamas
170 lbs.: Mike Perry vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
205 lbs.: Misha Cirkunov vs. Glover Teixeira
UFC on FOX 26 Prelims on FS1 (5 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Jan Blachowicz vs. Jared Cannonier
205 lbs.: Julian Marquez vs. Darren Stewart
170 lbs.: Galore Bofando vs. Chad Laprise
170 lbs.: Danny Roberts vs. Nordine Taleb
155 lbs.: John Makdessi vs. Abel Trujillo
185 lbs.: Oluwale Bamgbose vs. Alessio Di Chirico
UFC on FOX 26 Prelims on Fight Pass (4:30 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Jordan Mein vs. Erick Silva
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