Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business today (Sat., June 3, 2017) for UFC 212 live from inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
UFC 212 will be headlined by the title unification bout pitting featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo against interim champion Max Holloway. In the women’s strawweight co-main event, No. 1-ranked Claudia Gadelha and No. 2-ranked Karolina Kowalkiewicz collide for the possible chance to face division ruler Joanna Jedrzejczyk once again.
Jose Aldo has moved on from the Conor McGregor business, as the current 145-pound champion has no hopes of ever getting the rematch following his 13-second KO to “Notorious” back in 2015. But, he does have another ghost to exorcise, as he is still not considered the true champion of the division since he was awarded the tag after Conor was stripped. And since Max Holloway has the interim title around his waist, there’s one too many 145-pounds straps floating around for Aldo’s liking.
Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz have both tasted defeated against women’s Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and would love to get another crack at dethroning the longtime ruler of the division. So what better way to earn it than to go at it against one another in the center of the Octagon? Kowalkiewicz has only tasted defeat once inside the cage, and going into enemy territoy to take out Gadelha won’t be easy. For Claudia, a win over Karolina gives her two in a row and cements her status at the next title contender
The Paulo Borrachinha vs. Oluwale Bamgbose is puzzling to me in more ways than one. For starters, Paulo is undefeated at 9-0 and only has one win inside the Octagon. Meanwhile, Bamgbose is coming off a loss and is a measly 1-2 inside the Octagon. So matching up an undefeated prospect against a slumping fighter, to me, makes no sense. And it’s on the main card, to boot.
Original Card vs. Actual Card:
This card originally had a very tasty Middleweight fight between Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum attached to it, but eventually went up in smoke after Kelvin was flagged by United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA). As a result of not getting a suitable opponent lined up, Silva was taken off the card altogether, leaving many disappointed, “The Spider” included.
Felipe Arantes was lined up to face Iuri Alcantara, but was ultimately pulled from the fight for undisclosed reasons. In turn, Brian Kelleher was pegged to make his UFC debut against the longtime veteran Alcantara.
Also, a showdown between The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Brazil 2 winner Leonardo Santos and Olivier Aubin-Mercier was scrapped after Olivier suffered an injury. As a result, Santos was removed from the PPV event.
Brian Kelleher -- who is riding high with a six-fight win streak -- earned his unexpected Octagon debut after Felipe Arantes came down with an injury, while Deiveson Figueiredo will make his long-awaited Octagon debut after tearing it up on the regional circuit to the tune of a perfect 11-0 record.
How The “Prelims” Look:
The preliminary portion of the event will be headlined by a very exciting Bantamweight fight as former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) champion Marlon Moraes will make his much-anticipated Octagon debut against the always-scrappy Raphael Assuncao. With 13 straight wins to his credit, Moraes has been writing a big check with his mouth even before he signed a UFC contract, claiming he had the tools to defeat current champion Cody Garbrandt. Now, he’ll have to back it up in his first UFC outing, as Assuncao is far from a push-over and could very well spoil Marlon’s welcome party.
I’m also eager to see if Viviane Pereira can keep it going as she takes on Jamie Moyle, as Vivien will look to score her thirteenth straight win and stay undefeated in order to inch herself further up the rakings.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Vitor Belfort will look to end his career with a bang, as “The Phenom” had previously proclaimed that his bout against Nate Marquardt would indeed be his last. He’s since backed off those talks, but after getting knocked out in his last three outings, Belfort needs a win...and bad. Sure, he won’t have to worry about getting cut as it will, at the very least, be his final fight with the promotion. But, if he wants to command high dollar with Bellator MMA or any other fight company, “The Phenom” needs to prove he still has something left in the tank other than name value.
Interest Level: 7/10
It’s a very interesting event, as we will finally get to see if Max Holloway has what it takes to carry the torch of UFC featherweight champion. Yes, he has the interim strap, but defeating Anthony Pettis won’t measure up to defeating Aldo. Despite his flash knockout to Conor, Aldo has long been the best Featherweight in the history of the sport. And even with his loss to McGregor, some still believe he is, as Conor has never defend his title, while Jose has eight consecutive title defenses to his credit. A win for Holloway would not only give him him his eleventh straight win, but sole possession of the 145-pound throne.
Full UFC 212 fight card:
UFC 212 PPV Main Event:
145 lbs.: UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo vs. Interim Titleholder Max Holloway
UFC 212 PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Claudia Gadelha vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
185 lbs.: Vitor Belfort vs. Nate Marquardt
185 lbs.: Paulo Borrachinha vs. Oluwale Bamgbose
170 lbs.: Erick Silva vs. Yancy Medeiros
UFC 212 “Prelims” on FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Marlon Moraes vs. Raphael Assuncao
185 lbs.: Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eric Spicely
135 lbs.: Johnny Eduardo vs. Matthew Lopez
145 lbs.: Iuri Alcantara vs. Brian Kelleher
UFC 212 “Prelims” on Fight Pass (8 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Jamie Moyle vs. Viviane Pereira
170 lbs.: Luan Chagas vs. Jim Wallhead
125 lbs.: Marco Beltran vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
For more upcoming UFC events click here.