Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business tonight (Sun., Feb. 18, 2018) for UFC Fight Night 126 from inside Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas featuring an Welterweight collision between Donald Cerrone and Yancy Mederios. In the co-main event, Derrick Lewis will make his long-awaited return to face off against Marcin Tybura.
A fight between Donald Cerrone and Yancy Medeiros is a striking lover’s dream. Still, it’s odd match-making to say the least, as “Cowboy” is on a three-fight skid while Yancy is on a three-fight winning streak. But you can’t blame Medeiros for accepting the bout, as Cerrone is one of the most seasoned, most-respected fighters in all if mixed martial arts (MMA), so a win over him would be huge for his own personal stock.
For Cerrone, it’s a chance to right his ship after going down hill in a hurry following a scorching start to his 170-pound fighting career. Indeed, once the fight was booked, the rest of the field pretty much acknowledged the “Fight of the Night” bonus had been spoken for. That said, they still have to deliver, for both a win and the extra $50k.
Original Card vs Actual Card:
A fight between Tonya Evinger and Marion Reneau was set for the card but was ultimately nixed after Evinger came down with an injury. Brandon Davis stepped in to face off against Steven Peterson after Humberto Bandenay encountered visa troubles.
Aside from Evinger’s setback, Brandon Moreno suffered a late injury in training and his fight against Ray Borg was re-scheduled to go down at UFC 223.
Livia Renata Souza was set to face Jessica Aguilar, but she, too, suffered an injury and the bout was axed altogether with no sign of re-scheduling to be found.
Steven Peterson will make his Octagon debut when he takes on Brandon Davis, who was unsuccessful in his own UFC debut at UFC 220. Geoffrey Neal will makes his official UFC debut after graduation from Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, as will Joby Sanchez. Tim Williams got the call up to put his five-fight win streak against Oskar Piechota, who is riding a 10-fight win streak and is undefeated so far in his MMA career.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Remember when Josh Burkman came back to the Octagon after running wild in World Series of Fighting? He was on a roll, but went down as soon as he stepped foot inside eight-sided cage, losing to Hector Lombard, and then going on to lose six of his next seven including his last four in a row. As a result, he has been relegated to the Fight Pass portion of the prelims where he will look to get back on track against Alex Morono.
Headlining the underbelly of the event is a Lightweight bout between Jared Gordon and Carlos Diego Ferreira. Gordon has been on fire as of late, winning five in a row which includes his first two attempts inside the Octagon. As for Carlos, he recently got back on the winning track by taking out Olivier Aubin-Mercier.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Aside from Burkman looking to avoid his fifth straight loss, “Cowboy” needs a win in the worst way, as he has dropped three in a row, an unprecedented losing streak for one of the most dynamic fighters in the game. It’s hard to pin point where it went wrong for Cerrone, as he was on fire prior to his skid, winning his first four fights at 170-pounds.
One can easily blame the top-level competition he’s faced over his last three outings in Robbie Lawler, Jorge Masvidal and Darren Till, but that level shouldn't be anything new for “Cowboy,” who has faced the best-of-the-best throughout his career. Should he lose four in a row against Yancy, there is no telling what will happen with Cerrone. But if Burkman can hold on to his spot after his horrible skid, then a fan and company-favorite like Donald will be safe. That said, it’s better not to take that chance.
Interest Level: 7/10
It’s a pretty good card, actually, as it’s always a good time when “Cowboy” is on deck. And when you sprinkle in someone like Yancy in there, fireworks are guaranteed. Also, Derrick Lewis has quickly captured the hearts of fight fans everywhere with his quirky way of being outside of the cage. Inside of it, he is all business, packing power in his hands to sleep a baby elephant. I don’t expect this contest to last long, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a win for “The Black Beast,” as Tybura is as tough as they come, as well.
Also, Sage Northcutt will return to action when he faces off against Thibault Gouti. I get it, Thibault isn’t exactly the biggest name, and the highest-level of comp, but “Super” is still young and bringing him up slowly is the best way to do it.
Another interesting contest that has sort of been lost in the mix is a 155-pound showdown between James Vick and Francisco Trinaldo. Vick desperately wanted to headline this event in his home state, but was ultimately denied by the promotion. Nothing against Vick, but he simply isn’t a headliner just yet, despite winning three in a row. He can get there, but he needs to keep winning impressively to somehow captured the UFC head honchos -- and the fans — attention and keep it.
Full UFC Fight Night 126 Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night 126 Main Event:
170 lbs.: Donald Cerrone vs. Yancy Medeiros
UFC Fight Night 126 Co-Main Event:
265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura
UFC Fight Night 126 Main Card on FOX Sports 1 (9 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Francisco Trinaldo vs. James Vick
170 lbs.: Thiago Alves vs. Curtis Millender
115 lbs.: Jessica Aguilar vs. TBA
155 lbs.: Sage Northcutt vs. Thibault Gouti
UFC Fight Night 126 Prelims on FOX Sports 1 (7 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Diego Ferreira vs. Jared Gordon
170 lbs.: Brian Camozzi vs. Geoff Neal
125 lbs.: Joby Sanchez vs. Roberto Sanchez
135 lbs.: Sarah Moras vs. Lucie Pudilova
UFC Fight Night 126 Prelims on UFC Fight Pass (6 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Brandon Davis vs. Steven Peterson
170 lbs.: Josh Burkman vs. Alex Morono
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