After a week off, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back at it again as it prepares to stage UFC 228 tonight (Sat., Sept. 8, 2018) from inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Spearheading the event is an intriguing welterweight title fight that will see division champion Tyron Woodley defend his strap against undefeated (17-0-1, 5-01 UFC) contender Darren Till. In the co-main event, Jessica Andrade will battle Karolina Kowalkiewicz in women’s Strawweight action.
The good thing is we have a title fight, as Darren Till was very happy to give everyone a big “fuck you” and the bird after he made weight for his championship affair with Tyron Woodley. Now that it’s out of the way, it’s time to get down to business, and Till is ready to shock the world and dethrone “Chosen One” from the 170-pound mountain.
While he’ll have an obvious size advantage going into the fight, Woodley has championship experience, having competed in four straight title fights. And he has no intention of coughing up the strap without a fight, as he looks to become the greatest welterweight of all time, something that won’t be easy given what Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes both accomplished inside of the Octagon.
Beating Till will help his cause, but Darren is bent on turning the MMA world upside down. One of the bigger factors will be whether or not ring rust plays into the fight, as Tyron -- who is usually a very active fighter — hasn’t fought in over a year and is coming off shoulder surgery.
Let’s be honest, the card isn’t that good, and losing the original co-main event brought it down a few notches more. I find it odd how some free events (like this one) can look better than pay-per-view (PPV) cards that cost $65. And I love stacked free cards, I’m just saying if UFC wants us to fork over the cash, make it worthwhile.
Original Card vs Actual Card:
This card went from average to bad in a hurry thanks to many unforeseen circumstances. A highly-intriguing featherweight scrap between Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov was nixed after “El Pantera” was struck down by an injury. As a result, Brandon Davis was pegged to face “ZaBeast” on a few weeks notice. The biggest blow, however, came when Flyweight champion Nicco Montano was hospitalized prior to weigh-ins for kidney failure, ultimately forcing the promotion to cancel her co-main event title defense against Valentina Shevchenko.
Other than Yair and Nicco’s health issues, Ryan Benoit was forced out of his fight against Roberto Sanchez and replaced by Jarred Brooks.
No newbies at this event!
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Aljamain Sterling will look to earn back-to-back wins for the first time in a long time when he faces off against streaking bantamweight Cody Stamman. Its a tough fight for “Funk Master,” as Cody is riding a 10-fight win streak into the fight (3-0 UFC), and is 17 for 18 overall for his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. Headlining the “Prelims” is former UFC women's strawweight champion Carla Esparza taking on rising sensation Tatiana Suarez, who put herself on the map when she dominated Alexa Grasso in her previous fight. At 6-0, Suarez is looking to cement herself as legit title contender. A win over Carla will get her there, while Esparza looks to get into the mix by derailing the “Female Khabib.”
Also, longtime veteran Diego Sanchez looks to end his skid when he faces Craig White on Fight Pass. Despite losing two straight, “The Nightmare” hasn’t given up on his championship dreams, and looks to right his ship against White, who laid an egg in his UFC debut against Neil Magny.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
With 29 UFC fights under your belt, you are bound to hit a rough patch. And that is just where Jim Miller finds himself in. The longtime veteran has dropped his last four fights, which includes tough defeats against Dustin Poirier and Anthony Pettis. Standing in Miller’s way is Alex White, who has been rather inconsistent, going 3-4 so far in his UFC career. Still, he is as tough as they come and Miller will have his hands full if he wants to avoid a dreaded five-fight losing streak. Getting back on track in his 30th fight inside the Octagon will definitely prolong his career with the promotion, though there is no telling what a defeat will do.
Interest Level: 5/10
It’s just so hard to get pumped for this PPV event. Yes, Woodley vs. Till is so intriguing for various reasons, but the rest of the card leaves much to be desired. Of course, the fights can — and most likely will — deliver, but on paper it doesn’t do much for fans to get them pumped.
That said, we may get to see a new contender rise in the women’s strawweight division with Andrade and Karolina getting it on in the revamped co-main event of the evening.
One fight that hasn’t been getting a lot of love is a bantamweight scrap between Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson. After tasting defeat for the first time in 10 years by getting knocked out at the feet of Marlon Moraes (see it), Rivera will look to start a new win streak when he takes on the always-entertaining Dodson, who is coming of a close split-decision win over Pedro Munhoz. While the event can be pleasing once it’s all said and done, don’t be surprised if another one of these articles surfaces next week.
Full UFC 228 Fight Card:
UFC 228 PPV Main Event:
170 lbs.: UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley vs. Darren Till
UFC 228 PPV Co-Main Event:
UFC 228 PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Jessica Andrade vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
145 lbs.: Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Brandon Davis
135 lbs.: John Dodson vs. Jimmie Rivera
170 lbs.: Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Niko Price
UFC 228 FX ‘Prelims’ (8 p.m. ET):
115 lbs.: Carla Esparza vs. Tatiana Suarez
135 lbs.: Cody Stamann vs. Aljamain Sterling
170 lbs.: Frank Camacho vs. Geoff Neal
185 lbs.: Charles Byrd vs. Darren Stewart
UFC 228 Fight Pass ‘Prelims’ (6:15 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Diego Sanchez vs. Craig White
155 lbs.: Jim Miller vs. Alex White
135 lbs.: Irene Aldana vs. Lucie Pudilova|
125 lbs.: Roberto Sanchez vs. Jarred Brooks
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