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8/17/16: Five Best Undercard Fights on Saturday’s UFC 202 Card
There are a number of entertaining fights booked for Saturday’s UFC 202 event in Las Vegas, so outside of the main event between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz here are the five fights I’m most anticipating on the card.
5. Raquel Pennington vs. Elizabeth Phillips: “Rocky” was supposed to fight Liz Carmouche on this card, and instead she’s got what should be a showcase matchup here for her against Phillips. Pennington’s been a bit underrated in the UFC thus far, and she’s had some very good performances inside the Octagon. Her two UFC losses came by split decision against the extremely dangerous Jessica Andrade and now-former champ Holly Holm. She’s looked mostly excellent against lesser competition, and should shine on Saturday night.
4. Rick Story vs. Donald Cerrone: Come on, it’s a Donald Cerrone fight. You’re watching it. Story’s got the type of game that can stifle some of what Cerrone does well, but “Cowboy” has looked quite good since moving up to welterweight and could continue that here. He’s lost just once in his last 11 fights over a three year span (yes, this is his 12th fight in less than three years), and he’s been damned impressive through most of those wins. Story’s a real test, but that makes the fight quite interesting because of it.
3. Cody Garbrandt vs. Takeya Mizugaki: Garbrandt’s knockout of Thomas Almeida was a huge statement. Doing something similar to Mizugaki would be just as significant, if not more. Mizugaki’s one of the toughest veterans on the roster, and he’s far from an easy out, so while this is a fight meant to highlight the undefeated young Team Alpha Male product, that potential road block in Mizugaki makes this an intriguing fight. How Garbrandt looks is the story, and the result here is going to be extremely telling either way.
2. Neil Magny vs. Lorenz Larkin: Larkin has looked excellent since dropping to welterweight. Magny’s been one of the unexpectedly most successful fighters in the division for two and a half years. They’ve both been highly impressive against fighters they’re simply better than, and have at times fallen against fighters who are simply better than them. Which side of that conversation they fall on here is an exciting question, and one of them is likely to emerge looking extremely impressive.
1. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs. Glover Teixeira: Both last knocked out an opponent in a main event on Fox this year, and the winner is going to fight for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title again. There’s tons at stake, with two of the best fighters in the world at 205 lbs., and it’s going to be violent, likely quick, and decisive. What more could you ask for in a co-main event?
[Photo (c) Joshua Dahl via USA Today Sports]
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