Resident MMA expert Shane Saunders is here to to preview a massive weekend in which Conor McGregor faces his biggest challenge yet.
This weekend’s UFC PPV event is arguably the card of the year for the behemoth organisation. Despite the loss of its original main event in Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, the card still boasts some mouthwatering fights including our very own Conor McGregor who takes on Dustin Poirier.
A preview to this fight and more lie ahead but first let’s take a look to Friday night action as Bellator kicks things off as is tradition.
After last week’s amazing card, Bellator hopes to continue on the trend of delivering fast paced action and stellar knockouts. In the main event Alexander Shlemenko (50-8) defends his middleweight belt against unbeaten Brandon Halsey (7-0). The champion last fought in May at Bellator’s first PPV event in a light heavyweight clash against Tito Ortiz where he lost by submission. At his natural weight class, Shlemenko is on a 13 fight win streak as he looks to give Halsey his first defeat.
Halsey is certainly in for a tough fight against the Russian veteran but the American will be high on confidence with a win over Brett Cooper back in July. It’s a very intriguing contest and as we all know, anything can happen in MMA.
Elsewhere on the card, the most intriguing fight outside of the main event is between 22-year-old Polish fighter Marcin Held (19-3) and Patricky “Pitbull” (13-5) in the lightweight division.
Both fighters are the most entertaining to watch in the division and with both coming off back to back finishes, this could very well prove to be fight of the night, if not fight of the year for the Bellator brand.
How to watch Bellator 126: VIVA – Saturday 27th September 2014: 10pm (Main Card)
On to Saturday’s action and from top to bottom UFC 178 is as stacked a card you’re likely to see. Former champions and wannabe champions all make up the eleven-fight card which takes place in Las Vegas where dreams will either be broken or made.
There’s only one place to start and that’s in the featherweight division as “The Notorious” Conor McGregor (15-2) takes on fellow top contender Dustin Poirier (16-3).
Coming off the back of a huge win against Diego Brandao in Dublin back in July, McGregor hopes the hype train can bulldoze its way through the featherweight division as the Dubliner is set to land his biggest pay day on the biggest stage of his career thus far.
In his way is Dustin Poirier who is looking to make a statement of his own as he aims to shut the mouth of the much outspoken McGregor in devastating fashion. Poirier last fought in April with a TKO victory over Akira Corassani. Interestingly, both fighters have finished Diego Brandao in the space of a year and this epic bout could have very real title implications down the line.
It’s a credit to the waves that McGregor is making that this fight has had so much publicity about it despite the fact that it’s not even the main or co-main event.
Incidentally, the co-main event consists of two fighters who have ‘bonus machine’ written all over them. Donald Cerrone (24-6) takes on UFC debutant Eddie Alvarez (25-3) who makes the jump from Bellator to the UFC and what an opportunity to make a huge statement in an already talent rich lightweight division.
Ring-rust may be a factor for Alvarez who hasn’t fought since last November in an absolute war against Michael Chandler. A fresh Alvarez is a dangerous one but in front of him is Donald Cerrone who is on an absolute tear through the division finishing his last four fights and earning 4 post fight bonuses in the process.
It has all the makings of an epic battle and as an MMA fan, I hope it lives up to its billing.
It’s such a shame that the original main event of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier was postponed given the hype about the fight but Demetrious Johnson (20-2-1) vs Chris Cariaso (17-5) isn’t a bad replacement.
We all saw what happened when TJ Dillashaw upset the odds when he beat Renan Barao earlier on this year and there’s no reason why Chris Cariaso can’t do the same. On a three-fight win streak, the challenger has beaten Louis Smolka and Danny Martinez already this year and looks to enjoy a hat trick of wins and a new accessory to go along with it.
All he has to do is beat Demetrious Johnson who is one of the fastest fighters in the flyweight division. Johnson defends his belt for the fifth time this Saturday and will look to silence doubters that he can’t finish fights. Cariaso may be in for a very tough ride if Johnson decides to go head hunting.
An intriguing card, a stacked card and I think hardcore and casual MMA fans alike will be willing Conor McGregor on to victory this Saturday night.
How to watch UFC 178: Bt Sport: 1am (Prelims) 3am (Main Card)
Be sure to check back to Pundit Arena on Tuesday as we look back on all the action in the ‘The Tuesday Takedown’.