Although it may not be receiving a ton of attention, UFC 216 this Saturday (Oct. 7, 2017) night live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, boasts a solid lineup with multiple fights of importance in various divisions.
The card will be headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between red-hot top contender Tony Ferguson and the brash and outspoken Kevin Lee. The co-main event will feature a flyweight title fight between dominant 125-pound king Demetrious Johnson, who will attempt to break Anderson Silva’s record for most consecutive title defenses made by a UFC champion when he faces rising contender Ray Borg.
Also on the main card, former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum will look to get back into the win column against powerful knockout artist Derrick Lewis.
Now just days away from the event, let’s take a deeper look into the three fights that will top off UFC 216:
Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee
In the absence of 155-pound champion Conor McGregor, the UFC elected to create an interim title in order to keep the division moving forward. Originally, Ferguson was scheduled to face undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov for the strap last March, but “The Eagle” was forced to withdraw from the bout just a day prior to the event.
Now, Ferguson will meet No. 7-ranked Kevin Lee, who’s recently put together a five-fight winning streak.
Ferguson, currently ranked as the No. 2 lightweight, has been on a tear as of late, winning an incredible nine straight bouts. Known best for his unorthodox and unpredictable style, Ferguson is a well-rounded fighter who often sees success both on the feet and on the ground.
Although he tends to leave himself open to damage at times, Ferguson is a resilient and durable fighter who enjoys using his incredible cardio to put pressure on his opponents. “El Cucuy” also has tremendous takedown defense, although he’s extremely comfortable on the mat, finishing eight of his 22 professional victories by way of submission.
Lee, on the other hand, is a young, tough, explosive and highly confident fighter. Like Ferguson, “The Motown Phenom” has a background in wrestling and is very well-versed on the canvas, with half of his victories coming by way of submission. Lee also has power in his hands, although I feel as if Ferguson has the overall advantage in the striking department.
Both men are elite-level fighters, and I could see this fight going either way, but I feel as if the fight may also be too much too soon for Lee. I simply don’t feel he’s faced a fighter the caliber of Ferguson, and I think that, in addition to Ferguson’s awkward style, will be the difference maker.
Prediction: Ferguson via unanimous decision