The UFC is back in our lives this weekend as UFC Fight Night 89 is slated to air live and free on FOX Sports 1 this Saturday night (June 18, 2016) from Ottawa, Canada.
The UFC has produced an entertaining card featuring some solid Canadian talent, a fan favorite, and a pivotal main event with serious title implications.
The event should provide us with some answers regarding what’s next for some of the UFC’s biggest stars.
With that being said, let’s take a look at five key questions heading into UFC Fight Night 89…
Which Middleweight Prospect Will Bounce Back?
On the Fight Pass portion of the card, previously surging middleweights “Smilin’” Sam Alvey and Elias “The Spartan” Theodorou will do battle.
Each man is relatively young compared to the upper echelon of the division with Alvey sitting at 30 years of age, and Theodorou landing two years younger at 28. Similarly, each combatant was on the rise towards true contender status before his recent fight.
“Smilin’” Sam had won three straight by T/KO and was beginning to create a likeable personality before suffering a disappointing setback loss to Derek Brunson last August. “The Spartan” had won his first 11 professional mixed martial arts bouts including his first three in the Octagon before he too suffered a loss to Thiago Santos last December.
Which 185-pounder will bounce back?
Has Patrick Cote Reinvented Himself At Welterweight?
It feels like a lifetime ago that Canadian veteran Patrick “The Predator” Cote challenged former long-time middleweight champion Anderson Silva for the belt in a bout that he unfortunately lost due to injury. After losing to Silva, Cote would go on to lose two more before winning four straight only to suffer another setback loss.
The 36-year-old would then drop down to 170 pounds, however, and has since won five of his last six bouts with the only loss in that stretch coming to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, who competes in the evening’s main event. Cote has also won three straight including two straight by stoppage.
“The Predator” will take on former lightweight title challenger and fan favorite Donald Cerrone in the co-main event. Despite the fact that he isn’t necessarily facing off with a true welterweight, a win over Cerrone would undoubtedly boost his resume.
Has Cote reinvented himself late in his career at welterweight?
What Does The Future Hold For Donald Cerrone?
Donald Cerrone simply loves to fight, and he has made a name for himself by accepting any fight at any time.
After a failed bid for the lightweight title last December, “Cowboy” decided to take a fight at welterweight just for the fun of it, and ended up scoring an impressive submission victory over Alex Oliveira.
Cerrone recently said that his future lies at 155-pounds and that he will return there, but he will first take on a huge welterweight in Patrick Cote, a man who has previously competed at middleweight and even light heavyweight. “Cowboy” admitted that he’ll be at a size disadvantage which makes this bout so interesting.
If Cerrone can take out a bigger man, perhaps he should stay at welterweight for the time being. Could “Cowboy” hang with the 170-pound elite or his meant to head back down to his long-time home at lightweight?
Is Stephen Thompson The No. 1 Contender?
Given the promotionally-driven nature of the UFC, it’s very rare in today’s day and age that we see a true title eliminator bout between a division’s top two fighters, but that’s what we’ll get in the main event of UFC Fight Night 89.
No. 1-ranked Rory “Red King” MacDonald will square off with surging No. 2-ranked Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson with a title shot likely hanging in the balance.
“Wonderboy,” a man considered to be one of the sport’s best strikers, had quietly won five straight before absolutely bulldozing former champion Johny Hendricks last February in a victory that established him as a legitimate threat.
He will now, however, take on a man who has loomed near the top of the division for years in MacDonald, with a chance to truly prove himself.
Is Thompson the true No. 1 contender?
Has Rory MacDonald Recovered?
The last time we saw Rory MacDonald fight was last July in the co-main event of UFC 189. He took on reigning champion Robbie Lawler in one of the most epic five-round wars in the sport’s history.
The “Red King” had his moments where he came dangerously close to finishing the fight, but he was ultimately stopped in the fifth round when a Lawler strike shattered the Canadian’s nose. MacDonald simply couldn’t take any more, and he was left battered and broken, albeit showing a valiant effort.
A fight of that nature can affect a fighter in the aftermath, and it’s hard to tell what form of MacDonald will show up. Will the same vicious, well-rounded “Red King” walk into the cage, or did Lawler suck the life out of MacDonald?