It’s impossible not to already be hyped about UFC 209. Yes, it’s two months away. But in a matter of just a couple of weeks, the March 4 pay-per-view went from zero to ludicrous speed with just a few fight announcements.
It started with Overeem being booked to meet Mark Hunt. The violence potential between two former K-1 kickboxing champions is through the roof. After that, weirdly entertaining prospect Lando Vannata joined the party. Then big man Todd Duffee – master of the Bald Bull kill-or-be-killed charge – announced he was heading to Vegas.
This UFC Fight Card Gets Even Better…
Then the UFC scheduled the welterweight title rematch between one-hitter quitter Tyron Woodley and real life ninja Stephen Thompson as the main event. Let me just say that any card with Thompson and his Bloodsport style is worth watching.
But the real “holy shit” moment came when news broke that undefeated Russian gangster Khabib Nurmagomedov and human cyclone Tony Ferguson would fight for the interim lightweight title.
That was the final straw. Nurmagomedov-Ferguson is the fight everybody was hoping for, and it all came together on the best UFC fight card of 2017 yet.
There’s just so much here to talk about. Before we get into it, we’ll just serve the PSA that both title fights already have UFC betting odds available at BookMaker.eu.
Onto the early reactions.
Stephen Thompson (-120) vs Tyron Woodley (+100)
Can Woodley Get Some Love?
I really don’t see why everybody seems to hate on Woodley. Maybe they’re annoyed that he’s chasing money fights against guys who don’t deserve it?
Or maybe it’s because he keeps bringing up the fact that nobody seems to like him. Whatever the case, he’s the most unpopular champ in the UFC, despite the fact he’s one of the most dangerous.
It’s not gonna get any easier for him to gain fans against Thompson, a polite, clean-cut Christian boy with a ridiculously exciting fight style. At this point one would think that Woodley would be better off going full Mayweather and force-feeding the world an ice cold glass of Haterade. At least then he could make money off some of the undeserving crap that he gets.
Early Fight Picks: Fight odds have been pretty stable since the fight was announced. Honestly a toss-up here. Woodley at underdog odds is a good value.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (-180) vs Tony Ferguson (+155)
Cold-Blooded vs. Hot-Headed
FYI, Nurmy’s UFC betting line has gone down almost -40 points since opening a few weeks ago, from -145 to -180. In that article, I predicted that he’d probably close near -200 and it’s certainly looking that will be the case two months out.
Look at it this way: the Russian is like the new Matt Hughes. Hughes dominated the welterweight division with evolved MMA wrestling that nobody could stop, then everybody was forced to play catchup.
Right now, fighters have no clue how to stop Nurmy’s soul-crushing sambo. Ferguson’s pace and activity certainly adds a wrinkle to this fight, but it’s mostly likely one that’ll be ironed out by the stone-faced Russian.
Early Fight Picks: Nurmagomedov to win with serial killer efficiency
Alistair Overeem (-135) vs Mark Hunt (+115)
Kickass Kickboxing Coming Right Up
Both guys are guys that whooped ass in K-1, which is like the World Series of kickboxing. So if you’re one of those fans that just wants to watch guys bang, then you should be all over this fight. On top of that, these guys are heavyweights – the one division where every guy on the roster has one-punch knockout power.
There’s also a pretty cool “fat guy vs. buff guy” thing going on here. Of course, Overeem was caught for ‘roids, which surprised absolutely no one, and that automatically makes him the bad guy. On the other hand, Hunt is suing the UFC for making him fight ‘roided up dudes in the first place. Ironic, don’t you think?
Early Fight Picks: Tough one. Overeem has no chin but usually tunes up smaller fighters. Gotta go with The Reem.
Mirsad Bektic vs Darren Elkins
UFC odds at BookMaker.eu coming soon!
A New Challenger Has Arrived
Get to know Mirsad Bektic. The 25-year old is already 11-0 and projected to be a title contender in the near future. A lot of people compare him to GSP, but shockingly, that might be selling him short. This dude is way more violent than the wrestle-humper that St. Pierre was before he retired.
Elkins is an underappreciated gatekeeper with 15 UFC fights. His only losses have come against top-10 guys, with the exception of Hacran Dias. If Bektic gets through him, a high-stakes fight awaits.
Early Fight Picks: Elkins might have his moments, but he ain’t derailing this hype train.
Regular UFC 209 updates available on our LIVE UFC Odds Comparison Page.
For more UFC news, check out UFC 210 Odds: Daniel Cormier Opens as Slight Favorite Against Anthony Johnson