The final UFC 245 numbering tournament will take place on December 15th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And what about the early card?
The transportation veteran Matt Brown (21-16) was honored to open the early event ticket. The 36-year-old immortal started his career in 2005 and moved to the UFC three years later. For more than 11 years, a fighter from Ohio has been thrilling the audience with spectacular and uncompromising octagon fights. Brown ends most of his fights early and if he loses, he is almost always defeated by submission. Brown's career has come to a logical conclusion in the past five years, but Matt still surprises the audience. It is worth noting that the upcoming tournament will be Brown's first from November 2017.
If the fighter took part in major tournaments at the beginning of his career, he is now testing newcomers to tournaments in the fight night series. As for Brown's opponents, Matt will not be a newcomer, but not the best, but Ben Saunders (22.12.2). The 36-year-old has a long and complicated relationship with the UFC. The fighter got into a doctorate after a successful appearance at the TUF and joined the Bellator wing a few years later. In 2014 Saunders returned to the UFC, where he still performs today. The upcoming battle will be extremely important to Saunders as he has three defeats in a row and another failure has brought him closer to being released from the promotion. It can be said with certainty that this fight will end prematurely, but in whose favor we will find out on Sunday.
Omari Akhmedov (19-4-1) from Russia will appear in the middleweight division. With 4 wins in a row, Wolverine has had a good move in the American promotion in the last three years. Since 2013, a fighter for four long years, a fighter has unsuccessfully tried to get into the top 15 welterweight, but he only managed on average (84 kg), where he returned on December 17. The last two victories allowed Akhmedov to take 14th place in the average weight. Ian Heinish (13-2) from the USA will stand in octagon against Achmedov in Las Vegas. 31-year-old Denver was in the UFC last summer, but in August he had a chance to get in the top 10, but Derek Brunson got involved in his plans. This weekend, the American will again try to get a pass for the coveted top ten companies.
But the most interesting in the early card comparisons were preparing for the end. Emotional Mike Perry (13-5) appears in the main battle for the early card. The 28-year-old US fighter made his UFC debut on August 16, but managed to get into the Octagon promotion eleven times in three years and set a 6-5 record. Yes, it is extremely unstable, but the fighter makes up for it with the spectacle and frequency of its appearances. The upcoming fight will be the fourth for Mike in the past 12 months. Perry became really popular last year when he met Donald Cerrone. The fight didn't end in Mike's favor, but since then it has remained at the hearing.
This Sunday, Perry will try to return to the top 15 welterweight (77 kg), where he fell after a series of defeats. The 29-year-old Jeff Neal (12-2) from Austin will compete against him. The fighter started his career in 2012, but only joined the UFC two years ago when he seriously started his career at MMA. Since then, Neal has had three wins in a row and earned a bonus for the best performance of the evening. From the Matchmaker's point of view, this fight is extremely disadvantageous for Neil, since he is tenth in the welterweight division and Perry is no longer in the top 15. In the event of a win, it will break into the top 15 and Jeff will lose his position.
Peter Jan continues his campaign on the way to gold
In the bantamweight (62 kg), the Russian fighter Petr Yan (13-1) meets the MMA veteran and crowd favorite Yurai Feiber (35-10) from the USA. 26-year-old Yang from Omsk joined the UFC last June. The fighter spent five fights and completed five Victoria for about 12 months. It was the extreme two fights in which he defeated John Dodson and Jimmy River that enabled Peter to talk about himself in the West.
Thanks to the spectacular style and the harsh remarks, Jan gets the struggles that enable him to advance in the company's ranking every time. Peter is already fourth and can win the title fight against Henry Sehudo through a fight. But before that, Jan's team will go through the famous Faber. The 40-year-old "Guy from California" returned to the octagon in July this year after a long break from MMA. In the first round Faber Ricky Simon knocked out and remembered himself. In fact, Faber didn't go back to business because of license fees or title ambitions – he just loves this sport. Faber is successful outside of the martial arts and the athlete has a constant source of income so he doesn't have to worry about a bank account.
From the matchmaking point of view, the upcoming fight will only bring Jan another win and a check, as Faber is not a candidate for the title and has returned due to several fights. But the UFC have long been committed to the show, and the potential of Victoria against Faber will allow Jan to take the lead in the easy title fight, as Yuraya has a big name in the sport, despite not being a top player for several years is. The fighter himself explained this in an interview recently.
"I'm lucky I don't have to fight. This is partly why I gave up the fight to make sure I could survive without a fight. I'm always in a fight from the final departure from the sport. I could go after the previous fight. Good maintenance would have turned out. The fight with Ian is the most difficult I have ever wanted. He does not give up. He is a danger. In the future he may become a champion, "concluded Faber in an interview with ESPN.
It's worth noting that Jan is unlikely to win the title fight after the UFC 245 tournament, as Aljamein Sterling and Corey Sandhagen are higher in the standings and both have multiple wins in a row. If Corey is still unknown to the audience, Sterling is rightly the main candidate for the fight against Sehudo. But all plans of Stirling and Jan can be spoiled by the former featherweight world champion (66 kg) Jose Aldo (28-5).
“I was not impressed with how Faber appeared in his first fight after he returned. He only hit the opponent because he was not gathered enough. I think the referee stopped the fight early. Faber's appearance didn't impress me at all. He also has a terrible hairstyle, his hair will bother me in the fight, so I hope he cuts his hair.
Do not get me wrong. I don't underestimate him. I am very focused. I don't care who will fight me, be it Faber or Sehudo. I'll win, I don't care, ”said a fighter from Russia in an interview with Blood and Sweat.
The 33-year-old Aldo was once considered the best featherweight world champion in the history of the American rise. And this statement was based on the fact that the famous Brazilian had seven defenses from the championship belt, and not the defense in the legendary WEC promotion, in which Jose had two more defenses. It's hard to believe, but Aldo has been playing since 2004 and has done it at the highest level for many years. But everything comes to an end and he came with Aldo in December 2015 when he brutally knocked out against Conor McGregor. Since then, the Brazilian has clearly left the results behind and is consistently among the top ten of his weight. The fighter tried twice to take the title from Max Holloway, but the Hawaiian is on a completely different level, and it is the latter who holds top fighter status at £ 145, but more on that later.
When Aldo gave in to Alexander Volkanovsky in May of this year, he found that he no longer competed with the new generation. And this Sunday, the Brazilian will be embarking on a very dangerous adventure with the lowest weight (62 kg), while Aldo hardly drove up to 66 kg in his prime. Yes, the fighter didn't miss a single weigh, but it was clear how tough these weight racers are. In Vegas, Jose will try to challenge the lightest division leaders. While the winner, Sehudo, is proving money in a bank account, Marlon Moraes tries to return to the title race after losing to Henry in June this year.
Perhaps Aldo will feel comfortable in the bantamweight because he is not inferior to the rivals in anthropometry, but we have seen more than once what the extreme weight testers lead to. It is the transition to a new category that can play a cruel joke against Aldo because it will lose the speed and strength he had in the featherweight. But when a miracle happens and Jose Aldo Moraes overtakes, he automatically becomes the main contender for the title, and it doesn't matter that he gets involved in a long line of applicants. Company President Dana White will not miss the opportunity to organize a Sehudo-Aldo fight. For Henry, this is a great opportunity to grow in importance by defeating another, if former, champion.
In the third duel of the main card, the winner in two weight classes, Amanda Nunez (18-4), will take over the first defense of the featherweight title. Just a few years ago, 31-year-old Nunez from Brazil was not a bantamweight threat. But the years passed and so did Amanda’s abilities. The athlete systematically advanced in the ranking and reduced the rivals one after the other. The best hour for Nunez was July 16 when she strangled Misha Tate. This was followed by three extremely successful defense mechanisms. Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko and Raquel Pennigton-Nunez have put together a solid list of champions. But time has shown that the full size of Nunez is yet to come. In December last year, Amanda met Christian Justino, who was considered the best female MMA for many years. At that point, Justino did not lose 13 consecutive years after scoring 20 wins. But here Nunez was surprised at how hard it was to knock out her compatriot in the first round and become featherweight champion.
In July this year, Amanda defended in the easiest category and completely defeated Holly Hill. For example, Nunez has made five champions' scalps in two weight classes over the past three years. The Brazilian is already the best athlete in MMA history. Nunez has been waiting for a temporary match for many years. She is confronted with the 35-year-old Germaine de Randamy from the Netherlands. On February 17, Germaine wrongly won the featherweight title, but later lost it because he was afraid to fight Justino. Then she beat two rivals and won the title fight against Nunez. Randami is certain that she will have chances to defeat the champion in bantamweight, but these chances are illusory.
Randy lost to Nunez in 2013 and it was devastating. Since then Amanda has had solid experience and Germaine has met enemies passing by. Unfortunately, there will be no intrigue in this struggle.
"I think she deserves a fight for the title. She is the next and I respect her. It has made significant progress, but we fought when I was just beginning my UFC career. Now I am a double master and it is a great experience. This belt will no doubt return home.
I know her very well. If I could defeat her at the beginning of my career, imagine what will happen now, with all this experience and two belts behind me. I am here to make statements, write history and keep my name on the mountain. I'll prove it again, ”Nunez said reasonably before the tournament.
Blessed against Hulk
In the evening's co-main match, featherweight champion (66 kg) Max Holloway (21-4) meets Alexander Volkanovsky (20-1) from Australia. The 28-year-old Hawaiian Holloway is rightly considered the best featherweight in MMA history. The fighter made his UFC debut in 2012 at the age of 20. At the beginning of his career, Max suffered several disappointing defeats, but since 2014 he has not known the bitterness of featherweight defeats. At the moment the champion is on a series of 14 consecutive wins in this weight. After two convincing defenses, Holloway decided to test himself in lightweight after meeting Dustin Porier in April this year. It was about the vacant lightweight title (70 kg), while Chabib Nurmagomedow foreshadowed his disqualification. Unfortunately, like seven years ago, Porrier was too hard for Max and Holloway returned to his home category.
In July the sublime passed the legend of this sport, Frank Edgar, without any particular problems. The latter received the title fight for previous successes in MMA as a sign of respect, and Edgar was not a real threat. But Alexander Volkanovsky has come a long way to get into the octagon against Max. Alexander made his UFC debut in November 2016 and set a record 7-0 at the company. The last two wins over Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo enabled the Hulk to become the main contender for Champion Gold. On Max's side there will again be an advantage in anthropometry and crazy cardio, but Alex can surprise with explosive power and a knockout punch.
Among other things, Volkanovsky will try to get the champion to the ground where he has a good grand-end pound. The upcoming game is not over yet and the applicant list has already been formed. The main contenders are now Zabit Magomedsharipov and Brian Ortega. Perhaps these fighters will question the status of the main competitor in April next year if Holloway doesn't choose Magomedsharipov as his next rival.
“The belt can be lost in a day. But nobody can take on the status of your champion. I mean, the fact that you were a champion that you deserve it. People only see 25 minutes of struggle. You don't see the training hours we go through, hundreds of training hours. So no one can take that from me, I'll always be a champion. A belt is evidence for you, but not for me. I have known for a long time that I am a champion. I am a champion because I do my best to become one. I don't want to go to training, but I don't get up at sunrise or sunrise and go to training. Because the guy I have to fight with is probably plowing through. And I won't lie down. Champion is a special attitude, ”Holloway concluded.
The welter weight (77 kg) has always been one of the most competitive and dynamic in the UFC. At one time, various athletes were champions in this weight, but only Georges Saint-Pierre became the legend of MMA. A humble and very clever man from Canada won the championship with 170 pounds in 2006, but lost gold in the first defense. But after the Canadian returned the title and remained unbeaten in 2013, he retired for four years. On November 17, St. Pierre also won the second title, this time in the middleweight division. After Georges has finally written his name into history, he is resting on a well-deserved vacation, although he does not rule out the fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
But with the departure of St. Pierre Welterweight, a real leap started with a championship title. In the past five years, the belt has changed three owners. Only Tyrone Woodley had the strength to defend the title four times. But in March of that year, Woodley completely lost to Kamar Usman after losing his championship belt. This gave the company the most charismatic champion in the history of welterweight. Yes, Woodley was criticized for being too cautious, but within 12 months he did three successful countermeasures and did so with confidence.
As far as Usman is concerned, the 32-year-old fighter signed up for the UFC four years ago and has had no prodigiousness during this time that leads the fights to referee decisions. Kamaru was the company's champion for nine months, but during that time the champion spent exactly 0 title defenses. Different protection dates were offered to the fighter several times, but each time the champion referred to various injuries. The division has been waiting for the title fight for almost a year and will finally continue on the 15th. And the applicant fell under the championship title.
If Usman isn't interested in the audience, Colby Covington from the United States is hated by the audience. Treshtok – the art of speaking, showing your scholarship and prudence. Chel Sonen, Michael Bisping, Conor McGregor – each of them was interesting to hear because we are always waiting for an interesting show. And it seems that 31-year-old Covington doesn't quite understand the essence of the right Treshtok because he just carries nonsense with him. A fighter often crosses the border and tries to create inappropriate conflicts with everyone in the UFC, which ends with Dana White, which is absolutely not possible. Anyone who tried to take action against the boss of the company sooner or later had no contract with the promotion. And Covington kept going to the edge. This Sunday, a fighter can become the company's champion and become a real thorn in the side of promotional matchmakers.
In general, we can look forward to an interesting map of exciting battles that will bring the decade to an end.
UFC 245. December 15th. Las Vegas, Nevada:
Title fight: Camaru Usman – Colby Covington
Title fight: Max Holloway – Alexander Volkanovsky
Title fight: Amanda Nunez – Germaine de Randamy
Bantamweight: Marlon Moraes – Jose Aldo
Bantamweight: Peter Jan – Juraia Faber