The UFC returns to Las Vegas on Saturday with UFC 173. There are a lot of good matchups on the card but we’ve circled the biggest three that everyone will want to see.
Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger
This welterweight clash could very well end up being the “Fight of the Night,” as both men love to stand and bang. Outside of champion Johny Hendricks, they might have the heaviest hands in the division. Lawler came up just short against Hendricks in the bout for the vacant title and a win would probably put him in line to face the winner of the upcoming Rory MacDonald/Tyron Woodley tilt at UFC 174. However, Ellenberger would love a shot at the title as well. Both men are also very tough, so this could end up being 15 minutes of striking and violence, and we all know how much UFC president Dana White loves both of those things.
Dan Henderson vs. Daniel Cormier
Cormier dropped down to light heavyweight as teammate Cain Velasquez is running the heavyweight division, but his 205-pound debut against Patrick Cummins doesn’t really count as a true test. He’ll get one with Henderson, who can still throw down with the best of them at 43 years old. If you look at his recent resume, it’s not bad at all. He has two classic wins over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and his losses to Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans were split decisions. He did get knocked out by Vitor Belfort, but that was his first KO loss in 41 fights. Even so, Hendo is a massive +525 underdog per the UFC odds at Bovada.
Cormier may want to use his wrestling, as he doesn’t have great striking, but Henderson was also an Olympic wrestler. Henderson also knows that this is probably his last good shot at the 205-pound title in the UFC. He has that loaded “H-Bomb” of a right hand, so don’t count out the vet.
Renan Barao vs. T.J. Dillashaw
The main event features the 135-pound champion, Barao, who has lost just once in 34 matches (his debut). He also has a no-contest on his resume when he was hit with illegal soccer kicks back in 2007. He is one of the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and he has elevated his game since winning the belt with three stoppage wins out of four, and two decisive wins over Urijah Faber. Dillashaw will is a huge +500 underdog at Bovada, as he was moved up in the card with Raphael Assuncao injured. Even though he has a loss to Assuncao, it was a split decision and made for the “Fight of the Night”. Dillashaw knows he will be the underdog, so he has nothing to lose against Barao. He’ll need to come up with some type of a game plan, which likely involves his wrestling. Still, Barao is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and even though he is known for his striking, he can also go to the mat and has 14 submission wins to back that up.
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