Two world titles, one epic rematch slated for first Vegas event of 2017
UFC® kicks off their 2017 home schedule with two championship bouts and no shortage of bad blood on Saturday, March 4 at T-Mobile Arena with UFC® 209: WOODLEY vs. THOMPSON 2. Welterweight champion Tyron Woodley looks to prove once and for all that he is the best 170-pound fighter in the world when he meets Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson for the second time and top-ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov clashes with No. 2 Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight world title.
When Woodley (16-3-1, fighting out of St. Louis, Mo.) and Thompson (13-1-1, fighting out of Simpsonville, S.C) met the first time at UFC® 205 in November 2016, the Fight of the Night winner became an instant classic resulting in a draw. The champion used his All-American wrestling pedigree on the ground while Wonderboy countered with his unorthodox, yet highly effective, kickboxing attack to battle on even terms with the champion. In a classic grappler vs. striker matchup, only one of them will leave the Octagon® as the undisputed welterweight champion of the world.
In the co-main event, two athletes who have long been at the top of the division collide for the interim lightweight world title and the chance to unify their title with Irish superstar Conor McGregor. Nurmagomedov (24-0, fighting out of Dagestan, Russia), is a Russian Sambo master with a perfect record that has been compiled thanks to a ferocious ground game. In addition to what may be the best grappling arsenal in the division, the 28-year-old also has eight knockouts to his credit and is a legitimate threat wherever the fight goes. No. 2 ranked Ferguson (23-3, fighting out of Orange County, Calif.) brings the longest UFC winning streak in the lightweight division to the Octagon, having won his last nine bouts and earning a Post-Fight bonus in his last five straight. “El Cucuy” possesses lethal finishing skills, recording 11 knockouts, seven submissions and nine first round finishes. With a title shot both feel is overdue, these men will be sure to bring the heat in this championship showdown.
Plus, a rematch nine years in the making pits No. 3 heavyweight Alistair Overeem (41-15, 1 NC, fighting out of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) against No. 6 Mark Hunt (12-11-1, fighting out of Sydney, Australia). As two of the most popular and longest tenured heavyweights on the planet, the list of accolades for this duo is long. They combine for 46 finishes, including 29 knockouts, both have been world champion kickboxers and Overeem is the former PRIDE, Dream and STRIKEFORCE® heavyweight champion. Overeem won their first match back in 2008 via first round submission, but Hunt will be looking for revenge and to stay atop the wide open division.
A battle between two of the featherweight division’s top ranked athletes, No. 12 Darren Elkins (22-5, fighting out of Portage, Ind.) and undefeated No. 13 Mirsad Bektic (11-0, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.)
Fresh off a Knockout of the Year contender, Lando Vannata (9-1, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) meets fellow striking sensation David Teymur (5-1, fighting out of Stockholm Sweden) in a 155-pound duel.
Heavyweight knockout artists Todd Duffee (9-3, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla.) and Mark Godbeer (11-3, fighting out of Bridgewater England) collide.
Electrifying finishers Igor Pokrajac (25-13, 1 NC, fighting out of Zagreb Croatia) and Ed Herman (24-12, 1 NC, fighting out of Portland, Ore.) clash at light heavyweight.