UFC 200 is sure to be a mega-event as the mixed martial arts juggernaut has scheduled quite the card. On top of that, this will be the first UFC event at the newly-minted T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which really adds to the spectacle.
Although the Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch was supposed to headline the event, that’s now a distant memory. The Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier rematch will get the top billing in a showdown many UFC fans have been anticipating for over a year. We were expecting the rematch at UFC 197 but Cormier had to pull out due to injury. Now the show will go on.
The main question for this bout is which Jon Jones will we see? Remember, this is a fighter that was one of the best in the business for a long time before he got entwined in out-of-the-Octagon issues. He was stripped of the belt, got clean and supposedly found himself. More importantly, he was supposed to be bigger, stronger and more motivated than we’ve ever seen him. And while he still defeated Ovince Saint Preux in his return to action, Jones didn’t look dominant. Was it just ring rust? Has the long layoff, the drugs and other factors stripped away his super powers? We’ll find out at UFC 200. Jones is a -300 favorite while Cormier comes in at +230.
Another match that has generated a lot of buzz is the Brock Lesnar-Mark Hunt showdown. Lesnar was granted a “one-off opportunity”, which means the popular former UFC, WWE and NCAA Division I heavyweight champion is back in MMA. The cocky star will take on the humble Hunt in a matchup of contrasting styles. At age 42, Hunt is probably fighting as well as he ever has. His incredible knockouts have won over the hearts of fans as they rabidly await his jaw-breaking shots once he’s in the Octagon.
This matchup will be a showdown of contrasting styles; if Lesnar can take down Hunt and turn this into a wrestling match, the win should be his. If Hunt has good takedown defense and keeps this standing, he’ll be the one in better shape. Hunt is at -170 for this fight while Lesnar is posted at +140.
We’ll also get to see Jose Aldo make his return to the Octagon as he takes on Frankie Edgar. Aldo was one of the top pound-for-pound kings in the sport until Conor McGregor rocked his world. With McGregor chasing Diaz for a rematch at 145 pounds, that means that Aldo and Edgar will square off for an interim title, which probably means very little. But in terms of entertainment value, this should be an incredible fight. Aldo won the first meeting by decision but nobody should ever count out the heart of Edgar. Edgar is a slight -125 favorite here while Aldo is at -105.
On the women’s side of things, we’ll get to see the champ back in business but nobody is paying too much attention because her name is not Ronda Rousey. Miesha Tate is awaiting Rousey’s return but in the meantime we’ll see her take on Amanda Nunes. Nunes is a solid-but-unspectacular fighter in the bantamweight division, it’s debatable whether Tate is much more than that. That’s what makes this bout interesting.
Had Rousey topped Holly Holm, Tate likely would have never earned the belt, and as a result she would have been lumped in that group of decent-but-not-great fighters in the division. Instead, she stunned Holm with a late submission and now she’s deemed the champ. Nobody can take that win away from her but she’ll have to prove her worth against Nunes here. Nunes is a tough competitor and she’ll have her eye on the prize. Tate better not be looking ahead to a potential match with Rousey or anyone else. Tate is a -250 favorite in this matchup while Nunes sits at +195.
The last bout on the main card is Travis Browne taking on Cain Velasquez. Velasquez is laying -305 while Browne clocks in at +235. All of the action takes place this Saturday night in Las Vegas.