The UFC returns to Toronto with UFC 206 on Saturday, December 10. Like many cards, this isn’t the card that was originally released. Light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier was due for a rematch with Anthony Johnson, but the champion was injured and Johnson preferred to wait until he was fully ready.
Instead, featherweights Max Holloway and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis will meet for the interim 145-pound belt with the winner moving on to face champion Jose Aldo. The Brazilian was the interim champion, but the UFC stripped two-division champion Conor McGregor of his featherweight title and promoted Aldo, whose plan is to defend the title against the winner of Holloway/Pettis, and then potentially move up to lightweight for another bout with McGregor.
Holloway (16-3) has now won nine straight after a unanimous decision over Ricardo Lamas in June. He is an excellent kickboxer with a decent reach to keep his opponent at range. Pettis (19-5), also a former WEC champion at lightweight, lost three straight (including the UFC belt to Rafael dos Anjos) and then dropped to 145 pounds, where he submitted Charles Oliveira in his debut. Pettis is an incredibly versatile striker who can also grapple well. He’ll have a three-inch reach advantage over Holloway, so that is something to keep an eye on.
Scrambling could be the key to this match as Holloway has defended over 82% of takedowns and Pettis has been successful on over 58% of his attempts. Holloway is a -190 favorite for this bout.
Donald Cerrone (31-7, 1 NC) is 3-0 with three stoppages since moving up to welterweight, and he faces a tough customer in Matt Brown (20-15). Brown has lost four of his last five, but he likes to fight recklessly and put on a show for the fans. However, Brown lost by TKO via body kick to Jake Ellenberger in his last match and that sets up well for Cerrone, one of the best kickboxers in the UFC.
If the fight happens to go to the mat, that should be a massive edge for Cerrone, who has 16 submission wins to his name. Brown has been submitted 10 times in his career. Overall, no matter where this fight goes, it doesn’t look like a good matchup for Brown. That’s the main reason why we see Cerrone as a -270 favorite for this fight with Brown coming in at +210.
Although it’s not garnering much attention, the best match on the card could be a featherweight tilt between Cub Swanson (23-7) and Doo Ho Choi (15-1). Swanson has black belts in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and is more than happy to engage in a slugfest. That would be great for Choi (15-1), who has 12 TKO/KO wins and has won Performance of the Night in his last two fights, which were wins against Thiago Tavares and Sam Silicia.
Choi will want to keep this fight standing up, and while Swanson might want to take him to the mat to have a better chance he also likes to put a show on for the fans. He has won Fight of the Night twice. There could be a lot of fireworks in this 145-pound affair. Choi enters as a -230 favorite while Swanson is at +180.