Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Jose Aldo and UFC 218's other losing fighters?

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(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 218’s winning fighters?)

Saturday’s UFC 218 event at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit delivered plenty of entertainment value. That won’t matter to the five losing fighters from the pay-per-view main card, though.

In the main event, Jose Aldo’s (26-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) aspirations of a third UFC featherweight title reign were crushed by Max Holloway(19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC). Alistair Overeem (43-16 MMA, 8-5 UFC) suffered a brutal knockout loss in the co-headliner. Additionally, Sergio Pettis (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC), Justin Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Michelle Waterson (14-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) were all topped by their foes.

After every event, fans wonder whom the losing fighters will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 218’s losing fighters.

* * * *

Michelle Waterson

Cortney Casey

Should fight: Cortney Casey
Why they should fight: Waterson suffered consecutive losses for the first time in her career when she came out of the wrong end of a unanimous decision against Tecia Torres in an important strawweight bout.

After falling short against now-champ Rose Namajunas in April, Waterson faltered against the streaking Torres, who put herself in solid standing to challenge for the title with the win.

Waterson is one of the bigger names in the 115-pound division, and as a result, she’s going to get tough competition nearly every fight. Casey (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC), who lost to Felice Herrig on the UFC 218 preliminary card, is a lower-ranked opponent but never an easy out.

Justin Gaethje

James Vick

Should fight: James Vick
Why they should fight: The remarkable winning streak of Gaethje was finally brought to an end courtesy of former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in their anticipated fight.

Gaethje suffered a third-round knockout loss to fellow “The Ultimate Fighter 26” coach Alvarez. Gaethje knows his fighting style comes with great risk, and the former WSOF titleholder finally paid the price.

Gaethje’s still a very fresh face to the UFC, and there are countless fights ahead that could bring entertainment. Surging contender Vick (12-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC), who’s riding a three-fight winning streak, is clamoring for a top-ranked opponent. Perhaps Gaethje would be a willing adversary.

Sergio Pettis

Ray Borg

Should fight: Ray Borg
Why they should fight: After putting together a solid run that put him in a title-eliminator, Pettis’ run toward the UFC flyweight title experienced a hiccup courtesy of Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo.

Pettis suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Cejudo that will put him back to the drawing board in terms of making a run at the 125-pound belt. At 24 he’s still got plenty of time to progress, and there’s no doubt Pettis will go right back to work.

Given his character, Pettis will search for the biggest challenge available to help him rebound. Fighting another young flyweight in Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC), who is coming off a title-fight loss to champ Demetrious Johnson at UFC 216 in October, would provide him with an opportunity to make a statement.

Alistair Overeem

Cain Velasquez

Should fight: Cain Velasquez
Why they should fight: Overeem’s latest climb to the UFC heavyweight title suffered a critical blow courtesy of a violent Francis Ngannou knockout, and now it’s difficult to determine where “The Reem” goes from here.

Overeem is still incredibly dangerous and skilled, but the first-round loss to Ngannou is a tough setback for the former Strikeforce champ. Overeem has said the UFC belt is the one thing missing from his mantel, but after a failed title shot against now-champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 in September 2016, then the loss to Ngannou three fights later, he’s in a tough spot.

If Overeem has the fortitude to make another run at the belt, he could certainly do that within a few fights. It would be understandable if he weren’t up for it more than 20 years after his debut, but assuming he is, a matchup with ex-champ Velasquez (14-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC), who recently said he’s aiming for a return next year, could get him right back on track.

Jose Aldo

Should fight: Anthony Pettis
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Aldo should move up to lightweight to fight Pettis (20-7 MMA, 7-6) next.

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC 218 post-event facts: Max Holloway and Francis Ngannou doing record-setting stuff

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“The Blessed Era” continued in a big way on Saturday when UFC featherweight champon Max Holloway further added to his ridiculous resume with another victory over Jose Aldo in UFC 218[s pay-per-view headliner.

Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) defended his 145-pound title for the first time with a third-round TKO of Aldo (26-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

“Blessed” wasn’t the only one to put himself in the record books, though. For more on the numbers to come out of the UFC’s penultimate pay-per-view of the year, check below for 60 post-event facts from UFC 218.

* * * *

General

Little Caesars Arena

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $185,000.

Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, Yancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira earned $50,000 UFC 218 fight-night bonuses. All earned “Fight of the Night” bonuses (“Performance of the Night” awards weren’t issued).

Debuting fighters went 0-1 on the card.

UFC 218 drew an announced attendance of 17,587 for a live gate of $2 million.

Betting favorites went 10-3 on the card.

Total fight time for the 13-bout card was 2:11:47.

Main card

Max Holloway

Holloway extended his career-high winning streak to 12 fights. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since August 2013.

Holloway, 25, became the youngest fighter in UFC history to earn 15 victories with the organization.

Holloway became the fifth fighter in UFC history to tally a 12-fight winning streak.

Holloway’s 12-fight winning streak in UFC competition is fifth longest in company history behind Anderson Silva (16), Jon Jones (13), Demetrious Johnson (13) and Georges St-Pierre (13).

Holloway’s 11-fight winning streak in UFC competition is third longest among active fighters in the company behind Johnson (13) and St-Pierre (13).

Holloway’s 11-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Max Holloway

Holloway’s 14 victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Holloway’s nine stoppage victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Holloway’s seven knockout victories in UFC featherweight competition are most in divisional history.

Holloway became the first fighter in UFC history to land 100 or more significant strikes in six separate fights.

Aldo fell to 1-3 in his past four fights after going undefeated for more than a decade.

Aldo has suffered all three of his career losses by stoppage. That includes three knockout losses in UFC competition.

Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou’s (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) six-fight winning streak in UFC heavyweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Ngannou’s six-fight stoppage streak in UFC competition is the longest among active fighters.

Ngannou became the fourth modern-era UFC fighter to begin his career with the organization with six consecutive stoppages. Silva, Rich Franklin and Ronda Rousey also accomplished the feat.

Ngannou has earned all 11 of his career victories by stoppage.

Ngannou has earned five of his six UFC victories by knockout.

Alistair Overeem

Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-5 UFC) fell to 7-2 in his past nine UFC appearances dating back to December 2014.

Overeem’s 11 knockout losses in MMA competition are the most of any active member on the UFC roster.

Henry Cejudo (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has earned five of his six UFC victories by decision.

Sergio Pettis (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) fell to 4-2 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in March 2015.

Pettis suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Eddie Alvarez

Alvarez (29-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) improved to 1-1 (with one no-contest) in his past three fights.

Alvarez has earned 23 of his 29 career victories by stoppage.

Alvarez and Gaethje (18-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) combined for 227 significant strikes landed, the fourth highest single-fight total in UFC lightweight history.

Gaethje had his 18-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Tecia Torres’ (10-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) six victories in UFC strawweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Torres has earned nine of her 10 career victories by decision.

Michelle Waterson (14-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) suffered her first decision loss since June 30, 2007 – a span of 3,808 days (more than 10 years) and 18 fights.

Preliminary card

Paul Felder

Paul Felder (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) has earned five of his seven UFC victories by stoppage.

Charles Oliveira (22-8 MMA, 10-8 UFC) fell to 1-1 since he returned to the UFC lightweight division in April 2017. He’s 3-4 in the organization at 155 pounds.

Charles Oliveira fell to 2-4 in his past six fights.

Charles Oliveira has suffered four of his seven career losses by knockout.

Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira

Medeiros (15-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) improved to 3-0 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in September 2016.

Medeiros has earned all three of his UFC welterweight victories by stoppage.

Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira (17-4-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) was the first fight in UFC history to feature two knockdowns for each fighter.

Alex Oliveira (17-4-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) fell to 5-2 (with one no-contest) in UFC welterweight competition.

Alex Oliveira suffered the first knockout loss of his career.

Drakkar Klose (8-1-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had his nine-fight unbeaten streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Felice Herrig

Felice Herrig’s (14-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC) five victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied with champ Rose Namajunas for third most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (eight) and Torres (six).

Herrig’s four-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Herrig has earned nine of her 14 career victories by decision.

Cortney Casey (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) has suffered all four of her UFC losses by decision.

Amanda Cooper

Amanda Cooper (3-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) earned the first knockout victory of her career.

Angela Magana (11-9 MMA, 0-3 UFC) suffered her fifth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of her career. She hasn’t earned a victory since August 2011.

Magana suffered the first knockout loss of her career.

Abdul Razak Alhassan (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned all his career victories by first-round knockout.

Sabah Homasi (11-7 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered five of his six career losses by stoppage.

Dominick Reyes

Dominick Reyes (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned seven of his eight career victories by first-round stoppage. That includes both of his UFC wins.

Jeremy Kimball (15-7 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has suffered all seven of his career losses by stoppage.

Kimball has suffered six of his seven career losses by submission.

Justin Willis (6-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned all of his career stoppage victories by knockout.

Allen Crowder (9-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered all three of his career losses by knockout.

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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Source: MMA Junkie

After going 'full Nick Diaz,' Felice Herrig says Cortney Casey threw 'booger blood chunk' at UFC 218

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DETROIT – Felice Herrig says Cortney Casey threw a “booger blood chunk” at her in their UFC 218 bout, but strangely enough, she’s accustomed to having her opponents release bodily fluids inside the octagon.

Herrig (14-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC) defeated Casey (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) by split decision in their strawweight bout, which took place on Saturday’s preliminary card at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. In the midst of the action, both fighters flipped each other off and Casey actually threw some blood in Herrig’s direction.

The situation may have angered other fighters, but Herrig said she enjoyed it and took everything in stride.

“We both went full Nick Diaz,” Herrig said after the fight. “She got a little upset because I got her with the shot and saw it on her face. Fighters get emotional. She flicked a booger at me – it was great. It was entertaining for the fans. I like being in entertaining fights. I’m not mad at her. It was cool. I was entertained by it. I thought it was entertaining. … It was a booger chunk. It was a booger blood chunk.”

Blood-slinging aside, Herrig and Casey had a competitive three-round fight. “Lil’ Bulldog” left the octagon with her fourth consecutive victory in the 115-pound division, which is the longest active streak in the weight class.

Herrig closed her eyes and was hoping for the decision to go her way while Bruce Buffer was reading the cards, but she said that wasn’t because she thought she lost. She said it was because of the unpredictable nature of MMA judging.

“I definitely thought I had the ‘W,’ but you never know with judges,” Herrig said. “It was hard to tell just because she had the range on me. I thought I landed more shots. She was wanting to lure me in with punches. I could see that. I had to pick and choose my shots.”

On arguably the best run of her career, Herrig said she believes she’s in good position to challenge of the title sooner than later. Joanna Jedrzejczyk is likely to get a rematch with Rose Namajunas after losing the belt in stunning fashion at UFC 217 this past month, but Herrig doesn’t think she’s far behind.

“Four in a row I think I’m coming in like a dark horse,” Herrig said. “I don’t care (who is next), honestly. Every time I think I want somebody they give me somebody else, so I really don’t give a (expletive).”

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC 218 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program total passes $16 million mark

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DETROIT – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC 218 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $185,000.

UFC 218 took place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC), who earned a maximum program payout of $40,000 as a titleholder. “Blessed” defended his belt against Jose Aldo (26-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) by third-round TKO in the event headliner.

The full UFC 218 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Max Holloway: $40,000
Jose Aldo: $30,000

Alistair Overeem: $10,000
Francis Ngannou: $5,000

Henry Cejudo: $5,000
Sergio Pettis: $5,000

Eddie Alvarez: $5,000
Justin Gaethje: $2,500

Tecia Torres: $5,000
Michelle Waterson: $2,500

Charles Oliveira: $15,000
Paul Felder: $5,000

Alex Oliveira: $10,000
Yancy Medeiros: $10,000

David Teymur: $2,500
Drakkar Klose: $2,500

Felice Herrig: $5,000
Cortney Casey: $5,000

Amanda Cooper: $2,500
Angela Magana: $2,500

Sabah Homasi: $2,500
Abdul Razak Alhassan: $2,500

Jeremy Kimball: $2,500
Dominick Reyes: $2,500

Justin Willis: $2,500
Allen Crowder: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $5,847,500
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $16,170,500

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 results: Felice Herrig takes split decision from Cortney Casey in close fight

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It only took a few profane gestures to get Cortney Casey and Felice Herrig going. But by then, the fight was almost over.

The pair engaged in a static shootout over three rounds, with Casey (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC) fighting tall and Herrig (14-6 MMA, 5-1 UFC) punching her way inside. It was a close fight, but judges ultimately decided Herrig did more and awarded her a split decision.

The women’s strawweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC 218 event at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It aired on FS1 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on pay-per-view.

Two of three judges gave Herrig the fight with a 29-28 tally. One dissented for Casey with the same score. Herrig’s win upped her current win streak to four, while Casey dropped back following a decision over Jessica Aguilar in May.

Much of the scoring centered around Herrig’s boxing attack, simply because there wasn’t much else that was significant. Early on, she found success closing the distance and ducking under Casey’s punches to uncork a left hook. Several times she met Casey’s right hand or check left hook. The two traded leg kicks in a call and response rhythm.

The only detours from that pattern came in the first round, when Casey lit up Herrig as she charged forward, prompting Herrig to secure a body lock and take the fight to the mat. There, she stalled on top, and Casey took the initiative with a kimura threat that allowed her to reverse. In the third, with both corners doing their best to pump up their fighters, Herrig stuck out her tongue at Casey, prompting outstretched arms from the Hawaii native. A middle finger followed for Herrig.

Not content to let those offenses stand, Herrig initiated an attack and briefly was swept to the mat, with a knee to the head greeting her rise. Casey, sporting a shiner under her left eye, celebrated what she thought was a clear victory.

Instead, at the decision, Casey reacted in shock as Herrig cheered her fourth consecutive win.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 218 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson and Mike Bohn contributed to this report on site in Detroit.)

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 218 breakdown: Betting advice, possible prop bets and fantasy studs

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC 218’s main-card bouts. Today, we look at wagering opportunities and fantasy advice.

UFC 218 takes place Saturday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The main card airs on PPV following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

ALSO SEE:

* * * *

Disclaimer: The following section is designed for entertainment purposes only. The unit sizes serve as a rough representation of the percentage of bankroll risked, as well as my confidence in said plays. If you intend on gambling, I suggest that you do so responsibly and legally, as it is at your own risk. All lines are drawn from 5Dimes.eu on the day this article was published (Dec. 1, 2017).

Dan’s plays

Props worth looking at:

Summary: Although these plays may appear chalky at first glance (particularly for props), they are some of my more confident choices in a card with crazy potential all around.

Between these two pairings of lightweight matchups, you would be hard-pressed to put together more potential for violence than what we have here.

For that reason, coupled with the playable value and asking price, these props could make for some sharp plays that could also help hedge any sides that you may have taken in the fights listed above (e.g. my straight bet on Paul Felder).

Straight plays:

  • Paul Felder -105 (1 unit)

Summary: For straight plays, I typically look for a fighter who I not only feel confident about (whether it be his sample size or the matchup at hand), but also has a low asking price.

In a card with some sizeable names and betting margins, this was one of the lone options that fit my criteria. I feel that Felder, who is the more durable and dependable fighter (for reasons I elaborate on in the fantasy section below), should be able to get things done here.

He is a considerably stronger striker who I believe has a good enough clinch and counter-wrestling game to shut down the grappling intentions of his opponent Oliveira. Coupled with the fact that Oliveira has been dropped or stopped in three of his past five fights, and I’m willing to make a degenerate play that Felder will be the last man standing.

Playable parlay pieces (my most confident favorites):

Summary: My recommended parlay pieces are typically my most confident picks that could serve as potential legs for whatever play you’re trying to put together. (For what it’s worth: The listed selection above pairs at +101)

For the reasons stated in my official breakdown, Torres earns herself a spot as one of my more confident picks. I’m a fan of Waterson, who has multiple tools on paper, but I feel that this is ultimately a tough matchup for her opportunism to shine through.

Torres is one of the more process-driven fighters in a division in which that can go a long way. Add in the fact that Torres is likely the better wrestler who also averages upward of 45 strikes thrown per round, and I like her chances.

As for my other recommendation, I elected to go with playing the over 2.5 rounds in Herrig vs. Casey. Not only are women’s overs one of your safer plays statistically, but I feel they can also make for sturdy parlay legs when you need them.

In this case, we have two game competitors who are physically durable and stylistically well-rounded (attributes that certainly help when looking at the over). Although I do see Felice getting the better of ground exchanges for her propensity to play on top (as opposed to Casey’s tendency to play off of her back), I ultimately have a hard time seeing either lady finishing the other.

Fights to avoid (live dogs, high intangibles, etc.):

  • Drakkar Klose vs. David Teymur
  • Sabah Homasi vs. Abdul Razak Alhassan
  • Alex Oliveira vs. Yancy Medeiros
  • Justin Willis vs. Alan Crowder

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC 218, including a surging champ and frightening Francis Ngannou

The UFC returns to Detroit on Saturday for UFC 218. The event, headlined by a matchup between featherweight champion Max Holloway and all-time great Jose Aldo, marks the promotion’s first trip to “The Motor City” since the infamous UFC 9 in 1996.

Aldo steps in on short notice to replace injured Frankie Edgar. Holloway and Aldo met in June with Holloway, the then-interim champion, unifying the titles when he stopped then-champ Aldo via second-round TKO.

In the co-headlining bout, rising heavyweight star Francis Ngannou looks to continue his meteoric climb up the rankings against veteran Alistair Overeem.

UFC 218 takes place at the new Little Caesars Arena, and it’s the UFC’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Old boss vs. new boss

Time catches up with everyone. In MMA, it sometimes does so in a brutal fashion.

Between 2006 and 2014, Aldo ran off 18 straight wins. During that time, he defended the WEC featherweight title twice and the UFC title seven times. He was also considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters. Today, a new generation of fans see Aldo, the No. 2 fighter in the most recent USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings, as the guy Conor McGregor starched in 13 seconds and/or the man Holloway knocked out.

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At UFC 218, the 31-year-old Brazilian gets a chance to show newer fans he still has what it takes to sit atop the 145-pound division. His opponent, No. 1-ranked Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC), who’s on an 11-fight winning streak, is out to prove it was no fluke when he stopped Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in June. If the 25-year-old Hawaiian achieves his goal, he’ll show the world the changing of the guard in the featherweight division is complete, and that a new generation has begun its run at 145 pounds.

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2. The next title contender?

Ngannou is terrifying. He’s made five trips to the octagon and finished each of his opponents. His two most recent wins, both first-round stoppages, earned him “Performance of the Night” honors. What makes Ngannou, who is ranked No. 9 at heavyweight, even scarier is the progress he’s displayed each time he’s stepped into the cage. What to watch for is how much he’s developed since his most recent fight, a January first-round knockout of ex-champ Andrei Arlovski.

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No. 2-ranked Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) has much more experience than Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), but as we saw in Ngannou’s bout against Arlovski, experience doesn’t always come into play against someone who possesses so much power, strength and raw ability. Overeem enters this contest on a two-fight winning streak. His most recent victory was a majority-decision win over former titleholder Fabricio Werdum.

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While there are no guarantees in this sport, Ngannou believes a win in Detroit will earn him a shot at the heavyweight title. And honestly, would you want to argue with him?

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3. Taking aim at the top

After losses to flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and top contender Joseph Benavidez, Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) was booked to face Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC). A hand injury forced Cejudo from that matchup days before the event. But as fate would have it, both fighters won their next bouts. Those victories allowed the contest between the 125-pound contenders to be rebooked at UFC 218.

Cejudo, ranked No. 3 in the division, earned the first stoppage of his UFC career in his most recent fight with a knockout of Wilson Reis. The Olympic gold-medalist wrestler looked very comfortable with his striking in that contest.

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No. 6-ranked Pettis is unbeaten in his past four outings. With his most recent victory, he ended the 11-fight winning streak of rising star Brandon Moreno.

If Johnson is not booked to face bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw, the winner of this fight could get the next shot at Johnson’s belt.

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4. It’s good to have goals

Here’s Justin Gaethje speaking about the overarching mission of his MMA career.

“When I’m done, I’m going to be known as the most violent mother(expletive) in this sport,” Gaethje recently told MMAjunkie Radio.

With 15 knockouts in 18 career victories, the former WSOF lightweight champion is well on his way to achieving that goal. In his UFC debut, Gaethje, No. 3 at lightweight, became the first man to knock out Michael Johnson in a contest that will be in the running for “Fight of the Year.”

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At UFC 218, Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) faces a man who also knows something about entertaining scraps: former UFC lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC). The Philadelphia-based fighter has 15 knockouts in 28 victories. Alvarez is currently ranked No. 5 in the division.

Alvarez’s most recent fight ended in a no-contest after he landed illegal knees to Dustin Poirier’s head.

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5. The waiting is over

Two years after they were initially scheduled to meet, strawweights Tecia Torres and Michelle Waterson face off in Detroit.

Since that scrapped bout, Torres is 3-1 while Waterson is 1-1. The fighter who defeated both? Current champion Rose Namajunas.

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Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), who is currently ranked No. 7 in the division, has been itching for a top-10 opponent since she defeated Bec Rawlings in February. She didn’t get her wish in her most recent fight, a short-notice submission win over Juliana Lima, and she doesn’t get that wish against Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC). However, with the push the UFC is giving the unranked Waterson, a win here should earn “The Tiny Tornado” a ranked opponent in her next outing.

As for “The Karate Hottie,” who lost to Namajunas in April, she’s followed each of her four previous defeats with a stoppage victory.

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6. Racking up bonuses

Charles Oliveira’s UFC record of 10-7 appears average at best, but when you look at who he’s lost to, well, his record’s not so shabby. His three most recent losses were stoppage defeats to Holloway, Anthony Pettis and Ricardo Lamas. However, that 10-7 mark does show he struggles against top-tier UFC talent.

After a stint at featherweight, Oliveira recently moved back to lightweight. He earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus in his return fight with a first-round submission of former Bellator champ Will Brooks.

Oliveira (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) steps in on short notice to face exciting striker Paul Felder at UFC 218. Felder (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) ended his two most recent fights by knockout. Both of those victories earned him “Performance of the Night” bonuses.

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7. Survive and move on

Two up-and-coming lightweights coming off upset victories meet in a prelim card scuffle. David Teymur earned a unanimous decision over Lando Vannata at UFC 209. Drakkar Klose, meanwhile, took a split decision over Marc Diakiese at the TUF 25 Finale. The Teymur vs. Vannata scrap earned “Fight of the Night” honors. Klose fed Diakiese a steady diet of leg kicks to hand his opponent his first defeat.

Klose (8-0-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is unbeaten while Teymur (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) has not lost since his professional debut. Normally the UFC refrains from this type of matchmaking, but with a division as stacked as lightweight, it makes sense to pair these two rising fighters.

8. Clearing a path

Felice Herrig enters UFC 218 riding a three-fight winning streak. In her two most recent outings, Herrig handed Justine Kish and Alexa Grasso their first defeats. After the Kish win, she spoke about the opportunities she feels are being denied her by the UFC.

Herrig faces strawweight rankings honorable mention Cortney Casey, who is coming off a win over former WSOF strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar.

If Herrig (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) adds Casey (7-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to her list of triumphs, she could force the promotion to give her the opportunity she’s looking for: a path to a potential title shot.

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9. Defense

Abdul Razak Alhassan opened his UFC career with a quick knockout of Charlie Ward. The win wasn’t too surprising considering Alhassan had ended all six of his previous fights by first-round knockout. None of those fights lasted more than 90 seconds. In his second UFC bout, Alhassan went the distance in a decision loss to Omari Akhmedov. The former judo player was taken down six times during that contest.

Alhassan (7-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) faces Sabah Homasi, who lost to Tim Means via second-round TKO in his most recent bout. Homasi (11-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) ran out of gas early, but he did his best to hang with Means. The one thing the American Top Team fighter did accomplish against Means that could serve him well against Alhassan were his two takedowns.

Alhassan looks like he has some potential, but if he can’t stop takedowns, that potential could go unrealized.

10. Light-heavyweight finishers

Dominick Reyes received some attention when he knocked out Jordan Powell with a head kick at LFA 13. The stoppage, which came moments after Powell gave a “that didn’t hurt bro” head shake, became a popular GIF.

A few weeks later, Reyes made his UFC light-heavyweight debut. Reyes lived up to his “Devastator” nickname when he earned a 29-second TKO win over Joachim Christensen. While the stoppage didn’t make the rounds as a GIF, it did earn Reyes a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

Unbeaten in seven fights, with six stoppages, the 27-year-old Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) faces another finisher in Jeremy Kimball. The 26-year-old Kimball (15-6 MMA 1-1 UFC) earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus in his most recent bout. He knocked out Josh Stansbury in 91 seconds on the same card Reyes bested Christensen.

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For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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15 years into career, all Felice Herrig hopes for is a UFC title shot – but she won't beg

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DETROIT – Felice Herrig may not embrace the “veteran” title when it comes to her career, but she hopes her years of work eventually pay off in the form of a UFC title shot.

Herrig (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) made her pro MMA debut in February 2009 following a lengthy run in kickboxing. She’s arguably at her best now, though, bringing a three-fight winning streak into Saturday’s strawweight showdown with Cortney Casey (7-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC 218, which takes place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The fight airs on the FS1-televised prelims following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass and prior to the pay-per-view main card.

Although improving her current run of victories to four would be a colossal achievement, Herrig said she’s not going to beg for a 115-pound title shot. She believes she’s put in more than her fair share of work to get a crack at the gold, and while it would be nice to get an opportunity sooner than later, Herrig said she’s not going to shift too far from her humble approach to make it happen.

“I’ve been in the sport so long, I’m not a (expletive)-talker. I’m not petitioning like, ‘Give me a title,’” Herrig told MMAjunkie. “It’s not something I don’t think about. I’ve overcome a lot of battles in the past few years, and I’m very happy to be where I’m at. I feel very blessed that I keep getting better and better. I think a four-fight win streak is pretty big in the strawweight division. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but in the strawweight division it actually is a lot. I think there’s something to be said with that.

“Before I retire, and I’m not talking about retirement soon, but I’ve been fighting for 15 years,” she continued. “For every fighter it’s inevitable that we’re going to retire. I would like to fight for the belt, for sure, 100 percent. Four fights in a row, I think I would petition to be the next contender or fight one more time.”

After struggling on Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, then losing a decision to Paige VanZant in her second UFC fight in April 2015, Herrig took more than a year off from competition. She said she used that time to regroup and find out why her performances weren’t what she wanted them to be.

Herrig said she worked with some doctors to get her physical and mental affairs in order. Once that happened, the results shifted back in her direction.

“A lot of people don’t realize that over the years there’s wear-and-tear on your body, mentally and physically,” Herrig said. “After the loss I started working with a doctor. We found out everything that was chemically wrong in my body, which was a lot. It affected my performance severely, and it was going down, down, down. It took over a year to rebuild it back, and now I feel like I’m going up, up, up. Everyone can see that every fight I’m getting better, and I’m not steadily declining.

“Now I feel like I’m peaking,” she continued. “I feel like I have a lot more potential now. I can go out there and fight to my full capabilities. … I do feel brand new. I have all the knowledge and experience of being a veteran. I’ve learned from all the dumb, silly mistakes in the past. I’m smart enough to not do those things anymore. I did a lot of my learning in the years prior to the UFC. A lot of people are just getting their start in the UFC.”

With some momentum on her side going into UFC 218, Herrig said she’s solely focused on beating Casey and continuing her run. She dismissed the prospect of potentially moving up to the newly opened UFC women’s flyweight division, revealing that her weight cut is easier than most and that strawweight is “the ideal weight for me.”

A victory against Casey would open up Herrig to some massive fight opportunities going forward. That’s exactly what “Lil’ Bulldog” wants, but she said she won’t count her chickens before they hatch.

She knows a tough fight awaits her at UFC 218.

“I never take any fighter lightly,” Herrig said. “I never overestimate my opponents; I never underestimate them. I should be confident in my skills, and I am, but I also know every fighter is a dangerous fighter. Cortney, she’s had success. She wins one, she loses one, but she’s also fought a lot of really tough opponents. You have to give her credit for that.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC 218 pre-event facts: Champ Max Holloway's 'Blessed Era' coming together nicely

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The UFC heads to Michigan for the first time in more than seven years on Saturday with UFC 218, which takes place at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

After the original main event fell apart, a featherweight championship rematch headlines the card. Reigning titleholder Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) looks to repeat his third-round TKO of Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) at UFC 212 in June, while the Brazilian attempts to become just the third three-time titleholder in company history.

For more on the numbers behind the loaded UFC 218 lineup, check below for 75 pre-event facts.

* * * *

Main event

Max Holloway

Holloway is one of three fighters in UFC history to win the undisputed featherweight title, along with Aldo and Conor McGregor.

Holloway is one of two Hawaiian-born champions in UFC history. B.J. Penn also accomplished the feat.

Holloway competes in his 17th UFC featherweight bout, the most appearances in divisional history.

Holloway, 25, becomes the youngest fighter to make 18 UFC appearances.

Holloway, at 23, became the youngest fighter in UFC history to earn 10 victories with the organization at UFC Fight Night 74 in August.

Holloway enters the event on an 11-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat since August 2013.

Holloway’s 11-fight winning streak in UFC competition is third longest among active fighters in the company behind Demetrious Johnson (13) and Georges St-Pierre (13).

Holloway’s 10-fight UFC winning streak in featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Max Holloway

Holloway’s 13 victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Holloway’s eight stoppage victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Holloway’s six knockout victories in UFC featherweight competition are tied with McGregor for most in divisional history.

Holloway’s eight knockdowns landed in UFC featherweight competition are most in divisional history.

Holloway is the only fighter in UFC/WEC featherweight history to land 100 or more significant strikes in four separate fights.

Holloway is one of four fighters in UFC history to land 100 or more significant strikes in five separate fights. Michael Bisping, T.J. Dillashaw and Joanna Jedrzejczyk also accomplished the feat.

Holloway’s submission of Cub Swanson at the 3:58 mark of Round 3 at UFC on FOX 15 is the second latest submission ever in a three-round UFC featherweight bout behind Charles Rosa’s submission of Sean Soriano at UFC Fight Night 59.

Jose Aldo

Aldo is the only two-time UFC featherweight titleholder in history and one of seven overall in company history to have two reigns in a single weight class.

Aldo can join Randy Couture as the only fighters in UFC history with three title reigns in a single weight class.

Aldo is 1-2 in his past three fights after going undefeated for more than a decade.

Aldo competes in his 19th UFC/WEC featherweight bout, the second most appearances in combined divisional history behind Swanson (21).

Aldo’s 16 victories in UFC/WEC featherweight competition are the most in combined divisional history.

Aldo’s 15-fight UFC/WEC winning streak before losing to McGregor at UFC 194 is the second longest in the combined history of the two organizations behind Anderson Silva (16).

Aldo’s nine stoppage victories in UFC/WEC featherweight competition are the most in combined divisional history.

Jose Aldo

Aldo’s eight knockdowns landed in UFC/WEC featherweight competition are tied for second most in combined divisional history behind Jeremy Stephens (nine).

Aldo has landed 86.3 percent (138 of 160) leg-kick attempts in his UFC/WEC career.

Aldo defends 92.3 percent (84 of 91) of opponent takedown attempts in UFC/WEC featherweight competition, the highest rate in combined divisional history.

Aldo has suffered all three of his career losses by stoppage. That includes two knockout losses in UFC competition.

Aldo absorbed 104 significant strikes in his loss to Holloway at UFC 212, the most of his 18-fight UFC/WEC career. His previous high was 79 against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200.

Co-main event

Alistair Overeem

Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) is 7-1 in his past eight UFC appearances dating back to December 2014.

Overeem has earned 38 of his 43 career victories by stoppage. Of his 21 career knockout wins, 12 stemmed from either a kick or knee strike.

Overeem lands 73.2 percent of his significant strike attempts in UFC competition, the highest rate in company history.

Overeem has been on the losing end of the third and fourth largest statistical comeback finishes in UFC heavyweight history. He out-landed Antonio Silva by 30 significant strikes before being knocked out at UFC 156 and out-landed Travis Browne by 27 significant strikes before his demise at UFC Fight Night 26.

Overeem’s 10 knockout losses in MMA competition are the most of any active member on the UFC roster.

Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou’s (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) five-fight winning streak in UFC heavyweight competition is tied with Stipe Miocic for the longest active streak in the division.

Ngannou’s five-fight stoppage streak in UFC competition is tied with Miocic and Mairbek Taisumov the longest among active fighters.

Ngannou is one of three heavyweights in UFC history to post a five-fight stoppage streak. Ricco Rodriguez and Junior Dos Santos also accomplished the feat.

Ngannou has earned all 10 of his career victories by stoppage.

Ngannou absorbs just 1.53 significant strikes per minute in UFC heavyweight competition, the best rate among active fighters in the division.

Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is one of three Olympic gold medalists to fight in the UFC, along with Kevin Jackson and Mark Schultz. He accomplished the feat in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Cejudo is the only Olympic gold medalist to fight in the UFC since the organization was purchased by parent company Zuffa.

Cejudo is the only Olympic gold medalist to fight for a UFC championship in modern UFC history.

Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), along with his older brother Anthony Pettis, are one of 18 pairs of siblings to compete under the UFC banner.

Pettis is 4-1 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in March 2015.

Pettis’ four-fight UFC winning streak in flyweight competition is the third longest active streak in the division behind champ Johnson (13) and Joseph Benavidez (six).

Pettis has earned all seven of his UFC victories by decision.

Pettis defends 68.3 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC flyweight competition, the second-best rate in divisional history behind Johnson (68.7 percent).

Eddie Alvarez

Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is the only fighter in MMA history to win titles under the UFC and Bellator banners.

Alvarez’s 128-day UFC lightweight title reign, ended by McGregor at UFC 205, was the shortest of any champion in divisional history.

Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) enters the event on an 18-fight winning streak. He hasn’t suffered a defeat in his more than six-year career.

Gaethje’s 18-fight MMA winning streak is third longest among active UFC fighters behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (24) and Jimmie Rivera (20).

Gaethje had earned 16 of his 18 career victories by stoppage. He’s finished 16 of those wins by knockout.

Tecia Torres

Tecia Torres’ (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) competes in her seventh UFC strawweight bout, tied for the second appearances in divisional history behind Joanna Jedrzejczyk (nine).

Torres’ five victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied with champ Rose Namajunas for second most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (eight).

Torres’ two-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Felice Herrig (three) and Cynthia Calvillo (three).

Torres defends 72.3 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC strawweight competition, the best rate in divisional history.

Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has earned 12 of her 14 career victories by stoppage. Both of her UFC wins are by submission.

Waterson’s six submission attempts in UFC strawweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Cynthia Calvillo (eight) and Claudia Gadelha (seven).

Preliminary card

Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC) was successful in his return to the UFC lightweight division when he submitted Will Brooks at UFC 210. He’s 3-3 in the organization at 155 pounds.

Oliveira has earned nine of his 10 UFC victories by submission.

Oliveira’s nine submission victories in UFC competition are tied with Nate Diaz and Demian Maia for second most in company history behind Royce Gracie (10).

Oliveira’s six submission victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Oliveira is one of two fighters in UFC history to earn submission victories with six different techniques. Frank Mir also accomplished the feat.

Oliveira is the only fighter in UFC history to earn a calf-slicer submission victory. He accomplished the feat against Eric Wisely at UFC on FOX 2.

Oliveira has earned 10 fight-night bonuses in his UFC career. His six bonuses for UFC featherweight bouts are tied with McGregor for most in divisional history.

Paul Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) has earned nine of his 14 career victories by knockout.

Felder is one of four fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout victory stemming from a spinning backfist. He accomplished the feat at UFC 182.

Alex Oliveira

Alex Oliveira (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2 UFC) is 5-1 (with one no-contest) in UFC welterweight competition.

Oliveira has earned 14 of his 17 career victories by stoppage. That includes five of his seven UFC wins.

Oliveira absorbs just 1.44 signifiant strikes per minute in UFC welterweight competition, the least among active fighters in the weight class.

Yancy Medeiros (14-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) is 2-0 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in September 2016.

Felice Herrig

Felice Herrig’s (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) four victories in UFC strawweight competition are tied for fourth most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (eight), Namajunas (five) and Torres (five).

Herrig’s three-fight UFC winning streak in strawweight competition is tied with Calvillo for the longest active streak in the division.

Herrig has earned eight of her 13 career victories by decision.

Herrig’s submission of Kailin Curran at the 1:59 mark of Round 1 at UFC on FOX 20 marked the second-fastest stoppage in UFC strawweight history. Maryna Moroz holds the record with a 90-second win at UFC Fight Night 64.

Cortney Casey (6-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC) competes in her seven UFC strawweight bout, tied for second most appearances in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (nine).

Casey’s two fight-night bonuses for UFC strawweight bouts are tied for second most in divisional history behind Jedrzejczyk (three).

Dominick Reyes

Dominick Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has earned six of his seven career victories by first-round stoppage.

Reyes’ 29-second knockout of Joachim Christensen are UFC Fight Night 112 marked the second fastest stoppage by any debuting light heavyweight in UFC history behind Ryan Jimmo’s seven-second win at UFC 149.

Angela Magana (11-8 MMA, 0-2 UFC) enters the event on a four-fight losing skid. She hasn’t earned a victory since August 2011.

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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UFC 218 lineup features 13 fights and featherweight title on the line in return to Detroit

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Filed under: News, UFC

With an amended main event rematch, the lineup is set for next month’s UFC 218 pay-per-view in Michigan.

UFC 218 takes place Dec. 2 at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, and it’s the UFC’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, featherweight champion Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC), who’s No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA 145-pound rankings (and No. 8 pound-for-pound), looks to defend his title for the first time when he meets former champ Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in a rematch. Holloway was supposed to fight Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) before Edgar pulled out with an injury.

The co-main event could serve as a title-eliminator in the heavyweight division. No. 2-ranked Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) takes on No. 9 Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in a battle of heavy-handed strikers.

Rounding out the main card, Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) meets Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at flyweight; Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) takes on former lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in a fight between current “TUF” coaches; and strawweight Tecia Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) meets Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC).

The featured bout on the preliminary card is at lightweight. Paul Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) takes on Charles Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC), who replaced an injured Al Iaquinta.

The full “UFC 218: Holloway vs. Aldo” card now includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Jose Aldo – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 p.m. ET)

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie