UFC Superstars will wage war against one another tonight inside of the T-Mobile Arena here in Las Vegas, Nev. This card is absolutely stacked, but is UFC 226 the best fight card in UFC history? Perhaps.
Admittedly, this question has become much easier to answer with the recent scrapping of the Holloway-Ortega title fight. When it comes to star power, this card certainly has it. With names like Stipe Miocic, and Daniel Cormier fighting for the Heavyweight title, as well as heavyweight contenders Ngannou and Lewis doing battle with huge heavyweight division implications on the line (someone is going to have to fight Curtis Blaydes at some point), it’s hard not to believe this might be the best ever.
Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier
This fight really needs no introduction. Cormier will move up to challenge Miocic in a heavyweight title fight. DC will undoubtedly be trying to get Stipe to the ground. Meanwhile, Stipe will focus on trying to hit Daniel as hard as humanly possible.
Honestly, this fight hinges on exactly that: How well each fighter can execute their game plan. If this fight goes to the ground, Miocic could have significant issues as Cormier is a very good wrestler. If this fight stays upright, Stipe will do exactly what he always does, and I would expect to see a Miocic knockout of Cormier.
Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis
This fight recently moved into the co-main event slot after Max Holloway was forced to withdraw from his featherweight title fight vs. Brian Ortega.
Ngannou, “The Predator,” last fought in January and lost to Miocic. Prior to the loss, he knocked out Bojan Mihajlovic and submitted Anthony Hamilton in 2016. Ngannouhen then went on to knock out Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem in 2017.
Similar to Ngannou, Lewis is 4-1 in his last five fights. His loss came by way of Mark Hunt who TKO’d Lewis. “The Black Beast” has had plenty of success in the octagon, beating Roy Nelson by decision, and knocking out Shamil Abdurakhimov. Lewis also sandwiched knockouts around his loss to Hunt by knocking out Travis Brown before, followed by Marcin Tybura after his fight with Hunt.
Paul Felder vs. Mike Perry
Originally on the preliminary card, Paul Felder will step in to take on Mike Perry after Yancy Mederios suffered a rib injury and was forced to withdraw from the fight against Perry. Felder has wanted a fight with Perry for some time now, and at UFC 226 he’ll get his wish.
The fight got bumped to the main card after Max Holloway was forced to withdraw from the co-main event due to concussion like symptoms. Regardless of how they got here, both men seem rather enthusiastic about their upcoming brawl.
@PlatinumPerry love ur style bro. Shall we get paid next week?
— Paul Felder (@felderpaul) June 28, 2018
Let’s do it mother fucker @felderpaul
— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) June 28, 2018
Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis
“Maverick” Michael Chiesa is 30 years of age fighting out of Spokane Valley, Wash. The unorthodox style fighter is 3-2 in his last five trips inside the octagon. While his opponent, “Showtime” Anthony Pettis, is 2-3 in his last five UFC fights.
Chiesa will have a three-inch reach advantage at UFC 226, while his last three fights have ended by way of submission (two wins, one loss). Pettis is a decorated UFC and WEC star, winning multiple fight night bonuses including “Fight of the Night,” and “Knockout of the Night.” Chiesa has five first round finishes inside of three minutes.
Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
Neither fighter has more than 10 fights under their belt. “The Rebel,” Saki, is 34 years-old and has one UFC victory to his credit. Saki knocked out Henrique da Silva in the first round in September of 2017.
Rountree is 2-3 in his last five UFC fights. The most interesting stat in this fight is the 3.5-inch reach advantage he will enjoy against Saki. Both of Rountree’s wins during the five-fight span have ended via first round knockout.
Even the scenery of the prelims has changed. Although The T-Mobile Arena will be rocking early, UFC Fight Pass now features just two fights, The early prelims showcase Jamie Moyle vs. Emily Whitmire, and Dan Hooker vs. Gilbert Burns.
Now on the preliminary card, Lando Vannata vs. Drakkar Klose was previously an early prelims bout that was moved due to the Holloway – Ortega fiasco. It is highly doubtful that Vannata nor Klose are complaining about garnering TV time.