UFC 187 lost some luster when Jon Jones got suspended and stripped of his belt. That much is obvious. Still, this event should be well worth the $55 to catch the pay per view. Daniel Cormier versus Anthony Johnson is the main event which will decide who is worthy to hold the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Belt. Chris Weidman puts his belt on the line against Vitor Belfort in the co-main event. This fight is a rare one worthy of being called the co-main event.
Even the undercard features exciting matchups with bigger names. Cerrone vs. Makdessi is nothing to sneeze at and we also get to see Travis Browne try to make it two in a row as he takes on Andrei Arlovski. Browne was on quite a roll before running into a determined Fabricio Werdum who put a hold on Browne’s rise as the next big thing in the UFC.
The Weidman Belfort matchup could end up being the best fight of the night. It’s hard not to get behind Weidman and it’s even harder to actually like Belfort. One is the all American boy that’s humble enough, but super confident. The other is brash and pretty annoying. Weidman is 12-0 with two wins over Anderson Silva and his last victory being a tough battle against Machida. That win was nearly a year ago so there could be some ill affects of that long layoff.
Belfort has been out of the Octagon even longer with his last fight having been at the end of 2013. he has beaten his share of big names, but also failed to beat a few as well. He’s 24-10 overall as an MMA fighter and a heavy underdog versus Weidman. This matchup could wind up being over in just a couple of rounds. Even so, look for a fast pace no matter how long it takes for a tap or knock out.
The battle for what used to be Jon Jones’ belt should be a good one. Daniel Cormier has felt what it’s like to be in the Octagon fighting for a championship. He tasted defeat at the hands of Jones back in January of this year so he knows he has to up his game to get over that hump. Lots of guys have gotten title shots and lost, only to linger around the edges of champions the rest of their careers. Cormier has the rare opportunity to get back to back title shots. I’m sure he is savoring this opportunity and would fight Godzilla if necessary. Still, Anthony Johnson appears to be on one of the hottest streaks in the UFC and this fight will be no easier than the one DC had against Jones.
Rumble Johnson is getting his second opportunity of sorts also. It wasn’t that long ago when he was out of the UFC and on the road to nowhere fast. His weight issues got him run off from the biggest promotion in MMA, but he was able to scratch his way back. It may have taken him a couple of years to get his mind and body straight, but once he did make it back to the UFC he dominated. He had big wins over Phil Davis and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira once he returned. Then he shocked the world with his destruction of #1 contender Alexander Gustafsson.
Many felt like Johnson would end Jon Jones’ title defense streak, but unfortunately Jones derailed himself before the two could enter the Octagon. Cormier is the favorite in this replacement contest, but no one will be surprised if Anthony Johnson gets the win. I had my doubts that the knockout artist could catch Jon Jones if the champ was at his best. I am not so confident that Cormier can avoid the heavy hands of the man they call Rumble.