UFC 200 is already one of the most memorable cards in the promotion's history, and there hasn't been one punch thrown.
The top portion of this card has changed three times in two days. Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier were supposed to headline this event, but the former was removed from the card after failing a drug test that took place on June 16.
Per Brandon Wise of CBSSports.com, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is stepping up on two days notice to face Cormier, the current light heavyweight champion.
Meanwhile, the main event changed from Lesnar-Hunt to the UFC women's bantamweight title bout featuring champion Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes.
It's been a wild two days.
This is the UFC, so things are subject to change, but as of Friday night, the card is as shown below. Predictions for each fight are listed as well:
|UFC 200: Event, Card, Date, Time and Predictions|
|Fight Pass Prelims at 6:30 p.m. ET|
|Jim Miller vs. Takanori Gomi||Lightweight||Miller by submission|
|Thiago Santos vs. Gegard Mousasi||Middleweight||Santos by TKO|
|Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Lauzon||Lightweight||Sanchez by TKO|
|Fox Sports 1 Prelims at 8 p.m. ET|
|Sage Northcutt vs. Enrique Marin||Lightweight||Northcutt by TKO|
|TJ Dillashaw vs. Raphael Assuncao||Bantamweight||Dillashaw by decision|
|Johny Hendricks vs. Kelvin Gastelum||Welterweight||Gastelum by TKO|
|Cat Zingano vs. Julianna Pena||Women's Bantamweight||Zingano by decision|
|Main Card at 10 p.m. ET|
|Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne||Heavyweight||Velasquez by TKO|
|Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar||Featherweight||Edgar by decision|
|Daniel Cormier vs. Anderson Silva||Light Heavyweight||Cormier by TKO|
|Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt||Heavyweight||Hunt by KO|
|Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes||Women's Bantamweight||Tate by submission|
|predictions from author|
Here's the final press conference for the ever-changing event. (Warning: NSFW language)
Does Silva Have a Chance Against Cormier?
The short answer to this question is: yes. However, that chance isn't necessarily a good one. Silva is coming off gall bladder surgery two months ago, he hasn't trained in months, and he's a middleweight fighting the best active fighter in the light heavyweight division.
Did I mention he's also 41 years old?
As deadly as Silva can still be with his striking, he's facing an uphill battle. Cormier's biggest potential impediment is experiencing an emotional letdown after having the opponent he's obsessed over removed from the event.
Even with that potential pitfall, Cormier is a spectacular wrestler, and fighters with that base discipline have given Silva the most trouble.
Chael Sonnen (nearly beat Silva) and Chris Weidman (beat him twice) come to mind immediately when recalling The Spider's toughest opponents. With Cormier's size advantage (206 lbs to 198.5 lbs, per Friday's weigh-in from UFC on YouTube), it's hard to imagine Silva having success.
Hunt Will Chop Lesnar Down
Chamatkar Sandhu @SandhuMMA
Top: Brock Lesnar weigh in pic for UFC 100 on July 10th 2009. Bottom: Brock Lesnar weigh in pic for UFC 200 today. https://t.co/0YVXqeZpgO2016-7-9 00:43:37
As you can see from the image comparison above that was tweeted by Chamatkar Sandhu of MMA Junkie, Lesnar looks to be in as good a shape as he was when he last fought in 2009.
It won't matter.
This one wouldn't rate high on my list if this were a confidence pool, but Hunt's experience should win out. Lesnar is going to try to take the fight to the ground, but Hunt's 69 percent takedown defense isn't deceiving.
He's a tough guy to get to the ground, and his power can make opponent's pay for trying.
Let's hope the WWE has a storyline in place to rebuild Lesnar's character with their organization, because The Beast is going to get knocked out.
Tate Will Dismantle Nunes
Quite honestly, Nunes isn't skilled enough to beat Tate. Nunes has a puncher's chance, of course, but Tate has proven to be as tough as nails.
She takes a shot as well as anyone in her division and maintains her game plan.
Nunes may have a few moments early, but Tate will ultimately take Nunes down, and the challenger is defenseless from that position.
Tate will retain her title via submission.