There's no beating around the bush discussing UFC 209. Friday was a very, very disappointing day for the promotion.
The cancellation of the co-main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson was devastating. Not only was it heartbreaking for the Russian—who who was having weight-cutting issues and had to pull out of the bout—and Ferguson, it was also for the fans who have been dying to see this fight happen.
This marks the third—yes third—time this fight has fallen apart, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Dana White and the UFC hierarchy just decided to never make this fight again.
After all, who could blame them?
While the interim-lightweight title fight is off the card, there is still the main event between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson for the welterweight title. As annoyed and depressed as we all are about the co-main event, it's important to remember that the sun will rise Saturday, there will still be fights and there will still be a great headlining bout regardless of what else happens in the other fights.
Thompson, coming in as the No. 1 contender, is entering Saturday's fight in Las Vegas as the favorite to win at -140, according to OddsShark. The champion, Woodley, is the underdog at +120. While it may seem surprising that the welterweight champion is the slight underdog, the odds were worse for him.
Just a day ago, Thompson was favored at -160, and Woodley was sitting at +130. It's not a drastic shift by any means, but maybe Woodley is finally getting some of the love from pundits and fans after all the complaining that he's been doing in recent months.
Both fighters weighed in early on Friday and both made weight. Woodley came in on the dot at 170 pounds, while Wonderboy actually came in underweight at 169 pounds.
The hype surrounding this fight, and card in general, died down significantly over the past 24 hours, leading many to feel that it will have fairly low pay-per-view sales. While that is a fair argument, Thompson vs. Woodley is still the main event and a fight that everyone wants to see, even if it wasn't as highly anticipated as Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov.
After a majority draw last November at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden, New York, both fighters are looking to break the deadlock and have the belt around their waist. Leaving the bout in the hands of the judges is not something a fighter wants to see happen, especially after the UFC 205 confusion.
Woodley has been pretty expressive leading up to this fight about how confident he is, even making some rather, well, outlandish statements.
Woodley is coming into this fight looking to take Wonderboy's head clean-off, while Thompson is looking for a finish anyway he can get it.
The last time Wonderboy and Woodley met, the fight was too close to call. This time around, however, there won't be a doubt in anyone's mind who the 170-pound champion is.
Thompson took Woodley's best shots on the chin and survived. The only thing Woodley could do any differently is to shoot for more takedowns, but he appears to gas out fairly early in fights, usually after the first or second round. Thompson, on the other hand, did not show anywhere near his full arsenal of karate and kickboxing skills, which makes this a very interesting fight for him.
Sure, Woodley has been training with Sage Northcutt to mimic Wonderboy's karate stance and kicks, but Thompson is a very elite karate practitioner who will showcase his full skill set on Woodley, leaving him gasping for air.
I see this fight going the distance for a second time except that Thompson will sweep the judges' scorecards en route to a unanimous-decision victory, becoming the new UFC welterweight champion of the world.
For the latest ticket information: ScoreBig.com.