The first of three welterweight main card fights sees former UFC title challenger Josh Koscheck (17-7 MMA, 15-7 UFC) take on former Strikeforce title challenger Tyron Woodley (11-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) at UFC 167 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Koscheck is hoping to avoid a three-fight losing streak, while Woodley is trying to rebound from a largely forgettable loss to Jake Shields this summer.
Believe it or not, this is Koscheck's first ever losing streak in a decade of professional competition. This is essentially his last stand in a division where he used to be one of the biggest threats. Woodley has hit a bit of a road bump with losses in 2 of his last 3, so this is an important bout for two wrestlers with KO power. You can catch the UFC 167 PPV main card at its usual start time of 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Koscheck: 35 years old | 5'10" | 73" reach
Woodley: 31 years old | 5'9" | 74" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
One of the "bad boys" from TUF 1, Koscheck reached the peak of his career in 2010 when he fought for the welterweight title against Georges St-Pierre. With jab after jab peppering his right eye, he lost both the fight and fractured his orbital. Koscheck sent an aging Matt Hughes into retirement in his next fight, but since that performance he's looked rather pedestrian. A razor-thin win over Mike Pierce was offset with a razor-thin loss to Johny Hendricks. Koscheck was a considerable favorite against Robbie Lawler, but in a stunner, Lawler pulled off a first-round TKO, sending Josh to consecutive defeats and into a must-win situation against Woodley.
Tyron Woodley came into the UFC following the disappointment of a forth-round standing elbow KO loss to Nate Marquardt for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight belt. A UFC debut followed shortly thereafter when he replaced the injured Erick Silva versus Jay Hieron. It took only 40 seconds for Woodley to emphatically KO Hieron at UFC 156, and he rode that momentum into a "favorite" status against Jake Shields. While Woodley was able to stuff all of Shields' takedowns, his inability to mount much in the way of major offense was one of the prevailing causes for his split decision loss. It definitely wasn't a good fight to watch, and it set Woodley's stock back significantly after a fairly tepid performance.
Why should you care?
Koscheck has been one of the UFC mainstays, an original TUFer, and it looks like he's reached the twilight of his career. This may not be the most exciting fight on paper, but it's an important one for Woodley if he wants to make the leap as a possible contender, and for Koscheck to stay somewhat relevant in the division.