UFC 205: Alvarez vs. McGregor is finally here. The promotion’s debut event in New York City’s Madison Square Garden is stacked from top-to-bottom, including a rare tripleheader of title fights, headlined by Conor McGregor’s attempt at becoming a simultaneous two-division champion. Here, in our Bloody Elbow fight card primer series, we will take a look at the opening two main card bouts on this PPV. It should be noted that on Friday, Kelvin Gastelum withdrew from his fight with Donald Cerrone due to a failure to make weight, hence just two fights in this primer instead of the originally planned three. UFC 205 airs live from Manhattan, New York this Saturday, November 12th. The main card airs on PPV at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT, preceded by four prelim bouts on FS1 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, and two prelim bouts on UFC Fight Pass, starting at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.
Yoel Romero (12-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) vs. Chris Weidman (13-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) - Middleweights
Romero is coming off a six-month suspension following a failed USADA drug test after his split decision win over Jacare Souza. The supplement was deemed to be tainted, hence the reduced ban. Inside the cage, the Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling has been phenomenal. Seven wins inside the Octagon, with 5 of those wins coming by way of knockout. He can drill you with elbows (like he did vs. Lyoto Machida), floor you with a flying knee (like he did vs. Clifford Starks), or just use his fists (as he did vs. Tim Kennedy and Ronny Markes). His athleticism is freakish and the 39-year-old’s wrestling skills are top-notch.
Weidman sat atop the UFC middleweight division as the champion when he KO’d Anderson Silva in July 2013. Following three straight successful title defenses, all against Brazilian opposition — Silva in the rematch, Lyoto Machida, and Vitor Belfort — the Long Island native fought Luke Rockhold in the UFC 194 co-main event. In a back-and-forth thriller, Rockhold unseated Weidman as champion by 4th round TKO. Weidman was scheduled to rematch Rockhold at UFC 199, but was forced to withdraw due to injury, and now will be making his return in front of a raucous home fanbase at Madison Square Garden.
Odds (via Bookmaker.eu): Yoel Romero +154, Chris Weidman -179
Miesha Tate (18-6 MMA, 5-3 UFC) vs. Raquel Pennington (8-5 MMA, 5-2 UFC) - Women’s Bantamweights
It’s not often that you see a former TUF alum fight a TUF coach from the same season, but that’s the case here. TUF 18’s Raquel Pennington made it to the semifinals of the show competing for Team Tate, but advanced no further. That year, Tate would go on to face Ronda Rousey for the women’s bantamweight title, only to lose to her rival by armbar again. Tate then went on a tear, winning four straight to earn herself a title shot against then-champion Holly Holm. In dramatic fashion, Tate choked out Holm in round 5 while behind on the scorecards to become the new women’s 135 lbs champion. That joy was short-lived, as Tate was submitted by Amanda Nunes in the UFC 200 main event. She’ll be looking to get back on course, and if things break her way, she may get one more crack at fighting Rousey.
Pennington has made big improvements over her past several fights. Her two losses were to Jessica Andrade and Holly Holm, both by split decision, and she was able to avenge the Andrade defeat with a rear-naked choke at UFC 191. Pennington’s current three-fight winning streak also includes a split decision in her favor against former title challenger Bethe Correia, and most recently a unanimous decision nod vs. Elizabeth Phillips. Beating Tate would unquestionably put “Rocky” in the upper echelon of title contenders.
Odds (via Bookmaker.eu): Raquel Pennington +140 Miesha Tate -165