Despite the massacre in Las Vegas on Sunday night/early Monday morning, UFC 216 will go on as scheduled this Saturday from the T-Mobile Arena in that city. The organization is making a $1 million donation to families of the shooting. The five-fight main card is expected to begin at 10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view. Here’s a look at those bouts and their Sports Interaction MMA odds.
Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee
Records: Ferguson (23-3), Lee (16-2) Division: Lightweight UFC Odds: Ferguson -225, Lee +175 Prediction: Ferguson by KO/TKO
This matchup of Americans is for the interim lightweight title – that belt is officially held by Conor McGregor, but he had been a bit busy in another combat sport in case you didn’t hear. Theoretically, the winner of this bout would then get a shot at McGregor, although he essentially calls his own shots in the UFC. Ferguson was scheduled to fight rising lightweight superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov (No. 1 contender) back in the spring but that was scuttled when Nurmagomedov was hospitalized after cutting too much weight too fast.
The 33-year-old Ferguson is ranked No. 2 in the division and has won nine fights in a row. He was last in the Octagon in November 2016 and beat Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision. Lee, 24, has won his past five and he has fought twice in 2017, most recently a technical submission of Michael Chiesa in June.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg
Records: Johnson (26-2-1), Borg (11-2) Division: Flyweight UFC Odds: Johnson -960, Borg +620 Prediction: Johnson by submission
We previewed this fight here at Sports Interaction when it was to headline UFC 215 last month in Edmonton, but Borg was forced to pull out due to illness — reportedly not related to his weight cut, but Borg has a history of withdrawing from fights. That made the Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko women’s bantamweight title the headliner of that card. Johnson is rated as the top pound-for-pound fighter by the UFC and “Mighty Mouse” puts his flyweight title on the line. Johnson has made 10 straight successful title defenses, tied for a record in any division with the legendary Anderson Silva.
Canada’s Georges St-Pierre is just below those two on the list with nine. Johnson is the only UFC fighter ever with at least 10 takedowns in three separate fights. Borg is 5-2 since joining the UFC and coming off a unanimous decision win over Jussier da Silva in March. Bit of a step up in competition here.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Derrick Lewis
Records: Werdum (21-7-1), Lewis (18-5) Division: Heavyweight UFC Odds: Werdum -250, Lewis +185 Prediction: Werdum by submission
The 40-year-old former heavyweight champion Werdum could be nearing the end as the Brazilian has dropped two of his past three bouts, albeit against top competition in Alistair Overeem (in July by majority decision) and Stipe Miocic (first-round KO in May 2016). Werdum lost his heavyweight title in that bout to Miocic, the current titleholder who was originally targeted to headline this card vs. Cain Velasquez. Lewis, 32, briefly retired after a fourth-round TKO loss to Mark Hunt in June. That ended a six-fight winning streak for the American. Werdum is ranked No. 2 in the division and Lewis No. 6.
Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham
Records: Dariush (14-3), Dunham (17-6) Division: Lightweight UFC Odds: Dariush -245, Dunham +180 Prediction: Dunham by decision
Both these guys have quite a ways to go to get into title contention in the lightweight division as the Iranian Dariush is ranked 12th by the UFC and the American Dunham 14th. Dariush, 28, comes off a second-round knockout loss (knee) to Edson Barboza in March. Dunham, 35, also lost to Barboza in July 2014 by TKO but has won four in a row since, most recently a unanimous decision over Rick Glenn last September.
Kalindra Faria vs. Mara Romero Borella
Records: Faria (18-5), Borella (9-4) Division: Women’s flyweight UFC Odds: TBA Prediction: Faria by decision
This is a late addition matchup and why the odds are TBA. Faria was to fight Andrea Lee, but she was yanked from the card due to a past positive drug test. Lee hadn’t been in the USADA’s testing pool for six months after that and thus now must do so before being eligible to fight. Faria has fought in several organizations but this is her UFC debut. She has won her past three, most recently beating Carina Damm by unanimous decision for the Titan FC bantamweight title. Borella also makes her UFC debut and is off a split decision win over Milana Dudieva at Invicta FC 24 in July.