The UFC drought is over! After nearly a month with no action, the largest promotion in mixed martial arts returns with its latest high altitude outing in Mexico City. The last time they tried this, we got some great Sea Level Cain memes as half the roster collapsed in a sweaty, heaving pile. This time we have a promising fight between two of the best lightweights in the world capping a card featuring the finals of the third season of TUF Latin America and the debut of Alexa Grasso. Here's a look at the main card.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Tony Ferguson
Former champ and #2 ranked lightweight Rafael dos Anjos returns in his first contest since dropping it earlier this year to face the man right behind him, the #3 ranked Tony Ferguson. Dos Anjos (25-8) was riding a five fight win streak that included winning the lightweight title and successfully defending it once. Opposing him is Ferguson (22-3), a tough competitor on an eight fight win streak that includes an impressive three submission via D'Arce chokes alone.
This is an important fight in a stacked division. Eddie Alvarez, the man who defeated dos Anjos for the belt, is expected to face Conor McGregor at UFC 205 to determine who will be the lightweight king entering2017. Immediately behind him is Khabib Nurmagomedov, the Sambo powerhouse who who has patiently awaited his shot while remaining undefeated against some of the best. A win is important for either competitor to remain at the top of the pile in one of the most narrow divisions in the sport.
Diego Sanchez vs. Marcin Held
In other lightweight action, new UFC signee and former Bellator title challenger Marcin Held is stepping in for his first fight since leaving his old home on Spike TV. He has a full plate in UFC vet Diego Sanchez. There's not much we can't say about Diego that we haven't a thousand times. Ultimate Fighter, some of the craziest pound for pound fights of all time, drunk speech giver - Sanchez is still one of the most feared in the sport despite his rocky record in recent years.
Held had a six fight win streak until losing against fellow UFC rookie "Ill" Will Brooks. The Polish Prodigy is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion who has been competing since age 9. A win over a tough vet like Sanchez would be a huge first step to breaking into the top fifteen of the division.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Charles Oliveira
Charles Oliveira is one of two fighters who couldn't be bothered to make weight. Erik Perez came in two pounds over the limit for his preliminary bantamweight bout, but Oliveira clocked in at the next weight class at a whopping nine pounds over the featherweight limit.
Lamas has been up and down since he lost to former champion Jose Aldo in 2014. Since then he's gone 3-2 with wins over Hacran Dias, Dennis Bermudez, and Diego Sanchez. His losses come against Chad Mendes and Max Holloway, so though he has beaten some of middle of the pack in the division, he has lost some of the fights that would have put him back in title contention. For Oliveira a win does not add much to his argument considering cutting weight is the first step of winning the battle.
Martín Bravo vs. Claudio Puelles
This one is for the winner of the third season of TUF: Latin America. One will win a contract that will likely be terminated early and the other will also get a contract that will also likely be terminated early. Cool.
Beneil Dariush vs. Rashid Magomedov
Dariush and Magomedov are two top up and comers in the lightweight division. Magomedov (19-1) has won eleven straight and has UFC wins over Tony Martin, Rodrigo Damm, Elias Silverio, and Gilbert Burns. Not exactly the top of the pack, but still a solid run. Dariush (13-2) has seven wins and two losses in the UFC and was poised for a big push before having his momentum temporarily halted after a high profile loss to Michael Chiesa.