• UFC 171: Event Preview

  • UFC 171 poster 208x300 UFC 171: Event PreviewThis weekend is a monumental occasion for the UFC welterweight division, if for no other than reason than because it will be the first title fight at 170lbs not featuring a man named Georges in over 8 years. However, with the main event worthy of its own preview, we will run down the fights lower down the card to see what the fight card promises to deliver as a whole.

    This fight card also boasts an unusually high number of fights in the welterweight diviion overall, which means that the entire division will be getting a complete overhaul this weekend subject to the outcomes of Saturday night.

    The welterweight fights start with Sean Spencer facing off against Alex Garcia, who is looking to move to 2-0 inside the UFC. Garcia certainly has attracted some interest and is yet another welterweight product of the TriStar gym in Montreal and many expect him to make a statement this weekend.

    Further up the card we get to see the always impressive Kelvin Gastelum facing off against the extremely aggressive Rick Story, in a fight that promises to be action from the start and is sure to be a “Fight of the Night” contender.

    We saw Gastelum shock the world by defeating the highly touted Uriah Hall whilst competing at middleweight on The Ultimate Fighter. Post TUF, he soon dropped to welterweight and continued his streak with a submission victory over Brian Melancon in the very first round, keeping his unblemished record intact, a rare thing in MMA these days and just goes to show the tremendous promise he has in the UFC.

    Rick Story on the other hand has been around for some time and regularly delivers entertaining fights. However in recent times, Story has flattered to deceive and prior to his victory over Brian Ebersole at UFC 167, had gone 2-4 in his last six outings. These results are far cry from the kind of form of we had perhaps expected from Story, having secured impressive victories over Thiago Alves and Johny Hendricks prior to that.

    As you move up the card again, things really start to get interesting when it comes to the welterweight title picture overall.

    Before the main event takes place, four big names in the Welterweight division will face off and a big win for any one of these four could lead to calls for that particular individual to be given the next opportunity to fight for the title.

    First up you have one of the most unappreciated fighters perhaps in all of MMA Jake Shields, facing off against the imposing figure of Hector Lombard.

    With back to back victories over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley it is easy to justify Jake Shields as a viable contender for the next title shot but in reality, few give Shields the credit that those wins deserve.

    Lombard however, is perhaps given more credit for his 2-2 UFC record than Shields is for his much more impressive resume. Prior to entering the UFC, Lombard made a real name for himself that caught the eye of the UFC to such an extent that they sought him out and paid him an uncharacteristically large signing bonus.

    Once the deal had been done, the real work for Lombard began and he made a stuttering start, losing a split decision to Tim Boetsch in what was his first loss in almost six years. Lombard rebounded with a victory over Rousimar Palhares before a second loss in three fights against Yushin Okami, a loss which sealed his move to welterweight where he now stands at 1-0.

    Once Lombard and Shields have had their chance to make a play for the title shot, we will see just how far Tyron Woodley has come in his overall mixed martial arts evolution, as he faces up against perhaps the most well rounded of any fighter in the entire division, Carlos Condit.

    Woodley has catapulted himself into title contention with a mix of wrestling and brute power which places him in a similar mould to that of would be champion, Johny Hendricks. Condit on the other hand has been at the top of the Sport for some time and got there thanks to having significant skills in all areas and the ability to mix and match between unfiltered aggression and a solid fight IQ.

    Mixed in with these incredible welterweight offerings, you will get the chance to see several interesting fights that promise to deliver. In the only women’s fight on the card, you will see two aggressive women face off as TUF alumni, Raquel Pennington looks to upset Jessica Andrade who is fresh of her violently one sided victory over Rosi Sexton. Both women are keen to trade blows on the feet and I would expect there to be a fairly quick victory in this one given the way in which both women like to go about their business.

    Speaking of wild fighting style, on the main card portion of UFC 171 we will get to see Diego Sanchez returning from his epic fight against Gilbert Melendez. Sanchez will be looking to get back in the win column against the undefeated Myles Jury, who has slowly risen through the ranks by beating the likes of Michael Johnson and Mike Ricci along the way to become perhaps one of the most underrated fighters in the lightweight division.

    Overall, UFC 171 promises the beginning of a new era in the welterweight division in the notable absence of Georges St. Pierre, but more than that, UFC 171 provides what looks on paper at least to be a set of fights that all have the potential to deliver fast pace and excitement from the very beginning.

    The start of 2014 has been littered with talk of there being too many decisions but on the face of it, UFC 171 would be expected to break that streak.

    Full UFC171 Fight Card

    Prelims 10pm – 12am GMT (UFC Fight Pass)

    Daniel Pineda v Robert Whiteford
    Robert McDaniel v Sean Strickland
    Will Campuzano v Justin Scoggins
    Renee Forte v Frank Trevino

    Prelims 12am-2am GMT (BT Sport)

    Sean Spencer v Alex Garcia
    Dennis Bermudez v Jimmy Hettes
    Raquel Pennington v Jessica Andrade
    Kelvin Gastelum v Ricky Story

    Main Card 2am-5am GMT (BT Sport)

    Ovince St. Preux v Nikita Krylov
    Jake Shields v Hector Lombard
    Diego Sanchez v Myles Jury
    Carlos Condit v Tyron Woodley
    Johny Hendricks v Robbie Lawler

    About The Author – Greg Byron

    Greg started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after his brother introduced him to a local MMA fighter/coach when he was just 16 years old. Greg has trained for nearly a decade in both BJJ and MMA, competing in several grappling events within the UK. In addition to MMA, Greg possesses a law degree and works for a firm in northern part of England.

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