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Rashad Evans returns to the UFC and makes his UFC middleweight debut at UFC 209 against a fighter known for his ‘Dad-bod’ Daniel Kelly. Evans had previously experienced troubles re-entering the UFC as issues surrounding his MRI scans appeared. Evans hasn’t won a fight in the UFC since 2013 in which he stopped Chael Sonnen at UFC 167 in the first round.
Kelly has been dominating opponent’s lately and most recently defeated Chris Camozzi back in November. Daniel Kelly is best-known for his judo skills and has previously represented Australia at the Olympics in Judo. Kelly has discussed how this one is a fight bigger than he could have ever hoped for and has a chance to continue to prove himself to fans of the UFC all around the world as he slots into a prime position at UFC 209 in Las Vegas.
Daniel Kelly shouldn’t be underrated in this one. He’s coming in as a moderate underdog and has looked excellent in his past couple of fights. Rashad is obviously a legend of the sport, but Kelly’s judo skills could be enough to control and push Evans through three rounds.
Lando Vannata flies straight up to the Main Card of UFC 209 after landing one of the most beautiful knockouts of 2016 against John Makdessi. Lando’s style is absolutely brilliant to watch as he flows through combat better than probably anyone in the UFC right now, including flow masters Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor. His kicks, punches and seemingly wild strikes are all, in fact, very calculated as he looks to continually feint and keep his opponent guessing eery second of the way. Notably, the knockout kick of Makdessi was actually set up from the very first minute of the fight as Lando landed the oblique kick repeatedly as a determinant of range for the final blow.
His opponent at UFC 209 is a step up from John Makdessi in David Teymur, but Lando won’t be afraid of stiff competition as he gave Tony Ferguson a surprisingly close contest on debut. Teymur’s two fights in the UFC have ended via stoppage victory at almost identical times 1:25 of the second round against Jason Novelli and 1:26 of the second round against Martin Svensson. Teymur is a smooth striker in his own right and will provide a difficult challenge for the up-and-coming Lando Vannata.
This will be a battle of two excellent strikers but one stands out more so than the other at the moment and that’s Lando Vannata. He troubled the usually tricky Tony Ferguson through the first round and I believe he’ll provide a challenge to everyone in the division as he continues to improve.
Two superstars of the heavyweight division battle it out to open up the Main Card of UFC 209 as Alistair Overeem takes on Mark Hunt. Alistair Overeem returns to action after his disappointing loss against Stipe Miocic in a matchup for the heavyweight championship at UFC 203 in Cleveland. Overeem looked to be getting the better of the current heavyweight champion and threatened him with a submission attempt before the tables quickly turned, and Miocic proved to us all once again that Overeem’s chin has deteriorated significantly over the years.
Mark Hunt, known as ‘The Super Samoan’, a New Zealander who fights out of Sydney, Australia, has long terrorised the heavyweight division with his devastating knockout power and trademark walk-off KO’s. After flooring Frank Mir at UFC Fight Night 85 in March 2016 with a classic walk-off KO, he was then booked to be the man to face the immense Brock Lesnar in the super bout at UFC 200. Hunt was dominated by the superb wrestling of Lesnar, but this fight is now tarnished after Lesnar tested positive clomiphene and was suspended by USADA. This is Hunt’s return to the cage after the doping controversy and will be looking to lay down the law on Overeem who has previously failed a pre-fight drug test at UFC 146.
Overeem is sadly known for his ‘weak chin’ and inability to take power shots. Hunt, on the other hand, is renowned for extreme knockout power and the likelihood to put people to sleep instantly. Although Overeem is coming off that loss against Miocic, I still believe he is at his best right now and will prove so against the very slow Mark Hunt. I’m expecting Overeem to chip away at Hunt’s body with kicks and both mentally and physically break him.
Rashad Evans vs. Daniel Kelly
Daniel Kelly to Win
Sunday 5th March, 04:00 GMT
Odds: 19/10 2.90 +190 1.90 1.90 -0.53 – Ladbrokes
Lando Vannata vs. David Teymur
Lando Vannata to Win
Sunday 5th March, 03:30 GMT
Odds: 4/11 1.36 -275 0.36 -2.75 0.36 – William Hill
Alistair Overeem vs. Mark Hunt
Alistair Overeem to Win
Sunday 5th March, 03:00 GMT
Odds: 8/11 1.73 -138 0.72 -1.38 0.72 – William Hill