Now that UFC 200 has come and gone, the next big event on the MMA horizon is UFC 205, which will go down on November 12 inside New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Just a few days ago, however, this rapidly-approaching card was entirely bare of fights. Sure, there were rumors, but as far as officially booked bouts went, there was nothing.
This week, that’s started to change, as a number of fantastic matchups have been confirmed for the card, and a handful of others are apparently being put together.
The first matchup to be announced for the card is a long-discussed lightweight bout between New York’s own Al Iaquinta (12-3-1) and former welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves (21-10). The contest will mark both men’s first steps onto the canvas in over a year. We last saw Iaquinta in April 2015, when he scored a widely-debated, split decision win over Jorge Masvidal, extending his streak to four in the process. Alves, meanwhile, has been on the shelf since he was stopped by Carlos Condit in May of 2015. This bout will be the Brazilian striker’s first at lightweight.
The next bout confirmed for UFC 205 is a scrap between former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (27-11) and former lightweight title challenger Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (31-7-0). Lawler last fought in late July, when he had his batteries removed by a first-round Tyron Woodley cannon. The loss would end his two-fight reign as UFC welterweight champion. Cerrone, meanwhile, last appeared at UFC 202 in August, when he put Rick Story away with a combination straight out of Street Fighter. The win moved him to a perfect 3-0 as a welterweight. Given Lawler and Cerrone’s shared propensity for ferocity, the announcement of this fight generated some serious celebration among fight fans.
Then, there are the bouts that are apparently in the works for the card, but have not yet been made official.
One such bout is a middleweight showdown between New Yorker and former champion Chris Weidman (13-1), and 39-year-old Cuban Olympian Yoel Romero (11-1). Should this bout occur, it’ll be both men’s first in almost a year, as both were last seen on the main card of UFC 194 last December. On that night, Weidman lost the middleweight title to Luke Rockhold, succumbing to fourth-round punches. Moments before Weidman’s loss, Romero captured a razor-thin decision over Brazilian grappling specialist Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza—though a shadow was cast on this win when the Cuban was flagged for the banned substance ibutamoren, apparently due to the use of a tainted supplement. The winner of this prospective bout could well be awarded a fight with the winner of Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson’s looming middleweight title fight—though that honor could also go to Jacare or a returning Luke Rockhold.
The last of the bouts that has recently been discussed for this card is by far the biggest of the bunch—In fact, it could be the biggest fight possible in all of MMA at present. If the rumors are to be believed, the UFC is working hard to book a lightweight title fight between reigning champ Eddie Alvarez (28-4) and absentee featherweight king Conor McGregor (20-3). If this bout is booked, it’ll undoubtedly serve as the evening’s main event.
Alvarez was last seen in July, when he flattened Rafael Dos Anjos in the first round to become the UFC lightweight champion. Also a former Bellator champion, he is 3-1 since joining the UFC, with his lone loss being dealt by the aforementioned gunslinger, Donald Cerrone. McGregor, meanwhile, has spent the duration of this year at welterweight, where he engaged in a pair of memorable battles with Nate Diaz. The first, back in March, he lost by submission. The second, which occurred in August, he won by decision. With this score settled, the Irish superstar now has his sights set on the lightweight division, where he is believed to be at his best physically. What this lightweight run would mean for his reign as featherweight champion, which began when he KO’d current interim champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds, remains to be seen.
Though it was bone-dry of fights just a few days ago, the historic UFC 205 is finally starting to take shape. The card is now anchored by two officially booked bouts, while two other huge fights appear to be in the works. And considering today’s typical UFC card features anywhere from 11 to 13 bouts, we can expect plenty more where these new matchups came from.
Check out this related story:
The Mixed Martial Arts of Victorian London
Before BJJ, there was Bartitsu.
Jonathan Maicelo: The Last Inca
Peru's up-and-coming boxing star.
Kron Gracie on Jiu-Jitsu, Skateboarding, Older Brothers, and Famous Fathers
The ties that bind are strong.
Joel Tudor on the Art of Surfing, Fighting, and Style
A surf icon helps MMA keep its sense of tradition.
Japan's Karate Kid: Kyoji Horiguchi
Japan's brightest MMA prospect.