Once upon a time, the first weekend of February 2016 was playing host to UFC 196, with a headliner of Werdum vs. Velasquez 2 for the UFC heavyweight championship. Then, former champ Cain Velasquez pulled out due to injury last week. In his place, UFC announced that top contender Stipe Miocic would fight, and fans rejoiced – many preferred this match-up to Velasquez fighting, as he hadn’t won a fight since losing his title to Werdum last Summer.
Of course, the story didn’t end there. Fabricio Werdum, the current champ, then announced that he was pulling out of the fight due to injury – but added a twist when he said that had Velasquez stayed in the fight, he would have fought through the injury. Just not for Miocic, apparently. It’s the type of thing a fighter almost never admits to, and it caused a huge uproar in the fanbase.
It also left UFC 196 without a viable PPV headliner. Johny Hendricks vs. Stephen Thompson just isn’t a fight people are paying to see. So the UFC opted to make UFC 196 a free card – then decided to rename it UFC Fight Night 82. UFC 197, in March, featuring Conor McGregor fighting for a second title and Holly Holm defending her belt, now becomes UFC 196.
And all this means that there’s a free UFC card this weekend, with plenty of free fights – and the UFC debut of CM Punk’s potential first opponent as well. If he wins, he gets the Punk fight.
So lets take a look at some predictions!