Die Hard MMA Previews: UFC Vegas 17 Ends 2020 In Style

by Pub Sports Radio

Die Hard MMA Previews: UFC Vegas 17 Ends 2020 In Style

By; Clint MacLean (@DieHardMMAPod)

Can you believe that Christmas is next week? 2020 has been a rough year for all of us, but here we are at the end of it, and Uncle Dana has backed up his truck. Saturday’s UFC Vegas 17 will feel like running down the stairs at 6 AM and waking up our parents way too early to unwrap the gifts our favorite Uncle bought for us. 2020 may have sucked, but when it comes to UFC, it has been stellar. We have been treated to some of the best fights we have ever seen, we have witnessed the meteoric rising of stars that came out of nowhere, and it all comes to a head at UFC Vegas 17, where we have an insane 15 fights scheduled to send the year off with a bang.

There is no way I can hit all the fights on this card without staying up until 4 AM writing this article, so I’ll hit you with the highlights. The night gets started quickly with a rebooked match between Jimmy “The Brick” Flick and Cody Durden. This fight was scheduled for just a few weeks ago, but due to an eye infection, Durden had to be pulled, and the fight was rebooked. This is a fight where Jimmy brings a kill or be killed grappling style to the cage and will look to welcome Durden to the Flyweight division by snapping his arm off. Durden is a hard-nosed wrestler who is hoping his submission defense will hold up and target the questionable chin of Flick. The big key in this fight is the short turnaround and the extra weight cuts. Durden is a big man dropping to Flyweight for the first time, and having to make that cut back to back is a huge question mark. I believe somebody is getting finished in this fight, but who I’m not sure anymore.

The UFC is already setting the stage for some hot new talent when Dana White Contender Series’ Tafon Nchukwi and Jamie Pickett meet on Saturday. Both men have shown on the Contender Series that they deserve a shot in the UFC, and this is an amazing bit of matchmaking. Nchukwi has ungodly power and even though he is just 4-0 looks like a fighter that the UFC wants to get behind. Pickett is looking to play spoiler, however, but he relies on his chin and head movement in his fights to get the job done. This will be a man who puts people out cold with power shots against a volume striker who relies on his movement. The bull and the matador. It should be fun as long as it lasts.

Closing out the preliminary card, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis makes his return to the cage with a lot on the line. Pettis is on the final fight of his current deal with the UFC and has been on a less than spectacular run recently. Just 2-3 in his last 5, Pettis will need to win in spectacular fashion to maintain his paycheck and position in the company. Alex Morono recently bounced back from a brutal knockout loss that broke a three-fight win streak with a beatdown of Rhys Mckee just a few weeks ago. This is a big step up in competition for Morono taking on a former champion, but I believe he is being disrespected a bit by the betting market. It seems a foregone conclusion that Pettis will run through Morono on Saturday, but I think the FORTIS MMA regular has what it takes to give Pettis a run for his money.

The story of UFC Vegas 17 is low-key a battle between aging vets looking to keep their roster spots, with the UFC looking to make cuts and young guns looking to advance their position towards contendership. The former title challenger at Bantamweight, Marlon Moraes, is in free-fall after dropping his last two fights and needs to right the ship. Rob Font has been around for some time but hasn’t cracked into the top of the division just yet and finally has his shot. Marlon is a scary finisher who struggles if he cannot get an early finish, whereas Font is a volume striker who wants to crank the heat up on his opponents over the course of a 15-minute battle. I don’t know if Rob Font is on the level of Magic Marlon, but I also don’t know that Marlon is the fighter he used to be anymore. Coming off of a bad KO in his last loss and a quick turnaround, we may have another changing of the guard and a live dog.

Jose Aldo is another former title contender who is looking to prove he still belongs at the top. Aldo has turned back the clock and stayed relevant more than any other fighter I can think of. Father Time comes for all combat athletes, and I just feel like Aldo’s clock is ticking. Coming off of a failed title shot where Aldo took a life-changing beating from current champion Petr Yan you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank. On the other side of the cage from Aldo is the hottest Bantamweight in the game! Marlon “Chito” Vera. Chito has been a deadly finisher his entire UFC career and I could not be more excited about his fight. Aldo seems to have lost his ability to stick and move and rarely does he use leg kicks anymore. With Aldo adopting a more flat footed approach and still being willing to stand and go to war until somebody falls I feel like he is giving Chito a perfect opportunity to take this fight. Going blow for blow and seeing whos body breaks first just doesn’t seem like a wise choice against Vera.

Saturday’s main event is a fight that holds a lot of interest for the Welterweight division and fans everywhere. Stephen Thompson is the nicest man in MMA today and has a fan base built around his good sportsmanship and friendly attitude. There is a damn good reason that Thompson has been hanging around the top of the division for so long and it’s not his personality. Thompson is a deadly karate stylist with deadly precision and power. Facing Thompson is a fighter who is younger, more athletic, and more powerful . Geoff Neal is the dark horse at 170 and many fans have labeled him as the next big thing. Neal is finally getting a named opponent after smashing through anybody the UFC puts in front of him and I believe he will be up to the challenge and break through into the circle of true contenders at 170 pounds.

 

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