Lesnar collides with Hunt in replacement main event, Aldo faces Edgar again at UFC 200
Lee Gormley | July 7, 2016
Brock Lesnar v Mark Hunt
- UFC heavyweight fight
- Sunday, July 10th
- Scheduled for: 05:00 GMT
- T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
- Live on BT Sport 2
Lesnar-Hunt set for replacement headline act
After the announcement that Jon Jones was pulled from the main event at UFC 200 due to a failed drugs test, Brock Lesnar’s returning heavyweight fight with Mark Hunt will take its place as the headline act on a monumental night for the organisation.
Jones was scheduled to meet Daniel Cormier in a rematch for the UFC light-heavyweight title, but the controversial fighter has since tested positive in an out-of-competition sample collection made by the United States Anti-Doping Agency on June 16th, with legendary Anderson Silva taking his place.
It means WWE star Lesnar’s (5-3) returning bout will be the main event in Las Vegas, with the former heavyweight champion making his first appearance in the octagon since 2011, against dangerous New Zealander Hunt (12-10).
This is the second time the UFC 200 main draw has been changed, with Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz having been initially set for a rematch before falling through, but Lesnar will enter at 13/10 with Coral to overcome Hunt in the early hours of Sunday morning instead.
Returning Lesnar stealing the show
After more than a five-and-a-half year absence from the sport, Lesnar’s comeback couldn’t be on a grander stage, but the WWE pay-per-view headliner is relishing the opportunity in what could be either a one-off showing or a taster of what’s to come.
“Obviously, I’m here to win a fight. I’m prepared for whatever,” stated Lesnar, who is 7/4 to win by knockout. “I feel awesome. My health is behind me. I’m sitting here at UFC 200, soaking it all in.”
“It’s maybe a teaser,” Lesnar added, when asked about a longer stint on his return. “We’ll see what happens. I have no idea. I’ll never say never. We’ll see.
“We’ll get through Saturday and we’ll see what happens. I have no idea. After Saturday, I think I’m booked for August. I don’t know.”
Hunt hopes to ruin Lesnar comeback
His veteran opponent Hunt, 5/4 to earn a KO victory in the first round, has promised that he will put on a devastating performance this weekend, outlining his intentions to ruin Lesnar’s comeback early on.
“If he can’t get me down in the first round, he’s getting knocked out,” declared the 42-year-old.
“He can do pro wrestling and he can do fighting, I’m in shock. It doesn’t really matter to me in the end.”
‘The Super Samoan’ is now up to eighth in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings after battling his way back to relevance with stoppage successes over elite foes, despite previously looking washed up at a time he had not won a fight for years.
Now, on the organisation’s historic night in Sin City, Hunt is 12/1 to earn a decision over three rounds and continue his MMA resurgence, while returning Lesnar enters proceedings at 15/2 for a submission victory after a lengthy absence from the octagon.
Frankie Edgar v Jose Aldo
- UFC interim featherweight title fight
- Sunday, July 10th
- Scheduled for: 04:00 GMT
- T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
- Live on BT Sport 2
Aldo and Edgar clash again for title shot
Former long-standing UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will once again clash with Frankie Edgar as part of the UFC 200 card, with a shot at the strap currently held by Conor McGregor up for grabs.
‘The Notorious’ has kept the division in limbo for some time now, as he aims to avenge his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 202 on August 20th while a 145lbs defence still awaits, though both Aldo (25-2) and Edgar (20-4-1) will look to move closer to a title fight with success this weekend.
Brazilian fighter Aldo saw his decade-long reign come to an abrupt end last year as he was stopped in 13 seconds by McGregor, but the former dominant champion is evens to dispatch American opponent Edgar on his first outing since that stunning defeat.
The pair met before at UFC 156, with Aldo edging a narrow five-round verdict in what was Edgar’s featherweight debut, but the latter New Jersey challenger steps into the octagon this time as the odds-on 4/5 front runner.
Edgar slams ‘pretty basic’ Aldo
Going into that initial bout in 2013, Edgar had tasted back-to-back losses, but this time around the 34-year-old enters after five straight victories since that Aldo defeat three years ago, giving him confidence of earning further success.
“I just feel I’m a much improved fighter since then. My confidence has grown, my coaches have gotten better. Coming into this fight I’m on more momentum,” stated Edgar.
“Last time we fought I was coming off two close losses at lightweight. It was a tough time. Now I feel the time’s right for me.”
With five consecutive wins over Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, Cub Swanson, B J Penn and Charles Oliveira, Edgar enters fight night on a high, while it remains to be seen how Aldo will deal with his devastating McGregor defeat come the opening round on Sunday morning.
Silva steps up for Cormier, Tate defends crown
After much discussion, UFC president Dana White confirmed with only two days notice that ‘Spider’ Silva would step up to take on Cormier in place of Jones, in what is set to be a three-round, non-title bout.
The Brazilian was the longest reigning champion in UFC history until he lost his middleweight title to Chris Weidman back in July 2013, and he is 7/2 to prevail this weekend, coming in on the back of a loss to current 185lbs titlist Michael Bisping.
Cormier’s belt may not be on the line but he will be aiming to take out his recent frustration on Silva in this last-minute fight, and the heavyweight kingpin is odds-on 2/9 favourite to reign supreme.
Also starring on the UFC 200 card is reigning women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, as she looks to defend her crown against Brazilian challenger Amanda Nunes after dispatching previous title holder Holly Holm in March.
At UFC 196, Tate (18-5) stunned Holm in the final round of their showdown as she locked in a decisive rear-naked choke to become champion, taming the woman who had previously handed Ronda Rousey her maiden defeat.
Although, number four ranked women’s bantamweight fighter Nunes (12-4) goes into the match-up after three promising wins and is 2/1 to cause an upset, while Tate is seen as the odds-on 2/5 favourite to retain her strap.
Meanwhile, Travis Brown is 5/2 to overcome Cain Velasquez and potentially earn a heavyweight title shot, with his former two-time champion opponent 3/10 to prevail.
Rafael Assuncao (10/3) and T J Dillashaw (1/4) also collide on the undercard, while Cat Zingano (8/15) faces Julianna Pena (6/4) and Enrique Marin (12/5) meets rising UFC star Sage Northcutt (1/3).