The day has finally come, Ronda Rousey will make her long awaited return to the Octagon, after a year of hiding and making excuses, it is time for us to find out just how good Ronda really is, and if she can respond to a loss. UFC 207 took a huge hit last week, when Cain Velasquez was pulled from the card by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) because of the severity of his back injury that he has been dealing with for months, and had serious surgery planned for in 2017. Cain was set to rematch Fabricio Werdum and the winner of that fight was expected to face Stipe Miocic for the Heavyweight Championship in 2017, but now, it looks like Wedum may have an easier path to getting his rematch with Stipe. This card is truly highlighted by three fights of the five main card fights, with two championship belts on the line and a potential number 1 contender fight.
The main card starts with a top 15 Flyweight matchup, with Louis Smolka taking on Ray Borg, with both men looking to crack the top 10 with a win, in what should be a battle on the ground, with both men having much stronger grappling game than their striking.
Next we have a top 15 Welterweight fight between Dong-Hyun Kim and Tarec Saffiedine, and this fight can go either way, with both men needing a big win to keep themselves climbing in the tough Welterweight division.
Now the fun begins, with former Bantamweight Champ TJ Dillashaw taking on top contender John Lineker. This fight will likely (although unofficial) produce the next challenger for the Bantamweight belt, which is on the line tonight as well. Dillashaw is looking to prove that he is still the best Bantamweight in the division, and that his requests for a rematch with current champ Dominick Cruz have been warranted. TJ will look to use his footwork and defense to avoid the monstrous power of John Lineker, who has the potential to end the fight in just one punch.
For the co-main event, we have a fight that I am personally VERY hyped about. Bantamweight Champ Dominick Cruz will take on rising star Cody Garbrandt, in what could be the fight of the night. Cruz is known for having possibly the best footworka and MMA IQ of anyone who has ever stepped into the Octagon, while his counterpart Cody is all about his knockout power. Cody and Dominick have not been too friendly or even respectful towards one another in the weeks leading up to this fight, so I expect nothing but fireworks in this fight from start to finish, whenever that be. This fight for me can end in the first round, or can go all 5, and that depends on Cody. I think for Cody to win this fight, he has to be able to put Dominick away within the first round and a half, otherwise I suspect that his power and stamina will drain, and that is when Cruz thrives, as the chamionship rounds are no stranger to him and his ability to take such little damage because of how great his defense/footwork is, makes him even tougher to put away.
And lastly, for the main event, we have the return of Ronda Rousey. Ronda looks to reclaim her throne as the greatest female fighter in the world, and potentially ever, but she has a huge challenge in front of her, in Women's Bantamweight Champ Amanda Nunes. Amanda is an absolute beast in the Octagon, and not only because of her power standing up but also because of her excellent jiu-jitsu. Ronda is an absolute head-case these days, and truly seems just a few steps away from a complete breakdown, so I have no idea what to expect from her tonight. We can see a Ronda that is angry and hungry or a Ronda that is angry and hurts herself because of it. Her emotions, and just how unstable they are, might be the biggest key in this fight. Amanda Nunes couldn't be more cool and calm coming into this fight, just looking to prove to the world that she truly is the champ, and that Ronda's return will not be all it has been hyped to be. Ronda has rubbed a large majority of fans the wrong way in the last few months, between her taking so long to come back, to refusing to do the media work for UFC 207, and even how every commercial or highlight for UFC 207 is focused on her, not the Champ, Amanda. If Ronda Rousey loses tonights fight, we will never see her step into an Octagon again, and it would be one of the biggst falls from grace in sports history. A win tonight however, could cement Ronda's place atop the greatest Combat Sport Athletes ever.