The UFC puts two titles up for grabs in its return to California, both of them fights that have been made before. The card also features the potential end of a hall of fame career, important prospects bouts and more.
What: UFC 199: Rockhold vs. Bisping
Where: The Forum, Inglewood, Calif.
When: Saturday, the four-fight Fight Pass preliminary card starts at 6:15 p.m. ET, the four-fight Fox Sports 1 preliminary card starts at 8 p.m. and the five-fight pay-per-view card kicks off at 10 p.m. ET.
Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping
It's not hard to figure out Bisping's chances are exceedingly slim. It's not a favorable match-up irrespective of the short notice. The key is what he could reasonably do differently this time to make a difference against Rockhold. Since cardio won't be in Bisping's favor, one wonders if he can force Rockhold into making a mistake. The champion is comprehensively skilled, but can charge out of position to land a shot if an opponent connects on him first. Short of that, however, I'm not sure what Bisping can do. MMA is hugely unpredictable and stranger things have happened, but the most rational pick is clearly Rockhold.
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber
Here's another case where it's hard to find a strong argument in favor of the challenger. Faber can catch Cruz as he leaps in and out of range, but short of that, I'm not sure what he can reasonably do. Cruz is hard to land on and worse, even if one does manage to connect, it's hard to follow up on damage. He can evade or score takedowns or whatever he needs to to avoid any subsequent damage. Faber's athletic and quick, but unless he catches lightning in a bottle, his path to victory is tough.
More Coverage: UFC 199 Results | UFC news
Max Holloway vs. Ricardo Lamas
Lamas is an excellent featherweight with top-shelf wrestling and underrated, technical striking. Holloway, however, is a special talent. Lamas is explosive, but not reckless. I suspect he'll try to corral Holloway and picks his spots. Ordinarily, that's a really prudent approach, but against Holloway, I'm skeptical it'll work. Holloway's footwork and ability to stay out of trouble while working at distance is formidable. Moreover, he adapts as the fight progresses. He fights differently at the end of rounds from the way he begins them. I don't know if Holloway can take and hold Lamas down, but he can pick him apart.
Dan Henderson vs. Hector Lombard
For what could be Henderson's last MMA fight, it's awfully strange there isn't much talk about that fact. Henderson has stated a win or loss by itself won't determine whether he continues, but one can't help but wonder if a bad KO loss could change his mind after the fact. Both fighters have their limits, but Henderson's chin isn't what it once was. Lombard demonstrated his cardio liabilities are real in his last fight, but that his first-round power and speed is not to be trifled with. Maybe Henderson can grab this late, but one has to wonder how he can withstand Lombard's trademark first-round ferocity.
Dustin Poirier vs. Bobby Green
This is a surprisingly tough fight to call. Poirier's skills have matured at a coinciding career return to lightweight. Still, Green is a live dog. Despite his layoff and personal life challenges, he is game from bell to bell. He's a powerful, accurate puncher and uses unorthodox attacks with pinpoint timing. It's hard to cobble together a scenario where his chances of winning become the likeliest outcome, but this one is a close call.
From the preliminary card:
Brian Ortega def. Clay Guida
Beneil Dariush def. James Vick
Jessica Penne def. Jessica Andrade
Cole Miller def. Alex Caceres
Tom Breese def. Sean Strickland
Jonathan Wilson def. Luiz Henrique da Silva
Elvis Mutapcic def. Kevin Casey
Dong Hyun Kim def. Polo Reyes