LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Super bowl weekend has long been one of the biggest weekends not only for the NFL but also the UFC as they have always had one of their biggest cards of the year that weekend. Typically a major Pay Per View in Las Vegas with several headlining title fights. This year, because of a couple of late freak injuries, all of that changed. Instead of a heavyweight classic, it is a Welterweight title eliminator between John Hendricks and Stephen Thompson.
Hendricks is trying to get back in the Welterweight Title picture and earn a rematch with Robbie Lawler, the man who took his title back at UFC 181 in December of 2014. It was a close split decision and Hendricks knows with a convincing knockout of Stephen Thompson he can earn a rematch.
It won’t be easy for Hendricks as he takes on the red hot Stephen Thompson who is on a tear. Thompson has won his last five fights, three of which came by knockout. Those knockouts include the likes of Chris Clements, Robert Whittaker and Jake Ellenberger.
All signs point to a five round war between the two, as they both excel at striking with vicious one punch knockout power. However, they both can grapple well and grind it out for five rounds. It should be very interesting to see how this one goes. This writer see’s it going the way of Hendricks by knockout in three.
The event was originally billed as UFC 196 and was scheduled to be headlined by a UFC Heavyweight Championship rematch between current champion Fabrício Werdum and former two-time champion Cain Velasquez.
A series of events eventually led to a main event shuffle: on January 24, Velasquez pulled out of the bout due to a back injury and was replaced by Stipe Miocic. On the following day, Werdum announced that he was pulling out of the event due to injury as well.
With no viable main event options remaining, on January 26 UFC President Dana White announced the company was canceling the pay-per-view broadcast. Therefore, UFC 196 became a Fight Night card. The event will now air on Fox Sports 1.