This Saturday is chock full of combat action in mixed martial arts and boxing, with belts on the line all around.
UFC 210: Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson
Light Heavyweight title action returns as UFC light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier (18-1) defends his belt against top-rated challenger Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-5) in Buffalo, New York.
The two first met at UFC 187 for the then-vacant UFC light heavyweight championship after Jon Jones was stripped of the belt for a hit and run incident in New Mexico. The back and forth battle resulted in Cormier winning via rear naked choke submission in the third round.
Since then, Cormier has won two fights in a row with decisions over Alexander Gustafsson and Anderson Silva. Cormier was supposed to face Johnson again at UFC 206, but had to withdraw due to an injury.
Johnson has been on a tear since his last defeat to Cormier. He has knockout finishes in his last three fights, with two ending in the first round and the last fight against Glover Teixeira ending in 13 seconds. Johnson has fought in multiple weight classes, starting at welterweight and all the way to heavyweight, but has seemed to find his rhythm at light heavyweight. With four of his five losses coming via rear naked choke submission, including his loss to Cormier, one can be sure that Johnson has been working on his submission defense.
Catch UFC 210 live on pay-per-view from Key Bank Arena in Buffalo, NY at 10:00pm EST / 7:00pm PST.
Boxing: Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jason Sosa
Two-division world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1) faces World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight world champion Jason “El Canita” Sosa in a battle for Lomachenko's World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight world title.
Lomachenko made his first defense of the WBO junior lightweight title when he dominated Nicholas Walters. Walters, a previously undefeated former WBA featherweight world champion, quit on his stool after the seventh round. Lomachenko became a two-division world champion in a record seven bouts. Last June, he destroyed defending three-time WBO junior lightweight champion Roman "Rocky" Martinez via an epic knockout punch in the fifth round.
Lomachenko captured his first world title, the vacant WBO featherweight belt, in June 2014, winning a scintillating majority decision over the previously unbeaten Gary Russell Jr. It was Lomachenko's third professional bout, tying him with Thailand's Saensak Muangsurin for fewest fights to win a world title. Muangsurin won a junior welterweight title in 1975, also in his third professional fight.
Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs), a Puerto Rican standout from Camden, NJ, is currently riding a five-year, 20-bout unbeaten streak including 14 knockout victories. Not since Camden’s Dwight Qawi has there been a successful fighter from the infamous city.
Sosa captured the WBA super featherweight world title last June in Beijing, coming from behind on all three judges' scorecards to knock out undefeated defending champion Javier Fortuna in the 11th round. He successfully defended the title in his last fight on November 19 in Las Vegas, winning a unanimous decision over No. 7 world-rated contender Stephen Smith.
The non-televised undercard will also feature undefeated No. 1 super middleweight contender Jesse “Hard Work” Hart from Philadelphia, PA.
Catch all the action live on HBO from the MGM Grand National Harbor beginning at 10:00pm EST / 7:00pm PST.
Bellator 176: Manhoef vs. Carvalho
A middleweight championship rematch takes center stage in the main event when reigning champion Rafael Carvalho (13-1 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) looks to earn a second victory over striking legend Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) after the pair fought to a lackluster split decision at Bellator 155 in May 2016.
Bellator 176, a four-fight MMA card, airs live on Spike on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m. ET) prior to Bellator Kickboxing 5 (5:15 p.m. ET). Both events take place at Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy.