The world of UFC doesn’t allow any time for its fans to catch their breath, as UFC 202 was held on August 20th when Conor McGregor defeated Nate Diaz by decision in their highly anticipated rematch, and now UFC 203 is only days away on Saturday night September 10th (early hours of Sunday morning UK time). The Quickens Loans Arena is set to be bussing with UFC fans and millions more expected to tune in all around the world.
The main event of the evening features UFC Heavyweight Champion, and home-town hero, Stipe Miocic defending his title for the first time against Alistair Overeem. At 34 and 36, respectively, both men would be considered to be in the winter of their careers, although Miocic has only had 17 professional fights compared to Overeem’s 56. Coral have Miocic as the slight favourite to win at 4/6, both men may well be extra careful not to make a mistake on such a big occasion and Miocic will certainly have edge if the fight progresses into the 4th and 5th rounds as Overeem has only ever been in three round fights before.
Another heavyweight bout on the card is a rematch of Fabrício Werdum against Travis Browne, filling in for Ben Rothwell who was forced to pull out due to injury. Werdum and Browne last faced off in 2014 with Werdum winning on that occasion. Browne will be seeking retribution, not only against Werdum but also for his recent loss to another former Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 200. Paddy Power expects Werdum to be victorious again with odds of 1/2, while Browne’s odds are 13/8, whatever happens expect a close fight.
The biggest talking point of the night is that it will be the MMA debut of former WWE pro wrestler CM Punk. After signing his UFC contract at the end of 2014, with no previous experience, Punk (real name Phil Brooks) has been training solidly with Roufusport. Many ‘purists’ have criticised Punk and expect him to get knocked out within 30 seconds, which gives Punk even more fuel to prove them wrong. The fact of the matter is nobody really knows what to expect, young upstart Mickey Gall is Punk’s opponent with a professional record of 2-0. 24 year old Gall is the favourite on Ladbrokes at 4/13 against the 37 year old Punk at 13/5.
Expect the unexpected from this unlikely match-up, it could be over in three seconds, or last the full three rounds. You never know.