UFC on FOX 18 Preview

ufc-fox18Only a few fights into the new year and a theme is beginning to form for what will come the rest of 2016.

It is turning out to be the year of the comeback with multiple fighters scheduled to come back into the UFC after years away from the promotion.

There are also rumours of some fighters coming out of retirement to return to the UFC in a number of big fights throughout the year, not the least of which being UFC 200.

The Light Heavyweight division will be just one of the many divisions seeing big name fighters return and quickly thrown into the title conversation.

Jon Jones is set to return after having his belt taken away due to his hit and run incident and a stint in rehab after he failed a drug test for the substance.

The former light heavyweight champion and the man many considered the be the best pound for pound fighter in the world is rumoured to return at UFC 198 to fight for the title against Daniel Cormier.

That rumoured title fight leaves a little bit in the air for the division as that might will likely lead to a rematch shortly afterwards, especially with the rivalry between the two.

With that potential future the rest of the light heavyweights are stuck waiting to see what happens and putting themselves in the best positions to get that next shot.

That will be the case when the UFC returns to FOX for the 18th free show on the major network as two fighters with plenty of motivation face-off looking to get that next shot.

On one end of the octagon will be the former top contender for the title before Jones was stripped of the title.

Anthony Johnson was running through everyone in the division and earned his title shot against Jones at UFC 187 until Jones became wanted by the police for his involvement in the hit and run.

The champion was stripped of his belt and instead of facing the champion the vacant title was up for grabs against another former top contender Daniel Cormier.

Cormier took the fight ending a nine-fight win streak by Johnson and earning the light heavyweight crown.

It was a quick change for Johnson who had been preparing for a stand-up fight against Jones but instead got one of the best wrestlers in the UFC in Cormier.

After bouncing back with a knockout win over Jimi Manuwa, Johnson is in the hunt for another chance at the title whoever ends up holding it and wants to prove that he is worthy of the title with another chance.

Opposite Johnson is Ryan Bader who has quietly built a solid winning streak that has his name among top contenders for a title shot.mma-sidebar.fw

After five straight wins, Bader seems ready to take on the best in the division and with a rivalry already forming between him and Cormier, a rivalry that took shape during the post-fight press conference at UFC 187, there is no shortage of motivation.

If Bader can add a sixth fight to his streak and add Johnson to his list of beaten opponents a title shot won’t be far off.

Both Bader and Johnson will head into UFC on FOX 18 looking to get that all important win as they wait and see what happens with the title.

If either can get a win they may be the next in line from getting a shot at the light heavyweight title in a year where the division is sure to be on the forefront of title conversations.

They will go about it in very different ways of course as Johnson has more power than anyone in the division and has knocked out some of the best in the division.

Bader is a college wrestler who is not technical enough or powerful enough to match Johnson on the feet but has a wrestling background that has turned into a great ground and pound strategy.

Johnson clearly had problems in dealing with the wrestling of Cormier and although Bader’s wrestling isn’t as good as Cormier’s, Johnson is sure not to want to deal with that ground game.

He will try to learn from his loss to Cormier and better prepare for a wrestler that will, and should, look to take to the ground every chance he gets.

Even with Bader having the advantage on the ground which has given Johnson problems the fact that Johnson has that one punch knockout power is enough to give him the edge in this fight.

Johnson will take the win with a knockout in the second round and will look towards the rumoured fight at UFC 198 to learn his future in the light heavyweight division.


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