With a seasoned champion on the comeback trail and veterans and newcomers alike, this weekend’s dose of UFC action is full of stars looking to impress…
UFC: Alvarez v Poirier 2, Sunday 29 July, 3am, BT Sport 2/HD (CH 528/532)
For the first time since 2012, UFC is rolling into the Canadian city of Calgary, with some of the organisation’s biggest stars set to step into the octagon.
Although no titles are on the line, fans are in for a night stacked with stars from UFC’s past, present and future, as former champions seek to relive past glories and up-and-coming contenders hope to achieve successes of their own.
And it’s not just the rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier we’ve got to look forward to. Alongside the biggest lightweight fight of the year is a sizzling match-up in the women’s strawweight category, and former champ Jose Aldo’s return to the octagon. Oh, and it’ll also be UFC President Dana White’s birthday on 28 July, so let’s hope he likes his cake with a side of serious fireworks.
Here’s a closer look at the six fighters to watch out for in what is no doubt going to be an all-out, action-packed night of mixed martial arts at its glorious, spin-kicking best.
1. Eddie Alvarez
Weight class: lightweight
Record: 29 wins, 5 losses, 1 no contest
Easily one of the most impressive fighters in the UFC’s roster, Alvarez is a former two-time Bellator lightweight champion and, after winning the UFC lightweight title in 2016, became the first fighter in history to win titles for both organisations. His recent form, however, has delivered a dominant win and a disappointing no contest finish; Alvarez’s illegal knee blows scuppering a tight first bout with Poirier in which either fighter could have come away with the win. That said, his pedigree is not to be underestimated, with countless former champions on his list of notable wins.
2. Dustin Poirier
Weight class: lightweight
Record: 23 wins, 5 losses, 1 no contest
Despite three of his last four contests earning him a Fight of the Night bonus, Poirier’s 2017 bout with lightweight legend Jim Miller has to be the standout entry of the three. In a back and forth fight that could have gone either way, Poirier finally came out on top, claiming a majority decision win after three grueling rounds. Such was the damage each fighter inflicted on the other that, following his win, Poirier was suspended indefinitely so that he could recover from his injuries. Ouch! The American heads into his rematch with Alvarez knowing that, prior to the bout being stopped and ruled a no contest, he was more than able to hold his own in their first encounter, notably rocking the former champ with some crushing strikes.
3. José Aldo
Weight class: featherweight
Record: 26 wins, 4 losses
Aldo’s ten-year unbeaten run and effective six-year reign as the WEC/UFC featherweight champion is amongst the greatest achievements in mixed martial arts history. Until his 13-second-knockout loss to the notorious Irishman Conor McGregor in 2015, many wondered if Aldo would (or could) ever be beaten. However, recent back-to-back losses to current featherweight champion Max Holloway have confirmed that the Brazilian is, in fact, human after all. A confident win over a tough Jeremy Stephens would certainly show he still has what it takes.
4. Jeremy Stephens
Weight class: lightweight/featherweight
Record: 28 wins, 14 losses
In a career blighted by spouts of poor form, Stephens’ recent knockout win over Josh Emmett is easily the highlight so far. For the first time in over forty contests, Stephens was able to earn a second knockout win in succession, taking the coveted Performance of the Night award, and ensuring that he heads into his clash with aforementioned UFC all time great José Aldo in the form of his life.
5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Weight class: strawweight
Record: 14 wins, 2 losses
If there’s one thing fans love other than a juicy, competitive title defence, it’s a juicy, competitive title defence in which the champion comes away clasping their belt with every ounce of strength they have left. That was certainly the case in 2015 when the former strawweight champion Jedrzejczyk defended her belt for the third time against Valérie Létourneau – the Pole overcoming surgery to a fractured thumb and landing a record 220 significant strikes. So, even though Jedrzejczyk may be returning to the octagon after back-to-back losses against Rose Namajunas, it’s not to say Tecia Torres won’t have her hands full against this highly decorated kickboxer!
6. Tecia Torres
Weight class: strawweight
Record: 10 wins, 2 losses
Much like Jedrzejczyk, despite losing two of her last five fights, to underestimate this tough, highly ranked strawweight is to do so at your own peril. Currently ranked fifth in her weight class, a clash with Jedrzejczyk (currently ranked second behind champion Namajunas) could see her rise significantly and possibly gain a shot at the coveted title. And, after her 2017 win over Michelle Waterson, “The Tiny Tornado” has every chance of causing an upset and overcoming the former strawweight champ.
Don’t have BT Sport?
You can upgrade to our Virgin TV Full House package online via your My Virgin Media account here and get all four BT Sport channels in HD. If you’ve not registered for My Virgin Media or have forgotten your sign in details just head over to myvirginmedia.com.
Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package.
TV channels: Channel line-ups are subject to change and regional variations. TV packs currently exclude some teletext services.
HD: HD TV required to view HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
BT Sport is included in Full House TV (previously TV XL) and VIP bundles or can be taken as an add-on at additional monthly cost. Premium channels and upgrades must be kept for at least 30 days.