By Adam Martin
When the UFC returns to Canada this weekend in the nation’s capital for UFC Fight Night 89 in Ottawa, Ontario, it brings with it a card full of fights featuring some of the best fighters to fight out of The Great White North.
In the main event, Canada’s top active fighter, British Columbia’s Rory MacDonald, returns to the Octagon in the first time since his war with Robbie Lawler at UFC 189 when he meets Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in a five-round welterweight bout. Stylistically this is one of the best matches the UFC could have put together in the entire 170lb division, so kudos to matchmaker Joe Silva to book it. MacDonald and Thompson are both amazing fighters and fans at TD Place Arena will undoubtedly be treated to an incredible fight that will like serve as a welterweight title eliminator.
Also on the main card are a trio of Quebec natives, as Steve Bosse meets Sean O’Connell in a light heavyweight fight that more than likely won’t go the three rounds, TUF Nations runner-up Olivier Aubin-Mercier takes on Thibault Gouti in a lightweight contest, and Valerie Letourneau meets Joanne Calderwood in the first women’s flyweight fight in promotional history. The UFC has given the Canadians tough fights, but they’ve given them a great platform to put on a show for the hometown crowd.
Jason Saggo takes on Leandro Silva in the televised prelim main event in an important contest in the lightweight division as the winner will be due for a top-15 opponent in their next fight. Ontario’s Misha Cirkunov is one of the top light heavyweight prospects in the sport and his fight again UFC newcomer Ion Cutelaba should be a hard-hitting affair for as long as it lasts.
Additionally, the Fight Pass portion of the card features some more Canadian talent. The featured Fight Pass fight see’s Ontario’s Elias Theodorou, the TUF Nations winner, take on Sam Alvey in a key middleweight matchup for both men. Then Ontario’s Randa Markos, one of the top women’s strawweight fighters in the world, fights Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger. Finally, UFC newcomer Jonathan Meunier fights Colby Covington in a welterweight fight after filling in for an injured Alex Garcia, another Canadian. As you can see, the UFC has assembled a very fun card featuring some of Canada’s best fighters, and hopefully they can put on a show for UFC brass in order to convince the promotion to start investing in Canada again after turning its focus to the international market in recent years.
UFC Fight Night 89 might not be full of superstar names, but there is so much Canadian talent on this card and some of the fighters are sure to shine on the big stage. If you’re a Canadian fight fan, it’s simply a must-watch card.
UFC Fight Night 89: MacDonald vs. Thompson takes place on June 18, 2016 at The Arena at TD Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.