October 28, 2016

UFC 206: Toronto Event Finally Starting To Shape Up

By Adam Martin

Last week I wrote a column about the upcoming UFC 206 card in Toronto, arguing the card was weak in comparison to other pay-per-view events, and suggested several fights that the UFC could book for the card to strengthen it. Obviously, at the beginning of the piece I mentioned Georges St-Pierre, saying that while I did want to see him on the card, it was unlikely that he would be able to settle his contract dispute with the UFC in just six weeks.
And while Michael Bisping has gone on Twitter to beg GSP to fight him at UFC 206, the longtime welterweight kingpin posted a video on Twitter Wednesday where he said he wasn't close to reaching an agreement with the UFC. He admitted that he had a recent meeting with UFC President Dana White and new UFC owner Ari Emanuel that went well, however.

With GSP not really on my radar, the first fight I suggested was a middleweight bout between Gegard Mousasi and Anderson Silva. I still hope for this fight to happen down the road, but the fight won't happen now, as Mousasi has been tabbed for a rematch with Uriah Hall at UFC Belfast, and Silva isn't likely to return to the cage until next year.

I also suggested a light heavyweight bout between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Steve Bosse. Again, this is a fight I'd very much like to see, but Rua's manager recently went on Twitter and said his client isn't going to fight again until 2017. I still hope to see Bosse on the card, but with so few light heavyweights on the UFC roster, it's going to be tough for the matchmakers to find him an opponent at this point.

In addition, I suggested a middleweight scrap between Elias Theodorou and Andrew Sanchez. But this isn't going to happen, even though it was rumored, because Sanchez has been tabbed to fight Trevor Smith at UFC Albany, and Theodorou, according to sources, is locked in a contract dispute with the UFC at the moment. So while it's possible the UFC could still figure out a contract with Theodorou in time for the event, his opponent will not be Sanchez.

Later in the article, I also mentioned the UFC could book interim featherweight champ Jose Aldo against either Anthony Pettis or Max Holloway for this card if his meeting with the UFC went well. And while Aldo did say the meeting was good, he also said, like GSP, he wasn't close to signing up for a fight, citing a lack of motivation. When I was writing the piece, the thought of a Pettis-Holloway fight did cross my mind, but I wasn't convinced it would happen, as I figured Holloway was going to wait for a title shot.

The UFC surprised me when on Wednesday the promotion announced Pettis will fight Holloway, presumably as the co-main event of the card. This is a terrific fight between two of the very best featherweight fighters in the world, and while it would have been nice to see two title fights at UFC 206 (I'm still wondering why Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt was booked for UFC 207 instead), this is a suitable fight considering the lack of options the UFC has at the moment due to stacking the UFC 205 card coming up in November.

The UFC also booked a welterweight bout between Canadian Jordan Mein, who is coming out of retirement, and newcomer Emil Weber Meek for this fight. This isn't a main-event-caliber fight or anything like that, but it's still a solid matchup between Mein, one of Canada's top fighters, and Meek, who is coming off of a TKO win over Rousimar Palhares in the Italian promotion Venator. There's still a chance the UFC could add another bout to the UFC 206 PPV card, but at this point, it looks like Mein vs. Meek will be on the main card, and that's fine in my books.

There's no doubt UFC 206 is a lot weaker than UFC 205, and it will probably wind up weaker than UFC 207, but it's still a pretty solid card from top to bottom, and there's still a chance a few more fights could be booked for it. Trust me, as an MMA fan living in Toronto, this isn't the card I hoped for, considering the UFC hasn't been here in three years, but ultimately, it's tough to complain too much about the card the matchmakers have put together. It's obviously disappointing and frustrating that GSP isn't on the card, but with a main event of Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson as well as a solid supporting cast of fights, UFC 206 is a pretty good card overall.

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