November 10, 2016

UFC 205: The Preliminary Card Is Just As Stacked As the Main Card

By Adam Martin

Much has already been written about the UFC 205 main card, the best pay-per-view card in UFC and MMA history, but there's a good argument that the UFC 205 prelims is the best preliminary card ever assembled as well.

The featured prelim on FS1 sees former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar take on the always-exciting Jeremy Stephens in a featherweight bout. Edgar recently had his five-fight win streak snapped at UFC 200 with a unanimous decision loss to UFC Interim Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, while Stephens most recently defeated former UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao in what might be the biggest win of his long UFC career. Edgar, a New Jersey native, is one of the sport's elite talents, while Stephens is always in exciting fights. This fight could easily be on the main card but instead serves as an amazing FS1 headliner, with the winner putting his name back into the featherweight title talks.

A lightweight bout between undefeated title contender Khabib Nurmagomedov and heavy puncher Michael Johnson also takes place on these prelims. This is an absolutely fantastic fight that could easily main event a Fight Night card, but because UFC 205 is so stacked, it's just another fight on the prelims. But Nurmagomedov is gunning for a lightweight title shot, and after Tony Ferguson's recent decision win over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 98, he'll have to beat Johnson decisively to put his name back in the title mix. But Johnson, who just knocked out Dustin Poirier, won't be an easy out. This should be an amazing fight, and probably should have been on the main card if we're being honest, but then again it's hard to complain about this fight being on TV.

Also on the FS1 prelims, Vicente Luque -- who has won three straight fights via highlight-reel stoppage -- steps up on short notice for the drug-suspended Lyman Good. He takes on Belal Muhammad in the FS1 prelim opener in what should be a fun welterweight bout between two guys known for their exciting performances.

Even the Fight Pass prelims for UFC 205 are impressive. The “main event” of the Fight Pass card was originally supposed to be a lightweight bout between Al Iaquinta and Thiago Alves, who is making his 155-pound debut, but when Iaquinta abruptly retired from MMA due to a contract dispute with the UFC, the matchmakers phoned up veteran Jim Miller, a New Jersey native, to take on Alves. Both Miller and Alves have been around the sport for years, and both men are known for putting on a great show for the fans. It's unfortunate that Iaquinta, a New York native, isn't competing on this card, but the replacement bout the UFC put together is quite excellent, and serves as a very solid Fight Pass headliner.

The two other Fight Pass fights see New York-trained Rafael Natal take on Tim Boetsch in a middleweight bout and Liz Carmouche, the first female fighter to step into the Octagon, take on New Jersey-trained Katlyn Chookagian in a women's bantamweight bout. While neither of these fights would ever be confused for a must-watch fight, both fights are pretty solid style matchups that should at least be entertaining, and help add to the depth of what is a fantastic set of prelims.

UFC 205 is going to be an amazing card, and the PPV portion of it is must-watch, but before those six fights happen, don't forget that there's also a very solid set of prelims to watch featuring a number of former champions and intriguing stylistic matchups. This is a great card, so don't blink, because you might miss something truly special.

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