The UFC 207 fight card has taken shape as MMA fans the world over prepare to converge on Paradise, Nevada’s T-Mobile Arena this Friday, December 30 for a special New Year’s Eve “Eve” show that features the return of mega-popular monster female competitor “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.
Rousey has not been seen on UFC television in more than a year since dropping her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship — and her previously dominant undefeated streak — in a tough upset loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November of 2015.
At UFC 207, Rousey will draw the 4-0 new Women’s Bantamweight titleholder Amanda Nunes. It was Nunes who upset Meisha Tate at UFC 200 in July to bring the championship home.
The UFC 207 fight card has given way to odds that have Rousey listed at a -180 betting favorite, according to data compiled by Odds Shark. Rousey finds herself in a unique position just over a year after a lot of her mystique went away. Heading into her UFC 193 title defense against Holm, Ronda had been regarded as an unstoppable monster, and few figured she would ever lose her Bantamweight title in such dominating fashion.
Since that tough, humiliating UFC title loss, many publicly wondered whether Rousey would ever again be the same, let alone contend for the championship. This line of thought also seemed more and more likely as each UFC card came and went — 14 in all — without Ronda participating. Rather than going the traditional route of handpicking opponents to pad UFC her record and build up confidence, Ronda Rousey has instead put all of her marbles into training heavily for a UFC 207 return and title match.
The fact that Rousey has been dedicating herself exclusively to training following that loss to Holm indicates to many that Amanda Nunes (+140) might just be in trouble at UFC 207.
Rousey’s return aside, the UFC 207 fight card is stacked with matches that have fans excited.
This UFC 207 fight card will be co-headlined by a men’s Bantamweight championship match between title-holder Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt. Cruz is a -225 favorite, also per Odds Shark, to defeat the 10-0 Garbrandt (+175), who SB Nation noted has won nine of his 10 fights by knockout. By comparison, Dominick has won six out of his last seven by decision after going the five-round limit.
Clearly, Cruz is a fighter built to win with stamina, and a key will be to avoid getting hit with a “lights-out” blow by his opponent.
In other UFC 207 fight card action, a top contender’s match for the UFC Men’s Bantamweight title will see the heavily favorited T.J. Dillashaw (-250) taking on John Lineker (+195) in yet another match expected to pit one man’s ability to endure punishment and emerge the winner (Dillashaw) versus another competitor’s pure power and potential for a knockout blow (Lineker).
Amidst so much great Bantamweight action, the UFC 207 fight card did take a bit of a hit this week when former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez was pulled from his impending battle against another former UFC Heavyweight title-holder and jiu-jitsu master Fabricio Werdum.
“Based on the medical records, interviews with [Cain] Velasquez and best judgement of our chairman, chief representatives, executive director and physicians,” said Nevada Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett late last week, per MMAFighting.com, “[as well as] to protect the health and safety of the fighter, we’ve determined Mr. Velasquez is unfit to fight.”
The news, of course, followed an independent ESPN report in which Velasquez noted that he would need surgery due to extensive back and leg injuries.
The major matches for UFC’s highly anticipated UFC 207 fight card, including up-to-date odds compiled by Odds Shark, are listed as follows.
Women’s Bantamweight Title:
Amanda Nunes (c) +140 vs. Ronda Rousey -180
Men’s Bantamweight Title:
Dominick Cruz (c) -225 vs. Cody Garbrandt +180
TJ Dillashaw -250 vs. John Lineker +195
Alex Garcia -154 vs. Mike Pyle +124
Dong Hyun Kim -133 vs. Tarec Saffiedine +108
Neil Magny -250 vs. Johny Hendricks +195
Who are you rooting for?
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]