LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 06: (L-R) Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt face off during the UFC 200: Press Conference in KA Theater at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on July 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

UFC 200 may be the best card in MMA history. But there’s no doubt it’s been the best soap opera on TV in 2016. Main event changes. Fighters removed. Fighters added. Leaked stories. Shocking twists. And an MMA superhero — Anderson Silva — sweeping in to save a fight.

It’s been a wild ride but UFC 200 is finally here. Get your mouthpiece, here is your UFC 200 Preview.

Your Jon Jones Meme of the Week

Let’s warm it up with some levity, shall we?

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You people should thank me for going through all these for you. It was painstaking. My sides are killing me from laughing so hard.


The (Old) Goat Replaces The (New) Goat

UFC 200: Anderson Silva vs. Daniel Cormier
Everyone has their own opinion on who is the greatest MMA fighter of all-time. But generally speaking, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva was considered the greatest until his recent travails. In his stead came Jon Jones. When Jones was forced to withdraw from his fight with Daniel Cormier, Anderson Silva, 41 years young, took the fight with all of two days notice.

Why? Because GOATs do GOAT things, like stepping up to save a fight or save a card. No, Anderson Silva is no longer the best fighter in the UFC, and like Jones has had some controversies over the last few years. But Silva will fight the light heavyweight champion on two days notice, and that deserves a lot of props.


The Champs Are Here — A Lot of Them

Two UFC titles will be up for grabs Saturday night.

  • UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Miesha Tate (C) vs. Amanda Nunes
  • UFC Featherweight Championship (Interim Title): Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo

Eight current or former champs will do battle at UFC 200, three of them competing in the two title fights: Tate, Edgar, and Aldo. The other five champs on the card are Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, Johny Hendricks, TJ Dillashaw, and Anderson Silva.

That list doesn’t account for titles won outside the UFC. Gegard Mousasi is the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion. Takanori Gomi was the PRIDE lightweight champion. Mark Hunt is a former K-1 champion, a title he won back in 2001. Calling this card stacked is an understatement, even with Jones off the card.


Fourth Time’s the Charm

Grab your scorecards and please have your pencils ready as we go over the main event timeline for UFC 200. The initial main event was the rematch between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor, now scheduled for UFC 202. McGregor squawked off about doing promotion, so Dana White pantsed him and sent him to the bench.

Up next was Jones vs. Cormier II. When Jones bowed out, the UFC thought it would be nearly impossible to find a replacement for him. So the Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt bout became the main event, which was the third main event for UFC 200. But late Thursday night, the UFC announced that the bantamweight championship fight between Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes will be the main event, the fourth and hopefully final one.

Dana White explained the late switch after UFC Fight Night. “Miesha is the woman who beat the woman who beat the woman. She’s the champ,” White said. “What she accomplished a few fights ago, you can’t disrespect that. She should be the main event. She deserves that.”


Your MMA Picture of the Week

This is Joe Lauzon. He’s been in the UFC since 2006, announcing his arrival with a massive first-round knockout of Jens Pulver, MMA legend and the first-ever UFC lightweight champion.

Since then, Lauzon has been involved in some of the most exciting and sometimes bloody fights. He fights Diego Sanchez Saturday night, another guy who loves to leave it all in the cage, including his plasma.

This could be an all-out bloodbath and oddly enough, I think both prefer it to go that way. These two continually receive post-fight performance bonuses and Saturday night should be no different.


Fight of the Night Prediction

The Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar fight for the UFC interim featherweight title is my pick for Fight of the Night. Both are former champions, and both want Conor McGregor’s belt. Aldo, the first-ever UFC featherweight champion, knows that he has to win Saturday night to get his rematch with McGregor. Edgar is the former UFC lightweight champion who won his title by dethroning BJ Penn, largely considered the greatest lightweight fighter of all-time.

These two have already fought once at UFC 156, an exciting fight that saw Aldo retain his title by unanimous decision. It was named Fight of the Night for that event, and I expect someone to finish the fight this time around. Edgar and Aldo will go down as two of the best fighters in the history of the UFC. I think they’ll prove that again at UFC 200.


Brock Lesnar is Back — But For How Long?

The last time Brock Lesnar fought in a cage was at UFC 141, back in 2011. Alistair Overeem needed just over two minutes of the first round to make Lesnar crumple in a heap on the canvas. Lesnar then developed diverticulitis and never fought again in the UFC. He went back to WWE, where he defeated The Undertaker and stopped his streak of 21 straight Wrestlemania wins. He then became the Mayor of Suplex City, throwing WWE superstars around the ring like they were pillows, and also won the WWE heavyweight championship.

Now he’s back, bringing with him a fierce desire to end his MMA career in a different way. But what if he beats the brakes off Mark Hunt? It’s entirely possible, perhaps even likely that Lesnar will once again end up in a heap after Hunt lays hands on him. But Lesnar could get him to ground, keep him there, and pound on him until the ref stops the bout. What then? Does he call it a career and go back to WWE to make gobs of money for limited appearances? Maybe the competitive bell can’t be unrung. He could beat Hunt and decide he will make another run for the UFC heavyweight title.

Lesnar will return to WWE and he’s scheduled to wrestle at SummerSlam on Sunday, Aug. 21. But after that, it’s anyone’s guess as to what he will do, which makes the ramifications of his comeback fight much bigger. Whatever happens with Lesnar Saturday night is sure to be a spectacle, and you don’t want to miss it.


Five For Fighting

The stacked card of UFC 200 means that every fight will feature a great storyline, a former champ, or an up-and-coming UFC star. But here are five fighters that I’m really excited to see Saturday night.

  • Cain Velasquez. The former UFC heavyweight champ has a date with dangerous striker Travis Browne. He lost his last fight and title to Fabricio Werdum, but Velasquez is one of the most dominant champs in UFC history, and still very much in his prime. Look for him to put fear into the heavyweight division and absolutely wreck Browne on the UFC’s biggest stage.
  • Cat Zingano. Zingano hasn’t fought since her loss to Ronda Rousey at UFC 184 back in February 2015. She suffered injuries that kept her out of the game until now, but she is still widely considered a top contender for the UFC women’s bantamweight title. She’ll have her hands full with…
  • Julianna Pena. Pena is Zingano’s opponent and she too is coming off some devastating knee injuries. She’s non-stop action and aggression in the cage, and has won all three of her UFC fights. This her first chance at a top-5 fighter. If she beats Zingano, it proves what many already think — Pena could be a future champion.
  • Johny Hendricks. The former UFC welterweight champ has lost three of his last five fights, and he’ll be taking on #12-ranked Kelvin Gastelum. Now 32, Hendricks suffered the first knockout loss of his career in February. Does he have another title run in him or he is old news?
  • Sage Northcutt. Northcutt is entered the UFC to much hype, which increased tremendously after he won his first two UFC fights with highlight-reel finishes. He took the first defeat of his career to Bryan Barbarena in January, and it’s always interesting to see how a fighter comes back from his first loss.

The early UFC 200 prelims begin at 6:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass. The rest of the prelims air on FS1 beginning at 8 p.m. ET, and the main card can be seen on PPV beginning at 10 p.m. ET.

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio has been covering MMA since 2009, mostly in the midwest for He also writes UFC previews for Draft Kings, and is the play-by-play announcer for the XFO, seen on UFC Fight Pass.