The card for UFC 192 (scheduled for Saturday, October 3rd, at the Toyota Center in Houston) is highlighted by a light heavyweight title bout between champion Daniel Cormier and challenger Alexander Gustafsson. The main card also features welterweight Johny Hendricks battling Tyron Woodley, and a light heavyweight tussle between Ryan Bader and Rashad Evans. The Cormier/Gustafsson main event was originally slated for UFC 191, but had to be rescheduled because of a knee injury to the champ.
Let’s take a closer look at the fighters and odds.
Cormier vs. Gustafsson
Cormier won a bronze medal in wrestling at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He transitioned to MMA in 2008 and holds a 16-1 career record. The 36-year-old lost a title fight (unanimous decision) to Jon Jones in January. After Jones was suspended, Cormier forced Anthony Johnson into submission using a rear-naked choke at UFC 187 to earn the title. The dominant grappler has proved his hands are to be feared, as well, posting six career knockouts.
Gustafsson has lost two of his last three matches including his own title shot against Jones back in September 2013 (unanimous decision). He bounced back to beat Jimi Manuwa via TKO (knees and punches) in March 2014, but found himself back in the loss column in January, suffering a TKO at the hands of Anthony Johnson. The big Swede is 16-3, career, with ten wins via knockout.
Cormier is a 1/3 favorite and his recent form suggests he’s a better fighter at this point.
Hendricks vs. Woodley
Hendricks is now 17-3 after a unanimous decision win over Matt Brown at UFC 185 in March. That followed a narrow loss to Robbie Lawler the year before. Hendricks has relatively heavy hands, with eight KO wins. But he’s also won eight via decision, and each of his last five fights has gone the distance.
Woodley – 15-3 career – beat Kelvin Gastelum in a split decision in January, even though Gastelum failed to make weight. That was Woodley’s second straight win after earning a TKO of Dong Hyun Kim in August 2014. His 15 career wins are evenly split between knockout, submission, and decision.
Hendricks is a 1/3 favorite and has faced better recent competition. Look for these two talented wrestlers to take this fight to the mat.
Evans vs. Bader
After four straight wins, Bader is now 19-4. Each of the four victories went to the cards, including a split verdict over Phil Davis back in January. Prior to that, Bader beat Ovince Saint Preux in August 2014 and Rafael Cavalcante a year ago June. His last setback came against Glover Teixeira (TKO via punches) in December 2013.
Evans, who has been sidelined with various leg and knee injuries, is returning to the octagon for the first time since beating Chael Sonnen in November 2013. He had a brief stint as the light heavyweight champ in 2009, beating Forrest Griffin for the belt, and he had a chance to earn it back in 2012 but, like a lot of people on this card, lost to Jon Jones. The UFC vet is 19-3-1 all time with more than half his wins coming by decision.
Evans is a 5/8 favorite, but it is unclear how healthy he is. This fight feels likely to go the distance, and we’ll take our chances with Bader as a live underdog.
(Photo credit: Remycote [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/] via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)