The trio of Aussies competing at UFC 209 in Las Vegas tomorrow have all come in on weight. Mark Hunt, Daniel Kelly and Tyson Pedro all weighed in on target at the UFC’s early weigh-in this morning (Australian time).
Melbourne’s Dan Kelly (12-1) weighed in at 186 pounds and is welcoming former light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (19-5-1) to the middleweight division. Evans has been out of action for nearly a year due to injuries and an inability to gain medical clearances. The former champion is hoping the drop to middleweight will rejuvenate his career, but he faces a tough test in Kelly.
While Evans is placed as the heavy favourite, Kelly has shown a grit and determination to defy the odds throughout his UFC run. A win for Kelly over one of the sports’ elite would be the highlight of his MMA career, and surely earn him a ranked opponent in the future.
New Zealand-born Mark Hunt (12-10-1) tipped the scales at the heavyweight limit of 265 pounds. Hunt takes on Dutchman Alistair Overeem (41-5) in a rematch that is nearly 10 years in the making. Hunt first fought Overeem in the now defunct Dream promotion in Japan in 2008, losing by first-round submission. Hunt is quick to point out that he has never lost a rematch, and is eager to get this one back.
Hunt has been out of action since his infamous fight against Brock Lesnar at UFC 200. After losing a decision, the fight was ruled a no-contest as Lesnar failed both a pre and post-fight drug test. Hunt now finds himself in the peculiar position of suing the organisation he is concurrently competing in, against an opponent with a known history of steroid use. A win from Hunt would presumably put him right back into the title picture, how his court proceedings could affect such things however remains to be seen.
A battle of undefeated contenders is the featured fight on the UFC Fight Pass prelims between Western Sydney’s Tyson Pedro (5-0) and Scotsman Paul Craig (9-0). Both men came in easily on weight and are looking to keep their unbeaten streaks alive.
Both fighters made impressive octagon debuts late last year after dominating their respective regional promotions. They also have a knack for finishing fights with neither of them having ever left a contest in the hands of the judges. Pedro has finished all his fights in the first round, while Craig has only needed to go into the second round twice.
The slated co-main event will not take place as planned as Khabib Nurmagomedov was deemed medically unfit to compete against Tony Ferguson.
The early prelims start at 10.30am AEDT on UFC Fight Pass
The prelims are on Fox Sports 2 at 12:00pm AEDT
The UFC 209 main card is on Main Event PPV at 2:00pm AEDT