UFC: Woodley v Burns Preview
By James Heaney
The UFC returns ‘home’ this weekend, as the Apex plays host to a Fight Night, headlined by Tyron Woodley v Gilbert Burns.
Following the success of the three events in Jacksonville, the UFC is looking to book more events at the Apex, the NSAC having just approved the venue and the UFC’s procedures to host the next PPV, UFC 250.
The favourite in this weekends main event, is the returning Tyron Woodley, in his first fight since losing the welterweight title to Kamaru Usman in March 2019.
Stepping in on short notice, to replace Leon Edwards, is Gilbert Burns, who finished Damien Maia just over two months ago. Woodley referred to Burns this week as a “sacrificial lamb” and implied that Burns has made a huge mistake in offering to take this fight, to impress the UFC match makers.
It’s an intriguing match up, in a competitive division, Woodley arguably with a lot to lose should he fall to the Number 6 ranked Burns.
But it is exciting to see Woodley return in an event which will draw eyes from all over the world as the UFC continues to be one of the first sports to put on events to a potentially new audience.
During the media rounds this week, Woodley denied the notion of ‘ring rust’ and has said he will be bringing the best version of himself to the cage this weekend. There’s a desire and passion to get back to winning ways and have another shot at welterweight gold.
But Burns is a huge challenge, he has power in his hands and is not scared to tangle on the ground and is confident he matches up well to what Woodley can throw at him. It’s a step up in competition, but there’s no better way to demonstrate your potential than defeating a former champion in a headline match.
There are exciting match ups across the rest of the event, including some potential barn burners in the lighter divisions to start the card.
There are also high profile matches in the women’s division, the returning Kaitlyn Chookagian looking to bounce back from her loss against Valentina Shevchenko, by fighting her sister, Antonina.
Opening the main card is McKenzie Dern vs Hannah Cifers.
Mackenzie Dern is looking to get back to winning ways after her first MMA loss. Expect a classic takedown v avoiding the takedown duel as Cifers looks to avoid heading to the mat with Dern.