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Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman will be the latest middleweight to move up to light heavyweight, following suit of another former middleweight champ – Luke Rockhold. The UFC has officially booked Weidmans light heavyweight debut as the main event of the UFC Fight Night card to be held on October 18 at the TD Garden. He will face the undefeated Dominick Reyes.
Since defeating middleweight legend Anderson Silva for the title, Weidman has been mostly unimpressive in the middleweight division. Poor weight cuts and injuries have hindered the last few years of his career and he is hoping for a resurgence with the move up to light heavyweight. Weidman has gone just 1-4 in his last five fights. From 2015 to mid-2017, Weidman dropped four fights in a row. He snapped his losing streak on July 22, 2017, against Kelvin Gastelum, whom he defeated by submission. His last fight took place at UFC 230 on November 3, 2018. He fought Ronaldo Jacare Souza and lost the bout via vicious knockout. He has since been on the shelf recovering from neck surgery. He cites the aftermath of multiple surgeries as the cause for him being unable to continuously cut the weight to the 185-pound limit for middleweight. His professional record is 14-4.
Weidman is set to face the undefeated Dominick Reyes on October 18. Reyes, who has a professional record of 11-0 and has gone 5-0 under the UFC banner, last fought earlier this year on March 16. He won a rather controversial split-decision over Volkan Oezdemir. He is ranked fourth overall amongst the UFCs light heavyweights.
Featherweight contender Yair Rodriguez is set to headline the UFC Fight Night card in his home country of Mexico on September 21. The UFC announced that Rodriguez will face the veteran fighter Jeremy Stephens in the main event matchup. Rodriguez is 7-1 in the UFC and 11-2 overall. His lone loss in the UFC came against featherweight title contender Frankie Edgar. His last fight was on November 10, 2018, where he headlined a UFC Fight Night against The Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung. He defeated Jung by a stunning last-second knockout that sent shockwaves across the MMA universe. Both fighters were awarded fight of the night honors and Rodriguez earned a performance of the night bonus as well. He is ranked at number seven in the featherweight division.
His opponent, Jeremy Stephens, is looking to get back in the win column in this bout. Stephens, who is ranked at number eight by the UFC, is coming off of back-to-back losses after winning three fights in a row. On July 28, 2018, Stephens winning streak was snapped by former champion Jose Aldo via first-round TKO. He then fought against featherweight prospect Zabit Magomedsharipov on March 2 of this year and lost via unanimous decision.
Despite being on a record-setting seven-fight losing streak, the UFC has booked the former lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn for one more fight. UFC President Dana White has come out to say that win, lose, or draw, this will be Penns last fight for the promotion.
Penn is set to face Nik Lentz in a lightweight bout but the date and location have yet to be determined. Penn last fought on the UFC 237 card on May 11 of this year against veteran Clay Guida. Penn lost the fight via unanimous decision.
Nik Lentz is 2-1 in his last three UFC appearances. His last fight came earlier this year on May 18 where he took on Charles Oliveira. Lentz lost the fight via second-round TKO. Prior to that loss, he had a unanimous decision win over Scott Holtzman and a TKO win over Gray Maynard.
Penn has not won a fight since 2010 and now holds a record of more losses than wins with the UFC: 12-13. His overall MMA record sits at 16-14-2. He is a former two-division champion and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2015.
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Ryan Bristlon is a Canadian writer currently residing in Hamilton, Ontario. He studied print and broadcast journalism at Humber College and has been a lifelong fan of the sport of hockey and the NHL.
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