Ferguson vs. Lee for interim LW title headlines UFC 216, Johnson to defend flyweight belt against Borg

An interim lightweight title fight between #2 ranked Tony Ferguson and #7 ranked Kevin Lee headlines over flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson defending the belt against #3 ranked Ray Borg at UFC 216.  UFC 216 takes place October 7th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV with four prelims webcast at UFC Fight Pass, four prelims broadcast on FXX, and a five-bout main card broadcast as a pay-per-view.

An interim lightweight title is necessary as lightweight champion Conor McGregor is coming off his multi-million dollar boxing shenanigans while #3 ranked Eddie Alvarez and former WSOF champion and #5 ranked Justin Gaethje are TUF coaches for the current season.  Tony Ferguson captured the #2 ranking with a record of 22-3 with nine wins in a row, his only loss in the Octagon being to currently #9 ranked Michael Johnson in May 2012.  Ferguson’s last five fights won performance bonuses with “Performance of the Night” against Gleison Tibau, John Thomson, and #4 Edson Barboza followed by “Fight of the Night” bonuses against Lando Vannata and Rafael dos Anjos.  The downside to Ferguson is his most recent fight was against Dos Anjos last November.  16-2 Lee has only lost twice in his twelve UFC bouts.  After his most recent loss against Leonardo Santos in December 2015 Lee won five in a row with technical submissions of both Magomed Mustafaev and #10 ranked Michael Chiesa earning “Performance of the Night”.  The Chiesa bout in June was Lee’s most recent win.

Although flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is still the official #1 pound-for-pound fighter and holds the record for longest active championship reign his title defense against Ray Borg takes co-main event status, possibly because of the amount of backlash that Johnson is not exciting and possibly because he is so dominant as to make betting lines less than idealistic.  Johnson is officially 26-3 but in thirteen flyweight fights including ten title defenses or over six years he is undefeated.  In the past year Johnson defended the belt against #10 ranked Tim Elliot by unanimous decision and #6 ranked Wilson Reis by armbar with the Reis fight being in April on a UFC on Fox card.  Ray Borg earned the #3 ranking with a record of 12-2, 5-2 in the UFC.  In the past twelve months Borg bounced back from his second UFC loss to take unanimous decisions over #11 Louis Smolka and #5 Jussier Formiga.

Prelims at UFC Fight Pass

  • Matt Schnell vs. Marco Beltran
  • Thales Leites vs. Brad Tavares
  • John Moraga vs. Magomed Bibulatov
  • Walt Harris vs. Mark Godbeer

Prelims on FXX

  • W Strawweight: Pearl Gonzalez vs. Poliana Botelho
  • LW: Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata
  • LW: Will Brooks vs. Nik Lentz
  • BW: Tom Duquesnoy vs. Cody Stamann

Main card

  • LW: Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham
  • W Flyweight: Mara Romero Borella vs. Kalindra Faria
  • HW: Fabricio Werdum vs. Derrick Lewis
  • Flyweight title: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg
  • Interim LW title: Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee