Weekend Warrior: Championship Doubleheader


Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC [Getty Images]

Cody Garbrandt had it all — until archrival T.J. Dillashaw took it away from him.

Garbrandt will attempt to reclaim the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight crown in his rematch with Dillashaw, as they headline UFC 227 this Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Their first encounter ended in spectacular fashion, with Dillashaw roaring back from the brink to stop his former Team Alpha Male stablemate with second-round punches at UFC 217 on Nov. 4. Neither man has competed since.

The co-main event also features a championship rematch, as longtime flyweight titleholder Demetrious Johnson puts his belt on the line against 2008 Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo. Enjoying a historic reign at 125 pounds, Johnson has established himself as one of MMA’s pound-for-pound best with wins over Cejudo, Joseph Benavidez (twice), John Dodson (twice) and Kyoji Horiguchi. Cejudo, meanwhile, finds himself on a two-fight winning streak, having rattled off back-to-back victories against Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis.

Demetrious Johnson Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC [Getty Images]

UFC 227 “Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2” — which airs live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT — also features a middleweight clash pairing Thiago Santos with Kevin Holland, a women’s flyweight affair pitting Polyana Viana Mota against J.J. Aldrich and a featherweight battle matching Cub Swanson with Renato Carneiro. FX (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) and UFC Fight Pass (6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m.) will provide coverage of the undercard.

A relatively light schedule on the regional mixed martial arts scene will see two CES MMA championships on the line at CES MMA 51, as Nate Andrews defends the lightweight title against D’Juan Owens and Sean Sorian squares off with Bruce Boyington for the vacant featherweight strap. The show airs live on AXS-TV at 9 p.m. ET.

Looking ahead, Season 2 of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series will stage its eighth card of the summer on Aug. 7 in Las Vegas. The five-fight event streams to UFC Fight Pass at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. All 10 competitors on the card — former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy is among the notables — will be vying for a UFC contract.

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