UFC 214 is shaping up to be the biggest card of the year, with a third championship fight added today. UFC welterweight titleholder Tyron Woodley will put his belt on the line against Demian Maia at the July 29 event, which takes place at Honda Center in Anaheim. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the bout order hasn’t been finalized. Demian Maia will get a second chance at UFC gold when he takes on the current welterweight kingpin.
The contest will mark the third title defense for Woodley, No. 1 in the latest welterweight rankings, after he retained the gold twice in a pair of fights with Stephen Thompson. After winning the belt with a first-round knockout of Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 in July, Woodley put his belt up for grabs against “Wonderboy” at UFC 205 in November. The bout went to a controversial majority draw, which went into the books as a title defense for Woodley. The pair ran it back at UFC 209 in March, with Woodley winning a majority decision in a slow-paced affair.
Woodley now moves on to the next challenger, with No. 5-ranked Maia bringing a divisional best seven-fight winning streak into the contest, having finished such big-name welterweights as Carlos Condit and Matt Brown. He most recently picked up a split-decision win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 211 in May, solidifying his shot at the gold. The Brazilian has challenged for a UFC title once before, losing a decision to Anderson Silva at 185 pounds at UFC 112 in April 2010.
The match will be one of three title fights scheduled on the card — the other two being the long-awaited rematch between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier and the second women’s featherweight title match, which will be between Cris “Cyborg” Justino and Tonya Evinger.
The organization apparently already has plans in place beyond the next 170-pound title fight, as well, and they include former longtime divisional kingpin Georges St-Pierre, according to UFC President Dana White.
“Georges and I talked a couple days ago when he was in Vegas,” White said “Georges is saying he wants to fight; we’ll get this thing figured out. We’re talking about Tyron Woodley and Demian Maia. These two are going to fight soon. That will free up the 170-pound champion for Georges St-Pierre to return and try to regain his belt.”
Although his return to competition originally was scheduled to take place against Michael Bisping for the middleweight title, St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC) is expected to return to 170 later this year to challenge the winner between Woodley (17-3-1 MMA, 7-2-1 UFC) and Maia (25-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC).
St-Pierre held the UFC welterweight title for 2,064 days between 2008-2013. He vacated the belt following his ninth consecutive title defense against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November 2013, citing a number of reasons for taking the nearly four-year hiatus from competition.
– Champ Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones – for light heavyweight title
– Cristiane Justino vs. Tony Evinger – for vacant women’s featherweight title
– Champ Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia – for welterweight title
– Andre Fili vs. TBA
– Jason Knight vs. Ricardo Lamas
– Renan Barao vs. Aljamain Sterling
– Alexandra Albu vs. Kailin Curran
– Josh Burkman vs. Drew Dober
– Dmitrii Smoliakov vs. Adam Wieczorkowski
– Jarred Brooks vs. Eric Shelton
– Jimi Manuwa vs. Volkan Oezdemir
– Sage Northcutt vs. John Makdessi
– Renato Moicano vs. Brian Ortega
– Sara McMann vs. Ketlen Vieira
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