UFC 202 rapidly taking shape

Carlos Condit will take on Demian Maia in a crucial welterweight scrap at UFC 202.

Carlos Condit will take on Demian Maia in a crucial welterweight scrap at UFC 202.

Published on Tuesday, 6/28/15, at 6:36 p.m. Eastern.

The UFC 202 show at T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas is turning into a monster. We already knew one of the year’s most anticipated fights  – Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II – would headline the event.

Then on Monday and Tuesday, four huge bouts were added to the card.

The co-main event will pit Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson against Glover Teixeira. This light-heavyweight scrap was originally slated as the co-main for UFC on FOX 20 until Johnson withdrew two weekends ago for undisclosed reasons. William Hill opened Rumble as a -250 favorite, leaving Teixeira as the +190 underdog (risk $100 to win $190).

Also on Monday, we learned that Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone will make his third straight trip to the Octagon as a welterweight when he takes on ninth-ranked Rick ‘The Horror’ Story. Cerrone has beaten Alex Oliveira and Patrick Cote since jumping up to 170 after a December loss to Rafael dos Anjos for the lightweight strap.

Cerrone, who owns a 10-1 record in his last 11 fights, finished Oliveira by first-round submission in Pittsburgh. He followed that up with another finish of Cote by third-round knockout at UFC Ottawa.

Story has won three in a row, including a unanimous-decision triumph over Tarec Saffiedine on May 29 in Vegas. The 31-year-old had been out since October of 2014 due to multiple injuries.

I was surprised earlier today when I saw reports of Carlos Condit coming back to face Demian Maia. Since losing a split decision to Robbie Lawler at UFC 195 on Jan. 2, ‘The Natural Born Killer’ has been on the sidelines.

He has indicated that retirement is starting to enter his mind. Condit, 32, is 39 fights deep into his career. He has participated in epic wars with Lawler, Martin Kampmann, Johny Hendricks, GSP, Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald. Condit also went the distance in two more fights that ended in split decisions, including a loss in his first meeting with Kampmann and a win over Jake Ellenberger.

It’s understandable and wise for him to be thinking about his future. It also looked like a decent strategy in landing a rematch with Lawler. With that not working out, Condit has decided to stay active and take on Maia.

The Brazilian BJJ ace is a bad matchup for most. He just shut down Matt Brown with his world-class grappling and BJJ. Maia has won five in a row and is 8-2 since dropping to 170 from middleweight.

I can’t wait to see the odds for Condit-Maia. I’m thinking pick ’em or Condit as a VERY short favorite. I’ll call it Condit -125ish.

Another welterweight showdown is on tap at 202. Neil Magny will face ‘The Stun Gun’ in search of his 11th win in his last 12 fights. The lone loss for Magny during this incredible stretch that started in 2014? Maia.

Dong Hyun Kim has compiled a 6-1 record in his last seven Octagon appearances, with the lone loss coming to title-challenger Tyron Woodley.

For more of my UFC content, you can check out this notebook over at VegasInsider.com.

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