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UFC 227: Our questions about Dillashaw-Garbrandt II and Johnson-Cejudo II

UFC 227

The UFC returns tonight for the first of two August shows, headlined by two rematches in lighter weight divisions struggling to get attention. 

Yes, welcome back to the "Demetrious Johnson isn't a star/is an underpromoted star" show, even though he's not headlining tonight's event....even though he is continuing to attempt to set records with flyweight title defenses. (See? Now I'm doing it!)

The card:

  • Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt II
  • Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo II
  • Thiago Santos vs. Kevin Holland
  • Polyana Viena vs. JJ Aldrich
  • Cub Swanson vs. Renato Moicano
  • Pedro Munhoz vs. Brett Johns
  • Ricky Simon vs. Montel Jackson
  • Ricardo Ramos vs. Kyung Ho Kang
  • Matt Sayles vs. Sheymon Moraes
  • Jose Torres vs. Alex Perez
  • Danielle Taylor vs. Zhang Weili
  • Marlon Vera vs. Wuliji Burne

As usual, yours truly, Paul Fontaine, and Ryan Frederick are your navigators.

What are you most looking forward to?

Ryan: The main event. Yeah, it is quick to give Garbrandt an immediate rematch seeing as he never even defended the bantamweight title before losing it to Dillashaw, but the only other viable contender in the division, Dominick Cruz, has been on the injured list until just recently. The rivalry is there, and I don’t expect it to endthere. I’m also looking forward to the Johnson-Cejudo rematch, but just because I appreciate how great Johnson is, and I wanna see if Cejudo has anything for him this time.

Paul: Garbrandt has been one of my favorite fighters for a couple of years now. Longtime readers may recall me picking him as a future fighter to watch before he even won the title from Cruz. He’s still very young and winning the title back could cement him as one of the greatest 135'ers in history.

Josh: Not much. This card isn't doing it for me at all and while the two top fights are high on skill, I'm not into anything happening tonight. Dillashaw and Garbrandt basically disappeared for a year, outside Dillashaw and Johnson flirting with a fight that seemingly will never happen. Johnson is what he is and while Cejudo has shown marked improvement since they last fought, we've seen this movie before.

Anything being slept on?

Paul: Brett Johns vs. Pedro Munhoz, two of the most underrated fighters in their division, anchors the FX prelims. A high profile win here could put either guy one or two fights awa from a title shot. Johns, in particular, has been a champion in other organizations and has a bit of a star aura about him.

Ryan: I’m not sure if it’s being slept on as it’s getting some attention, but the Fight Pass headliner between Shorty Torres and Alex Perez is one of the best fights on the card. Torres had full preparation for this fight, and it’s a good fight for him as Perez is tough and solid. Johnson did mention Torres as a future challenger, so he knows where his competition is going to be coming from. IAnother intriguing prelim is the bantamweight battle between Ricardo Ramos and Kyung Ho Kang.

Josh: Nah.

Anything not doing it for you?

Josh: As mentioned before, it's the whole show for me. Maybe it's because of the Red Sox-Yankees slugfest, but I can't muster up the interest. I think part of that is the lack of a fun contender queue for the champion. If Garbrandt wins, I don't want to wait a year to see this a third time. If Cejudo pulls off the upset, we're getting that fight a third time. So...yeah.

Ryan: It’s not a deep show by any means. It’s not the weakest pay-per-view line-up this year, but injuries did take their toll on the card with cancelled bouts. There isn’t anything not doing it for me, but there isn’t a lot of overall interest outside of the top two fights.

Paul: Honestly, anyone but the most hardcore of hardcore fans would have to struggle to find anything on this show worth caring about outside of the two main events. The whole undercard is kinda “meh”, but the Danielle Taylor fight on the Fight Pass prelims is the one that will probably suck the most. If I didn’t have to watch it, I wouldn’t because the next good Danielle Taylor fight I see will be the first.

What’s the intrigue with the show?

Ryan: The intrigue is in the main event and if Cejudo can score a different outcome in his second shot at dethroning Johnson. Outside of that, the show is really only for the hardcores. There was more intrigue for the press conference on Friday.

Paul: If Johnson can cement his legacy as the greatest pound for pound fighter in history by successfully defending his title yet again. People are talking right now that this is a foregone conclusion, and it probably is, but I have a funny feeling things may not go according to plan.

Josh: If Johnson can retain yet again. If he does, I agree with the sentiment Chuck Mindenhall had on this week's 'MMA Beat' that eventually, Johnson will need to go outside his comfort zone and go up a weight class or fight Dillashaw or else risk complete fan apathy.

What will be people talking about most after the show is done?

Ryan: It will be that Johnson remains the top pound-for-pound top fighter in the sport, and if it is finally time for the superfight between him and the winner of the main event. I personally think that Garbrandt is going to win this time over Dillashaw, and that it’ll probably lead to an immediate third fight which would be a mistake for now. Give it some breathing room if that happens as these two have tied up the 135-pound title for close to two years now. It’s time to get these divisions moving.

Paul: I’m going out on a limb and predicting that people will be talking about the fact that for the first time in history, someone other than Demetrious Johnson is the UFC flyweight champion. Outside of that, and what Ryan mentioned, it will be just whether or not this show can set the modern era record for the least purchased PPV.

Josh: That Johnson and Dillashaw were both victorious and that they really need to make that fight happen.

Who wins?

TJ vs. CG II

Dillashaw: Josh
Garbrandt: Ryan, Paul

DJ vs. HC II

Johnson: Josh, Ryan
Cejudo: Paul

Swanson vs. Moicano

Swanson: Ryan, Paul
Moicano: Josh

Follow along with our coverage tonight.