Preview: UFC on ESPN 16 Prelims

McGee vs. Condit

By Tom Feely Sep 30, 2020

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While this slate of prelims may not do much to get the blood pumping, there are worthwhile points of interest at UFC on ESPN 16 this Saturday at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The featured welterweight prelim provides some intrigue, as Carlos Condit and Court McGee look to recapture some of their past form. Beyond their battle, we find the usual combination of raw prospects and Dana White’s Contender Series alums in fun fights that do not mean much at the moment. However, a featherweight affair between Charles Jourdain and Joshua Culibao serves as a clear highlight on the action front.

Now to the preview for the UFC on ESPN 16 “Holm vs. Aldana” prelims:

Welterweights

Court McGee (19-9) vs. Carlos Condit (30-13)

ODDS: McGee (-130), Condit (+110)

This figures to be Condit’s easiest test in years, so the time has come to see exactly what “The Natural Born Killer” has left in the tank. Condit’s success has been built on a game that was always more than the sum of its parts. Even when he has been physically overmatched, Condit has managed to get by on a combination of savvy and bloodlust, the latter of which has made him one of the sport’s all-time violence kings. Condit kicked off 2016 with a welterweight title shot against fellow violence legend Robbie Lawler in a fight that has since taken on a near-mythical status. Not only did it entirely live up to its potential as an epic war and one of the best fights of all-time, but it has also served as a last hurrah for two men who, given their lack of success since, seemingly expended all their energy to try and beat each other. Condit has spent much of his subsequent time facing stronger wrestlers—they were always an issue for him—but his 2017 loss to Neil Magny was probably the most concerning of the bunch, if only because the New Mexico native spent enough time on the feet to show that he had issues pulling the trigger. In the other corner stands McGee, who also needs to turn around a recent slide, even if he has not fallen from quite the heights that Condit fell. McGee is an inspiration thanks to his openness about his struggles with addiction and willingness to help others, and he has been a perennially tough out. To this day, Santiago Ponzinibbio remains the only man to actually put away “The Crusher.” McGee’s style is not anything flashy—it involves meat-and-potatoes boxing and some solid clinch work—but he will keep gutting through anything to make it work. However, at 35 years old and with over a decade in the sport, younger and better athletes are simply able to best those efforts. That is not the case with Condit, so McGee has his own solid chance to stop his skid in a tough fight to call. Condit at least showed more of a willingness to throw hands in his fight against Alex Oliveira before it became a wrestling match, so hopefully he comes in with an aggressive mindset here, even if it is difficult to trust that he can recapture his 2018 form. If he does, it should be enough, though McGee’s physical strength and clinch game still loom as concerns. This might be sentiment speaking, but the pick is Condit via decision, though the most damning facet of all with this fight is that it probably figures to be more worrying than exciting.

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