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Tyron Woodley will attempt to get back on the horse for the first time since Kamaru Usman bucked him off the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight throne some 15 months ago.
The two-time NCAA All-American wrestler on Saturday faces surging Hard Knocks 365 export Gilbert Burns in the UFC on ESPN 9 headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, fast-rising heavyweights collide in the co-main event, where former World Series of Fighting champion Blagoy Ivanov awaits Bellator MMA veteran Augusto Sakai.
Woodley last competed at UFC 235 on March 2, 2019, when he suffered his first setback in eight appearances in a blowout decision loss to Usman. So one-sided was the result that it raised legitimate questions about the 38-year-old Ferguson, Missouri, native’s long-term outlook in the sport. Woodley has compiled a 9-3-1 record since he joined the UFC roster in 2013, with wins over Josh Koscheck, Carlos Condit, Kelvin Gastelum, Robbie Lawler, Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia highlighting his resume.
Burns enters the most significant opportunity of his career on the strength of a five-fight winning streak. A multiple-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, he last appeared at UFC Fight Night 170, where he cut down the aforementioned Maia with punches in the first round of their March 14 encounter. Burns, 33, has secured 14 of his 18 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
UFC on ESPN 9—which airs live on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT—will also feature a featherweight clash pairing Billy Quarantillo with Spike Carlyle, a lightweight tilt pitting Roosevelt Roberts against Brok Weaver and a women’s strawweight affair matching Mackenzie Dern with Hannah Cifers. ESPN and ESPN+ will share coverage of the six-fight undercard, starting at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
A closer look at the UFC on ESPN 9 “Woodley vs. Burns” particulars:
THE LINEUP170: Tyron Woodley vs. Gilbert Burns
265: Blagoy Ivanov vs. Augusto Sakai
145: Billy Quarantillo vs. Spike Carlyle
155: Roosevelt Roberts vs. Brok Weaver
115: Mackenzie Dern vs. Hannah Cifers
125: Katlyn Chookagian vs. Antonina Shevchenko
170: Daniel Rodriguez vs. Gabriel Green
205: Jamahal Hill vs. Klidson Abreu
125: Tim Elliott vs. Brandon Royval
135: Louis Smolka vs. Casey Kenney
145: Chris Gutierrez vs. Vince Morales
THE RUNDOWN• Preview
• Prime Picks
• 5 Defining Moments: Tyron Woodley
• Weigh-in Report
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