The UFC 170 card scheduled for February 22nd in Las Vegas lost it’s co-main event of Rashad Evans vs Daniel Cormier due to an injury to Evans. Though the match is only a week away, newcomer Patrick Cummins (4-0) will make his UFC debut taking on Cormier. Cummins came up with the idea himself, posting that he would fight next weekend to Twitter, and the UFC responded quickly. Does a relative unknown in the world of MMA have a chance against Cormier?
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Cummins has been around MMA, training with UFC fighters such as Mark Munoz, and he has a strong wrestling background having wrestled in college at a high level with Penn State. He is known as a hard nosed wrestler, he is a fitness poster boy and he has faced Heavyweights like Cormier in wrestling before.
This type of match-up rarely happens in the UFC, and it is unexpected that the fill in be an actual prospect. Credit goes to Cormier for taking the match-up, because though he may know Cummins from wrestling circles and he has a right to be comfortable thinking his wrestling will be another level than that of Cummins, it is the type of risk we have seen other fighters not take.
Aside from the surprise factor, Cummins fitness may also be a factor. One thing has not changed for Cormier and that is his weight cut to 205 lbs. Cormier famously failed to compete at the Olympics in 2008 because of trouble with the weight cut to 208 lbs. Trouble this time could manifest itself in two ways – Cormier might have a hard time getting to the weight and could struggle the last few pounds, making for a hard cut OR he could tire later in the match as his body was recovering from the cut. Either scenario opens a small window of opportunity for Cummins, whose gas should be there for 15 minutes.
Bottom line is that Cummins faces a tall order, and the books are likely to see Cormier as a huge favorite. But UFC fights with the x-factors this one has are few and far between, and it might be a good play on the underdog, just in case anything crazy happens!