The UFC returns to Pittsburgh on Feb. 21. The promotion announced Friday that a welterweight bout between Donald Cerrone and Tim Means will headline the card.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will make its return to Pittsburgh on Feb. 21 and will feature one of the promotion’s most popular fighters.
Former lightweight title challenger Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will be making his welterweight debut in Pittsburgh when he enters the cage with Tim Means in the headlining bout of UFC Fight Night 82: Cowboy vs. Means at the Consol Energy Center. Despite his recent defeat at the hands of UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, Cerrone remains one of the most popular fighters in the sport.
The UFC has not held a show in Pittsburgh since 2011 and had not held an event in the city before then. Heavyweights Cheick Kongo and Pat Berry headlined the June 2011 card. While the 2011 card was an entertaining one for mixed martial arts fans, Cerrone is the most high-profile fighter to compete in the steel city.
This show will likely aid in growing the city’s interest in the sport. There are no popular fighters based in Pittsburgh and that certainly plays a part in the sport’s slow growth in the city. However, MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. A high-profile contenders bout between Cerrone and Means figures to spark interest not only in Pittsburgh but across the MMA world.
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Cerrone will be making his first foray into the welterweight division after a successful run in the UFC’s lightweight division. Cowboy was never able to attain a championship in the lightweight division, but is currently the No. 3 contender in the lightweight division. His recent move to welterweight likely will not be reflected in the rankings.
The welterweight division is the UFC’s deepest division and one that is extremely hard to crack. Cerrone joins former lightweight champion Benson Henderson as another notable lightweight to make the move up to the 170-pound welterweight division within the past 18 months.
Cerrone holds the record for the most “performance of the night” bonuses in the UFC. He’ll square off against Tim Means who holds a 25-7 record in professional mixed martial arts. Means is coming off a knockout victory over John Howard at UFC Fight Night 80 and is looking to gain traction in the UFC’s welterweight division.
A bantamweight contenders bout between Cody Garbrandt and John Lineker will serve as the co-main event of the evening. Lineker has had great success in the UFC’s flyweight division, but has failed to make the 125-pound flyweight limit in the past. Lineker will face off against the up-and-coming bantamweight Garbrandt who is undefeated in his young MMA career.
Other notable combatants on the card include Brandon Thatch, Chris Camozzi and Derek Brunson. The event will feature eleven bouts that are all subject to change.
As said above, the UFC is hoping that this event can help build a market in the Steel City. Bringing a high-profile name like Cerrone’s to Pittsburgh should help their cause. A big Cerrone victory could serve as a landmark fight in the UFC’s welterweight division, but Cerrone will be losing the size advantage that he held over nearly every lightweight he faced previously.
Regardless of the result, this event will be an exciting one for fans in Pittsburgh to sink their teeth into. Fans will, if nothing else, be in for exciting main and co-main event scraps.