Former Oklahoma State wrestlers Johny Hendricks and Jared Rosholt will compete Saturday at UFC Fight Night 82 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Hendricks (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC), a former UFC Welterweight Champion, will headline the the event in a five-round welterweight bout against five-time kickboxing world champion Stephen Thompson (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC).The fight was originally scheduled to be in the co-main event, but the UFC Heavyweight Championship rematch between current champion Fabricio Werdum and former two-time champion Cain Velasquez was cancelled due to injuries from both fighters. With no other main event options, the UFC canceled the pay-per-view UFC 196 and the event became a Fight Night card on Fox Sports 1.
Jared Rosholt (14-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC), a three-time All-American at OSU, will face Roy Nelson (20-12 MMA, 7-8 UFC) in a three-round heavyweight bout before the main event.
Hendricks, a two-time national champion at OSU, is coming off what he calls the biggest disappointment of his athletic career, which came outside the cage at UFC 192 in October. The three-time prep state champion at Edmond Memorial was set to fight Tyron Woodley, a former Missouri wrestler, in a No. 1 contender bout; however, he was forced out of the fight due to a kidney stone.
UFC President Dana White told the No. 2 ranked Hendricks to move up to the middleweight division, but he responded by hiring nutritionist Louis Giordano and leaving Team Takedown. Hendricks showed off his new physique and made weight at 170 pounds, and Thompson also weighed in at 170.
Thompson, ranked No. 8, enters the contest on a five-fight winning streak, the longest among active fighters in the welterweight division. The 32-year-old earned a highlight-reel spinning hook kick knockout against Jake Ellenberger at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale last July.
The two do have one common opponent -- Matt Brown. Hendricks defeated Brown on March 14, 2015 at UFC 185 via unanimous decision. Thompson suffered his only loss in the UFC to Brown via unanimous decision at UFC 145.
The No. 12 ranked Rosholt is on a three-fight win streak after defeating Stefan Struve via unanimous decision Nov. 15 at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia. Rosholt's last loss came in November 2014 against Oleksly Oliynyk via knockout.
Nelson comes into the bout on a three-fight losing streak and has lost five of his last six. Each of Nelson's recent losses came via unanimous decision except a KO finish at the hands of Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 52 in September 2014. All five of those losses came against top-10 ranked guys, including Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier.
The two do not have a common opponent. Rosholt weighed in at 245 pounds, while Nelson stepped on the scale at 258.
How to watch
Here's the bout order:
Main Card (FS1, 9 PM CT)
Johny Hendricks vs. Stephen Thompson
Roy Nelson vs. Jared Rosholt
Rafael Cavalcante vs. Ovince Saint Preux
Joseph Benavidez vs. Zach Makovsky
Mike Pyle vs. Sean Spencer
Misha Cirkunov vs. Alex Nicholson
Preliminary Card (FS1, 7 p.m. CT)
Josh Burkman vs. K.J. Noons
Damian Grabowski vs. Derrick Lewis
Ray Borg vs. Justin Scoggins
Noad Lahat vs. Diego Rivas
Preliminary Card (Fight Pass, 6 p.m. CT)
Mickey Gall vs. Mike Jackson
Artem Lobov vs. Alex White