The UFC have settled on main events for all their pay-per-view cards through 2020 and into January 2021 according to president Dana White.
With UFC 253 headlined by Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa for the middleweight title and Dominick Reyes vs Jan Blachowicz for the vacant light heavyweight title, UFC 254 is set to be the card of the year in October. Scheduled to be headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje, there are due to be several other high profile fights on the card including Tony Ferguson vs Dustin Poirier. UFC 255 is due to be headlined by a title double-header when Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Cody Garbrandt for the flyweight championship and Valentina Shevchenko defends her flyweight title against Jennifer Maia.
Up to now December’s UFC 256 card was unannounced but the headliners have now been confirmed. Women’s G.O.A.T Amanda Nunes will defend her featherweight championship against Meagan Anderson while Gilbert Burns will finally get his shot at the welterweight champion Kamaru Usman following the collapse of their bout on Fight Island at UFC 251.
That will likely be followed up by the hotly anticipated rematch for the BMF title between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz. According to reports by TMZ which were later confirmed by Dana White, the plan currently is for the two to meet again at welterweight after their first bout ended due to doctors stoppage between rounds for a cut above Diaz’s eye. Despite Diaz being more than willing to continue, the doctor refused and the referee waved the fight off handing Masvidal a TKO win. Both fighters stated in their post-fight octagon interviews that they intended to ‘run it back’ sooner rather than later and this would be Diaz’s first fight since with Masvidal’s only bout since being a short-notice title fight against Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.
A rematch between the two isn’t really necessary considering the way the first bout went, but the numbers were huge for the company and a big pay-day is what both fighters are after at the moment before anything else. This gets everyone on board, casual fans are interested again and it keeps the division moving going forward.
As for the title fight between Usman and Burns, it’s unfinished business from UFC 251 with the two teammates going at it. Usman will continue to be the favourite going into the bout but Burns poses a real threat going forward with power and he has a great ground game which could make Usman think twice about taking him down to the mat.
With many sports beginning to plan for fans to return to spectate their events, it’s unknown what the UFC are expecting. Once bans are lifted and business goes back to normal, the UFC seem to be stacking their PPV cards a little bit more than normal in the hope they will be able to put tickets on sale at short notice and still sell out regardless of where they are.
The rest of the year and now the beginning of next year looks stacked for the UFC and with plenty of big fights aside from the main events and pay-per-views the MMA world looks a lot of fun to be a part of right now.