The UFC have reshuffled their main card and stuck one of the best fights of the year at the start of UFC 268.
The lightweight contender bout between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler was originally scheduled to be third from last on the night, just before the two title fights between Rose Namajunas and Weili Zhang, and Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington.
However the organisation have confirmed now that the bout will instead open the main card at Madison Square Garden.
After an initial report from Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, the company confirmed that the bout will now go on first in the main card rather than third at UFC 268 this Saturday night.
When asked for a reason, the UFC simply stated they wanted to start the card with a bang and that this fight basically guaranteed fireworks.
Gaethje has won 19 of his 22 career bouts via knockout, earning himself the nickname of ‘The Highlight’. In eight UFC appearances he has earned NINE performance of the night bonuses, with none of his fights since 2014 going to the judge’s scorecards.
Chandler on the other hand has only fought twice in the UFC so far but both appearances have been hugely exciting affairs.
It took him less than half a round to dispatch of Dan Hooker on his debut at UFC 257 via first-round knockout, before his lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira at UFC 262.
While he lost that bout, he earned a knockdown and almost finished Oliveira in the opening round before the Brazilian was able to recover between rounds and earn a knockout of his own to capture the title.
Another reason behind the switch could be down to Gaethje’s coach Trevor Wittman, who is also the head coach for both Namajunas and Usman.
While this is purely speculation, it’s possible that the camp asked for the switch so that Wittman would have more time with his fighters before their title bouts at the top of the card.
UFC 268 will kick off live from 10pm UK time on UFC Fight Pass on Saturday November 6th, before BT Sport show the prelims live from midnight. The main card is due to begin at 2am UK time.
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