There are not one, but two UFC cards going down this weekend, and Saturday’s UFC 226 offering is very likely the most stacked event this year. So, are the masses going to be shelling out bucks to catch Saturday’s pay-per-view? Or, will casual fans go out of their way to tune into Friday’s TUF 27 Finale?
TUF 27 Finale
Now, if you’re a diehard fan, you’re going to catch Friday’s headliner somehow, someway. That’s because it will feature rising star Israel Adesanya taking on middleweight contender Brad Tavares, who has been on quite the roll. It’s a pivotal fight, and on digital paper, it has all the makings on a fantastic scrap.
Are casual fans overly familiar with Adesanya or Tavares though? The latter has been around the UFC block, and Adesanya has some buzz in the MMA world, but neither guy is a mainstream commodity at this juncture. The card will also feature the lightweight and featherweight tourney finales from TUF 27, so, that might pull some fans in who have been watching the season. But, when you consider that there aren’t any all-star names on the card, in stark contrast to UFC 226, it will be a bit of a shock if this card draws big ratings.
UFC 226 Prelims
Chances are if the overnight ratings for the TUF 27 Finale tank, the promotion’s not going to be too, too concerned. As noted above, UFC 226 is extremely stacked, and the prelims have several compelling fights.
The Fight Pass prelims might not prompt a lot of so-so fans to sign-up to the service, as there’s no fighters who have been in high-profile bouts previously. But, the die-hard community is, or should be invested in Daniel Hooker vs. Gilbert Burns and Drakkar Klose vs. Lando Vannata.
The FS1 prelims will feature Paul Felder throwing hands with Mike Perry, and Uriah Hall battling Paulo Henrique Costa, which are bouts that could deliver some jaw dropping action. Perry has become a pretty big name in a relatively short time, Felder is an established fighter and analyst, while Hall is also well known, on account of his stint on TUF etc.
UFC 226 Main Card
While it remains to be seen how Saturday’s card does, in terms of PPV sales, it would be pretty surprising if UFC 226 doesn’t end up being the year’s best to date. After all, you have light-heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier fighting heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic in the headliner, and rising star Brian Ortega facing featherweight king, Max Holloway.
Not only that, but Francis Ngannou is going to throw hands with Derrick Lewis, in a bout that’s likely on many, can’t miss lists. You also have former lightweight champ Anthony Pettis taking on Michael Chiesa.
Now is UFC 226 going to move a crazy, crazy amount of PPV buys? Without superstars like Conor McGregor or Brock Lesnar fighting? Maybe not. But the UFC has gone a fantastic job of putting together another highly anticipated card for International Fight Week.