UFC president Dana White introduced on Friday the official lineups for UFC Struggle Night time occasions on Might 13 and Might 16 in Jacksonville, Florida.
The 2 playing cards are a part of the UFC’s effort to renew regular operations within the wake of the coronavirus pandemic shutting down a lot of the sports activities world. The plan contains three dwell occasions in an eight-day span, starting with UFC 249 on Might 9.
A lightweight heavyweight matchup between former title challengers Anthony Smith (33-14) and Glover Teixeira (30-7) will headline UFC Struggle Night time on Might 13. A heavyweight bout that includes one other former title challenger in Alistair Overeem (45-18) and Walt Harris (13-7) will headline the UFC Struggle Night time on Might 16.
Each headliners have been initially scheduled for various dates and places, earlier than the postponements as a consequence of COVID-19. Smith was purported to face Teixeira on April 25 in Smith’s dwelling state of Nebraska, whereas Overeem and Harris have been slated to headline an occasion on April 11 in Portland, Oregon.
“He is coming off a win over [Alexander Gustafsson], coming off a win over the dude that broke into his home,” stated White concerning Smith. “He is had a really attention-grabbing break day … Nice battle, nice important occasion. Two powerful, sturdy guys. Trying ahead to that one.”
There are additionally various fighters who’re altering weight lessons for the upcoming occasions, together with Edson Barboza, who’s dropping right down to featherweight to battle Dan Ige, and Ovince Saint Preux, who’s transferring heavyweight to battle Ben Rothwell.
Regardless of these shifts in division, White maintains he prefers to have fighters keep on with their typical weight class, particularly in the course of the pandemic.
“Guys who do not wish to lower weight proper now, they really feel prefer it’s powerful as a result of they cannot have the everyday sort of camp they might have, with tons of individuals — an actual hard-core coaching camp — as a result of gyms aren’t actually open. I advised these guys to not battle now.
“However in case you really feel that you would be able to prepare correctly, and you’re feeling that you would be able to lower the burden, I desire to have your fights in the appropriate weight class. That means not a catchweight battle.”
White stated final month that each one three occasions in Might will happen with out a dwell viewers.
The UFC has been pressured to postpone a complete of six occasions, however it has been adamant it will likely be the primary main sports activities group to return — and nonetheless maintain its complete 42-event schedule in 2020. The UFC is the one MMA group with concrete plans to carry an occasion within the close to future. Bellator MMA has postponed its schedule by June, and the Skilled Fighters League, a tournament-based promotion, suspended its complete 2020 season.
It has been almost two months for the reason that final UFC card and White, whereas enthusiastic in regards to the return of the UFC, stated this break in fights has allowed him to focus his time in other places.
“You miss the traditional issues like fights each weekend. You miss issues like dinners, however I’ve spent some actually good high quality time with my youngsters and I’ve finished issues that I did not have the chance to do when the world was cranking. … I am able to get again and placed on some fights, however this downtime has been nice for us too.”
An interim light-weight title battle between Tony Ferguson (25-3) and Justin Gaethje (21-2) will headline UFC 249 on Might 9. That occasion is a pay-per-view, and can air on ESPN+.
The fights for the Might 13 occasion:
Mild heavyweight important occasion: Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira
Heavyweight bout: Ben Rothwell vs. Ovince Saint Preux
Light-weight bout: Alexander Hernandez vs. Drew Dober
Bantamweight bout: Ricky Simon vs. Ray Borg
Middleweight bout: Karl Roberson vs. Marvin Vettori
Heavyweight bout: Andrei Arlovski vs. Philipe Lins
Light-weight bout: Michael Johnson vs. Thiago Moises
Ladies’s bantamweight bout: Sijara Eubanks vs. Sarah Moras
Featherweight bout: Hunter Azure vs. Brian Kelleher
The fights for the Might 16 occasion:
Heavyweight important occasion: Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris
Ladies’s strawweight: Claudia Gadelha vs. Angela Hill
Featherweight: Dan Ige vs. Edson Barboza
Middleweight: Eryk Anders vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Featherweight: Tune Yadong vs. Marlon Vera
Middleweight: Anthony Hernandez vs. Kevin Holland
Featherweight: Mike Davis vs. Giga Chikadze
Ladies’s flyweight: Cortney Casey vs. Mara Romero Borella
Featherweight: Darren Elkins vs. Nate Landwehr
Heavyweight: Rodrigo Nascimento vs. Don’Story Mayes