October 31, 2016

UFC: After A Much-Needed Break, Back With A Bang

By Adam Martin

After eight straight weeks of Saturday nights chock full of UFC events, and after the cancellation of UFC Fight Night 97, the promotion took a break for the last four weeks. For most fans and for the media covering the sport, the break was a much-needed time to recharge batteries and grow an appetite for more fights. Obviously, we all watch MMA because we love the sport, but when it's every weekend it can become exhausting because that's six hours you have to dedicate to the sport every Saturday night. It's hard to complain too much, but having this small break has definitely been a nice way to get away from MMA for a few weekends and remember there are other things in life besides fighting.

But with the month-long break in the rearview mirror, the UFC is back with a bang, as there will be 10 events in the next eight weeks, including five events in November.

The first card on the docket is UFC Fight Night 98, which takes place November 5 at Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Mexico. This is actually a really nice card for a fight night event, with the highlight being a firecracker of a main event between top-ranked lightweights Rafael dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson. Other highlights on the card include a lightweight matchup between former Bellator fighter Marcin Held and long-time UFC vet Diego Sanchez, a featherweight bout between Ricardo Lamas and Charles Oliveira, and the UFC debut of former Invicta standout Alexa Grasso.

Next up, and the crowning jewel of all the fight cards coming up, is UFC 205, which takes place November 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. This is likely the best card in not only UFC history but also MMA history in general, as it features three incredible title fights: Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title, Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson for the welterweight title, and Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the strawweight title. In addition, fights like Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero, Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens, and Kelvin Gastelum vs. Donald Cerrone take place at this event. It's an incredible card on paper, and with the event only days away now, let's all cross our fingers and hope no injuries take place.

Then, on November 19, UFC Fight Night 99 takes place at The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Of all the cards in November, this is probably the weakest one, but at least it has a very fun main event between Gegard Mousasi and Uriah Hall, a rematch of their fight last year which Hall won via highlight-reel knockout. Later on in the night, in a different part of the world, UFC Fight Night 100 will go down in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This isn't a great card either, though it does feature an intriguing main event light heavyweight rematch between Ryan Bader and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

Finally, the month ends with UFC Fight Night 101, which goes down November 27 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, which features a terrific main event rematch between middleweight standouts Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, as well as a very intriguing co-main event between Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson. With UFC 205 being so stacked, these last few
fight nights aren't the deepest cards the UFC has ever booked, but they do feature must-watch main events.

Like I said, the standout card of November is clearly UFC 205, an event which no MMA fan can miss watching. But with terrific main events at UFC Fight Night 98, 99, 100, and 101, there's going to be some incredible nights of fights coming up in the next month. So I hope you enjoyed your break, because the next few weekends are going to be jam-packed with fights. Let's just hope they live up to the hype, and that no one gets hurt.

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