December 9, 2016

UFC Albany and UFC 206: What If We Combined the Two?

By Adam Martin

There are two UFC fight cards going down this weekend, and both events have had their fair share of criticism. For UFC Fight Night 102, the card has been criticized for having a weak main event featuring the popular Derrick Lewis and the not-so-popular Shamil Abdurakhimov, and when the co-main event of Raphael Assuncao vs. Aljamain Sterling was cancelled due to an injury to Sterling, the promotion didn't add a new co-main event to the card, so now the co-headliner is a squash match between Francis Ngannou and Anthony Hamilton. Moreover, the card happens the night before UFC 206, so there's been little-to-no promotion for the card, making the fans in Albany, New York feel like they got shafted.
As for UFC 206, we've all heard the criticisms. First off, Georges St-Pierre got into a contract dispute with the UFC, who refused to pay him what he asked for, and that meant no GSP for the first card in Toronto, Ontario, Canada since September 2013. The UFC instead booked the light heavyweight title rematch between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson as the main event, but then Cormier went down with an injury and that fight was cancelled. The co-main event between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis was then bumped up to the main event, turned into a five-round title fight for the interim featherweight belt, a questionable decision. So while adding Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown and Tim Kennedy vs. Kelvin Gastelum did help beef up the card, it's understandable that some fans feel disappointed with the final product.

Honestly, though, I think the biggest problem with all of this is that there are two cards -- a below-average card in Albany and a slightly-above-average card in Toronto -- this weekend, but if there was instead just one giant supercard, the UFC 206 pay-per-view in Toronto could have looked pretty stacked, even with the cancellation of Cormier-Johnson.

Here's what UFC 206 could have looked like if fighters from both of this weekend's cards were on one card, with your standard 13 fights:

UFC 206 Main Card:

Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis
Donald Cerrone vs. Matt Brown
Doo Ho Choi vs. Cub Swanson
Tim Kennedy vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou

UFC 206 FS1 Prelims:

Misha Cirkunov vs. Sean O'Connell
Nikita Krylov vs. Corey Anderson
Valerie Letourneau vs. Justine Kish
Jordan Mein vs. Emil Meek

UFC 206 Fight Pass prelims:

Marc Diakiese vs. Frankie Perez
John Makdessi vs. Landon Vannata
Jason Saggo vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Mitch Gagnon vs. Matthew Lopez

The biggest change on the main card is that Lewis would instead fight Ngannou in the opening main card fight, which is an amazing matchup and the one the UFC should have booked. The likelihood of a knockout in this fight is especially high, making it the perfect opening fight for what would be a better PPV event with its inclusion.

For the prelims, I made a few changes. I do like the Cirkunov vs. Krylov matchup that the UFC booked, but I also feel like killing a prospect isn't the greatest idea in a shallow division, so instead Toronto's own Misha Cirkunov fights Sean O'Connell in a showcase fight, and Nikita Krylov takes on O'Connell's opponent Corey Anderson. In addition, Valerie Letourneau faces Justine Kish in a really good women's strawweight bout.

For the prelims on UFC Fight Pass, the lightweight bout between prospects Marc Diakiese and Frankie Perez would headline. I also booked Canadians Jason Saggo and Olivier Aubin-Mercier against one another, removing Rustam Khabilov and Drew Dober from the card. Dober could fight Khabilov in Dober's backyard in Denver at UFC on FOX 23 in January.

With my proposals, UFC 206 loses none of its Canadian fighters, which is important in a Canadian market, and gains an amazing main card matchup between Lewis and Ngannou. This still isn't the best pay-per-view card ever assembled, but it's definitely an upgrade on what the current card looks like.

So what do you think? Do you like this dream card better? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

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