MMA Ratings Podcast

July 3, 2020

UFC: With Nine Cards in Eight Weeks, The Promotion Gears Up For Fast and Furious MMA Action

By Raphael Garcia

The coronavirus pandemic forced much of the world to a halt. UFC President Dana White was adamant that his promotion would be “first” among North American sports organizations to get their product back in front of the masses that “needed” sports. And although there's more to the story, he found a way to get the UFC up and running; meanwhile, mainstream sports leagues are still working through complications. Regardless of the opinion around White’s methods, his determination played a part in getting the UFC back to a full schedule. And that schedule is really kicking up in the next few weeks, as there are nine events scheduled in the next eight weeks. Whether you are ready or not, MMA action is coming your way fast and furiously.

To say that UFC matchmaking has been flying by the seat of their pants since starting back up would be an understatement. COVID-19 has forced many gyms around the country to shutter their doors and they are slowly opening back up while under strict regulations. That means many fighters have been struggling to pull together full camps. And just like the gyms that do not have full access to their resources, the UFC has not had full access to its most valuable resource, the fighters.

Look across the recent cards that have seen a prevalence of competitors making their UFC debuts for one reason or another. Some have been successful, such as Kay Hansen's last minute armbar win over Jinh Yu Frey (who was also making her debut) at UFC on ESPN 12. And there are those that did not go as well, such as Max Rohskopf quitting on the stool at UFC on ESPN 11. The figurative cupboards are not completely bare, but they certainly are not stocked at the levels needed to effectively run the largest mixed martial arts organization in the world.


But with that being said, there is still a lot to look forward to in these coming weeks. Everything kicks off with UFC 251 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, promoted as "UFC Fight Island." With three title fights and several other fights of importance, this is the type of event that any combat sports fan should be excited to see. Gilbert Burns stands out as an example of how hectic the matchmaking during the pandemic has been, as he has vaulted over other names into the welterweight title picture, and will find himself standing across the cage from Kamaru Usman in the main event. (Editor's note: After a positive COVID-19 test, Burns was replaced by Jorge Masvidal in the new UFC 251 main event.) Looking across the remaining slate of cards on "Fight Island" and the UFC's Apex facility in Vegas, it's difficult to find combinations that stand out as much as the ones at UFC 251, but there is still a wealth of worthwhile combat to be had.


At the third "Fight Island" event, both Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo will get another shot at claiming the vacated UFC flyweight title. Last time, Figueiredo struggled with weight issues but was able to get a second-round knockout win over Benavidez, leaving both men without the belt. They hope to change that on July 18. The fourth "Fight Island" card sees Darren Till continuing his quest in middleweight against former champion Robert Whittaker in the card's headlining bout.

Back at the UFC Apex, Irene Aldana is another fighter looking to make her way toward a title shot by facing a former champion in Holly Holm on August 1. And the rest of the month not only includes the return of the Dana White Contender Series, but fight cards every weekend, including the biggest fight of the month, the trilogy battle between Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic at UFC 252. It's enough to excite any fight fan.


The UFC is back in full force, with July and August filled to the brim with MMA action. The main events of these cards should be recognized as the draws, but do not sleep on the bouts underneath them. If anything, these last few weeks have shown us cards that seem to be “less than” have a strong potential to leave viewers excited. So whether the fights take place on "Fight Island" or at the UFC Apex, they're coming at a breakneck pace, and with sports leagues still struggling to get out of the blocks, the UFC still has the attention of the sports world, and spotlight it doesn't have to share.

UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal (formerly UFC 251: Usman vs. Burns) was due to take place June 6, 2020 at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. Due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus, the event was rescheduled/relocated to July 11, 2020 at Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Click HERE for more UFC 251 Pre-Fight Analysis

UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2 takes place July 18, 2020 at Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Click HERE for more UFC Fight Night Pre-Fight Analysis

UFC Fight Night on ESPN 14: Whittaker vs. Till takes place July 25, 2020 at Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Click HERE for more UFC on ESPN 14 Pre-Fight Analysis

UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Aldana takes place August 1, 2020 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click HERE for more UFC Fight Night Pre-Fight Analysis

UFC 252: Miocic vs. Cormier 3 (formerly UFC 252) was due to take place July 11, 2020 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Due to ongoing concerns regarding the coronavirus, the event was rescheduled/relocated to August 15, 2020 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click HERE for more UFC 252 Pre-Fight Analysis


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