The UFC doesn’t have an offseason, preseason or common season. But when it did have playoffs, UFC 217 on Saturday night time at Madison Sq. Backyard can be an insane first-spherical matchup.
The mega occasion options three title fights, a legend of the game popping out of retirement after 4 years on the sidelines, and a card so deep that 4 ranked fighters gained’t even make it onto TV.
Amazingly, 217 is just the start of the UFC’s insane yr-finish schedule.
UFC 218 on Dec. 2 is a thirteen-struggle blockbuster that includes 14 fighters ranked within the prime 15 of their respective weight courses. Whereas not one of the fighters have turn out to be family names outdoors of the UFC’s bubble, all 5 fights on the primary card are both title fights or fights to find out who will get the subsequent title shot.
Then there’s UFC 219 on Dec. 30, which doesn’t have both a headliner or co-headliner booked, however already options former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, the Mike Tyson of kickboxing, Gokhan Saki, and undefeated Conor McGregor-instigator Khabib Nurmagomedov. An excellent struggle between Holly Holm and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino for the ladies’s featherweight title will in all probability be added to the highest of the cardboard within the not-too-distant future.
The depth and high quality on show for these three pay-per-views can’t come quickly sufficient for the UFC, which has had a horrible 2017. Playing cards have been ruined by missed weight cuts, final-minute accidents and champions who performed it extremely-protected in title fights as a result of they needed to guard their cash. There was additionally the invention of interim titles in a number of weight courses as a result of champions have been both injured, holding out for fights towards massive-identify opponents or boxing Floyd Mayweather.
Then, there have been the failed drug checks that took down everybody from extremely-promising up and comers like Kelvin Gastelum to potential GOATs like Jon Jones. The previous mild heavyweight champion got here off a PED suspension, which he blamed on “tainted d–okay drugs,” was hailed because the UFC’s greatest probability at a star within the submit-McGregor world, dismantled Daniel Cormier at UFC 214, after which it was revealed he’d examined constructive for steroid in a pre-struggle PED check. His last punishment is but to be finalized, however he might be dealing with a 4-yr suspension as a result of it’s his second failed check.
Lastly, the UFC needed to cope with its two largest stars leaving the game in 2017. First, Ronda Rousey was unofficially retired by Amanda Nunes on Dec. 30, 2016, after which…