Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at all of the happenings of the last week in the world of mixed martial arts, and gear you up for what’s ahead. Let’s dive right in to all of the happenings.
UFC’s busy upcoming schedule
- Did you miss UFC action this weekend? Don’t worry, we are headed into a stretch of UFC events on 12 straight Saturday’s coming up, starting with this upcoming weekend’s UFC on ESPN+ 65 event. If you’re a UFC fan, you’re definitely going to get your fix throughout the end of August.
- The rumored UFC return to Long Island, as talked about in last week’s column, is now 100% official, as it was announced over the past week, taking place at the UBS Arena on July 16. It was also confirmed the show will be headlined by a featherweight bout between Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez, which has been talked about for months. While it has yet to be announced, the show is likely to air on ABC, at least the main card. The prelims are starting at 12 p.m., and the main card is at 3 p.m. (both times eastern), which aligns with the previous two events that aired on ABC.
- The bout between Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold, which was scheduled for UFC 277 on 7/30, has been officially moved to UFC 278 on 8/20. There was no official reason given, but Rockhold had been giving interviews saying it was on Costa’s side, with the likely culprit being that Costa was going to have trouble making weight and needed a few more weeks. That does leave a hole on the UFC 277 main card now, so perhaps they get a fight for Dustin Poirier now?
- Nate Diaz was again tweeting this weekend, saying again he wants to fight in July. He said he had been trying to fight Khamzat Chimaev for the last month-and-a-half, which is clear by the fact the fight was on the fight blackboard inside UFC Headquarters, but claims that Chimaev has been injured, had visa issues, was overweight and wanted time off to get married. This is your latest update. We all know the deal. He wants to finish his contract, they want him to sign a new deal. Honestly, he should just sign, because I don’t see Jake Paul fighting him anytime soon, so just cash out your last few good years with UFC and make your big money, and you can still fight Jake Paul when you’re 42 or 43, because that is when he’d be most likely to want to actually fight you.
- Speaking of a Diaz, Nate’s brother, Nick, has said he is targeting a return in 2022, saying he’s eyeing a fight before the end of the year. He wants to fight Kamaru Usman for the title, but we know that isn’t going to happen. He said he’s not motivated to fight younger guys, and that he wants to fight the best. Props to him for the lofty goals, but he really should fight someone like Matt Brown or Donald Cerrone or Conor McGregor or Tony Ferguson, let’s be completely honest.
- “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung has decided against retirement, for now. He said in a post on Instagram that, for the time being, he wants one more fight, and is hopeful for it to happen in Seoul, South Korea. He said he didn’t want to set any long-term goals, leaving the door open for more than just one fight, but he does want to take it one fight at a time.
- The dates for season six of Dana White’s Contender Series are set as it will return with ten episodes beginning on July 26 and running thru September 27. They will all be held at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
- For those who are getting bored with all of these UFC events taking place at the UFC Apex, there is some good news on the horizon. They are aware that people are tired of seeing events there. There is not going to be a complete shift from holding events there, but expect less-and-less to be taking place there. For now, over the stretch of the next 12 events, only four are scheduled for there. I say it’s still four too many, but we’re slowly getting out of there it seems.
Here are the fights that were announced over the past week:
- Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz — UFC Fight Night — June 4
- Damon Jackson vs. Daniel Argueta — UFC Fight Night — June 4
- Aiemann Zahabi vs. Ricky Turcios — UFC Fight Night — July 9
- Brian Ortega vs. Yair Rodriguez — UFC Fight Night — July 16 (MAIN EVENT)
- Paddy Pimblett vs. Jordan Leavitt — UFC Fight Night — July 23
- Marc Diakiese vs. Damir Hadzovic — UFC Fight Night — July 23
- Nicolas Dalby vs. Claudio Silva — UFC Fight Night — July 23
- Augusto Sakai vs. Serghei Spivac — UFC Fight Night — August 6
- Paulo Costa vs. Luke Rockhold — UFC 278 — August 20
- Victor Altamirano vs. Jake Hadley — UFC 278 — August 20
- Katlyn Chookagian vs. Manon Fiorot — UFC Fight Night — September 3
- Makhmud Muradov vs. Abus Magomedov — UFC Fight Night — September 3
- Norma Dumont vs. Danyelle Wolf — UFC Fight Night — September 10
Coming Up This Week
Here are some of the notable MMA events taking place this week:
- UFC on ESPN+ 65 takes place on Saturday, June 4, from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The entire card airs on ESPN+, with the main card at 4 p.m. ET, and the prelims at 1 p.m. ET. Alexander Volkov takes on Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the main event.
- Titan FC 77 takes place on Friday, June 3, from Miramar, Florida, airing at 6:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- iKON FC 3 takes place on Friday, June 3, from Richmond, Virginia, airing at 9 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- LFA 133 takes place on Friday, June 3, from Denver, Colorado, airing at 10 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- Fury FC 64 takes place on Sunday, June 5, from Houston, Texas, airing at 4 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
This week in MMA history
May 31, 2008 was a notable day in MMA history as the first-ever primetime network broadcast of mixed martial arts took place as it was the first show in a deal struck between Elite XC and CBS. Elite XC: Primetime took place from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, airing in prime time on a Saturday night. The show averaged 4.85 million viewers, and peaked with 6.51 million viewers in the main event.
In that main event, internet sensation Kimbo Slice scored a third-round TKO of James Thompson in a memorable fight that was called off after it looked like Thompson’s cauliflower ear was about to fall off. It was a thrilling fight, but far from the most exciting, but Slice was the biggest-pushed star of Elite XC and became a household name until his untimely passing in June 2016.
In the co-main event, it was a bit of controversy as Elite XC Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith fought to a no contest after the fight was called off during an inadvertent eye poke in the third round. Also on the main card was a big featured bout as Gina Carano scored a finish at the end of the second round over Kaitlin Young. The other two main card winners won in the first round, with Joey Villasenor defeating Phil Baroni, and Brett Rogers defeating Jon Murphy. Among those who fought on the prelims included future UFC fighters Wilson Reis, Zach Makovsky and Calvin Kattar.
You can watch Elite XC: Primetime on UFC Fight Pass here.
In The Clinch
This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will briefly talk Paul’s vacation to Las Vegas for AEW Double or Nothing, then we’ll get into previewing UFC on ESPN+ 65, look back at this week’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter, look at the news and fight announcements plus much more. In The Clinch is part of The Fight Game Media Network of podcasts, which are available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also support all of us thru our Patreon.