UFC fights to go on
Don’t tell Dana White that the sports world is shutting down. The UFC President announced on Saturday night that upcoming scheduled events will go on.
Last night UFC Fight Night 170 was held from Ginasio Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil with an empty stadium. The organization has a UFC Fight night schedule for this upcoming Saturday in London, but the venue is being moved due to the travel ban. Events are also scheduled for March 28, Aprill 11, April 18 and beyond. The biggest is on April 18 where Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson are set to clash for the UFC Lightweight Championship as the main event of UFC 249.
White got on ESPN’s Sportscenter following UFC Fight Night 170 and was adamant that the events will still take place, but the venues for most, if not all, will be altered and fans may not be allowed to attend.
“So as of now, the fights can’t happen at the Apex here in Las Vegas,” White said. “So we’re working to find new locations. But the fights will go on, they will continue. We’re not stopping, we’re going to keep finding a way to put on the fights. I’m in the fight business. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. So this stuff happens to me every weekend. So I’m used to this stuff ... not at this level, obviously. But this is what we do and we always make sure that the fights happen, and they’ll continue to happen.”
Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson
The key bout White wants to go on is this one, as even with no audience, it could do big PPV numbers for an audience largely forced to staying in. Khabib (28-0) is the lightweight champ and the favorite according to oddsmakers, as he is listed with -275 odds. Ferguson (25-3), an interim champ, is listed with a money line of +215 to win. Nurmagomedov is coming off a third-round submission win over Dustin Poirier in September and he also choked out Conor McGregor in October of 2018. Ferguson has won 12 straight, including three straight finishes over Kevin Lee, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. Both me push an incredible pace and have all-around skills, but it’s Khabib’s grappling that tends to be the difference-maker for the champ.
Woodley vs. Edwards
The main event of the card on March 21 was set to be Tyron Woodley (19-4-1) against Leon Edwards (18-3) in a welterweight clash. This fight was set to be in London, but it’s unclear where it will take place right now. Traveling is an issue, especially in such a short window given the circumstances. Oddsmakers have Edwards as the favorite to win this fight, as he is listed with -145 odds to win. Woodley is listed with a money line of +115 to prevail. Woodley is the former 170-pound champ that is coming off a title loss to Kamaru Usman last March. The powerful striker and wrestler hadn’t lost since 2014 prior to that. Edwards has won his last eight since a decision loss to Usman back in December of 2015. His last bout was a five-round decision win over Rafael dos Anjos in July. He has had to grind out a lot of wins, as half of his 18 victories are by decision.