UFC 249 was a win for all involved, there’s no question about that.
The card was amazing – the main event was one for the ages, the co-main event had a controversial stoppage followed by a surprise retirement [which leads to alleys upon alleys of conversation like who will fight next for the bantamweight title], did referee Keith Peterson actually smell like alcohol and cigarettes?, is Henry Cejudo posturing for more money, etc.
And that’s only looking at the last two fights. The rest of the card was fantastic; not a boring fight in the group.
The card didn’t come without its issues, though. At the weigh-in on Friday night, news broke that Jacare Souza tested positive for COVID-19 and would be out of his fight with Uriah Hall. First thing’s first – I wish nothing but the best for Souza and his family, but even this was a positive for the UFC. It proved that the testing works and could nip any risk in the bud, effectively paving the way for more events in the near future. In fact, Wednesday night, a free fight card aired on ESPN+, headlined by Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira.
Another event is scheduled for Saturday night and will air on ESPN. Though it won’t be as star-studded as last weekend’s festivities, it’s the slow but sure return of live sports. The new norm, so to speak. The card is headlined by Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris, Claudia Gadelha vs. Angela Hill, and Dan Ige vs. Edson Barboza.
With UFC 249 and a free fight night in the rearview mirror, a roadmap has been laid out and there’s a future plan in place to continue what Dana White has started. The possibilities are endless as long as the fighters and their teams can stay healthy.
“Fight Island,” Dana White’s baby, is set to open this summer and could be headlined by the Lightweight unification bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. Kamaru Usman is rumored to have a rematch with Colby Covington on Fight Island, too. Could Conor McGregor return this summer? The world is the UFC’s oyster.
Assuming folks can stay healthy, it looks like the UFC and the fighters are on the same page – they’d rather be fighting than sitting at home. UFC 249 was a success in all aspects of the word, so look for the promotion to build on that and roll through the summer – keeping fight fans entertained in a strange time.
Stay tuned to Philly Influencer for a UFC Fight Night betting preview for Saturday night’s card.