2018 may go down as the most significant year in the history of MMA since 2005. Last year saw an unprecedented increase in the financial leverage of individual fighters. When fighters who aren’t major draws in the UFC can reportedly generate 8 figure salaries in competing organizations, it’s clear that the old rules no longer apply. This is great for fighters in the short term, but if the UFC doesn't adapt quickly, it could be bad for everyone in the long run.
15 years ago Russia was home to some of the greatest fighters in MMA. But the MMA landscape is always changing, and through the late 2000s Russian fighters virtually disappeared. The tides have again turned for Russian MMA, and it’s not impossible to imagine a scenario where Russian fighters hold 3 major UFC belts by the end of 2019.
UFC 237 will take place on May 11th at the Jeunesse Arena in Barra da Tijuca, Brazil. As far as PPV cards go, unfortunately this one is on the weaker side. I’m really excited to see Rose Namajunes vs Jessica Andrade and Jose Aldo vs Alexander Volkanovski. However, the card doesn’t have a whole lot of depth beyond those two fights. On the plus side, with several older vets on this card such as Silva, Nogueira, and Penn, I’m afforded the opportunity to write about some true legends of the sport.
UFC 236 goes down on April 13th at State Farm Arena in Atlanta Georgia. As far as Pay-Per-View cards go this is a decent offering, it’s not the best card of the year, but it’s certainly not the worst. It’s a bit of a strange card in that it offers two title fights, both interim belts, and neither with a fighter ranked higher than #3 in their weight class. That should tell you a lot about the state of these two divisions.
UFC 234 takes place in Melbourne, Australia and is headlined by the middleweight championship bout between Australia’s own Robert Whittaker and the American Kelvin Gastelum. By and large, this PPV is pretty shallow card with only 5 of the 24 fighters on the card being ranked. That said, there are some interesting matchups, and often times the seemingly bad cards are the ones that end up being the most entertaining.
UFC 231 takes place on December 8th. This card features two title fights: Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega for the featherweight title, and Valentina Shevchenko vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the vacant women’s flyweight belt. Both of these should be exciting fights between elite fighters.
The UFC’s annual Maddison Square Gardens card will take place this Saturday, November 3rd. Due to injuries, scheduling conflicts, and some poor planning by the UFC, this isn’t the stacked card that we’ve been accustomed to at MSG. Nonetheless, there are some fun matchups