This Weekend's Card is Fun, But a Letdown
Featured Image Credit: UFC
This weekend, the UFC is hopping across the pond, hosting an event in Prague for the first time. The card is full of European talent, as is usual in the promotion’s events abroad to represent the region they are in, but the names are very underwhelming, especially when compared to the first two cards on the same platform.
UFC on ESPN+ 1 had a headliner of a superfight between TJ Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo. It also featured controversial figure Greg Hardy making his UFC debut. Filling out that card included Gillespie-Medeiros, Benavidez-Ortiz, and PVZ-Ostrovich. This was a fairly good card, as was expected with the ESPN debut.
Then, on UFC on ESPN+ 2, the final five fights all had finishes. The talent was stacked as well, as Moraes-Assunscao 2 was the headliner followed up with Aldo-Moicano, Maia-Good, Oliveira-Teymur, and Walker-Ledet. This was a fairly stacked main card with the Brazilian fighters coming up big in front of home fans. This is the type of level I felt could be replicated going forward on ESPN+: two extremely good matchups, another two solid fights, and a couple up-and-comers who can make a splash on a main card.
Then there is this weekend. Jan Blachowicz squares off against Thiago Santos, which is a pretty good main event. Blachowicz is a top-10 guy and Santos is murking everybody in sight lately, so that’s fine. Then, however, it takes a swan dive off of a cliff. Stefan Struve fights Marcos Rogerio de Lima. If I had ANY faith in Struve, I would pick him, but since I think he is one of the worst Heavyweights on the roster, it is much more difficult, and I even went with de Lima. Then Gian Villante is up against Michal Oleksiejczuk (what a last name). Gian Villante, in my eyes, is another one of the worst fighters on the roster. He isn’t good at anything, and any fight of his that lasts more than a round is a sloppy mess in the cage. I don’t ever look forward to watching him, and he stinks. Having Gian Villante one injury away from a co-main or even main-event spot (if he were to replace the injured party) is the sign of a bad card. To me, the only other intriguing fight is the Petr Yan - John Dodson bout, as it is the case of a surging contender facing a scrappy veteran that is difficult to beat. Liz Carmouche is fighting, and that will likely have implications on the 125 division, but beyond those bouts, the only remotely bright spot is the UFC debut of prospect Joel Alvarez, whose BJJ has gotten him to the UFC, but that is the opener to the card and will not likely draw any eyeballs.
In short, this card isn’t nearly as good as the prior two, and while that seems to be normal for when the UFC goes to Europe, it is robbing all viewers of what should be a good card every single time out, a point that has been made constantly on our podcast. If you aren’t able to put 2 good fights, 2 solid ones, and then a prospect or two on the main card, why even have a card at all?
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