UFC 229: Who’s Watching What?

The consensus is that UFC 229 will be one of the top selling cards in MMA history, if not the biggest, thanks in large, large part to the massive fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. But what what about the rest of the card? Will it pull fans to UFC Fight Pass and FS 1?

The Fight Pass Prelims

The Fight Pass portion of the card does feature several established vets, perhaps most notably former lightweight challenger, Gray Maynard, who will battle Nik Lentz. In addition, in an interesting fight at 170, Tony Martin will face Ryan LaFlare, and at 135, Lina Lansberg will throw down with another woman who has lost to Cris “Cyborg”, Yana Kunitskaya.

So, while there’s some pivotal fights scheduled, chances are the only name MMA – lite fans are familiar with is Maynard, assuming they were following the sport several years back. In other words, it’s hard to imagine a throng of casual fans signing up for Fight Pass on Saturday.

FS 1 / TSN Prelims

Here again, there are some bouts that hardcore fans are most likely invested in, but somewhat surprisingly, there aren’t many big names that casual observers will be familiar with. This could be because the main event is so huge, that the promotion determined it didn’t need former champs, etc on the televised prelims, to draw traffic to the pay-per-view.

The biggest name scheduled for this portion of the card is Sergio Pettis, who will face fellow flyweight contender Jussier “Formiga”, in what is a very interesting and important fight. At 135, bantamweight prospect Aspen Ladd will take on accomplished vet, Tonya Evinger, in what’s another really compelling bout. Alan Patrick versus Scott Holtzman at 155 will very likely provide some fireworks.

But, as noted above, in comparison to recent prelims that have included fighters like Diego Sanchez and Alistair Overeem, this line-up probably won’t pop for infrequent watchers. But, you never know, if Khabib vs. Conor does deliver big sales, then it could be that more households tune into the prelims, in advance of the main card.

The Main Card

Now, while the main card doesn’t feature two title fights, it’s fair to say that most folks would likely conceded it’s a stacked line-up. In addition to the massive, massive headliner between the lightweight champ Khabib and Conor, we will also see a pivotal fight between Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis. Not only is it a fascinating match-up due to the skills of each man, but in Ferguson you have a former interim lightweight champ, taking on a former world champ in Pettis. It’s a bout that could headline any Fight Night card.

Then, there’s a very intriguing heavyweight fight between Derrick Lewis and Alexander Volkov, and at strawweight, a bout between contenders Michelle Waterson and Felice Herrig. Ovince Saint Preux is also going to attempt to become the first man to defeat light-heavyweight, Dominick Reyes.

So, ya, there’s lots to love with this main card, and that’s why some folks believe it could hit the 2 million pay-per-view mark, or higher. Even if those expectations aren’t reached, it would be absolutely stunning, if UFC 229 wasn’t easily the year’s biggest pay-per-view.

Saturday’s event will be hosted by the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

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