The UFC is back in New York City, for what’s been an annual, November event the last couple of years, but how will today’s card draw? Considering the timing of UFC 230 and the big changes it’s undergone?
Fight Pass Prelims
In terms of recognizable names for casual fans, there’s really none that likely fill that billing. Arguably the most established fighter scheduled for the prelims is Lando Vannata, on account of his fights with Tony Ferguson, John Makdessi and Bobby Green. Vannata is booked to take on lightweight prospect Matt Frevola, who is coming off the first loss of his career to Marco Polo Reyes.
The Fight Pass stream will also feature a very interesting featherweight bout between Kurt Holobaugh and Shane Burgos, and a bantamweight fight between prospect Montel Jackson and Brian Kelleher. Rising heavyweight Adam Wieczorek is also set to face Marcos Rogerio De Lima.
So, there’s definitely some interesting bouts for prospect observers scheduled, but, not much that’s going to draw MMA-lite fans.
FS 1 Prelims
Consider this, when the UFC held its debut event in NYC back in 2016, the televised prelims featured Frankie Edgar vs. Jeremy Stephens, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Michael Johnson and Tim Boetsch vs. Rafael Natal. That’s a main card line-up.
Fast forward to 2018, and the televised prelims have significantly less star power (which can be said for the entire card, of course, as the line-up for UFC 205 was stacked).
The most recognizable fighter on the prelims, in terms of main stream audiences, is Ben Saunders, who will face Lyman Good. In a featherweight bout that will very likely deliver some fireworks, Jason Knight will throw hands with Jordan Rinaldi.
So, will the prelims pull big ratings for FS1? If you had to bet on either yes or no, you’d probably bet on the latter.
Now, in comparison to the previous PPV cards the UFC’s held in NYC, most would argue that UFC 230 is coming up considerably short. But, that’s because, both UFC 205 and UFC 217 featured not one, not two, but three title fights.
This year’s card took a serious hit when Dustin Poirier was forced out of a highly anticipated fight with Nate Diaz due to injury. More recently, Luke Rockhold had to drop out of a rematch with Chris Weidman. Now the latter will face “Jacare” Souza in a pivotal fight at 185, and in the headliner, Daniel Cormier will look to defend the heavyweight belt for the first time against Derrick Lewis.
In another, very compelling middleweight fight, rising star Israel Adesanya will face contender Derek Brunson. So, there’s plenty to like with the main card, but, even the UFC brass would concede it’s not as deep as previous NYC offerings.
So, how will the UFC 230 PPV draw? When you consider the line-up and that UFC 229 went down less than a month ago? Based off recent PPV estimates, hitting 300,000 buys seems like a tall order.