The world’s oldest game is the fastest growing sport on the planet.
Established in the early 1990’s, what was then ‘no holds barred’ competition has developed into Mixed Martial Arts; and at the forefront of the MMA uprising is the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The UFC was predicated on a simple principle, one that’s been debated since time began; who would win in a fight; me, or you?
Who's going to take the title?
Can the classically trained boxer avoid being taken-down by a collegiate wrestler and knock him out in the process? Can a taekwondo instructor stop a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner from taking his back and choking him out? What happens when the Olympic gold medal judoka takes on a Russian sambo champion?
The #UFC is where these questions come to find answers.
Twenty-three years later, almost to the date of its inception, the UFC will put on a blockbuster fight card in Madison Square Garden.
On the heels of Clitheroe’s own Michael Bisping (30-07-0) retaining his 185lbs middleweight title at UFC 204 in Manchester, I’ll be taking a look at the headline bout of the most talent-stacked fight-card in fight history; UFC 205.
New York's ban on MMA
For almost a decade Mixed Martial Arts competition was illegal in New York State. Amongst the MMA community NYC represented one of the final roadblocks on the course to mainstreaming the sport; big money television deals inked with BT Sports and Fox, globally recognisable brands like Reebok and Monster plastered over the athlete’s ‘fight kits’, more crossover star appeal than ever before and new corporate leadership in the form of Hollywood talent giants WME: IMG. The UFC is hurtling towards the mainstream and about to smash through one more big, shiny barrier.
Emanating from the hallowed Madison Square Garden on November 12th, UFC 205 features a three-shot combination of championship fights to round off the promotion’s showcase event.
In the card’s main attraction fight Eddie Alvarez (28-04-0) defends his 155lbs lightweight championship for the first time against 145lbs featherweight title holder Conor McGregor (20-03-0). McGregor is looking to make MMA history and become the first UFC competitor to hold world championships in two weight classes simultaneously.
The last time Eddie Alvarez stepped into the Octagon he finished a streaking Rafael Dos Anjos (25-08-0) in just 3:49 of the first round to claim the lightweight belt in July following a flurry of hooks and uppercuts against the cage that left RDA out-on-his-feet. Since then, the Philadelphian hasn’t been able to keep McGregor’s name out of his mouth; firing verbal artillery at the featherweight champion, chastising his cardiovascular output and dismissing the Irishman’s notorious rock back left-cross.
McGregor’s previous outing was a 25 minute fight of the year candidate win over Nate Diaz (19-11-0) in his second consecutive venture into the 170lbs welterweight division in August. However, since McGregor’s mesmerising 13 second knockout of featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo (26-02-0) at UFC 194 he has shown little interest in returning to the division to defend his belt. Instead, he’s set his gaze on a second world championship to take back to Dublin.
These hostile narratives, intertwined, create the perfect storm to descend on New York City this Saturday. #UFC205 #NewYork