UFC Fight Card Preview - Dream Matchups and Must-See Bouts
The Excitement of the UFC Fight Card
The UFC fight card is the lifeblood of the Ultimate Fighting Championship events. Without it, fans would be left guessing what fights and fighters will be on display at the big show. With so many talented mixed martial artists on the UFC roster, the fight card allows matchmakers to put together the best fights possible and build anticipation leading up to an event.
There are few things that get MMA fans more excited than waking up on a Saturday morning, checking their phones, and seeing that a new fight card has been released. Immediately they scan through the list of bouts figuring out which fighters they want to see most. Will there be a title fight at the top of the bill? How about a grudge match years in the making? The possibilities are endless and the speculation begins as soon as the card drops.
Breaking Down the Main Card
The main card is where the biggest fights of the night take place. Usually consisting of four or five bouts, this is where the top stars and contenders ply their craft. Fans can expect to see title fights, No. 1 contender matchups, and bouts between surging prospects placed on the main card.
The UFC loves to put champions and popular fighters in the final spot of the main card, as that fight will lead right into the pay-per-view broadcast or TV main event. Other fights on the main card could include a bout between two ranked contenders, which will have high stakes for those weight classes.
Early on the main card you may see prospects who are being built up for future stardom. The UFC matchmakers use these slots as a developmental tool for rising talents who have shown championship potential. Putting them in high profile main card spots gets their names out there and builds excitement around the fighters.
The Undercard Brings Action and Intrigue
While the main card gets top billing, savvy fans know that great fights happen on the undercard as well. Usually divided into a preliminary section and early preliminary section, the undercard allows fans to get a glimpse of up-and-coming talent.
The featured preliminary bout right before the main card often highlights an important fight in a division with title implications. Former champions and top contenders are frequently seen in these marquee prelim spots.
Earlier in the undercard you may find fighters making their UFC debuts. The promotion wants to showcase their new signees and athletic commissions often require first-time UFC fighters to be placed in these early undercard slots.
How Fights Are Placed on the Card
UFC matchmakers do not randomly place fights on a card. There is a general structure and strategy to where certain bouts fall in the fight sequence. Main event and co-main event slots are rewarded to champions, top contenders, and major stars. The rest of the main card will feature highly ranked fighters, prospects, and intriguing style matchups.
Preliminary fights will include UFC veterans, fighters coming off losses, athletes returning from long layoffs, and debuting signees. Rarely will undefeated up-and-comers be placed on the prelims unless the matchmakers are trying to build their experience levels.
Fights take place in a sequence approved by athletic commissions, with the most important fights stacked towards the end of the card. Earlier fights feature competitors lower in the rankings or name value. By structuring cards this way, fans are more likely to watch entire events instead of just tuning in for the headliners.
Key Bouts Can Make or Break an Event
While the full fight card delivers excitement, often there are one or two key bouts that determine whether it will be a must-see event. When the card has a highly anticipated title fight, grudge match, or battle between two superstars, interest levels peak.
For example, a fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic would immediately elevate any event it was placed on. Fans have been longing to see that light heavyweight vs. heavyweight showdown. The UFC would ensure it receives main event treatment.
Stacked cards like UFC 205 in New York City featuring three title fights including Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez show that when the UFC goes all out for an event, it feels like a major happening.
The opposite can happen when cards are decimated by injuries, drug test failures, or other issues. While diehard fans will still watch, more casual interest drops when the big names and fights are no longer scheduled.
Dream UFC Event Fight Card
If given the power to book a dream UFC fight card, there are several matches that would make for an all-time event:
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Colby Covington
This battle between welterweight super villains would be five rounds of trash talking and wrestling. The unbeaten Chimaev taking on former UFC champ Covington would be a true grudge match for the ages.
Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic
The long-discussed showdown between former light heavyweight king Jones and former heavyweight champ Miocic must happen. This catchweight bout would determine the Baddest Man on the Planet.
Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev
A lightweight title unification between Oliveira and Makhachev would be a submission grappling dream. The chance to see who is the true lightweight king is a must-see main event.
The UFC fight card always delivers a thrill for devoted followers of the sport. Seeing the bouts take shape gets fans hyped for the big show. While injuries and other hurdles can shakeup the card, there is nothing quite like the experience of watching an exciting fight play out in the Octagon.
How many fights are typically on a UFC card?
A typical UFC event will have around 11-13 fights total. This usually breaks down to 3-5 fights on the main card and 8-9 fights spread across the preliminary card.
When do fight cards get announced?
UFC fight cards are typically announced around 6-8 weeks before an event. Sometimes main event fights will be confirmed earlier than the full card. Fight cards can also change due to injuries, weigh-in issues, or other factors.
Where can I find UFC fight cards?
UFC.com posts upcoming event fight cards on its website once they are confirmed. MMA news sites like MMA Fighting and MMA Junkie also share fight card information once it's available.
How much do UFC fighters get paid?
UFC fighter pay varies greatly depending on the athlete's profile and contract status. Top stars can earn millions per fight via PPV points, while early prelim fighters may only make $10,000 or $15,000 per bout before sponsors.
What are the different ways to watch UFC events?
You can watch UFC fights via PPV on ESPN+ in the U.S. and other providers internationally. UFC events are also on ESPN for cable subscribers and ABC in select cases. UFC Fight Pass offers access to extensive archives.
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