The shifts continue for the UFC, this time in official event titles, as the Feb. 6 event – originally scheduled as UFC 196 on pay-per-view – is now UFC Fight Night 82.
The UFC made the change official on Wednesday following the loss of the UFC Heavyweight Championship bout between Fabricio Werdum and Cain Velasquez. They had attempted to save the bout after Velasquez’s departure by tapping Stipe Miocic, but Werdum himself pulled out of the card as well. With that fight off, the card will now be headlined by a five round welterweight bout between Johny Hendricks and Stephen Thompson.
With this event now serving as a UFC Fight Night event on Fox Sports 1, the March 5 event – headlined by Rafael dos Anjos vs. Conor McGregor – will now take on the UFC 196 moniker. This means the UFC will run one extra pay-per-view this spring than initially planned in order to preserve the July 9 date for UFC 200.
Additionally, with this taking the “UFC Fight Night 82” position, the Feb. 21 event in Pittsburgh will now be UFC Fight Night 83, the Feb. 27 event in London UFC Fight Night 84, and the March 20 event in Brisbane now UFC Fight Night 85 – pending any further event announcements in the interim.
Penick’s Analysis: It makes sense. They’re missing out on pay-per-view revenue this weekend, but by shifting this to a Fight Night card, they can add another pay-per-view to make up for it. They were initially going to have to skip either May or June in order to make the July 9 card work out as UFC 200, and now they can instead simply skip February on pay-per-view and make sure to have the traditional Memorial Day weekend event in addition to another card in June.
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