TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 9/27: UFC comes through at 11th hour with huge main event for UFC 205, Ryback, Cyborg, Ratings, White on Nelson (w/Analysis)

By Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor


Well, they pulled it out at the eleventh hour, and they couldn’t wait to share the news.

Late Monday night, UFC announced that the main event for UFC 205 from Madison Square Garden will be a Lightweight Championship bout between champion Eddie Alvarez and current Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor.

The announcement comes after weeks of speculation and second-guessing of what the main event would be. The Alvarez-McGregor fight seemed inevitable at points, but was once ruled out by Dana White due to a McGregor injury. In the end, the biggest fight on the table was made and it should challenge McGregor’s other two record setting pay-per-view numbers this year.

After a brief disappearance from the announced card, Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson for the Welterweight Championship is officially back on the card as the co-main event. A third title fight on the card, a first in modern UFC history between Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz is also on the card.

Also officially announced today was a middleweight bout between New York native Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero. The main card will be rounded out with Donald Cerrone vs. Kelvin Gastelum.

A press conference is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m. ET to officially announce the show.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: This is probably the strongest card UFC has ever put on. It has a history-making, champion vs. champion main event, two more very interesting title fights, and the deepest undercard they’ve ever assembled. This is the show UFC 200 was meant to be. They tried hard to load up on UFC 200, but the top end really fell apart when they took Conor off and then made worse with the Jon Jones drug test failure. The show ended up feeling like it was booked in the Twilight Zone, but was still a very strong show.

With this card loaded up so heavily, that only leaves GSP for Toronto on Dec. 10 as most champions are tied up. There are some options for championship fights, but nothing with the marquee value they may need or want to fill the building. Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, Jose Aldo, and Dominick Cruz could all be available for that date, but Miocic had talked about taking some time off and they seem to be waiting to hear more on Jon Jones’s fate before making any moves at Light Heavyweight. So that leaves an interim title fight between Aldo and probably Max Holloway and Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt or T.J. Dillashaw. All great fights, but none will do blow away box-office numbers. The fact that 205 is so loaded and that they didn’t put GSP on that show may be a sign that he’s expected to be on 206 in Toronto. Tickets for that show go on sale next week, so word should come out soon once the dust settles from today’s announcements and press conference.


-Saturday’s Fight Night on FS1 headlined by Cris Cyborg did 1.1 million viewers according to the Wrestling Observer. That would be the fourth largest audience for a Fight Night on FS1 this year, and two of the shows above it were loaded up, near pay-per-view quality shows so I expect we’ll be seeing more of Cris Cyborg in UFC.

-The Brazillian commission reportedly allowed Cris Cyborg to weigh in above the 141 lb. limit for her 140 lb. catchweight fight against Lina Lansberg. Pictures from the official weigh-ins showed the scale reading 141.5 lbs. Earlier last week Cyborg had tweeted that she had to come in at no more than 140 lbs.

-Dana White was not happy with Roy Nelson kicking John McCarthy after his fight Saturday night. He told the UFC Unfiltered podcast that “It’s despicable, it’s disgusting, it can never f—ing happen, ever again.”

-White said on ESPN Sportscenter that he is trying to put together a fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Michael Johnson for UFC 205. White had previously said that Nurmagomedov will be fighting Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 and then later at UFC 206.

-UFC heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov has been flagged for a potential USADA drug violation from an out of competition sample taken Sept. 7.

-USADA and UFC announced that they will be reducing the fees for fighters to challenge drug test results. Fees will be waived outright if fighters are found not to be at fault or if there was no violation.

-Reports surfaced last night that former WWE wrestler Ryback is in talks to fight in Bellator. Ryback was the subject of great criticism from pro-wrestler turned UFC fighter C.M. Punk after his departure in 2014. While a fight between the two seems like a natural, there may be too big a weight discrepancy between the two and Punk is still under contract to UFC. Also notable about Ryback is that the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that he had a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy while at WWE. TRT is no longer accepted by the state commissions.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S NEWS UPDATE: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 9/26: UFC 205 line-up speculation all over the place a day before major press conference on NYC show

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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