By Chris Bishop, MMATorch Contributor

This Saturday the UFC makes another trip to The Big Apple as UFC 230 takes place from Madison Square Garden. This card has been riddled by ups and downs for months. Dana White promised a huge main event for this card with Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier as a co-main event. Months passed and still no main event had been announced so the UFC ripped up the bout contract between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 231 and announced that Valentina Shevchenko would be fighting Sijara Eubanks for the vacant women’s Flyweight championship. However, a week after announcing this fight, they ripped up the contract and restored the Jedrzejczyk vs. Valentina main event for UFC 231. Even after settling on a main event, the co-main was lost once Dustin Poirier was pulled from the fight due to injury.

Cormier vs. Lewis

Finally the UFC announced that the UFC 230 main event would be Daniel Cormier taking on Derrick Lewis for the heavyweight title. After his huge win at UFC 229, Lewis’ stock has been on the rise, especially after his post fight interview where he captivated fans and saw his social media follows increase significantly. During a press conference for UFC 226, Derrick Lewis said he wanted to knock out Cormier because “he disrespected Popeye’s chicken during the commercial,” referring to a commercial that Cormier starred in for the company. In fact, Popeye’s has recently gotten behind Lewis and are offering customers in Houston free Popeye’s chicken between 2-4pm on Sunday if Lewis wins.

For Cormier, this is a chance for the champion to main event a UFC card at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden. Now with the news that Cormier will be stripped of his light heavyweight title in December once Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson meet at UFC 231. With that being said, Cormier is still a double champion for the time being. With McGregor never doing it, Cormier will be the first UFC fighter to fight as a double champion. In order to leave with both belts, he will have to avoid Lewis’ power. After suffering a broken hand in his last fight, I don’t expect Cormier to stand much and look to get this fight to the ground.

Weidman vs. Jacare

Luke Rockhold had a huge number one contender fight with Chris Weidman and after a Rockhold suffered a leg injury, he was pulled from the fight. Jacare Souza steps in to replace Rockhold on short notice. With a win, Weidman will receive a title shot. Another middleweight who is looking for a title opportunity with a win is Israel Adesanya. The former kickboxer and undefeated MMA fighter will take on Derek Brunson. These two have a ton of back and forth leading up to this fight on social media and during press conferences. Adesanya says he felt disrespected by Brunson when he claims Brunson acted like he didn’t know who he was after a UFC event.

Best of the rest

Other interesting fights on this card include Jared Cannonier making his middleweight debut against David Branch. Cannonier is coming down from the light heavyweight division after losing three of four fights up there (mostly against top 10 opponents). On the preliminary card, Sijara Eubanks will take on Roxanne Modafferi. As stated above, Eubanks was set to take on Valentina Shevchenko for the women’s flyweight title. That fight was cancelled and Shevchenko was slotted back into her title fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 and Eubanks’ fight with Modafferi was restored. Eubanks got a little fame after she objected to Jedrzejczyk even getting a title fight when she has never fought at flyweight. In the aftermath, Joe Rogan said on one of his podcasts that he didn’t know who Sijara Eubanks was. That caused Eubanks to call Rogan disrespectful and should she win, that would make for an interesting post fight interview. She will have a tough fight though in Modafferi. Modafferi lost to Nicco Montana in the title fight for the inaugural women’s flyweight title. Therefore, I would assume the winner of this fight, will take on the winner of the Shevchenko vs. Jedrzejczyk fight.

Other fight on the card:

Main Card:

Karl Roberson vs. Jack Marshman Middleweight


Preliminary Card:

Jason Knight vs. Jordan Rinaldi Featherweight

Julio Arce vs. Sheymon Moraes Featherweight

Ben Saunders vs. Lyman Good Welterweight

Matt Frevola vs. Lando Vannata Lightweight

Shane Burgos vs. Kurt Holobaugh Featherweight

Brian Kelleher vs. Montel Jackson Bantamweight

Adam Wieczorek vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima Heavyweight

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