If UFC 212 isn’t getting the pulse racing, Jose Aldo vs Max Holloway aside, this poster for UFC 213 should whet the appetite.
Let’s be frank, the main card for UFC 212 isn’t for the casuals. How about Vitor Belfort vs Nate Marquadt? A fine swansong for post-TRT Belfort perhaps. But anyone who tuned in for his fight with Kelvin Gastelum won’t be overly amped for that one.
Erick Silva vs Yancy Medeiros? Paolo Borrachinha vs Oluwale Bamgbose? Outside the fact Bamgbose’s nickname is ‘Holy War Angel’ (Yoel Romero missed a beat on that one) this won’t register much interest outside of the hardcore.
Also, barring Belfort, none of these fighters are ranked in their respective divisions. Sandwiched between two blockbuster cards, WME-IMG will be banking on hometown interest to carry this card.
However, there’s no reason to feel low. The official fight poster for UFC 213 was released overnight. Be warned, serious salivation may be caused at the thought of this one.
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— UFC (@ufc) June 2, 2017
Compared to UFC 212, there’s so many more interesting narratives with this one. Firstly, there’s some gratifying for-the-fans match-making with Lawler vs Cowboy and Pettis vs Miller. Hands up who expects a dust up or two there?
Next, we’ve a rubber match to reestablish some order among the heavyweight contenders with Werdum vs Overeem 3.
The co-main of Romero and Whittaker is a fight that should help advance the long-stalled middleweight division. Whittaker has a fantastic opportunity to jump the out-of-favour Luke Rockhold and Gegard Mousasi in the queue of 185 contenders. For Yoel Romero, this is merely another hoop the Cuban has to jump through to get his crack at gold. Depending on the outcome, hopefully it will force Michael Bisping into a defence.
Meanwhile, the main event between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko should carry considerable bite, following the pair’s altercation at the UFC Summer Kickoff press conference. Both women are coming off the back of impressive wins,over Ronda Rousey and Julianna Pena respectively. Throw in a razor-thin decision win for Nunes in their first fight and we have the recipe for a revenge mission.
All in all, a crowd-pleasing, division-advancing, chest-thumping rollercoaster of a card in store, if everyone makes it there. Fingers crossed.
Noel Ryan, Pundit Arena