What to expect from Wednesday’s UFC Jacksonville
There is something oddly exciting about a fight night on a Wednesday. It’s so unusual under normal circumstances. But, there is nothing normal about what the world is going through right now, and perhaps that’s why having three events in a week felt like a necessity to Dana White.
You certainly won’t find many fight fans complaining about it. Having been deprived of sports as a whole, the UFC did an outstanding job bringing some normalcy back into our lives with the star-studded UFC 249 card this past weekend. And the train doesn’t stop there.
In order to catch up, White was adamant on having three cards in quick succession. He pulled fighters from pretty much all the cards that were cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic and gave them their jobs back. That aspect of the UFC being back seems largely overlooked. Nobody is forcing these fighters to compete. They also want things to be back to normal and they want to continue making a living. The UFC’s aggressive approach allows them to do just that.
Of course, many questions were asked in regards to how an event involving so many people can possibly go smoothly, let alone three of them. But the UFC answered quite confidently on Saturday. The work put in by White and his staff in order to ensure the safety of the fighters was exceptional, especially for the first go round where mistakes tend to happen. And even when “Jacare” Souza tested positive for the virus, it just felt like the UFC had a handle on it. They went about everything calmly and any knock on effect has been prevented as of right now.
So, with that said, what can we expect from Wednesday night’s card?
Well, according to White, everything about it in terms of the production and safety should be better. That’s good going considering the success of 249. In terms of the quality of fights, on paper, the two cards are no comparison. Saturday’s event was up there with one of the most stacked cards ever. It was high-profile to the max. So, it comes as no surprise that the personnel available for White and the matchmakers to choose from for the following two was a little depleted, hence the lack of real marquee names in Wednesday’s line up.
But as we have all come to learn over the years, a fight card can never be written off before it takes place. That’s become a common mistake made by many. Names don’t make fights. Styles and personalities do. And more often than not, most of the prematurely slated fight cards end up being the most exciting ones. Lesser names only mean fighters with something to prove, and that makes for enthralling fights.
Wednesday’s card is sure to have something for everyone to relish.
The main event between Anthony “Lionheart” Smith and Glover Teixeira is an excellent match up in the light heavyweight division that has action written all over it and with the stakes high for both challengers. Both men are currently ranked in the middle of the division and a victory in this bout could propel one of them right into the top five.
In addition, Ben Rothwell is set to welcome Ovince Saint-Preux into the heavyweight division in a mouthwatering co-main event. That’s an intriguing match up to say the least. It’s going to be interesting to see how Saint-Preux style translates into a heavier weight class and also how his body copes with it in terms of his athleticism and endurance. Rothwell is certainly no gimme. Admittedly, he is past his prime, but there are no safe fights at heavyweight. One lapse in concentration can end with your lights out and Saint-Preux’s chin took its fair share of damage at 205-pounds.
Elsewhere on the main card, lightweight hopeful Alexander Hernandez will look to reignite his divisional momentum in a bout against Drew Dober while bantamweight prospect Ricky Simon will be hoping to get back on track following two consecutive losses in a match up against veteran Ray Borg. There is a gulf of UFC experience between Simon and Borg in favor of the latter. And even though Borg is on a two fight win streak and a year younger than his opponent, it is Simon that is the higher rated of the two at the moment. That should warrant a high quality contest in the absolutely stacked 135-pound division.
There are also the likes of Michael Johnson, Andrei Arlovski and Brian Kelleher featuring on the prelims, meaning that the entertainment value of this card should still be very high. And with yet another card lurking from around the corner (Overeem vs. Harris) and Tyron Woodley set to square off against Gilbert Burns next week, let’s just sit back, relax and enjoy this beautiful sport leading the way in the fight against the madness.
Check out the full fight card below:
Anthony Smith vs. Glover Teixeira
Ovince St. Preux vs. Ben Rothwell
vs. Ricky Simón
vs. Alexander Hernandez
vs. Philipe Lins
Michael Johnson vs. Thiago Moisés
vs. Ike Villanueva
Gabriel Benítez vs. Omar Morales
Sports journalist based in CA, USA.