With UFC 266 in the books on September 25th in Las Vegas, it's never too early to look ahead to the next time the mixed martial arts franchise comes to New York. Sure, we've still got UFC 267 scheduled in Abu Dhabi on October 30th, but it won't be long after that when Usman vs. Covington 2 headlines Madison Square Garden on November 6th, reports ESPN.
This is the biggest fight event at MSG since Jorge Masvidal defeated Nate Diaz almost two years to the day in UFC 244 back on November 2nd of 2019. Since 2016 l, when the New York State Athletic Commission sanctioned MMA fights, the Garden has hosted a major UFC event every November, featuring epic matches such as Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez, Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Thompson, Georges St. Pierre vs. Michael Bisping, and Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis I. This event was not held last year due to the COVID pause, so fans are going to be anxious to be back at full capacity.
The Projected Fight Card
Anything can happen in the next two months, and a women's bantamweight bout between Germaine de Randamie and Irene Aldana has already been scrapped due to an injury to de Randamie. That being said, UFC 268 still looks to be action packed with 14 fights on the schedule. The highlights of those include:
Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler
Many people are calling UFC 268 the biggest MMA event of the year, and you know it's a crazy card when Gaethje vs. Chandler isn't even a co-headliner. Gaethje (22-3) steps into the Octagon for the first time since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov last October in a Lightweight title bout. That defeat broke a 4-fight win streak for Gaethje.
Chandler (22-6) also needs a bounce back after winning his first three fights in the UFC (following a successful 10-year career in Bellator) before getting KO'd by Charles Oliveira in the 2nd round as the headliner at UFC 262 in a title fight for Nurmagomedov's vacated Lightweight belt. Chandler and Gaethje have not been big fans of each other over the past few months, with Chandler hinting on social media that Gaethje has dodged fighting him “3 or 4 times in the past.” Gaethje is a -180 favorite here.
Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili
The co-headliner at the Garden looks to be a good one, with Rose Namajunas (11-4) looking for a repeat of her 1:18 KO of Zhang Weili (21-2) at UFC 261 to claim the women's strawweight title.
That was Zhang's first loss in 7 years, and she'll be anxious to get back in the Octagon to regain her belt and set up the inevitable trilogy bout next year. Both fighters are listed at -110 in the odds.
It is already possible to bet online on fights in the octagon in several states in the United States. Probably the residents of one of the richest cities in the country, New York, will have the same opportunity in 2022 or 2023. At the same time, 2, online sports betting is already allowed in neighboring New Jersey.
Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington
Kamaru Usman (19-1) is an early -280 favorite coming into his Welterweight title defense against Colby Covington (16-2). Usman has truly been a Nigerian Nightmare in starting his UFC career 14-0, claiming the Welterweight title from Tyron Woodley in March of 2019 and having four successful defenses since then. One of those was at UFC 245 against Covington, in a 5th round stoppage that many consider one of the best five fights in the division over the past decade. Covington bounced back from that December 2019 loss with a TKO of Tyron Woodley in September of 2020 so he's rested and ready.
UFC 268 Fight Details
The UFC returns to the Mecca on Saturday November 6th, 2021 with preliminary cards getting underway at 6:15 PM. It's been a long wait since the Octagon took center stage at MSG, so this is going to be an event for the ages.