Heck, I figured I might as well go, just to see what the new Rogers Place was all about. After being there I have to say: Saskatoon, you need to do something about SaskTel Centre. Rogers Place really does put that venue and most other arenas to shame.
As for the fights: the replacement main event, the title fight between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, went the distance with Nunes winning in a split decision. It was actually far more boring than you might think, given the razor-thin outcome.
A lot of people thought this was a controversial result and that Shevchenko somehow got robbed, but the reality is Shevchenko did nothing to earn the title. If she had simply bothered to land some blows, she would have won the fight. Instead, both fighters did nothing for most of the 25 minutes. These two spent the entire fight basically dancing around one another, like it was Dancing with the Stars or something. The fans were so frustrated by what they were seeing in the Octagon that they were booing at the end of every round!
At one point, this so-called sellout crowd (there were a few empty seats in there) even broke out into chants of “Let’s Go Oilers” because this fight had no action to speak of. Only in the fifth and final round, when Nunes started landing some blows, did it get even remotely interesting.
Then, finally, when Bruce Buffer announced Nunes was the winner, the fans booed again — just for the heck of it.
Anyway, despite all the problems with the card, the Edmonton fans were generally enthusiastic about the UFC being in their city. What is remarkable is that this UFC event drew as many people as it did on the same night that the Edmonton Eskimos were playing across town in front of a big crowd, against the Calgary Stampeders.
As an aside: why the heck is it that in order to see some true major league sport I always have to drive for miles on end — whether it’s been for UFC or auto racing, or Major League Baseball (Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies)(!). I’m sorry, but I’m exhausted from the driving I had to do this weekend, and I really am fed up with constantly hitting the road to see any of the major sports/entertainment options that I’m interested in.
Anyway, it was a good weekend – it got my mind off of the hurricane. I also think this will have to be my last long road trip for a while.