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.
This UFC 215 event in Edmonton tomorrow night at Rogers Place has taken a major, major hit right at the top of the card. Demetrious Johnson was all set to go for his UFC-record 11th title defence against Ray Borg, but Borg has come down with a viral illness and is ruled unfit to fight, so the fight is off!! Aargh!
Now, instead of Johnson vs. Borg, the main event is Amanda Nunes v. Valentina Shevchenko 2, a fight which was meant to happen a while ago but which also got called off when Nunes pulled out. Well, folks, this particular fight had better go ahead this time, or else every fight fan in Edmonton will be mad.
This adds to the UFC’s litany of woes in hosting fights up here in Canada, and particularly adds to their woes in hosting fights in Alberta, where their UFC 149 event in Calgary is still remembered to this day as being one of their all-time worst in history.
Of course, this UFC Edmonton card is already under a cloud to begin with after former UFC fighter Tim Hague died this year in, get this, a boxing match in Edmonton. So even though this was boxing and had nothing to do with the UFC, all the news reports said “MMA”, so all of MMA in Alberta is under a microscope now because of this. The inquiry into his death won’t be done until after the UFC leaves town now.
Anyway, we shall see how this event goes tomorrow. Please, no more problems.
Well, I was hoping to post this UFC news update earlier in the week, when the real news was all happening. Now, I’m posting it on the same night as a Fight Night 114 card from Mexico City. Anyway, updates on that are here.
Frankly, all the real news happened last week in UFC 214, when Jon Jones KOed Daniel Cormier in round 3 to win back the light heavyweight title. Jones is now saying he wants to be a better champion than he was previously, when he was suspended due to drug use. I hope so.
And we hear the Michael Bisping-Georges St-Pierre bout is back on. It was on, then it was off again, and now finally it’s a go in New York this fall at Madison Square Garden.
Meanwhile, we’ve been getting news about who will be on the card for UFC 215 in Edmonton this September. The main card includes Demetrious Johnson versus Ray Borg and the co-main is Amanda Nunes versus Valentina Shevchenko. But of course, everyone is unimpressed with this second matchup because these two were supposed to be the main event at UFC 213 in which Nunes mysteriously chickened out of appearing in, dropping due to illness (supposedly). So nobody really trusts Nunes to actually show up. We’ll see; if Nunes skips out on a fight again, boy, will the Edmonton fans all be mad.
It sounds like the UFC fight in Edmonton is selling lots of tickets locally, but pay-per-views might be a different story. The main issue is it’s competing for attention right now against this overhyped circus act that is the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor boxing match on Aug. 26. That is where the real interest is among fans, but I dunno why we all care because it’s still a joke. The latest news from that is that McGregor’s sparring partner has quit, apparently disgusted with the buildup to the bout.
That’s all; now back to watching the Mexico fights.