The UFC and Bellator are set for a West Coast showdown, as UFC 233 will go head-to-head against Bellator’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix Finale in California early next year.
The UFC has Bellator MMA in its crosshairs to start 2019. As first reported by Lance Pugmire of the L.A. Times, UFC 233 will take place January 26, 2019 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. That same night, Bellator has the World Heavyweight Grand Prix finale set for The Forum in Los Angeles. That card, of course, will feature Fedor Emelianenko taking on Ryan Bader.
No fights have been announced for UFC 233. However a bantamweight super-fight between Henry Cejudo (who holds flyweight gold) and 135lb champ T.J. Dillashaw is being considered. Cejudo won the 125lb title by dethroning Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson over the Summer. Johnson has since departed the promotion for ONE Championship, in a blockbuster trade for Ben Askren. Should Cejudo be allowed to move up to bantamweight, a real question emerges about the future of the flyweight division.
The Bellator card at The Forum will be broadcast free on Paramount Network, and simulcast on the promotion’s streaming partner DAZN. UFC 233, meanwhile, will air its main card live on PPV. That will make for an interesting head-to-head battle both on the west coast, and in terms of viewership.
The UFC and Bellator have gone head-to-head before, but never in the same market on the same night.
This past weekend, UFC Vice President of International and Content David Shaw told Cageside Press and other media outlets that the UFC would announce at least some of its 2019 dates in the near future.