The UFC has moved two bouts, including the flyweight title fight between Henry Cejudo and T.J. Dillashaw, to UFC Brooklyn next month.
After apparently struggling to secure a main event for its debut on ESPN+ next month, the UFC has pilfered a pair of fights from UFC 233. What might have been the co-main, or even main event of the PPV card on January 26 now tops UFC Brooklyn (UFC Fight Night 143), which takes place at the Barclay’s Center on January 19. ESPN was the first to report the news. In addition, the promotion announced Wednesday that Ariane Lipski’s UFC debut, against Joanne Calderwood, had also been bumped up to Brooklyn.
— UFC (@ufc) December 5, 2018
The change leaves UFC 233 without a title fight, just when it seemed that the PPV event was being stacked. The promotion is reportedly on the lookout for another title fight, though with two taking place in Toronto this weekend, and another pair on the UFC 232 card in Las Vegas, the cupboard is looking bare.
The good news, however, is that fans will get a title fight to kick off the promotion’s tenure on ESPN, just like they did to start the FOX era. Dillashaw is dropping to flyweight for the first time in the bout, putting the bantamweight division on hold in hopes of becoming the promotion’s third simultaneous two-division champion. While the 125lb division appears to be on life support, the UFC recently booked Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Benavidez, so there may be a chance for it yet.
Also going down on the UFC Brooklyn card, Rachael Ostovich vs. Paige VanZant, and Greg Hardy vs. Allen Crowder. The booking of a recent victim of domestic violence (Ostovich’s husband, the alleged assailant, has been charged), and a former NFL’er with his own history as a perpetrator of domestic violence, has raised plenty of eyebrows as the UFC jumps to ESPN. Something the promotion is apparently aware of, as it barred journalists in Toronto from asking any questions at Wednesday’s UFC 231 press conference that did not directly relate to the weekend’s card.