Houston is expected to host its fifth UFC pay-per-view, UFC 247, in February. It’s the first in the city since UFC 192 in October of 2015. Now that we know the where and when, who will be featured in the main event?
Following a busy end-of-year schedule in 2019, the beginning of the UFC’s 2020 slate is taking shape. While many questions still surround UFC 246, we’re beginning to learn more about UFC 247.
It’s being reported that the second PPV of 2020 will take place on February 8 in Houston, Texas at the Toyota Center. The UFC is no stranger to Houston, or the venue, having hosted several events and PPVs there in the past.
A couple of heavyweight bouts for UFC 247 have been reported as well. A fight between Juan Adams and Justin Tafa is expected, as well as Ilir Latifi’s heavyweight debut against fan-favorite and Texan Derrick Lewis.
While those fights sound fun, and more marquee match-ups are on the way, it’s the headline fight that we’re all interested in most. With several titles hung-up at UFC 245 in December, and another PPV event expected to take place in January, what championships are left to defend in Houston?
We can rule several title fights out for Houston. Don’t expect anyone from UFC 245 in December to feature on the card. That means no Max Holloway or Alexander Volkanovski, no Kamaru Usman or Colby Covington, and no Amanda Nunes or Germaine de Randamie.
We can also rule out the headliners from UFC 244 at MSG, Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz. Both guys are banged up after their battle for the BMF belt, and a timeline to return in February doesn’t make sense for either party.
After becoming the undisputed UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya will be defending his belt in 2020. Although a return in February would fit for the champ, the undeniable number-one contender, Paulo Costa, needs some time. Sure, the promotion could slot Yoel Romero or Jared Cannonier into the picture, but waiting until sometime in the spring for Adesanya-Costa sounds like the right move for everyone involved.
It’s doubtful we’ll see Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next lightweight title defense in February, too. While the champ hasn’t been incredibly inactive, he’s not a guy who rushes back into the Octagon. Plus, the promotion will likely hold Nurmagomedov’s next bout for a major card in Vegas (no offense, Houston). At least with Khabib, we know his next opponent: Tony Ferguson. Fingers crossed that the fifth time is the charm.
Then, there’s UFC 246. We don’t know much about the promotion’s first PPV of 2020. But, there has been talk of Conor McGregor’s return to action taking place at the to-be-announced PPV in January. Right now, it’s just talk. Should it come to fruition, Donald Cerrone sounds like the Irishman’s opponent. While neither man holds a belt, and the creation of another BMF-esque title isn’t likely, it’s safe to say that, despite his personal and professional issues, McGregor is still a headlining fighter in 2020.