UFC 267 is expected to be a rare double-header on ESPN with two-title fights that will be offered as a non-PPV in the United States on October 30.
Fans in the United States will be given a special treat as UFC 267 on October 30 is expected to feature a double-header with light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz taking on top-contender Glover Teixeira and the rematch between bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan. The event is expected to be featured as a non pay-per-view in the United States, a first for large numbered events since UFC 138 in 2011. Ariel Helwani reported the news that the event would be a non pay-per-view. MMA News reported the targeted date for Sterling vs Yan 2.
October 30th in Abu Dhabi, all the talking ends! Sleepyhagen or Needleshaw, winner gets the next whooping after I put away Yan in 3!
Only thing that matters in this sport is blue-collared hard-work! No Dana White Privileges ever given to me 💯#AndStill! #Georgia 🇬🇪 pic.twitter.com/BvkEaKfEgs
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) July 24, 2021
In recent months, the UFC shuffled their schedule that originally saw Blachowicz and Teixeira headlining the September 25 show. As the UFC has pushed to reenter more markets in 2021, the return of International Fight Week saw the Blachowicz vs Texeira bout moved to October 30 in Abu Dhabi to accommodate the planned triple-header in Vegas in September.
Notably, the UFC has maintained their schedule amidst the various changes worldwide amidst the coronavirus pandemic with a show nearly every week of the calendar year. The UFC offering two title fights on basic ESPN+ as opposed to a pay-per-view is a rare move. For reference, the UFC has only featured a title fight on ESPN three times in the past three years (UFC Fight Night 143, UFC Fight Night 156, and UFC Fight Night 157). Notably, the UFC has a pay-per-vew tentatively scheduled a week later for what is expected to be UFC 268 with the target location being Madison Square Garden in New York. The UFC will still end the year with an average of one pay-per-view per month as they had two pay-per-views in the month of March.
While the bout between Blachowicz and Teixeira has been in place for several months, the rematch between Sterling and Yan has been the topic of wide speculation. Though still not official, an October return would be far earlier than most initial expectations after Sterling announced he would be undergoing a procedure to deal with a neck injury he had been dealing with. His first bout with Yan ended in controversy after Yan appeared to be on his way to rallying back to defeat Sterling before he landed an illegal knee while “The Funkmaster” was a downed opponent. Sterling was deemed unable to continue and the bout was called a disqualification victory that awarded him UFC bantamweight title.
The undercard is still being built although notable bouts include the return of Khamzat Chimaev against perennial contender Li Jingliang and fan-favorite Amanda Ribas against Virna Jandiroba. Other bouts include Michał Oleksiejczuk against Shamil Gamzatov.