(This post first appeared on MMA Frenzy)
It’s not too often that a night features both a Bellator and UFC card, but that’s exactly what’s going down on Saturday. So, can Bellator 199 pull views from UFC 224? Or vice-versa? And who’s going to be watching what?
UFC 224 Prelims
The prelims for UFC 224 will get underway on Fight Pass at 3:15 PM/ET, and most of the folks tuning in will be of the ‘MMA is my life’ variety. One of the more interesting bouts scheduled for Fight Pass will see former middleweight title challenger Thales Leites taking on Jack Hermansson. Alberto Mina will put his undefeated record up against Ramazan Emeev, which is also an interesting scrap.
The FX prelims will begin at 8 PM/ET, and it would be surprising if the line-up grabbed a ton of casual fans. The Cezar Ferreira –
Karl Roberson bout is probably compelling to hardcore folks, and the Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos – Sean Strickland scrap should be as well. But, in comparison to the earlier days of the FOX broadcast deal, the prelims have no mainstream pop… at all.
UFC 224 Main Card
The pay-per-view will be headlined by a bout between bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes and rugged challenger Raquel Pennington. In the co-headliner, Kelvin Gastelum will throw hands with fellow middleweight contender “Jacare” Souza, and the main card will also see Vitor Belfort face fellow Brazilian legend Lyoto Machida.
In addition, the card will feature highly-touted prospect Mackenzie Dern taking on Amanda Cooper, and a potential banger of a bantamweight scrap between John Lineker and Brian Kelleher.
So, will hardcore fans be willing to shell out cash to see this PPV? Ya. You would think a decent amount of them will. But, are any of these ‘I absolutely have to see the fight live – with no spoilers’? Maybe Gastelum – Souza is? Maybe?
When you look at the card via that lens, then it’s hard to imagine that UFC 224 will move truckloads of PPVs. One would think the UFC will be over the moon if it sells over 300,000.
The televised main card for Bellator 199 will begin airing at 9PM, and that also applies to West Coasters in the U.S. (via delay). Avid fans are likely invested in seeing Aaron Pico’s latest bout, and you can say the same for the Paul Daley – Jon Fitch bout.
The headliner is a fight between light-heavyweight champ Ryan Bader and former Strikeforce champ “King Mo” Lawal. The winner will move on to face Matt Mitrione in the semifinals of Bellator’s heavyweight grand prix. So, even if you haven’t jumped on the grand prix wagon yet, there’s no denying that Bader – Lawal is a compelling bout. After all, it features two of the best light-heavyweights on the planet.
But, is this a scrap that will pull a lot of casual fans? Not long removed from Bellator 198 and Fedor Emelianenko vs. Frank Mir? It would be pretty surprising if it does.
So, when you consider all the above, could Bellator 199 ding the UFC’s bottom line? It might, somewhat.
If you’re a mainstream fan, who feels like watching fights on Saturday, and you realize you can do that via Bellator 199 for free, instead of coughing up cash for UFC 224, you’ll likely pass on the latter. But, when it’s all said and done, there’s a good chance neither of these cards will draw droves of fans.