In the wonderful world of combat sports, it’s always special when fans are blessed with multiple cards of massive talent on one night across different sports. Unfortunately, the only difficult decision on days like the one this coming Saturday is choosing what to watch, since promotions love to schedule fun stuff at the same time. For those who are so inclined, you can split the same screen with completely legal streams of said fights, or have friends whose screens you can borrow for completely legal streams that you definitely paid for. But on with the wonderful fights taking place this weekend on November 6th.
The UFC brings its promotion from Fight Island in Adu Dhabi last weekend to New York City, as they host one of their biggest cards in Madison Square Garden for the first time since 2019. Headlining the event are 3 explosive fights with the potential to be all-time classics.
First up is the lightweight fight between former title challengers Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler. Gaethje, known for his brash hard hitting and violent striking, looks to set himself up for a title shot in his first fight back since facing former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov just over a year ago. Chandler, who is coming off a title fight loss to the current champion Charles Oliveira, is looking to put himself back into a title fight much like Gaethje. The two fighters both see themselves as the number one contender for the title, and are eager to prove themselves worthy of fighting the winner of the Poirier vs. Oliveira fight coming up in December. The two are former high-level wrestlers with devastating knockout power and chins that can take a beating. Ignoring my own bias for Justin Gaethje, I’d say that this fight has the potential to overshadow the next two fights and maybe earn to the title of fight of the year just based off the fighters involved.
The next fight on the card, and the co-main event of the evening, is the immediate rematch of the April fight between Rose Namajunas and Weili Zhang for the women’s strawweight championship. Rose took the belt from Weili Zhang in the first round with a devastating head kick, but Zhang is eager at the opportunity to reclaim her belt. Ignoring the initial fight between the two, Zhang is a tremendous fighter with world class striking and grappling to rival the equally elite levels of those skills that Rose possesses. Both fighters have tremendous ability that could see the belt go either way, and whether they finish early or go the distance, each fighter will put it all on the line to prove that they are the true champion at 115 pounds.
The last fight of the night for the UFC is the long-awaited rematch between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington. The first fight between the two was one of the best UFC fights ever. That 2019 fight saw Usman finish Covington by TKO in the fifth round via ground strikes. Since then, Usman has defended his belt three times, while Colby has only fought once in a decisive victory over former champion Tyron Woodley. There was great animosity between the two fighters even before the first fight, as the Covington’s character brings about a lot of negative attention. Even after the fight, Colby claimed Usman lied about eye pokes and a groin shot that afforded him a rest and stopped Colby’s momentum in the fight. Colby has also claimed that Usman has been avoiding this upcoming rematch since he was too scared to face a fighter that could actually beat him, unlike the fighters he “hand-picked” to beat. All trash-talk and claims of cheating aside, both fighters have improved dramatically since their first fight, with Usman improving on his striking ability tremendously and becoming a much more well-rounded fighter who still has terrific wrestling ability. Covington has only fought once since the initial fight but looked much improved during the match-up against Woodley, showing improved decision making and discipline with an even better mix of striking and grappling to go along with the immense cardio and pressure he brings to his fights. The fight is set to light up Madison Square Garden, as the two fighters are better versions of the ones that fought nearly 3 years ago.
Also occurring the lovely night of November 6th is the fight between Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez and undefeated Tennessee native Caleb Plant. Taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the fight puts Canelo’s WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles on the line, along with Caleb Plant’s IBF title, in a massive unification fight. At the end of the night one man will leave the ring with four belts. The two fighters have been speculated to fight for a while, as claims of Canelo avoiding Plant circulated around boxing social media. In the leadup to the fight the two have exchanged words and have even gotten physical, with Plant pushing Canelo, who quickly responded with an evasion of Plant’s incoming slap and promptly sending his own one-two combination before being separated. If you can lose fights before they even start, then Plant definitely already lost at the press conference. Canelo himself has said that there is animosity between the two that he has not had with any other fighter, which makes me excited to see what an angry Canelo Alvarez can do in the ring. Plant holds only a height and reach advantage over Canelo, who has not had much difficulty dealing with bigger opponents in the past, such his last fight against Billy Joe Saunders, who was also undefeated until he got his orbital bone caved in by Canelo’s uppercut. Canelo’s advantage comes from his amazing defensive prowess, devastating punching power and his more years of experience. Canelo is the clear favorite going into this fight, much more so after that interesting press conference, so the path to victory seems to be an uphill battle for Plant who has to find a way to beat one of the biggest stars in boxing today.