The greatest storyline of the UFC’s 3rd trip to the renowned Madison Square Garden in New York isn’t about the champion bout headlining the card, the heated competition in the co-main event, or the significant undercard. Instead, the biggest story is the absence of a real centerpiece for the months leading up to UFC 230, which occurs on Saturday, Nov. 3.
The centerpiece was just listed on the UFC’s site as “TBA” versus “TBD” less than a month prior to the event. There was talk of welterweight champ Tyron Woodley stepping up to the plate. However, the champion needed hand surgery following his win at UFC 228 in September. Then, Jon Jones was handed down a retroactive, shortened 15-month USADA suspension for his unsuccessful test at UFC 214 in July 2017, that made him eligible to fight at UFC 230. The reports began swirling about a possible Jones title bout, however the smoke was rapidly snuffed out. About a month far from the event, Valentina Shevchenko was moved from her at first schedule bout at UFC 231 to headline versus The Ultimate Fighter 26 finalist Sijara Eubanks. The promo felt the unfavorable reaction from the fans, the lack of ticket sales, and the general disinterest in the bout. So, the flip-flopping continued.
Following his extraordinary come-from-behind triumph at UFC 229, Derrick Lewis was granted a title shot against reigning heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. Cormier and Lewis were given top billing at UFC 230, while Shevchenko moved back to UFC 231 in Toronto and Eubanks was relegated to the UFC 230 initial card against Roxanne Modafferi.
Just as the pay-per-view was beginning to fill in, numerous injuries annihilated the card and resulted in a lot more changes. The first hit to the main card was the loss of Luke Rockhold, who was scheduled to face former UFC champ Chris Weidman in an awaited rematch. The injury resulted in a cause and effect of matchmaking modifications. Former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza moved into the bout with Weidman, which left top-10 middleweight David Branch without a challenger till Jared Cannonier stepped up on brief notification. Then, the co-headliner in between leading lightweight competitor Dustin Poirier and Nate Diaz was scrapped when Poirier sustained a hip injury.
Following all the mayhem, the UFC 230 lineup is still a solid fight card. Beyond the above mentioned contests, charming striker Israel Adesanya clashes with top-10 middleweight Derek Brunson, exciting featherweight Jason Knight fights Jordan Rinaldi, and outstanding strikers Sheymon Moraes and Julio Arce will put everything on the line.
The fight card begins on UFC Fight Pass with the early prelims at 6:15 p.m. ET. The action moves over to Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET for the telecasted part of the initial card. Lastly, at 10 p.m. ET, the five-fight main card decreases on pay-per-view, culminating in the heavyweight title fight in between Cormier and Lewis.
Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis Full Fight
Ronaldo Souza vs. Chris Weidman Full Fight
David Branch vs. Jared Cannonier Full Fight
Jack Marshman vs. Karl Roberson Full Fight
Israel Adesanya vs. Derek Brunson Full Fight