The glory and the grandeur of MMA returns to Las Vegas Saturday, March 7 at the T-Mobile Arena. This doubleheader championship will decide both the middleweight title and the strawweight belt and is one of the more anticipated matchups of the season. Mixed Martial Arts has exploded in popularity since its first match in 1993. In 2006, the sports betting community realized that MMA betting revenues surpassed boxing’s for the first time–and Sin City took note. March’s contest is sure to lure MMA fanatics and high rollers alike to Sin City.
Drama lurks at the top of card, as the sport’s young Turks look to cement their positions at the top. The Women’s strawweight belt pits Weili “Wagnum” Zhang against former champ Joanna Jendrzejczyk. Zhang, fresh off a 20-win streak, reigns as the current UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion and the first Chinese to hold the title. Jendrzejczyk, meanwhile, is hungry to reclaim the title she lost in 2017. Don’t count out Jendrzejczyk: she remains the division’s most decorated fighter. Fans will be especially interested in this contest–the bad feeling each has for the other has been an open secret for months. Their contrasting fighting styles promise a fiery matchup.
Sharing the bill, middleweight fighter Israel “Stylebender” Adesanya faces off with challenger Yoel Romero. Current 18-0 champion Adesanya is a rising MMA star known for his powerful and flamboyant style. Rocketing to the top in a little over two years, Adesanya draws on experience as a dancer and kickboxer–unique even to MMA. That said, Romero may be coming off two losses, but this powerhouse is nowhere near down and out. Then, there’s this sidebar: at Adesanya’s recent presser, he trash-talked Romero with an ill-conceived reference to 9/11. As expected, this blew up on social media, and Adesanya quickly apologized.
Home to the Golden Knights, the T-Mobile arena in 2017 signed a multi-year deal to host MMA events. Voted “Best New Arena” by Pollstar magazine, this 20,000-seat venue bears testament to the growing popularity of MMA. T-Mobile offers 50 luxury suites and more than two dozen luxury loge boxes. The venue is also conveniently located near great restaurants, hotels, and attractions, lying just off the south side of the Strip. Inside the venue, seats in the upper sections are steeper than the norm ensuring great views even at a distance. Throw in a plethora of wireless charging stations, and you have a perfect place to get caught up in the heart-pounding excitement of MMA.
This second tournament of the year follows on the heels of UFC 246 held in January. As always, the Friday night prior features the tournament weigh-in, which is free and open to the public. Saturday’s events begin early in the afternoon with the first of several matches, culminating in the main card starting around 8:00 pm. Don’t forget that after the event, the night will still be young in Vegas, with opportunities for dining, dancing, and gaming all around the Strip.