MANILA, Philippines – The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is reportedly preparing a blockbuster event that will feature two championship clashes as co-headlining main events.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that Rafael dos Anjos will put his lightweight belt on the line against featherweight kingpin Conor McGregor, while newly-minted women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm will make her first title defense versus Miesha Tate.
Rappler tried to reach the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization for confirmation, but UFC officials declined to comment.
According to an article by USA Today’s MMAJunkie.com, verbal agreements are said to be in place, but fight contracts have yet to be finalized and signed.
Dos Anjos (25-7) captured the lightweight title when he outpointed Anthony Pettis in March 2015 and then successfully defended the 155-pound weight class’ top prize by stopping Donald Cerrone in just 66 seconds 9 months later.
On the other hand, McGregor (19-2) ended the nearly 5-year reign of Jose Aldo as UFC’s featherweight champion by knocking out his Brazilian rival this past December.
The 27-year-old Irishman finished the job in just 13 seconds, earning the feat of fastest championship victory in UFC history by dropping Aldo with a counter left hook before polishing him off with hammerfists on the mat.
McGregor once competed as a lightweight when he defeated Ivan Buchinger for Cage Warriors Fighting Championship’s version of the lightweight belt via first-round knockout in December 2012.
Meanwhile, Holm (10-0) pulled off a shocking upset last November when she dethroned Ronda Rousey for the women’s bantamweight championship.
The 34-year-old native of Albuquerque, New Mexico knocked out Rousey with a left head kick and then punctuated with follow-up punches on the ground to compel referee Herb Dean to intervene at the 59-second mark of round two.
In the other corner, Tate (17-5) became the No.1 contender after earning a unanimous decision victory over Jessica Eye in July 2015.
Following her 34-second demolition of Bethe Correia in August 2015, White announced that Rousey would meet Tate for the third time.
However, the UFC apparently opted to go a different direction and chose Holm as Rousey’s next foe.
The UFC 197 pay-per-view card is scheduled to take place at a yet-to-be-determined location in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 6 (March 5 in US). – Rappler.com