If you’re a combat sports fan, then Saturday, April 16th may as well be a holiday for you. Throughout the day, American television networks will be airing MMA, kickboxing, and boxing, of which all of the events will overlap each other at some point during the broadcast.
Here’s what you can look forward to as part of this huge weekend of combat sports:
UFC on FOX 19: Evans vs. Teixeira. Obviously this was supposed to be UFC on FOX: Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov, but Ferguson is out and Rashad Evans vs. Glover Teixeira is the new main event. Despite the devastating main event news, this is still a really good card from top to bottom. Tecia Torres and Rose Namajunas is a very important bout for the women’s 115 lbs division, Michael Chiesa vs. Beneil Dariush is an excellent preliminary card feature fight, Bethe Correia returns against Raquel Pennington, and John Dodson heads back to 135 for a Fight Pass bout vs. Manny Gamburyan. Main card start time: 8 PM ET/5 PM PT; Preliminary card start time: 6 PM ET/3 PM PT; Fight Pass card start time: 4 PM ET/1 PM PT.
Bellator 152: Pitbull vs. Souza. For the first time ever, Bellator is headed outside of North America and staging an event in Europe. They’ll be in Torino, Italy for a card headlined by lightweights Patricky Freire and Kevin Souza, who is filling in for Derek Campos. Alessio Sakara will be making his Bellator debut against Brian Rogers in the co-main event, while prospect A.J. McKee fights Danilo Belluardo in the featherweight division. Anastasia Yankova makes her much-anticipated debut against Anjela Pink in the women’s flyweight division. This event also marks the beginning of Bellator Kickboxing, which sees Melvin Manhoef vs. Alexandru Negrea as the main attraction. Start time: Spike TV will broadcast the event on tape delay at 10 PM ET/PT. There’s presumably a way to watch this live, although probably not legally. I think the MMA portion starts at 4 PM ET/1 PM PT. Bellator Kickboxing will air on April 22nd at 11 PM ET/PT on a one week delay.
GLORY 29 Copenhagen. Are you up for some one-night heavyweight tournament action? The four-man field features Anderson “Braddock” Silva vs. Ismael Londt in one semifinal, while Jahfarr Wilnis takes on Kirill Kornilov in the other semi. Whoever wins this tournament will get a title shot against Rico Verhoeven. The main event is a welterweight title fight between champion Nieky Holzken and Yoann Kongolo, as Holzken aims for his 10th straight win, and 2nd successful defense of his belt. The Superfight Series is headlined by former light heavyweight title challenger Zack Mwekassa against France’s Zinedine Hameur-Lain. ESPN3 will live stream GLORY 29’s main card at 4 PM ET/1 PM PT, with ESPN2 airing a replay at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT. UFC Fight Pass streams the Superfight Series at 1:30 PM ET/10:30 AM PT.
PBC on NBC: Spence vs. Algieri. Undefeated Errol Spence (19-0, 16 KOs) faces the toughest test of his career against former junior welterweight champion Chris Algieri (21-2, 8 KOs). Spence is a rising star in the 147 lbs division, having finished his last 6 opponents. Algieri famously went to Macau to face Manny Pacquiao, which ended badly for the Long Island native. After firing his trainer Tim Lane, Algieri enlisted the services of John David Jackson, and his loss to Amir Khan showed tangible signs of improvement both offensively and defensively. Algieri returned to the win column against Erick Bone. This will be a pro-Algieri crowd at the Barclays Center, so if Spence can win against a very good fighter, it’s not crazy to think he’s on his way to being a champion, and a very exciting one at that. Keep an eye on the Premier Boxing Champions co-main event, as new WBO cruiserweight champion Krzyzstof Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs) makes his first defense against Steve Cunningham (28-7-1 NC, 13 KOs). The Polish contingent will be firmly behind Glowacki, who pulled off a stunning upset by KOing German force Marco Huck (39-3-1, 27 KOs) and denying him a 15th successful title defense. NBC start time: 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT.
I’ve even left out Showtime Boxing’s main event of featherweight champ Gary Russell, Jr. (26-1, 15 KOs) vs. Patrick Hyland (31-1, 15 KOs), which starts at 11 PM ET/8 PM PT, as well as that Rizin FF card that includes the Wanderlei Silva-Kiyoshi Tamura vs. Hideo Tokoro-Kazushi Sakuraba grappling tag team thingy, plus Gabi Garcia vs. Anna Malyukova in an openweight bout, and Daron Cruickshank vs. Shinji Sasaki. Why have I excluded it? Because technically this Rizin show is on April 17th in both North America and Japan, and there doesn’t appear to be any legal way to watch this card either live or on tape-delay. You’re on your own finding a *ahem* Japanese channel on your cable package. *ahem*
As if that’s not enough, the NBA and NHL playoffs are also on, so sports overload is wholly dependent on what interests you and how much you plan to watch. There are plenty of options for everyone to enjoy, and I can’t wait for Saturday to arrive.
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