With the coronavirus pandemic raging on, many are fortunate and privileged enough to be able to stay at home and survive these trying times. So for the MMA fan with that luxury, let’s continue to wash our hands, self-quarantine, and maybe binge watch some fights to help take our mind off things.
ESPN+ has just released a lot of new combat sports related content, and from pay-per-view replays to technique breakdowns, here’s a list of the best things to binge from their updated library.
Related: Social Distancing binge list: Five martial arts shows on Netflix
1. Binge full pay-per-view events! UFC 248 still isn’t on the main library, but ESPN+ has recently released the replays for the three UFC PPVs before that in UFC 247, UFC 246 and UFC 245. If you missed any of those events, want to play fights in the background, or just want to rewatch it all in its entirety, those three cards are now available to be streamed. If you want to specifically pay attention to only the best bouts from those events, we also got you covered.
2. Watch the highly controversial Jon Jones vs Dominick Reyes title bout, and score it for yourself. UFC 247 had one of the best title bouts in recent memory, and certainly the biggest threat to Jones’ title reign (apart from himself of course). Reyes put on the fight of his life, landing shots, being mobile, and clearly stymying Jones in the early rounds. The dominant champion showed that experience and rallied in the last few minutes as the challenger started to show fatigue, and in the end, there was a lot of drama, and a lot of controversy. Apart from it already being an entertaining contest, the controversial scorecards also had people clamoring for an immediate rematch. This one is definitely worth the (re)watch.
Also, worth watching at the UFC 247 card: Flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko continues her dominance against Katlyn Chookagian, James Krause puts on a show against Trevin Giles on literally one day’s (!!) notice, and bonus winning finishes from Kalinn Williams and Mario Bautista.
3. Watch “Detail” break down Conor McGregor’s TKO win over Donald Cerrone. The replay of UFC 246 is now available on ESPN+’s library, but if you’re any kind of MMA fan, you’ve probably seen that 40-second TKO a hundred times already. Plus, the co-main event is Holly Holm vs Raquel Pennington 2 — seriously, why did the UFC even rebook them after seeing the first one?! — and I don’t suggest rewatching that, ever. Anyway, what is worth watching is Detail, a show adopted from the late Kobe Bryant, in which all the technical aspects (shoulder strikes!) from the bout are slowly broken down by Daniel Cormier. The bout only lasted 40 seconds, but from there was a lot of technique and uhm… details… in there, which gave McGregor his first win in over three full years.
4. Watch Alexander Volkanovski upset dominant featherweight champ Max Holloway. UFC 245 was so good, you can honestly just view that in its entirety, but I promised I’d only list down the best ones, so watch this one. Alexander Volkanovski put on a brilliant, technical fight on this card from last December, upsetting the long reigning UFC champion in Max Holloway. At the time, it was such an impressive and shocking performance, but looking back, we shouldn’t really have been too surprised. Standouts from Auckland’s City Kickboxing gym have shown a lot of improvements and breakthrough showings in the likes of Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker. With this Volkanovski win, they now hold TWO UFC belts. Holloway is still Holloway though, and while watching this would be the perfect way to get hyped, it would be interesting to see how they adjust on that upcoming rematch.
5. Watch Kamaru Usman break Colby Covington’s jaw. Also on UFC 245 is this entertaining grudge match between the UFC welterweight champion and the MAGA screaming contender. While we now know that it wouldn’t really last long, there were many who haven’t been big fans of Covington’s forced persona that actually celebrated seeing him silenced in that manner. But honestly, even if you ignore all the smack talk and bad blood, this was actually a pretty entertaining stylistic match up between two very talented welterweights.
Also worth watching on UFC 245: Petr Yan destroys Urijah Faber, Irene Aldana’s brutal KO over Ketlen Viera, and Jose Aldo’s close bantamweight debut loss… that somehow got him a title shot.
6. Bonus: Watch some classic boxing fights! I know the headline says best “new UFC” content, and these would be neither, but combat sports fans will surely appreciate some of ESPN+’s boxing content as well. They have blockbusters like Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao on there, and perhaps more importantly, a good number of all-time classics like the Thrilla in Manila: Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran, and Marvin Hagler vs Thomas Hearns.
It is also worth noting that ESPN+ is the only way for people in the US to purchase UFC PPVs, so if you’re going to subscribe, you can do so here. That’s about it. Happy binging!
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