…and the never-ending hunt for a UFC 230 main event comes to an ever so anticlimactic end on this fine Tuesday. No, Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier won’t be getting their 165-lb Championship bout. No, Jon Jones isn’t making his return to the octagon. No, the UFC wasn’t hoping for a quick Conor McGregor turnaround. And no, Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier won’t even be getting a five-round non-title fight in the headlining slot. Instead…Valentina Shevchenko will take on Sijara Eubanks for the vacant UFC Flyweight Women’s Championship.
Which is…obviously…not on par with any of the prior Madison Square Garden main events…or really even on par to any other fight on this card. I mean that with no disrespect to either of these warriors, but I’ll be honest: I barely even remembered who Sijara Eubanks was. She’s got a single fight in the UFC, a decision win over 35 year old Lauren Murphy which I think I remember sliiiiightly, but now she’s main eventing a Madison Square Garden event on pay-per-view? After not making it to her TUF Finale? How did my girl Katlyn Chookagian not get the call when she was practically willing to step in on like an hour’s notice and fight Shevchenko when Nicco Montano pulled out? She’s at least 4-1 in the UFC with wins in her last three, two of which were at Flyweight? Not to mention she’d be a hometown fighter.
So yeah, it’s not that these fighters are incapable of putting on a great fight, but it just feels so hollow. And it feels like Dana White is cutting off his nose to spite his face in not giving Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier what they wanted, because at the end of the day, it’s what the fans wanted as well. And I could see those in attendance being pretty vocal about that, WWE style, like when Daniel Bryan wasn’t getting the push he deserved – ESPECIALLY if Diaz/Poirier is a three-round war that could’ve continued had they been in the headlining slot. Chanting, flashlights, wooo’s, maybe just flat-out leaving early…I’m serious, it could happen. People were leaving early at UFC 209 when Holly Holm vs Germaine de Randamie went on after Anderson Silva vs Derek Brunson! It could one thousand percent happen here as well.
Still, the card as a whole is fantastic, and I’m sure these women will lay it all on the line to prove that they belong where they are, so it ain’t all bad…but this just ain’t it chief.