UFC 286: 10 reasons to watch

UFC 278: Usman v Edwards 2
UFC 278: Usman v Edwards 2 / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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1. The UFC's first trip to London in 2023

After three long years without a United Kingdom UFC card, 2022 provided us with the emphatic return of MMA's leading promotion back to British shores for what turned out to be two huge shows in the London O2 Arena.  Last year, we witnessed the rise of the UFC's newest superstars Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann during the first London card on March 19, 2022.

The two quickly established themselves as fan favorites amongst the ruckus UK crowd and the event’s success appeared to be beyond what UFC president Dana White initially thought as he promised to return back to London as soon as possible. That he did, and the UFC was back in July to another huge roar from the British crowd. 

It seems that it doesn’t really matter who fights, as long as they are British, the crowd will be at its loudest, giving all their support to the many UK fighters who call the UFC home. Luckily for them, 11 of the 15 scheduled fights will involve a British competitor so don’t expect anything else than for the crowd to blow the roof off the O2 Arena.

2. The first UFC title fight in London since 2016

Although the UFC's trips to the United Kingdom have always provided us with fireworks and main events with huge implications, it has seldom been the place for the UFC to host pay-per-views or even have a title on the line. Of course, that has more to do with the fact that there have only been two British champions in the history of the UFC, making a title fight in the UK seem irrelevant. That is until now. 

For the first time in over six years, the main event will have a championship on the line, as Birmingham’s own Leon Edwards defends his welterweight strap against Kamaru Usman. Edwards will be hoping to make it 2 and 0 for British fighters defending their belt on home soil and copy the success of UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping, who defended his middleweight title against Dan Henderson back in UFC 204 in 2016 at the Manchester Arena.

The same night that Bisping successfully defended his title, Edwards would win by submission in the prelims, and with Bisping set to replace Joe Rogan on the commentary team this Saturday for UFC 286, maybe the stars are aligning for the belt to remain in British hands once again.