COVID-19 concerns have led to multiple UFC events being delayed, but the organization still plans on continuing with the highly-anticipated bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. ESPN will aim to fill the void left by multiple sports being canceled or postponed while simultaneously building hype for UFC 249. The worldwide leader in sports will be re-airing fights featuring both Ferguson and Nurmagomedov on Saturday night.
According to a tweet posted by the official ESPN account, there will be several high-profile bouts shown as part of Saturday's "UFC Night." The action will start with Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk's strawweight title bout that drew praise for its visceral action. This will serve as an appetizer for Ferguson vs. Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone which will air at 9 p.m. ET. Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier's battle from UFC 242 will cap off the night and will air at 10 p.m. ET.
Tonight is #UFCNight 👊March 28, 2020
ESPN and other broadcasters have been searching for ways to offset the sudden lack of sporting events by re-airing classic matches and adapting the schedule. One example was ESPN2 transforming into ESPN8: The Ocho for one full day to air unique sports. Saturday night's schedule will give UFC fans further opportunities to relive some of the more jaw-dropping matches in recent history.
The interesting aspect of this schedule is that it follows a conversation featuring Poirier. He appeared on the "UFC Unfiltered" podcast and revealed that he nearly defeated Nurmagomedov. He was within inches of scoring a victory by submission.
"It was close. It was as close as it can get. I would have finished a lot of guys in the UFC with that choke — a lot of guys. And I finish a lot of guys in the gym, all the time," Poirier said. "Doing jiu-jitsu as long as you have, and just having a feel, if there's a centimeter of space where [Nurmagomedov] can roll his hips to the mat and just create a little bit of space and a little bit of breathing space.
"I should have went full guard. "I should have controlled his whole body and his hips. I could have really folded him over there if I had really went full guard," Poirier continued. "Simple things like that which would have finished 90 percent of the guys — that ten percent or five percent that Khabib is in, you just don't finish guys with that. It has to be perfect, and it's my fault. It's a lag and a mistake in technique and it's all on me."
With this battle from UFC 242 taking center stage on Saturday night, MMA fans can look for the specific moment when Poirier nearly achieved victory. This fight will be shown at 10 p.m. ET.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty)