With the UFC expected to officially announce their return to Australia for UFC 284 in the coming days, don’t be surprised if there is a pretty quick follow up announcement also revealing the location that will be hosting UFC 285.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the UFC this year that the company is trying very hard to expand their reach back out globally as the world comes out of the COVID area.
For a large portion of 2020 and 2021, the global MMA giant was forced to host a large majority of their events here in the US, and more specifically, usually limited to having them in the UFC Apex with a very limited crowd.
As more countries and regions begin opening back up to business as usual and travel restrictions continue to be lifted, the UFC has slowly tried to book more and more events away from Las Vegas this year and has already taken a handful of events back overseas.
The UFC took two largely successful trips over to London earlier this year, and with Leon Edwards now wearing UFC gold around his waist, the UFC will almost certainly look to get another event booked in the region as soon as possible.
This is where UFC 285 comes into play, which is currently scheduled for some time in March barring a massive change.
Edwards himself has been very vocal about wanting his first UFC welterweight title defense to be in front of his fans in England, and to according to him, it’s really just a matter of which venue will be hosting the event.
During a recent appearance on Soccer AM, Edwards said his preference for the event host would be Villa Park, however, he said that any stadium in the UK would work and that the event would be happening in March.
Villa Park, which is located in Birmingham, England, can seat nearly 43,000 people. For comparison, the 02 Arena seats roughly 21,000.
The UFC hosted both of the 2022 London Fight Night cards at the O2 Arena, however, it’s almost certain they will be looking for a bigger venue for this event since it will likely also be headlined the heavily anticipated championship rematch between Edwards and former champion Kamaru Usman.
If Edwards preferred choice of Villa Park doesn’t end up hosting the event, Wembley Stadium would be another potential venue that could be looked at, although it would be a massive achievement for the UFC to sell out the venue since it can hold up to 105,000 people.
With Edwards and Usman pretty much guaranteed to be in the main event for UFC 285, which other fighters are likely to appear with them on the card?
You can all but guarantee Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann will be booked for the event, as well as Tom Aspinall if he is ready to return from the crushing injury that ended the most recent UFC London card back in July.
Beyond those names, the UFC has plenty of other talent from the region that will also likely fill out the rest of the lineup including Arnold Allen, Muhammad Mokaev, Lerone Murphy, Nathaniel Wood, Davey Grant, and others.
Since they are planning to host this event in a larger venue than their last two trips to London and want to add name recognition to the event, the UFC could also look to add fighters from other European countries such as Cyril Gane, Khamzat Chimaev, and Marvin Vettori to the card as well.
A lot of these fighters are currently booked or rumored for events in the coming weeks, but assuming they make it through those events without sustaining any major injuries, most would be able to make a turnaround in time for an event in March.
If UFC 285 does indeed get announced for London, who are some of the other fighters and potential fights you would like to see for the event? Please let us know in the comment section below.
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