UFC 274 has finally arrived, bringing an outstanding slate of fights—but not without controversy.
Lightweight champion Charles Oliveira was set to defend the belt against top-ranked contender Justin Gaethje, but he failed to make weight. That has led to the title being vacated, and puts the Oliveira-Gaethje matchup in an odd predicament. Gaethje will still win the title if he defeats Oliveira, but the best Oliveira can do with a victory is put himself in position to fight for the belt.The other unfortunate part of 274 is that “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone is now off the card, which was announced by play-by-play man Jon Anik during the early prelims. Cerrone was scheduled to fight Joe Lauzon, but the fight is off due to what Anik described as a non-COVID illness. The main card opener is now a welterweight bout pitting Randy Brown against Khaos Williams.
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Even with the setbacks, 274 is still a loaded card. A primary factor for that is Rose Namajunas defending her strawweight title against Carla Esparza. This is a rematch from December 2014, when Esparza schooled Namajunas in the inaugural women’s strawweight title bout. Their bout at 274 is a chance at redemption for Namajunas, who enters this fight at her peak.
Another phenomenal bout is Michael Chandler against Tony Ferguson. This will be a statement victory for whoever gets it. Chandler has dropped his past two, but both were competitive. Ferguson appears to be in the twilight of his career after getting demolished in three consecutive one-sided bouts. A win for Ferguson keeps him in the top-10 rankings and allows him to maintain relevance in the division, but a loss will be devastating. Chandler also needs the win, which will instantly put him back in title contention.
UFC 274 has the potential to be the best fight card of the year. Follow along all night for updates and analysis.