The first pay-per-view exclusive to ESPN+ is highlighted by two interim title fights. Before we begin, let’s revisit the TJ Dillashaw saga.
Quick update regarding Bantamweight contender TJ Dillashaw:
Tuesday, Dillashaw was suspended for two years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after a positive test for erythropotein (EPO) prior to and following his Jan. 19 fight vs. Henry Cejudo for the UFC Flyweight title.
Dillashaw gave up his Bantamweight title in March. He cannot fight again until Jan. 19, 2021 and had already been banned for one year by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) earlier this year.
On to today’s focus:
For the first time ever, this Saturday night’s Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view event will not be available through a participating cable or satellite provider in the United States.
Instead, UFC 236, along with all other pay-per-view events for the next six years, will be accessible to American audiences exclusively through ESPN+, the cable network’s premium subscription-based streaming platform.
As is customary, the promotion will offer the PPV main card to participating bars and restaurants. For a complete list of all participating bars in your area showing the card, access bars.ufc.com and enter your zip code.
In addition to showing the bars confirmed to be playing the card, the site also lists those establishments that have not yet committed to the event. For unconfirmed bars, you’re advised to call ahead.
UFC 236 from Atlanta’s State Farm Arena (main card Saturday, 10 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. PDT) will feature two interim title fights to headline the show.
In Saturday night’s co-main event, the UFC Interim Middleweight Championship is at stake when No. 4-ranked contender Kelvin Gastelum (16-3) meets No. 5-ranked contender Israel Adesanya (16-0).
This is followed by the UFC Interim Lightweight Championship, featuring No. 4-ranked contender and incumbent Featherweight champion Max Holloway (20-3) vs. No. 5-ranked contender Dustin Poirier (24-5) in a rematch of a 2012 fight between the two, won via submission by Holloway as the featured prelim of UFC 143 on FX.
Interim Middleweight Championship: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
Contender Comparison: Heading into this co-main event, Israel Adesanya is the taller fighter, standing 6-foot-4, compared to Kelvin Gastelum’s 5-foot-9 frame.
Gastelum has posted a record of 4-1 in his last five UFC appearances, entering this match on a two-fight winning streak. Most recently, he scored a decision win last May against Jacare Souza during UFC 224.
In the other corner, Israel Adesanya has yet to lose in his professional career, winning all of his five UFC appearances. Most recently, he defeated Anderson Silva on Feb. 9 in UFC 234.
The Tale of the Tape: UFC.com shows that Israel Adesanya holds the advantage in both reach (80 inches to 71.5 inches) and leg reach (44.5 inches to 39.5 inches) over Kelvin Gastelum heading into the fight.
Prediction: Israel Adesanya by first-round knockout
Interim Lightweight Championship: Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier, Part II
Contender Comparison: Heading into this main event, Max Holloway is the taller competitor, standing at 5-foot-11, compared to Dustin Poirier’s 5-foot-9 frame.
Holloway is on a 13-fight winning streak and has gone 5-0 in his last five UFC appearances, including a win last time out against Brian Ortega (fourth-round knockout) at UFC 231 on Dec. 8.
In the other corner, Dustin Poirier is on a three-fight winning streak heading into this contest and has posted a 4-0 record with one no-contest in his last five appearances, most recently scoring a second-round TKO of Eddie Alvarez on the July 28 UFC on FOX 30 main event from Calgary.
The Tale of the Tape: UFC.com shows that Dustin Poirier owns the advantage in reach (72 inches to 69 inches), with Max Holloway owning the advantage in leg reach (42 inches to 40.5 inches.)
Prediction: Max Holloway by first-round TKO.
Other fights on this Saturday’s main card:
Eryk Anders (11-3) vs. Khalil Rountree, Jr. (8-3) [Light Heavyweight]
Alan Jouban (16-6) vs. Dwight Grant (9-2) [Welterweight]
No. 12 contender Ovince Saint-Preux (23-12) vs. Nikita Krylov (25-6) [Light Heavyweight]
UFC 236 at a Glance:
Early Prelims: Saturday, 6:15 p.m. EDT, 3:15 p.m. PDT,
UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+.
ESPN Prelims: Saturday, 8 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. PDT,
Main Card: Saturday, 10 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. PDT, ESPN+ PPV
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