The Curse of Alberta Takes Shape

ufc-215The fight gods must not be big fans of the province of Alberta as the UFC has travelled twice to that part of Western Canada and twice something has gone wrong.

In 2012 the UFC travelled to Calgary for their first big fight outside of one of the big three cities in Canada.

It was a big thing for the UFC as it was still a time when the promotion was growing and as they became bigger they were looking for new places to expand towards.

The fight in Calgary was an attempt to take the biggest show in MMA to a part of Canada that is often underserved by big shows like the UFC.

Putting on a good fight was sure to help grow the sport in the heartland of Canada which is already one of the biggest markets for MMA.

They had a lot of rumours about some big fights on the card including a fight between a rising Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title and an exciting Jon Fitch and Aaron Simpson fight.

Neither came to fruition but the card the UFC put together was still exciting with Michael Bisping versus Tim Boetsch, Mauricio Rua versus Thiago Silva, Jose Aldo versus Erik Koch, Cheick Kongo versus Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Thiago Alves versus Yoshihiro Akiyama.

Every one of those scheduled fights was eventually cancelled though as slowly but surely big names and big fights dropped off of the card.

Injuries destroyed what was a good card and all of a sudden the pay-per-view event that was going to give Calgary a show was a shell of itself.

The card went on though as a championship was still at stake and many of the big names stayed despite their partners having injuries.

As the undercard went on it looked like the night was going to be great until the main event disappointed in a big way.

With two no contests, an extremely boring make between Cheick Kongo and Shawn Jordan and a unanimous decision that just continued the lack of fireworks throughout the night.

It is largely considered one of the worst cards in the history of the UFC and Dana White has continued to say that he owes Calgary another card.

It might not have been in Calgary but the makeup fight seemed to be right down the road in Edmonton.

There were some big fights on the main card in this one as the top heavyweight prospect in the UFC, Francis N’Gannou was set to take a big step against Junior dos Santos.

Meanwhile, Amanda Nunes was set to make her second title defence against the fighter who gave her the toughest test of her career in Valentino Shevchenko.

Then the main event was supposed to be an attempt at a record as Demetrious Johnson was set to try to earn his 11th straight title defence that would put him past Anderson Silva with the most consecutive title defences in UFC history.

The curse of Alberta hit again though as first Junior dos Santos was flagged for failing a USADA drug test cancelling that big heavyweight fight.

Then the week of the fight Johnson’s opponent for his potential historic fight dropped out as Ray Borg came down with an undisclosed illness days before the fight.

The cancellations of those two fights were big for the card and it seemed like things were all going wrong in Alberta once again.

They still had a big fight though as Nunes is looking to be the biggest name in women’s MMA and in that pursuit is essentially looking to put Ronda Rousey in the past.

After beating Rousey the goal is to now continue her winning streak and leave no doubt in the minds of any fans.

Her next mission as to go after Shevchenko who was the only fighter so far to give her a real run for her money.

In their first fight, before Nunes was the champion, Shevchenko started slow but began to take over in the third

Many believed that if there had been two more rounds it would have been a loss for Nunes.

Now Shevchenko gets the chance after a long wait that included a cancelled bout after Nunes came down with an illness earlier this year.

The five round fight was going to test both of these fighters as it was going to wither show how much Nunes had grown from their first fight or prove that Shevchenko was the better fighter given the extra two rounds.

That would be if the fight went all five rounds though as both fighters were looking to end things early and leave no doubt.

It was a close match between the two for the second time as neither really took over the fight at any point.

They went back and forth with both finding their spots and landing good shots although neither landed too many shots overall.

It was a less active fight than many had wanted and in the end, it went down as a split decision win for the champion.

Nunes remained the title holder and will likely move on to the next challenger in her attempt to be the most dominant women’s champion.

Shevchenko wasn’t happy with the decision believing that she should have taken the win due to her striking throughout the fight.

It seems like both are destined to fight again but whether that happens immediately is a different thing altogether.

The Edmonton card certainly had its issues losing two big fights but in the end, it turned out a number of good fights even if it wasn’t the night that many wanted to see.



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