UFC 236 Preview

ufc-236The interim title is an interesting thing in combat sports as it gives something to fight for but is still not the real thing.

The majority of fighters work their entire lives to get that shot at the belt and to solidify their spot in the history of a promotion or a sport.

Championships are the way to do that as putting a name into the long line of champions is always a good way to get your name among the best.

Obviously just winning a title is not necessarily enough as winning a title and defending that title often is the best way to be considered one of the best.

Lately, a big part of the equation has become getting two belts at the same time although nobody has successfully defended two belts regularly.

The pursuit of those titles creates a lot of demand and they are the equivalent of a championship game.

Fans want to see titles and almost every fighter is in pursuit of those titles give promotions plenty of motivation to hold title fights.

For the UFC those fights are reserved for the biggest fights on the calendar, the pay-per-view fights.

The UFC aims to have a title fight for every major pay-per-view card that they hold but there is often a problem with that.

Depending on the number of weight classes there are only so many title fights to go around and at least twelve major events every year.

If a titleholder goes down for an extended period off whether it be because of injuries or wanting to take a brief break after the come up then there are fewer title fights to make.

In place of these true titles fights come the interim titles which are essentially title eliminator fights.

Interim titles give fans something to root for and for the fighter they provide them an opportunity to fight for something.

Even if it isn’t the real belt the fighters will take an interim title if it means that their next fight will be for the real belt.

The problem with these interim title fights is that they aren’t really for anything with the interim belt meaning nothing.

Interim title holders have been passed over for other, more exciting matchups and in reality, the fans are just seeing a fight between the two top contenders.

At UFC 236 two such fights will headline the card with both looking to simply get a title in either division on the books.

In the middleweight division, the title was supposed to be on the line a few months ago until champion Robert Whittaker suffered a hernia a day before the fight.

It left Kelvin Gastelum within striking distance of a title fight and a new star on the edge of a title fight without having anyone to fight for that title.mma-sidebar.fw

The UFC made the decision to put them together while they wait for Whittaker to come back from his latest injury.

Now Gastelum will essentially be looking to defending his spot as the top contender against one of the most exciting young stars in Israel Adesanya.

His win over Anderson Silva was impressive and now Adesanya will try to take the interim title and earn that shot at the title against a fighter who has proven time and tie again that being flashy isn’t necessary to win fights.

In the lightweight division, the current champion is out until the end of the year with Khabib Nurmagomedov serving a suspension for what he did after his win over Conor McGregor.

Without a title holder to fight things are getting a little backed up in one of the most talented divisions in the UFC that is now only getting more talented.

Featherweight champion, Max Holloway doesn’t have a lot of challengers left to fight in his own division so he is looking to become the latest to grab two titles.

He moves up to lightweight and in his first fight takes on a challenge in UFC veteran, Dustin Poirier.

Poirier has been making a new run-up to title contention and is now attempting to get closer to that shot in the division.

An interim belt would do exactly that putting him in line for that title shot when Nurmagomedov returns.

Nobody knows what the lightweight Holloway can do though and he comes into this interim title fight attempting to show that another champ-champ is possible.


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