UFC eyes Jan. 16 return to network television on ABC; tentative Jan. 30 event removed from schedule
The UFC is nearing its return to network television.
The schedule for the 2021 promotion begins as planned on January 16 with a UFC Fight Night event. However, for now, the promotion calls for the card to be broadcast on ABC and not the ESPN networks.
Four people with knowledge of the situation recently informed MMA Junkie of the UFC's targeted plans for the January 16 event, but asked to remain anonymous as the promotion has not yet been officially announced.
The event will be the first time the promotion has hosted an event on ABC until the broadcast is finally completed.
It is currently unknown how many fights will air on ABC - or how the main map, preliminaries, and early preliminaries will be split across Disney-owned networks, which include ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN +
The January 16 UFC Fight Night event will take place on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi - one of three tickets expected to take place during the UFC's third stint on Fight Island.
In addition, a person with knowledge of the situation will not receive a UFC card on January 30th - as originally expected but never officially announced. Much of the bouts previously reported for that date have been postponed to other events on the UFC's schedule for the first quarter.
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Should the ABC program complete, a fight between former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar will spearhead the promotion's first live televised event since UFC on FOX 31 in December 2018.
The UFC hosted 31 live events on FOX that began in November 2012 with a heavyweight title bout between then-champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior Dos Santos. The last UFC on FOX event aired on December 15, 2018.
On Tuesday, the anonymous Twitter user @DonKingLV mentioned a possible ABC shift for the first time. MMA DNA was the first to report that the scheduled UFC event will no longer take place on January 30th.
The current UFC Fight Night lineup includes:
Max Holloway versus Calvin Kattar
Sara McMann versus Julianna Pena
Santiago Ponzinibbio versus Muslim Salikhov
Mike Grundy versus Nik Lentz
Brian Kelleher versus Ricky Simon
Jacob Kilburn versus Austin Lingo
Carlos Felipe versus Justin Tafa
Punahele Soriano versus Dusko Todorovic
Anthony Hernandez versus Rodolfo Vieira
Bethe Correia against Wu Yanan
Christian Aguilera versus Warlley Alves
Omari Akhmedov versus Tom Breese
Ramazan Emeev versus David Zawada
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