In just six weeks, the UFC will return to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for its first show under its five-year, $1.5 billion broadcast deal with ESPN. You may have noticed that there are only seven fights booked for this event as of December 5th, and none of them is the headliner.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC is scrambling to find a main event for its maiden ESPN/ESPN+ appearance, and they may even move the Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw flyweight title fight from January 26th’s UFC 233 to Brooklyn.
UFC is actively searching for a Brooklyn main event and Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw is now under consideration. More: pic.twitter.com/ayGcll6DeV— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 5, 2018
Helwani also noted that this potential move creates a problem for UFC 233. Cejudo-Dillashaw is tentatively the headliner for that PPV, and moving the bout to Brooklyn means finding a new main event for UFC 233. He reported that the UFC is “having issues” making a welterweight title between Tyron Woodley vs. Colby Covington, and that Woodley apparently isn’t ready for that date.
The UFC originally wanted Paulo Costa vs. Yoel Romero to serve as the main event, but Costa is out due to injury and they couldn’t find a viable replacement for Romero. This is the second New York show in a row in which the UFC has found it difficult to book a main event, as fans know all too well from the UFC 230 ordeal.
UFC Brooklyn is set for January 19th and will feature two hours of prelims on the ESPN+ streaming service, then two hours of televised prelims on ESPN, followed by the three-hour main card back on ESPN+, with a main card start time of 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.
UPDATE: It’s confirmed now that Cejudo vs. Dillashaw will headline UFC on ESPN+ 1, while Joanne Calderwood vs. Arlene Lipski has also moved to the same card from UFC 233.