The UFC put on some decent pay-per-view events in the first quarter of 2017, but nothing comes close to the stacked, talent-rich card that Bellator is bringing to Madison Square Garden on June 24.
With Chael "The American Gangster" Sonnen wrapping up a grudge match four years in the making against longtime rival Wanderlei "The Axe-Murderer" Silva, and heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko colliding with Matt Mitrione, "Bellator NYC" is easily MMA's finest pay-per-view offering of the year. When Bellator hits the "World's Most Famous Arena" next Saturday night, all eyes in the combat sports community -- and millions of casual fans -- will be watching. The event has it all, everything from "legend" fights to historic championship bouts to promotional newcomers and surging prospects.
The story-lines are intriguing from top to bottom on the main card, as heavily-hyped lightweight prospect Aaron Pico and former UFC talent Lorenz Larkin make their respective promotional debuts. The 20-year-old Pico, an Olympic-level wrestler and high-level boxing champ, kicks off the pay-per-view portion of the evening against Zach Freeman. Larkin, who won four of his last five in the UFC, battles welterweight champ Douglas Lima.
Elsewhere on the bill, "Iron" Michael Chandler puts his lightweight title on the line against fast-rising veteran talent Brent Primus. In the Spike-televised portion of the evening, light heavyweight champ Phil Davis welcomes Ryan Bader to the Bellator MMA cage, in what is one of the most hotly-anticipated debuts in promotion history. Additionally, boxing champion Heather "The Heat" Hardy makes her pro MMA debut against Alice Yauger, and James Gallagher looks to continue his meteoric rise with a scrap against Chinzo Machida.
June 24 is going to be a great night of fights for MMA fans in the "Big Apple." Tickets are moving quickly for the event.