The UFC is getting to work on its 2019 schedule, and it looks as if the first pay-per-view will be in late January.
Los Angeles Times journalist Lance Pugmire wrote on Tuesday that UFC 233 is scheduled for January 26th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. It would be the first PPV of the ESPN era, which will see preliminary card bouts for PPVs shown on one of ESPN’s television platforms. No fights have been booked, although one source told the LA Times that a “champ vs. champ” between bantamweight king T.J. Dillashaw and flyweight titleholder Henry Cejudo was targeted for this event. UFC president Dana White said that the fight is not a done deal.
The last time the UFC visited the Honda Center was for UFC 214: Jones vs. Cormier 2, which drew an estimated 860,000 pay-per-view buys. That venue also hosted Ronda Rousey’s UFC debut against Liz Carmouche, the first UFC on FOX card in November 2011, and Cain Velasquez’s TKO of Brock Lesnar at UFC 121.
Of note regarding the date and location of UFC 233 is the fact that on that same night, Bellator MMA will be running their own card headlined by the heavyweight Grand Prix final between Fedor Emelianenko and Ryan Bader at The Forum in Inglewood, which is only approximately 35 miles away from Honda Center. You’d have two major MMA shows going on simultaneously in relatively close proximity.
It should be noted that in 2017, UFC 208 was originally scheduled for January 21st at Honda Center, the same night as Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen, which also happened to be at The Forum. A lack of suitable headliners led to cancelling that date and re-numerating the February 11th show in Brooklyn that year from UFC 209 to 208.