It’s the UFC’s version of WrestleMania this week as the biggest organization in mixed martials arts takes over Las Vegas for International Fight Week.
With quite possibly the deepest show lineup in history capping off the week, UFC 200 could challenge the UFC PPV buys record set by UFC 100. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg as the UFC has 3 shows in 3 nights in additional to other activities throughout the week. Whether you’re in Las Vegas or watching from home, there’s a little something for everyone.
For the last several years, F4WOnline.com has also held its annual convention in conjunction with the big July event. Most of your favorites, such as Dave Meltzer, Bryan Alvarez, Big Vinny V, Granny, Ed in San Antonio, Peach Machine and others will be in town to take in the fun and festivities. If you’re in Las Vegas, stop by one of the group events and meet the crew!
UFC 202 Press Conference at 11:30 am at the T-Mobile Arena:
Again, this is free and open to the public and will feature the show headliners Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz in what should be a really fun time. In the same venue, starting at 1 pm or whenever the press conference finishes, will be the TUF Finale weigh-ins. This is another event that is free and open to the public.
– The first fights of the week take place starting at 3:45 pm local time with UFC Fight Night at the MGM Grand. The main card begins as 7 pm and is headlined by a UFC Lightweight title fight between champion Rafael Dos Anjos and former Bellator champion Eddie Alvarez. Roy Nelson also squares off with Derrick Lewis in a heavyweight bout. The show will be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.
– While the prelims for that show are going on, the first F4W get-together will be taking place. While many convention goers are attending the UFC show, some will be meeting at Texas De Brazil beginning at 5 pm. After the UFC show wraps up, there is usually some sort of post-show get-together, so check out the group Facebook page or the message Board in the Empire get-togethers section for more details.
– Things really start to ramp up on Friday. The UFC Fan Expo kicks off at 10 am and runs until 5 pm at the Las Vegas Convention Centre. While this is going on, the UFC 200 weigh-ins will take place at the T-Mobile arena. This is another free event open to the public and also broadcast on UFC.com.
– While not a group event, our friends at the Las Vegas Fight Shop has a special for our members. Anyone from the site who comes to the store can get 20% off anything all weekend! Just mention you are with the F4W/Observer convention and you’re all good!
– 11am-3pm: MMA Journalist & Author JOSH GROSS wil be signing copies of his new book “Ali vs Inoki” in store! The book chronicles the colossal match up of Muhammad Ali against Japanese Wrestling Icon Antonio Inoki in the first ever Mixed Martial Arts match.
– 12-2pm: Reebok presents UFC Number One Lightweight Contender KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV!
– 6-8pm: Affliction presents RANDY COUTURE! Meet The Natural in store after the UFC 200 Weigh Ins! *Affliction Randy Couture Shirt purchase required ($58) (Observer subscribers can get 20% off their t-shirts and VIP treatment. Just mention you’re with the convention1)
There will also be another F4W get-together as we meet at Buca Di Beppo at the Excalibur Hotel at 2 pm for a group lunch. Many of us will be heading straight from there to the second UFC show of the week, the TUF 23 finale which kicks off at 4 pm at the MGM Grand.
– The Fight Pass prelims begin at 4 pm pacific, with the FS 1 prelims beginning at 5. The main card kicks off at 7 pm and will be headlined by a strawweight title fight between champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and top contender Claudia Gadelha. Former Bellator champion Will Brooks also makes his UFC debut against veteran lightweight and former TUF winner Ross Pearson.
– There will very likely be an “unofficial” get-together of the F4W crew after this event completes as well, with the Bourbon Room at the Venetian usually a popular spot. Again, check the Facebook page or the Board for more details.
The UFC Fan Expo will run from 10 am to 5 pm again from the Las Vegas Convention Centre. For the second consecutive year, Granny from the Bryan and Vinny Show will host a group get-together at Johnny Rockets at the Excalibur hotel at 11:30 am. Anyone who is attending as part of the group will receive a 10% discount by mentioning that they are part of “Granny’s gang”.
The signings continue at the Las Vegas Fight Shop:
– 12-2pm: Affliction presents NATE DIAZ! Meet Nate in store before UFC 200 and only a few weeks before his highly anticipated rematch against McGregor at UFC 202.
*Affliction Nate Diaz Living Legends Shirt purchase required ($48)
2:30-3:30pm: QALO presents former UFC Middleweight Champion CHRIS WEIDMAN! *VIP entry with QALO silicone wedding ring purchase ($20). Find out more at qalo.com.
– UFC 200 will be the first UFC card held at the T-Mobile Arena.
The first bout will air on UFC Fight Pass at 3:30 pm pacific. There will be a UFC 200 viewing party at the Cosmopolitan hotel for the F4W crew. All spots for this are already reserved, but there will be an afterparty there open to anyone who wants to attend. If you don’t have tickets to the see the live show, there are many other viewing parties all over Las Vegas to see the event. And of course, the show is available on PPV. The FS 1 prelims begin at 5 pm with the PPV kicking off at 7 pacific, 10 eastern.
The lineup for UFC 200 is full of big fights and really 10 fights in, you still have main eventers on the card:
UFC Light Heavyweight Title fight – Champion Daniel Cormer vs Jon Jones
Brock Lesnar in his UFC return against Mark Hunt
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title fight – Champion Miesha Tate vs Amanda Nunes
Interim UFC Featherweight Title fight – former champion Jose Aldo vs former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar
Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez vs Travis Browne
Former women’s bantamweight title contender Cat Zingano vs Ultimate fighter winner Juliana Pena
Former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks vs Ultiimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum
Former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw vs Raphael Assuncao
Former TUF winner Diego Sanchez vs Joe Lauzon
Lightweights Takanori Gomi vs Jim Miller
And the return of Super Sage Northcutt.
Sunday will see day 3 of the UFC Fan Expo, which will also feature the UFC Hall of Fame inductions ceremony which will be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass at noon pacific. Later that afternoon will be another F4W group event as we converge at KISS mini-golf, just off the strip, around 2 pm local time.
– Later that night, we head down to Freemont street for our annual Karaoke night at the Brass Lounge. This kicks off around 9 pm and is always lots of fun.
There’s almost too many activities to pack into a single week but here’s hoping you do your best to join in on at least some of the fun!