Southern California’s ability to pack arenas for combat sports has led the UFC to schedule another card here for Jan. 26, when UFC 233 at Honda Center in Anaheim will go head to head against a Bellator MMA card at the Forum that night.
UFC President Dana White told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that UFC 233 is coming to the home of the Ducks after a UFC 227 live gate of $2.9 million was generated by a crowd of 17,794 at Staples Center in August.
White said he was in the process of arranging bouts — “We have no fights yet, the card’s not ready” — while attending a Tuesday matchmaker meeting.
An obvious match to designate as the main event is a super-fight between new flyweight champion Henry Cejudo, who was born and briefly lived in Los Angeles, and bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw of Yorba Linda in a meeting for Dillashaw’s belt.
One official who’s been in talks with those working on UFC 233 said it was their assumption that Dillashaw-Cejudo is being pegged for Anaheim, but White, involved in the direct talks, said calling that bout a done deal is “not true.”
Cejudo pulled off a stirring upset of long-reigning flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson at Staples Center, and Dillashaw (17-3) followed with a first-round knockout of former stablemate Cody Garbrandt in the main event.
Johnson last week was traded to Asia’s One Championship in an unprecedented deal for One’s welterweight champion Ben Askren, whom White has said will fight a top-five contender in his UFC debut.
The UFC has placed significant cards at Honda Center in the past, including heavyweight Cain Velasquez’s knockout of Brock Lesnar in 2010, Ronda Rousey’s UFC debut in 2013, and a three-title-fight card headlined by the Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier rematch last year.
By positioning itself against the Bellator card at the Forum, the pay-per-view UFC show will vie for attention with the heavyweight grand prix final between MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko and Ryan Bader.