UFC 233, the first pay-per-view of 2019, is just over a month away and it still doesn’t have a main event. That was not initially the case, as a flyweight title fight between TJ Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo was originally supposed to headline the card. However, when that fight was moved up a week to headline the first ESPN card in Brooklyn, UFC 233 was left without a main event.
Now, with the majority of champions booked, injured or recovering from recent fights, the UFC finds itself in a tough situation. There are not a lot of viable options left available for the UFC 233 main event — especially if the promotion wants to compete with Bellator 214, which will be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Ryan Bader, and airs the same night.
Luckily, there are still a few interesting options left. Here are three possible fights that could headline UFC 233.
Ben Askren vs Kamaru Usman
Ben Askren is supposed to fight against Robbie Lawler at UFC 233, and originally the UFC asked both fighters to be the main event of the ESPN card. However, that did not happen and since then, Askren has been asking for an interim title fight against Kamaru Usman.
Askren is making his long-awaited debut in the UFC after being the ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight champion. Usman recently fought at the TUF Finale at the end of November against Rafael Dos Anjos. It was a dominating performance which he won by unanimous decision.
The build-up to this fight would be intense with all the trash-talking, meaning it should do quite well in terms of PPV buys.
Rose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade
The clock is ticking on Rose Namajunas’ time to defend her belt. Namajunas won the strawweight title in November 2017 with a knockout win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She then defeated Jedrzejczyk again in April to defend her belt. However, she was shaken up by the bus attack in Brooklyn by Conor McGregor. As well, it is reported she is dealing with a neck injury. If she is able to fight, this has to be the fight to make, given there would be an actual belt on the line, not an interim title.
Andrade is the clear number one contender at strawweight after knocking out Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 228 in September. The fight would be a toss-up in the eyes of many fans, and would add to the stacked UFC 233 card.
Colby Covington vs Kamaru Usman
Similar to Askren vs Usman, Colby Covington vs Usman could be for the interim welterweight title.
Usman recently said to TMZ that the UFC has offered him a fight against Covington in January, which aligns with UFC 233. The fight would seemingly be a number one contender fight with the winner getting the next shot at Tyron Woodley.
However, Covington, who won the interim belt in June has said his next fight has to be for the real belt. If this is the fight that’s made, the trash-talk between the two has already started and would help build up the fight. Both fighters have said numerous times they would like to beat the other one up. If they’re booked for the UFC 233 main event, they’d finally have the chance.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/10/2018.