For good reason, there's been a lot of hype surrounding the UFC's debut in New York at UFC 205 in November. Beyond the fact that the card will feature three title fights and pay-per-view king Conor McGregor in its main event, the card represents the culmination of a long and bloody battle (pun definitely intended) to bring mixed martial arts to the Empire State.
Before the UFC delivers what will surely go down as one of the biggest and most important cards in the history of the sport, a familiar name from the UFC's past will be bringing the first professional, sanctioned, televised MMA event to New York for the first time in over two decades.
That man is UFC co-founder, Campbell McLaren, who currently resides as the CEO of Combate Americas, the first Hispanic MMA sports and media franchise.
Dubbed "Empire Rising," the card was announced last month and will transpire at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, on Friday, October 14.
The main event of the evening will feature the promotion's first-ever world title fight in the bantamweight division when King of the Cage veteran, John "Sexy Mexy" Castaneda (11-2) takes on the highly-touted prospect, Gustavo Lopez (6-1). Elsewhere on the card, Urijah Faber protégé, Erick Sanchez (7-2) will take on Victor Martinez (6-4) in a featherweight tilt, Irwin “The Beast” Rivera (5-1) will face the undefeated Cristobal “El Mosquito” Chavez (4-0) at bantamweight, and women’s atomweight, Paulina “Firefox” Granados (3-2) will battle Jenna Serio (3-1).
"We are thrilled to be producing our first world title fight in Combate Americas history at our debut event in the Empire State," said Combate Americas CEO and UFC co-founder, Campbell McLaren. "John Castaneda and Gustavo Lopez put on some incredibly memorable and heroic performances during our ‘Road To The Championship' fight series this year and last year, so we are looking forward to have these two budding, young stars square off, and to crowning our first champion."
With the UFC Manila event being postponed indefinitely, you couldn't ask for a better replacement card to kick off the weekend.
Fittingly, "Empire Rising" will be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass, and will air on NBC Universo in Spanish.