In the world of combat sports, the popularity of mixed martial arts (MMA), and especially the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has been spreading like wildfire, but the debate on whether MMA is greater than boxing remains inconclusive. Boxing has all of the history, but both sports have fights on tap that can alter the tenor of future debates in their favor for years to come, and the UFC looks primed to showcase its undeniable magnetism and give boxing fans a reason to think twice about which sport is king of the hill.
It’s hard to deny the quality of the 2013 UFC schedule. The Heavyweight Championship will be on the line on May 25, as the much-anticipated Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva rematch is scheduled to take place at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena during UFC 160. Then, on July 6, the UFC’s top pound-for-pound fighter and current Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva, will return to the MGM Grand Garden Arena to defend his crown against Chris Wiedman at UFC 162. But no scheduled matchup has the potential to boost the sport like Jones vs. Sonnen at UFC 159.
Jon “Bones” Jones (17-1) will step inside the octagon on Saturday, April 27, to defend his Light Heavyweight Championship against Chael Sonnen (27-12-1) at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The 25-year-old Jones is the youngest UFC champion ever, and this 205-pound battle will see him face off against one of the most ferocious and intense fighters in the game. Sonnen’s last appearance in the octagon was a valiant loss against Silva for the middleweight crown, but it’s done nothing to diminish this as the most-anticipated UFC fight of the year.
Jones served as a coach opposite Sonnen on Season 17 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and after both men raised the bar with smack talk during interviews and on Twitter, and it will be interesting to see their styles clash in the cage. Sonnen is revered for his takedown skills, but unfortunately for “The American Gangster,” “Bones” Jones is a former champion wrestler himself, and he’s yet to be taken down in the octagon. Jones’ length, unorthodox grappling style, and supreme striking ability may prove too much for the ever-chatty Sonnen, but either way, those who purchase UFC 159 tickets are in for a battle that has “Fight of the Year” written all over it.
But before MMA fans get too riled up, the “Sweet Science” has a few marquee matches of its own to make it clear that boxing is here to stay. On April 20, WBC junior middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) and WBA junior middleweight champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout (41-0-1, 30 KOs) are set to unify the 154-pound title by duking it out at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The 22-year-old Alvarez is out to defend his family honor, as the 27-year-old Trout defeated Saul’s older brother, Rigoberto, to claim the WBA World Light Middleweight title in 2011.
While the buzz for the Alvarez vs. Trout fight is palpable, it’s far from the largest dot on the radar. The passion for pugilism will be showcased in full on May 4, as “Mayday: Mayweather vs. Guerrero,” is set to take over Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena. The 36-year-old Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. (43-0, 26 KOs) is jumping back in the ring to defend his WBC welterweight title against interim titlist, 29-year-old southpaw, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs).
The world of sports certainly features no bigger cash cow than “Pretty Boy” Floyd, and in his first fight since being released from prison on Aug. 3, Mayweather will be looking to prove that he remains the top pound-for-pound boxer on the planet. Fight fans will forever clamor for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, but Mayweather vs. Guerrero should not be taken lightly, as those who see the fight will witness two men that have just a single loss between them in 76 fights.
The title defense is mandatory for Mayweather, as the belt must be unified when the champ is healthy and able, and Guerrero is chomping at the bit to show the world that he is the new face of the class. Vivid Seats is proud to offer a sensational selection of Floyd Mayweather tickets to see the champ live, but don’t forget to check out all of our boxing tickets and UFC tickets as well. Nothing compares to the inimitable atmosphere of a championship fight, and these bouts mark your chance to experience each incredible sport live.