(During the global pandemic and the halt of live combat sports, we’ll be running features a little outside the box. In “Cards That Weren’t”, we’ll look at famous [or infamous] fight cards that never took place for one reason or another and discuss what was booked, what may have happened if it took place, and if the fighters ever faced off in the future.)
The Promotion: After UFC 151, the UFC was familiar with cancelling events, and with Aldo pulling out over a month before the card, the UFC just decided to fold up the event instead of trying to replace him. It would be the continuation of an ongoing trend for them.
UFC Featherweight Championship: Jose Aldo (c) (24-1) vs. Chad Mendes (16-1)
Where Did They Stand: Aldo was the king of the mountain, and already cemented his legacy as the best featherweight of all-time. Mendes, nee Moneyshot, rebounded from his first career blemish, a knockout loss to Aldo, with five straight wins, four by KO/TKO, to earn another crack at the GOAT.
How This Would Have Gone: We would soon find out.
Did They End Up Facing Each Other: In a headling bout at UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro. Mendes didn’t get finished, but Aldo reigned supreme, taking three 49-46s on the judges’ cards to remain the featherweight champion and Mendes failed in his second attempt at Scarface’s crown.
Middleweight Bout: Gegard Mousasi (35-4-2) vs. Ronaldo Souza (20-3)
Where Did They Stand: The former Strikeforce Middleweight champion, Souza, had won three in a row since debuting in the UFC. The former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion, Mousasi, returned to middleweight and dropped a bout to Lyoto Machida before rebounding over Mark Munoz.
How This Would Have Gone: These two had met before, in 2008 for Dream in the finals of their Middleweight Grand Prix, with Mousasi KOing Jacare with an upkick, which is just weird enough to fit Mousasi.
Did They End Up Facing Each Other: Indeed they did. They headlined a Fight Night card a month later, with Jacare submitting Mousasi in the third round. Unfortunately, a rubber match doesn’t seem to be in the offering anytime soon with Mousasi in Bellator.
Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Bethe Correia (8-0) vs. Shayna Baszler (15-8)
Where Did They Stand: Baszler was a Women’s MMA pioneer. She’s one of the original trailblazers that helped out WMMA on the map. and after an eleven-year professional MMA career, she’s finally making her UFC debut. Oh, and she’s become best friends with Ronda Rousey. Bethe Correia wants nothing more than kill Baszler’s best friend, Ronda Rousey. And in doing so, she’s vowed to eliminate Rousey’s friends, the “Four Horsewomen” (a term shamelessly stolen from Bayley, Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Sasha Banks of the WWE). Correia has already eliminated Jessamyn Duke, and now Baszler is next on her list.
How This Would Have Gone: WEELLLLLL unfortunately for Baszler…
Did They End Up Facing Each Other: ….and Bethe took it to Baszler, finishing the fight in the second round, then capping it off with the iconic two fingers up, signifying the second horsewoman she’s taken down (she put up her first finger after defeating Duke.)
Lightweight Bout: Danny Castillo (17-6) vs. Tony Ferguson (15-3)
Where Did They Stand: Tony Ferguson was still not TONY FERGUSON, and both were known as hard-nosed upper-midcarders. Castillo was 7-3 in the UFC, Ferguson was 5-1, both were strikers that could grab a submission if they wanted to.
How This Would Have Gone: Closer than you think…
Did They End Up Facing Each Other: …because when they did face off at UFC 277, in the co-main event, it went to a 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 decision, with one point swinging it in favor of Ferguson.
Flyweight Bout: Jussier Formiga (16-3) vs. Zack Makovsky (18-4)
Where Did They Stand: Two of the best flyweights in the world. Makovsky defeated both Scott Jorgensen and Josh Sampo since coming into the UFC, and Formiga was rebounding after being tossed to the wolves when he entered. John Dodson, Chris Cariaso, Joseph Benavidez, and Scott Jorgensen is a murderer’s row of first UFC opponents.
How This Would Have Gone: Just a week later…
Did They End Up Facing Each Other: …they tangled on the Ryan Bader-Ovince Saint Preux card, with Formiga besting Fun Size by three 29-28s on the cards.