Submitted for your approval: You’re a combat sports fan, and it’s Saturday night, May 6th, a night where an interesting dilemma comes into play.
On this night, MMA’s top promotion, the UFC, takes its traveling show on the road to Phoenix, AZ’s Footprint Center, the home of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers, which will play host to UFC 274 on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
But herein lies the dilemma that you’ll be handling on Saturday night: You’ve got an interesting choice to make regarding what to spend your viewing dollars on, a dilemma that could only be made in the realms of the fight zone.
Canelo Alvarez Returns to DAZN PPV on Saturday Against Dmitry Bivol
This Saturday night, Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena, the home venue to the UFC’s marquee events, will again serve as the epicenter of the combat sports world when Undisputed Super-Middleweight Champion of the World Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KO) returns to subscription-based streaming service DAZN for the headlining bout of its first North American pay-per-view.
Alvarez will move up to the light heavyweight (175 lbs.) ranks for the first time since Sept. 13, 2019, this Saturday against WBC Super Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KO) in the main event of a card promoted by Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom Boxing.
As with most championship boxing matches, Canelo vs. Bivol will be a maximum of 12 rounds at three minutes apiece.
All told, this boxing card will feature four fights with championship implications at the top of the show.
UFC 274 Counters With Championship Doubleheader
While Canelo vs. Bivol unfolds in Las Vegas, UFC 274 will play out 301 miles away at the Footprint Center, and Dana White will counter Eddie Hearn with two championship fights at the top of his card.
During the UFC 274 co-main event on Saturday evening, the UFC Strawweight Championship is at stake when incumbent titleholder Rose Namajunas (12-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC)collides with No. 2 contender Carla Esparza (19-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC).
Your UFC 274 main event will see a battle for the UFC Lightweight Championship as current titlist Charles Olivera (32-8, 1 NC MMA, 18-8, 1 NC UFC) meets top contender Justin Gaethje (24-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC.)
Both of these title fights will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close what will be (as of now) the 15-fight UFC 274.
Now comes the million-dollar question for fans of combat sports:
What Do You Choose: Canelo or UFC 274?
On paper, the choice between Canelo vs. Bivol and UFC 274 on Saturday night looks to be a tough decision for you, the viewer, to make, but it’s something that shouldn’t be the case.
To help you make this choice without much hassle, let’s examine some of the key points of both cards.
Let’s get started.
The Cost of Canelo vs. Bivol vs. The Cost of UFC 274
As far as the cost of these pay-per-view events, Canelo vs. Bivol has the edge over UFC 274 on Saturday night.
If you look on DAZN’s website right now, take note of the cost of the Matchroom event.
Canelo vs. Bivol will be priced at $59.99 (USD) and will only be available via pay-per-view through DAZN, so if you were thinking about purchasing this card through your local cable, satellite, or telco operator, better luck next time.
A $60 price tag for a blockbuster boxing pay-per-view of this caliber is cheaper than most of the recent marquee PPV events.
That afternoon’s pay-per-view carried a $69.99 price tag inside the United States, and that card, too, was exclusively available over the internet.
If you were to take the fights without championship implications off of the Canelo vs. Bivol card and just look at the four 12-round fights, that’s just $15 per bout.
Comparatively, UFC 274, much like all other UFC pay-per-view events that have taken place and will take place this year, will cost $74.99 (USD) through ESPN+.
If you were to only factor in the two championship fights on Saturday night’s UFC 274, the cost is roughly $37.50 per title fight.
The Matchups: Another Mismatch For Canelo?
One aspect of Saul Alvarez’s career that’s been a constant of late is the fact that he has been able to outclass his opposition pretty handily.
In February of 2021, Alvarez was ordered by the WBC to battle with Avni Yildirim for the WBA, WBC, and The Ring magazine World Super-Middleweight Championships, and the oddsmakers were heavily in favor of Canelo that winter’s night.
Officially, heading into that title bout, Canelo was listed as a 50-to-1 favorite (-5000) to defeat Yildirim, and although the fight was advertised as a 12-round title bout at three minutes per round, it only took 25 percent of that time for the fight to end, as Yildirim’s corner threw in the towel between rounds three and four at Hard Rock Stadium last year.
This time around, Canelo is favored once again, but not nearly as heavy of a favorite as he was in February of 2021, roughly a 4-to-1 favorite here, but that’s only part of the story, as this is Canelo’s 61st career fight inside the ring, compared to just the 20th for Bivol.
On paper, Canelo’s return to light heavyweight could mean that it’s his belt for the taking.
Closer Odds in UFC Title Bouts
Meanwhile, in the two championship fights, the oddsmakers are calling for close contests during UFC 274 on Saturday evening.
As of now, Oliveira and Namajunas are each favored to win their respective title fights, indicating that these two fights in the UFC on Saturday might be closer than Canelo’s fight.
At the same time. however, all that matters here is what happens after the command to fight is given on Saturday night.
Start Times for Both Cards and Ring Walks for Title Fights
The Canelo vs. Bivol card has a two-hour head start on the UFC 274 main card on Saturday night, as the Matchroom pay-per-view is scheduled to start at just past 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT on DAZN, with UFC 274’s main card following at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT over ESPN+.
This is where it gets a tad convoluted, however.
As far as Canelo vs. Bivol is concerned on Saturday night, the main event is slated to begin at approximately 11 pm ET/ 8 pm PT on DAZN, with no concrete information accessible for the ring walks of either championship fight during UFC 274.
Take note, however, that the starting times of any of these title fights can and will fluctuate depending on the pace of these cards, so it could be entirely possible that these fights don’t take place simultaneously.
It’s All Up to You
At the end of the day, though, the final decision of which fight card to devote your time and money on this Saturday night rests with one person:
You and you alone.
Hopefully, you’ll make the best decision about the fights on Saturday night, but here’s one final bit of advice.
With the Canelo fight and UFC 274 both happening on the eve of Mother’s Day inside the United States, if Mom happens to be a fight fan and you just so happen to forget to buy her some flowers, call her up and invite her over to watch the fights.