UFC 218 may lack the headline-worthy battles of its predecessor, but it still has a featherweight belt to be contested in the rematch between reigning champion Max Holloway and former champ Jose Aldo. Before that battle concludes Saturday night’s action at Little Ceasars Arena in Detroit, fight fans will get to see a heavyweight fight that should feature some impressive striking…
UFC 218: OVEREEM VS NGANNOU
Former Strikeforce heavyweight champion and 20-year MMA veteran Alistair Overeem will slug it out with fast-rising newcomer Francis Ngannou, who only started fighting in the past few years.
What Ngannou lacks in experience, he should more than make up for in strength. The 31-year-old Cameroonian holds the world record for the highest punching power ever measured at 129,161 units.
UFC 218: HOLLOWAY VS ALDO 2
The card’s main event originally had Holloway paired with Frankie Edgar, but after the former UFC lightweight champion dropped out due to injury, Aldo was slotted in. Holloway and Aldo met previously at UFC 212, with the former defeating the latter to win the championship.
The behind the scenes scoop on each fight can be enjoyed with UFC’s Embedded blog series which chronicles the week leading up to the fight…
UFC EMBEDDED: EPISODE 1
On Episode 1 of UFC 218 Embedded, Ngannou relaxes outdoors before heading to the UFC Performance Institute for last minute work. Opponent Overeem lifts weights and dines on Cuban food in Albuquerque.
Energized by his title shot, Aldo has a spirited training session, while Holloway arrives in Detroit from his native Hawaii and tries to acclimate to the cold.
UFC EMBEDDED: EPISODE 2
On Episode 2, Aldo stays sharp in the gym in Rio, while champion Holloway shops for winter weather gear in Detroit and bonds with his team over competitive axe-throwing.
Ngannou gets his hair cut before heading to Los Angeles, where he runs into legendary fighter Anderson Silva. Across the country in New York City, Overeem joins Jim Norton and Matt Serra in the UFC Unfiltered studio.
UFC EMBEDDED: EPISODE 3
On Episode 3, heavyweight Ngannou measures himself against strawweight Michelle Waterson during a media day in Los Angeles, then does some California sightseeing.
Featherweight Holloway stays on track with a personal chef and a fowling expedition. Heavyweight Overeem, lightweight Eddie Alvarez and featherweight Aldo arrive in Detroit along with the sun.
At the host hotel, strawweights Cortney Casey, Tecia Torres and Felice Herrig get fight week underway, lightweight Justin Gaethje checks his weight, lightweight Paul Felder gets goosebumps, and flyweight opponents Henry Cejudo and Sergio Pettis cross paths.
UFC EMBEDDED: EPISODE 4
On Episode 4, Holloway gets fitted for a custom suit and ice skates in the Michigan cold. Aldo and Alvarez start shedding weight. Ngannou and Gaethje both train for knockouts in their respective fights.
Lastly, stars of the main and co-main events – Holloway, Aldo, Ngannou and Overeem — entertain at open workouts.
UFC EMBEDDED: EPISODE 5
On Episode 5, Holloway hones in on his boxing. Gaethje recalls an early interaction with the champ and enjoys a sushi dinner. His opponent Alvarez is high energy at the official media day, while heavyweights Ngannou and Overeem take a more subdued approach.
Aldo reaffirms his plan to win the title rematch, then meets with women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg and boxing gold medalist Claressa Shields.
UFC EMBEDDED: EPISODE 6
On Episode 6, Aldo watches soccer before starting his weight cut. Spirits stay high as the pounds come off for Ngannou and Alvarez. It all pays off on Friday morning, when those fighters — as well as Holloway, Overeem and Alvarez’ opponent Gaethje — hit their targets at the official weigh-in.
The stars of the main event recover with assorted carbs: spaghetti for Aldo and cupcakes for Holloway. Then it’s one more round of posing and stare downs, this time at Little Caesars Arena, where fans turn out for the ceremonial weigh-in.