Come late April, UFC President Dana White may be thinking: “We’re not in Vegas anymore.”
The long-delayed matchup between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Glover Teixeira finally has a solid date and an unusual venue. The fight will take place on April 26 at the Baltimore Arena, the half-century old, 14,000-seat venue close to the city’s Inner Harbor. The city-owned arena has transitioned through many names and tenants, including the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets, the ABA’s Baltimore Claws and Baltimore Hustlers, and indoor soccer and lacrosse. For the much of the last decade, city officials have devised plans to demolish the building. But the resilient structure still stands.
The fight is the only matchup announced for UFC 172 thus far. Given that injuries pushed the fight off the cards of UFC 169, UFC 170, and UFC 171, UFC 172’s announced main event may be better thought of as TBD.
Teixeira enters UFC 172 on a twenty fight winning streak. The Brazilian holds notable wins over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Ryan Bader, but most of the victories compiled during those nine years without a loss come over forgettable competition. The title defense will be Jones’s seventh, a record for the UFC’s light heavyweight strap.
The UFC champion’s older brother, Arthur Jones, plays defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens, which may explain the UFC’s first foray into the Baltimore market. As of late, the promotion’s pay-per view cards have alternated between Las Vegas, major international cities, and a main-event fighter’s hometown, with an occasional random major-media market hosting.