UFC returns to Orange County

UFC middleweight Val Woodburn, poses for the ceremonial weigh-ins Armand Sicat/Lariat

The UFC, the largest fight promotion in the world held fan events and its second pay-per-view event of the year, “UFC 298 Volkanovski v. Topuria” on Saturday, February 17, at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

“Good to be back, this arena has been very good to us for a long time,” said UFC President Dana White in a news conference held after the fights. “Happy to be back with these guys.”

This marks the first time in almost two years that the UFC has hosted an event in Orange County, with the last one being in early 2022. 

“[The] entire fight week was one to remember,” said UFC commentator Jon Anik in an Instagram post. 

Over 18,000 fans filled the arena to watch the fights, making it the highest-grossing live event in arena history.

“UFC 298 Volkanovski v. Topuria” showcased a featherweight championship bout between longtime reigning champion Alexander “the great” Volkanovski and up-and-coming prospect, Ilia “el matador” Topuria. 

The championship bout was preceded by 10 other fights featuring fighters such as Robert “the reaper” Whittaker and Merab “the machine” Dvalishvili. Attendees of the event include co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and actor Miles Teller.

Leading up to fight night on Saturday, the UFC hosted a variety of events including a Q&A session with fighters and meet and greets, following with a ceremonial weigh-in that was free to the public. 

UFC 298 marked the highest grossing MMA (mixed martial arts) event in California. “The fans were so loud and omnipresent and really gave the fighters a lot of positive energy off which to feed,” said Anik in an Instagram post. “Looking forward to coming back!”

The gate for “UFC 298 Volkanovski v. Topuria” was $7.26 million. The UFC heads to Miami, Florida next for “UFC 299 O’Malley v. Vera” on March 9.