The Hitman is ready! Don't miss him on BT Sport this SaturdayMar 24
Bad Blood: Canelo vs Plant and UFC 268 headline an unmissable weekend of combat sports
You don’t want to be anywhere else this weekend as we bring you a blockbuster UFC card from Madison Square Garden – or flip over to BT Sport Box Office to watch a historic showdown for the undisputed super-middleweight title.
My oh my!
Fight fans are set for a treat across the BT Sport network this weekend as we bring you coverage of two unmissable combat sports events featuring some of the biggest names from both boxing and the UFC.
Read on for previews of Canelo vs Plant, coming to BT Sport Box Office HD, and UFC 268, coming to BT Sport 1HD, exclusively live this Saturday night.
Canelo vs Plant - BT Sport Box Office HD, 12am
The biggest star in world boxing returns to BT Sport as Canelo Alvarez takes on Caleb Plant in a fascinating super-middleweight showdown on pay-per-view.
One man’s name will be etched in the history books forever on Saturday night, with the victor becoming the first male fighter to claim ultimate supremacy of the 168lb division in the four-belt era.
American female boxing standout Claressa Shields became the first fighter to achieve the feat when she defeated Christina Hammer in April 2019 and both Canelo and Plant will have dreams of joining the 26-year-old in rarefied air atop the super-middleweight throne this weekend.
The build-up to this weekend’s contest took on another dimension in late September when the pair came face-to-face for the first time at what appeared to be a routine press conference promoting the fight.
Tensions flared during a face-off for the cameras as words were exchanged between the two men, culminating in a swift punch-up that left Plant nursing an untimely cut under his right eye.
This is the most animosity that I’ve had heading into a big prize fight
Not ordinarily known for losing his temper, the exchange looks to have lit a fire under Canelo with the 56-1-2 fighter telling Showtime last month: “This is new for me, I’ve never had as much bad blood with an opponent than this one.
“This is the most animosity that I’ve had heading into a big prize fight.”
The energy is matched by Plant, who labelled the clash “personal” as he vowed to upset the three-belt champion and consensus pound-for-pound number one on Saturday night.
“I’ve sacrificed a lot for this sport and dedicated myself completely, so anybody who’s getting in the way of my goals makes it personal to me. No matter who it is,” Plant said.
“There have been some guys who lost before the bell even rang against Canelo. I think that’s why he’s so irritated with me.
“Some guys just come in and are there to hand over their belt, get their cheque and leave. Anyone who knows me, they know I’m only here for those belts.
“I’m grateful and appreciative of this opportunity. But I’m not here focusing on building my name, I’m here for those belts and for that win. That’s all I’m focused on.”
The oddsmakers believe Canelo is all but certain to see his hand raised under the bright lights in Las Vegas and it’s easy to see why.
The 31-year-old will be making his fourth ring walk inside a year and is in the prime physical condition of his career.
Under the tutelage of long-time coach Eddy Reynoso, Canelo looks to be getting better and better, as evidenced by his comfortable victory over Billy Joe Saunders – a man who many pegged to give the Mexican superstar problems – last time out.
But there are some in the industry who believe Plant can succeed where all but Floyd Mayweather have failed.
“Caleb is a guy that has more power than they realize,” former two-weight champion Andre Ward told FightHype last month.
“I think he’s physically strong. I just think it’s always crazy until you do it. It’s easy for fans to choose - the easy pick is Canelo because of his history and everything he has accomplished.
“But I'll support Caleb, win, lose, or draw. I think he has a great opportunity to go out there and shock the world. He just needs to put his mental on and make it happen.”
Who will triumph in the battle to write their name into boxing history?
Tune in to BT Sport Box Office HD from midnight on Saturday to find out.
UFC 268: Usman vs Covington 2 - 12am, BT Sport 1HD
Grudge matches in the UFC don’t come much bigger than this weekend’s main event between welterweight king Kamaru Usman and number one contender Colby Covington.
Usman triumphed with a bruising fifth-round stoppage the first time these two bitter rivals met at UFC 245 in December 2019, outlasting the controversial American after a gruelling war that saw both men pocket Fight of the Night bonuses.
Yet rather than helping settle their differences, the contest only served to intensify the feud between the two fighters.
I would put Colby in the top-15 welterweights of all time
- Kamaru Usman
Aggrieved at what he felt was poor officiating from the referee on the night, Mark Goddard, Covington labelled Usman a “cheat” and a “coward”, demanding an immediate rematch with the Nigerian Nightmare.
It’s taken a little longer than he imagined - and required a brief detour to face Tyron Woodley - but Covington has his wish this weekend as the pair run it back in the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York.
Despite Usman’s clear dislike for Covington and his provocative MAGA-fan persona, the 34-year-old has not let fury cloud his judgement of a dangerous fighter coming to take his belt.
“I’m no hater, I give props where props are due,” he told Helen Yee last month.
“I think Colby probably is… I would put him in the top-15 welterweights of all time, as far as fighter-wise and skill-wise, the way that he fights.
“You may not like him personally, which I really don’t, but as far as skill-wise, he’s a good fighter. A very, very good fighter.”
Regardless of his skill level however, Usman, now under the tutelage of fabled MMA coach Trevor Wittman at Onx Sports, believes he belongs a class above Covington.
“I want a guy to go home, when they lay down in bed at night they’re like, ‘s**t, that guy’s better than me. There was nothing I can do to beat him’,” he continued.
“That’s what I want. That’s the feeling that I want to live with these guys each and every time they compete against me.”
But that’s not all coming your way at UFC 268; we’ll also be bringing you coverage of a scintillating co-main rematch between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili for the strawweight belt.
‘Thug Rose’ shocked former champion Weili last time out, with a stunning first-round head kick knock out and the softly-spoken American queen is determined to prove it was no fluke as she puts the strap back on the line at MSG.
Then there’s the bout being labelled the people’s main event as Justin Gaethje faces Michael Chandler in the lightweight division, pitting two of the most violent entertainers in the UFC against one another in a bout bound to thrill.
With all that, plus so much more, coming your way on BT Sport 1HD from midnight on Saturday, you won’t want to be anywhere else for your MMA fix this weekend.