By Andy Young and Vanessa Cavasinni

This weekend sees UFC 196 taking place with increasingly popular Irishman Conor McGregor and star female fighter Holly Holm set to bring massive crowds into venues around the country.

Holm upset the odds in November last year, when she beat Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, which took place in Melbourne. That bout saw record sales for Fox Sports Venues and Foxtel for Business and UFC 196 promises to be even bigger. With McGregor and Holm on the same card, Fox Sports Venues says that this will be the biggest-ever UFC pay-per-view event for pubs and clubs.

Fox Sports Venues national pay-per-view manager, Japhy Duldig, told TheShout: "The UFC at moment is at an all-time high in terms of interest amongst fans and venues. 

"Ever since the record-breaking UFC 193 in Melbourne, the UFC has been on a roll with Conor McGregor the most hyped athlete on the planet right now. 

"His press conferences, social media posts and quotes are making him the Muhammed Ali of the UFC world and making his fights a must-watch."

Even though McGregor’s fight has seen a change of opponent after UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos pulled out with a broken foot, the step up in weight to fight Welterweight Nate Diaz maintains a huge interest in this fight.

Ben Maher, manager of The Game Sports Bar in Perth, told TheShout: "As McGregor’s popularity keeps rising, so have the crowds for the UFC events. 

"There is a definite reasoning behind his claims of making everyone rich. We have a great Irish following at The Game, whether for the World Cup rugby or The UFC. Not just that though, he is a walking soap opera and draws in all people."

UFC 196 starts a big couple of months for the competition and Fox Sports, with UFC Brisbane coming up on March 20, which will see popular Heavyweight Mark Hunt taking on Frank Mir. Also UFC 197 on 24 April, will see the return of Jon Jones, fighting Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, during what will be a sport-packed Anzac Day weekend.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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