So far I have ordered all of the UFC cards in the UFC NOW set. I enjoy the cards, and so far Topps hasn't overdone it too much, although they did come pretty close to jumping the shark with the recent Ronda Rousey card, celebrating her announced return to the UFC in the upcoming UFC 207 event. The only reason I give them a pass on that is because Rousey is arguably still the sport's biggest star, and people have been waiting forever for them to set an actual date for her to come back. The problem with it is that fights get cancelled all the time due to injury, failed drug tests, and weight problems, so printing a card before the fight leaves you open to having a trading card commemorating an event that never occurs. I don't like it, but I will accept that Topps wanted to do something to bring some visibility to their UFC NOW program.
There were three NOW cards produced for UFC 203. This first one features the Main Event (of the evening!) between Stipe Miocic and Alistair Overeem. Miocic was able to retain his belt with a first-round knockout after surviving some offense and grappling from Overeem. UFC 203 was full of weird things happening after the fights were over. In this case, Overeem claimed that he had felt Miocic tap out during a choke attempt, so they ran the tape right there and it was obvious that Miocic hadn't tapped out. That made for an awkward finish to the interview as he was pressed to say exactly when he'd felt the tap, but couldn't point to a spot in the film where it had happened.
There was a bit of a post-fight battle after Fabricio Werdum defeated Travis Browne by decision. Browne's corner was talking some trash, so Werdum kicked one of the dudes in the chest, leading to some pushing and shouting that looked like it belonged on a baseball field. There was a weird moment during the fight, too, when Browne tried to call a timeout and the ref kind of allowed it. It was just a weird fight all around.
Finally, there was the much-anticipated debut of WWE star CM Punk in the UFC Octagon. He came out and just got manhandled by Mickey Gall before tapping out shortly after the fight began. It was obvious that he wasn't ready for this. After the fight he gave a little speech about following your dreams. Mickey Gall came off as a total douche-nozzle. Maybe he's a good fighter, but he's also an ass. I will gladly root against him if he gets the fight he asked for against Sage Northcutt.
This event's cards were the lowest print runs in the set so far. Miocic's card had 71 copies printed; Gall's card got 70 copies, and Werdum is the new set low with 62 printed copies. The previous low had been Cain Velasquez from UFC 200 with 87 copies. I wondered if maybe this drop in print runs signaled the end of the UFC NOW cards, but the print runs took a jump back up for UFC 204, so maybe this was just a blip on the radar for a card that wasn't all that exciting for casual UFC card collectors.