UFC schedule: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 among the many high 10 fights remaining in 2021

As the tip of 2021 approaches, the UFC is seeking to construct on an already unimaginable 12 months with a collection of thrilling fights to shut issues out. From massive championship fights on pay-per-view to thrilling battles between contenders on Battle Night time playing cards, there’s quite a bit for blended martial arts followers to look ahead to within the remaining 10 weeks of 2021.

Pairing down greater than 100 fights to only a high 10 was a giant job, and one which pressured some nice fights (Jose Aldo vs. Rob Font) and title clashes (Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena) to be pushed to the aspect. However even with out these fights, there’s quite a bit to get enthusiastic about.

Let’s check out the ten most fun fights remaining on the UFC’s 2021 calendar, introduced in chronological order.

Paulo Costa vs. Marvin Vettori (Battle Night time – Oct. 23) 

A pair of former middleweight title challengers will meet in a battle to aim to work their approach again into competition one battle after failing to seize the belt. Each Costa and Vettori made numerous noise forward of their alternatives to face Israel Adesanya for the title and each males got here up woefully brief, Costa by knockout and Vettori by way of huge choice. Each males have stress types, with Vettori desirous to put on opponents down by way of aggressive grappling and Costa searching for the knockout shot on the ft. It is a large battle for the 185-pound division and the loser can be dealing with a particularly lengthy climb if they’ve any hope of getting again into title competition.

Islam Makhachev vs. Dan Hooker (UFC 267 – Oct. 30)

Makhachev is driving an eight-fight successful streak since his lone profession loss in October 2015. A win over Hooker would put Makhachev proper into the title combine in a deep and crowded light-weight division. Hooker was on the verge of moving into the title combine himself after a blood and guts struggle with Dustin Poirier however was knocked out by Michael Chandler in his subsequent battle. After a win over Nasrat Haqparast, Hooker might edge his approach again into competition with an enormous win over a harmful opponent.

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Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen  (UFC 267 – Oct. 30)

Yan was initially scheduled to rematch Aljamain Sterling for the complete bantamweight championship after dropping the belt to Sterling by disqualification. As a substitute, Sterling was once more pressured to the sidelines by persevering with points associated to a neck damage, main Sandhagen to step in for an interim title battle. Yan has been dominant within the UFC, together with wanting nice towards Sterling earlier than throwing a blatantly unlawful knee that ended his title reign. Sandhagen rebounded from an unpleasant loss to Sterling with back-to-back highlight-reel knockouts of Marlon Moraes and Frankie Edgar earlier than a controversial cut up choice loss to TJ Dillashaw in his most up-to-date outing. Regardless of each males coming into the interim title battle off a loss, Yan vs. Sandhagen must be high-level blended martial arts at its finest.

Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira (UFC 267 – Oct. 30)

As unlikely as Blachowicz appeared to grow to be a dominant gentle heavyweight champion, it actually appeared extra unlikely Teixeira would grow to be a respectable title challenger at 41 years outdated. Blachowicz stepped in to fill the void when Jon Jones vacated the 205-pound title, capturing the belt with a knockout of Dominick Reyes and retaining towards middleweight champ Adesanya. He is seemed the half up to now and can look to proceed that run towards Teixeira, who enters the battle on a five-fight successful streak. Teixeira’s two most up-to-date wins have been stoppages of former title challengers, submitting Thiago Santos and scoring a TKO over Anthony Smith. Mild heavyweight nonetheless feels somewhat unsettled within the post-Jones period, however it is a compelling conflict of veterans who’ve gotten to the highest of the game the onerous approach.

Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler (UFC 268 – Nov. 6)

When Chandler signed with the UFC, a possible battle with Gaethje was instantly on most MMA followers’ minds. Chandler knocked out Hooker to finish up with a shot on the light-weight championship towards Charles Oliveira, a battle the place Chandler was on the verge of successful the title earlier than Oliveira scored a comeback knockout. Gaethje held the interim light-weight title after dominating Tony Ferguson however misplaced his probability to unify the title when he was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov. That every one led to the celebs aligning for a can’t-miss all-action struggle between two of essentially the most thrilling fighters within the sport. It might not go all three rounds, however it must be an amazing experience whereas it lasts.

Rose Namajunas vs. Weili Zhang 2 (UFC 268 – Nov. 6)

Namajunas is on her second reign as champion after knocking out Zhang with a brutal head kick in April. Zhang will get a chance to win the title again in a battle that guarantees extra motion than the 78 seconds followers have been handled to the primary time round. Namajunas is a real fan favourite and somebody who has confirmed endurance by way of setbacks each inside and outside of the Octagon. Zhang has been terrific in her UFC profession earlier than that nightmare second towards Namajunas, organising this massive rematch and probably with even deeper that means for the UFC within the Asian market the place Zhang’s championship victory in August 2019 was main information.

Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 (UFC 268 – Nov. 6)

Usman and Covington had a horribly contentious construct to their first battle in December 2019. Whereas that construct was full of cringe-worthy moments, the battle delivered nice motion earlier than Usman scored the fifth-round TKO, breaking Covington’s jaw within the course of. Usman has continued to enhance, particularly as a striker, successful extra three fights and knocking out Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal since that assembly. Covington has been far much less energetic, getting his rematch with a single TKO win over a badly pale Tyron Woodley in September 2020. Regardless of the construct appears like this time round, the motion within the cage ought to stay thrilling.

Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez (Battle Night time – Nov. 13)

The UFC has carried out an amazing job of reserving motion fights down the stretch of 2021, and Holloway vs. Rodriguez isn’t any exception. Holloway is attempting to battle his approach again to a 3rd battle with featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski after shedding the primary two fights of their rivalry. He took a giant step towards that purpose with a showy efficiency in battering Calvin Kattar in January. Rodriguez has been out of motion since October 2019, a mixture of a USADA violation and accidents. He’ll be seeking to run his successful streak to a few towards Holloway in a battle that may doubtless set the winner up for a date with Volkanovski.

Leon Edwards vs. Jorge Masvidal (UFC 269 – Dec. 11)

A rivalry that has constructed since March 2019 when Masvidal blasted Edwards with the now-infamous “three-piece and a soda” backstage at a UFC Battle Night time occasion in London. Masvidal is not more likely to see one other welterweight title shot so long as Usman is champion, having misplaced a call and a brutal knockout of their two earlier conferences. Regardless of that, Masvidal can have a big effect on the title image when he takes on Edwards, who’s driving a nine-fight successful streak relationship again to a December 2015 loss to Usman. A win for Edwards all however ensures he can be subsequent in line for a championship alternative. A loss and Edwards drifts him again towards the tip of the road.

Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier (UFC 269 – Dec. 11) 

The light-weight championship image has been a bit muddy since Khabib Nurmagomedov retired on high of the game. Poirier has been usually accepted as the perfect light-weight fighter on the earth however has been concerned in big-money fights with Conor McGregor moderately than title bouts. He now will get a shot on the belt towards the person who took benefit of the opening and knocked out Chandler to win the belt. Oliveira could maintain the title, and he has an unimaginable nine-fight successful streak to again up his standing, however it appears like Oliveira vs. Poirier is the battle that determines the division’s true champion.

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