As we prepare for the UFC to kick off its 2021 campaign, we can only hope things go a bit smoother than they did in 2020.
Though the year delivered some incredible fights, we are still left with the lingering thoughts of what could have been had COVID not hit.
Missing out on tons of international talent, lost fights such as Leon Edwards versus Tyron Woodley, which would have been the Brit’s biggest test facing the former Welterweight Champion in Woodley. And probably the most heartbreaking lost fight of all: Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson.
Hopefully, this year delivers as advertised and we don’t have to worry about too many more canceled flights.
That being said, let’s look at some of the fights that have already been announced for 2021 that we can look forward to.
Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar
Starting with the first main event fight of the year, we will see the former Featherweight Champion Max Holloway face quite possibly the fastest rising star in the division Calvin Kattar. Holloway is coming off of two razor-thin decision losses to the current Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski. Many in the MMA community believe that Holloway won not one, but both of the fights against Volkanovski.
Therefore, it is only right that since Max hasn’t taken a step back or declined in any way, he is granted a fight against Calvin Kattar. Kattar is on an incredible run, winning four of his last five with the only loss coming via decision to another incredible fighter in Zabit Magomedsharipov. If Kattar could defeat Holloway, it would be reasonable to assume he would be next in line for Volkanovski if it is not Brian Ortega’s time.
From an entertainment perspective, this has the potential to be an early candidate for fight of the year. This will feature two incredible strikers who will push the pace of the fight until one man succumbs to the punishment. To make a prediction, neither man will.
Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier II
Obviously, Conor McGregor has to be on this list. Anytime McGregor fights, it is must-see TV. Most definitely the biggest star the sport has ever seen steps back into the octagon once again to face the man he once defeated many years ago. However, just because Conor defeated Dustin before, don’t sell Poirier out just yet. Poirier is a completely different fighter than he was when he lost to McGregor.
Since then, Poirier has bumped up a weight class to Lightweight, gone 10-2-1, defeated four former interim or undisputed UFC Lightweight Champions, and captured the interim Lightweight Championship himself.
This will be a huge test for both men and a win here would position the victor for a fight for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship.
The Entire UFC 259 Card
This is going to be the UFC’s card of the year, no question about it.
Let us all as fans of fighting pray that nothing happens to any of these fighters. Three titles fights, including Aljamain Sterling’s incredibly long-overdue shot at the Bantamweight title against Petr Yan, the greatest women’s fighter of all-time Amanda Nunes putting her Featherweight title on the line against Megan Anderson, and Israel Adesanya searching to become the UFC’s fifth-ever double champ when he challenges Jan Blachowicz for the Light Heavyweight title. And although three title fights is an incredible way to sell a card, there are also some really great fights lined up throughout.
Dominick Cruz gets to prove if he still has it against Casey Kenney. Thiago Santos tries to bounce back after a tough loss to Glover Teixeira. Another “prove it” fight involving the veteran Joseph Benavidez. Islam Makhachev looks to extend his winning streak against the heavy-handed Drew Dober. And two young Welterweights in Sean Brady and Jake Matthews go at it. This card is incredibly stacked and will definitely deliver.
These are just some of the fights the UFC has already lined up for us to be excited for.
What fight that’s already been announced are you most excited for?
Featured Image: Getty Images