This weekend, we will see what appears to be the best card of the year for the UFC.
There will be four high profile champions competing on the card in three incredible title fights. Here is a road map for what to expect from each of the three incredible bouts.
(C) Petr Yan V.S Aljamain Sterling
In the first of the three title fights, we will see Petr Yan’s first title defense against the incredible Aljamain Sterling. Yan captured UFC gold in his last fight by defeating UFC veteran Jose Aldo to become the new Bantamweight Champion. The title was previously vacated by Henry Cejudo upon his announced retirement from the sport. In what was a bizarre set of circumstances at the time, the UFC decided to pit Yan, who was on a nine fight win streak and deserved a title shot, against Jose Aldo after Aldo had lost his debut at 135 pounds. Many believed this fight for the vacant title should have been the meeting between Sterling and Yan, but nonetheless, the two will meet in Yan’s first defense as opposed to the crowning of a new champion.
Both men are riding incredible winning streaks defeating some of the best fighters in the UFC’s Bantamweight division. Many sportsbooks are listing this fight as a “pick ’em” insinuating that this is as close as a fight could be. Both fighters have shown incredible skills on the fight with the slight edge going to Yan. However, Sterling is incredibly slick on the ground. If Yan were to score a knockdown, it would be wise of him to allow Sterling to stand back up despite his propensity to engage in some ground and pound. Odds are, this fight will most likely be a stand-up battle for the majority of the bout. There is no way to call a winner right now, but this very well could steal fight of the night.
(C) Amanda Nunes V.S Megan Anderson
In the co-main event, we will see Amanda Nunes defend the Women’s Featherweight Championship against the towering Megan Anderson. Megan Anderson, while being presented as a massive underdog to The Lioness, does present some issues for Nunes. Firstly and most obvious, the size advantage. Amanda Nunes has never fought anyone the size of Anderson who stands at six feet tall. While pure height is not necessarily an advantage one way or another, having never faced an opponent that tall could throw Nunes off of her game. Megan Anderson is also a great fighter regardless of where the fight goes. Much like Nunes, Anderson holds wins via knockout and submission proving that regardless of whichever game Nunes decides to play, Anderson will hold her own.
One key point to note about this fight and Nunes in general, is that when champions such as Nunes enter this rarefied air, it seems impossible to predict when that one fighter will finally beat them. There’s no way to know if Anderson will be that one fighter this weekend. But when watching these fights, keep in mind the reality of MMA that anything can happen inside the cage.
(C) Jan Blachowicz V.S (C) Israel Adesanya
In the main event, we will see one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year. The newly crowned Jan Blachowicz will attempt to make his first defense of the Light Heavyweight Title against the current Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya. Adesanya is chasing history, looking to become the fifth ever simultaneous two division champion in UFC history. Adesanya, holding an undefeated pro record, opened up as the favorite to win this fight against the much larger Jan Blachowicz. Now fans may remember that Jan was also an underdog on the night that he won the vacant title against Dominick Reyes. We’ve put out a few articles recently detailing the gravity of this fight, so lets focus on how the actual fight will play out.
This is going to be as fan-friendly as it gets. Two elite strikers going at it for potentially 25 minutes. And while both men are strikers through and through, they are two very different strikers. The challenger Adesanya is much more of a sophisticated striker who much like Anderson Silva, will pick his spots and through efficient strikes, rather than throwing lots of strikes hoping for them to land. He will also counter-strike when Jan throws and leaves himself open in certain areas. Jan on the other hand throws heavy power shots with both his hands and legs. It appears as though, based on the differences in their bodies come fight night, Adesanya will be looking more for the points victory, i.e., winning on the scorecards. While not impossible, it is hard to envision a scenario where Adesanya knocks Jan out. Inversely, Jan will be looking for the knockout for the duration of the fight. While it was mentioned earlier that Yan-Sterling has the potential to win fight of the night, it’s very possible this fight wins those honors and maybe even fight of the year.
Photo: via UFC