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Completely satisfied New 12 months’s Eve from the B/R Fight Sports activities Crew!
2021 was positively a win for MMA followers, and 2022 appears prefer it might be even higher. Skim via the fights already on the calendar: Francis Nganou vs. Cyril Acquire, Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whitaker II, Benil Darish vs. Islam Makhachev—the checklist goes on.
Whereas we’re already trying ahead to some nice fights, we’re simply getting began on most followers’ 2022 wish-lists. This 12 months has been stuffed with matchup potentialities from strawweight to heavyweight, as stars like Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal and a protracted checklist of influential champions all put together to return to the cage.
The MMA panorama will most certainly have fully modified by spring. Issues transfer quick on this recreation. However listed here are the fights we’re trying ahead to whereas the 12 months remains to be new, and the months forward are nonetheless brimming with risk.
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Maybe probably the most dramatic MMA second of 2021 occurred at UFC 269, the promotion’s last occasion of the 12 months, when Juliana Pea submitted the unbeatable Amanda Nunes to seize the bantamweight title.
It was one of many greatest ups and downs in MMA historical past, and a victory Pea ought to be pleased with for the remainder of her life. However for a lot of followers, that wasn’t sufficient to show that Nunes was higher. The Brazilian, who additionally holds the featherweight title, had dominated the bantamweight division for therefore lengthy and confronted such robust challenges, that it was arduous to not marvel if Pea had simply had a foul evening on the workplace. Was it a whisper? Or is the previous queen actually unmatched towards her usurper?
The one method to reply these questions is to e-book a rematch. All indicators point out it is taking place early this 12 months, however you by no means know in MMA.
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At this level, Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal have a really lengthy historical past.
First, they got here backstage at a UFC occasion in London in 2019. Then, after greater than two years of trash discuss, he was lastly booked for a sanctioned combat at UFC 269 in December. Then that combat failed when Masvidal was damage.
At this level, a matchup between Edwards and Masvidal does not actually imply a lot from a rating standpoint. In welterweight, No. 6 Masvidal continues to lose to defending champion Kamaru Usman, whereas No. 3 Edwards continues to win 9 fights. However there’s a rating to be set right here.
Even within the unlikely occasion that Edwards and Masvidal resolve they’re able to let it go, the followers won’t. We have to see it. Hopefully we get to see that this 12 months.
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Glover Teixeira’s 2021 was extra memorable than some other fighter. After 21 fights within the UFC, and at a mysterious age of 42, he defeated Jan Blachowicz of Poland to seize the promotion’s gentle heavyweight title.
It was an unimaginable second for the Brazilian. Sadly, he’ll now need to cope with a protracted checklist of lethal gentle heavyweights, starting with contender Jiri Prochazka, who is anticipated to get the subsequent crack on the title. Whereas Teixeira has confirmed to be a formidable foe for Father Time, he’s going to get his fingers on the Czech knockout artist who beforehand dominated the Rizin Preventing Federation gentle heavyweight division. In actual fact, it’s assured that the champion will enter the cage as a exceptional underdog.
Once more, if there’s a fighter who has confirmed that he’s able to clearing the percentages it’s Teixeira. We’ll simply have to attend and see.
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There’s an attention-grabbing rivalry between Alexander Volkanovsky and Max Holloway.
On paper, it does not appear like a lot of a rivalry. Volkanovski received his first combat in December of 2019, by unanimous resolution, capturing the UFC featherweight title within the course of. They then received a break up resolution of their quick rematch in July of 2020, going 2-0 towards their aerial foe. But each fights had been very aggressive, and the second was downright controversial, to the purpose that many followers contemplate Holloway to be the uncrowned king of the featherweight division.
Since his second loss to Volkanowski, Holloway has picked up a pair of thrilling resolution victories over top-flight foes in Calvin Katar and Yair Rodriguez. These victories, when mixed with their historical past with Volkanovsky, make the trilogy the one logical selection.
Who’s the true king of featherweight? Hopefully we are going to get a solution within the first half of this 12 months.
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This can be an important battle on the horizon proper now.
Neither Petr Yan nor Aljamaine Sterling are any significantly massive stars, however their unfinished work is gracing your entire bantamweight division, which can at present be the perfect weight class in all of MMA.
The story of Sterling and Yan follows UFC 259 in March 2021. Sterling challenged the Russian to a bantamweight strap within the first three title fights on a stacked essential card. Sadly, the combat resulted in catastrophe when Yan blew the Challenger off with an unlawful knee within the fourth spherical. Sterling was unable to proceed, that means he received the combat, and extra importantly, by disqualification.
It was inconclusive as a win, and a rematch has been paramount since then. Sadly, the UFC has had some issue doing so, with Yan being topped interim bantamweight champion after defeating Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 in October.
Sterling and Yan should now settle their scores in order that the bantamweight division can advance.
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Conor McGregor is MMA’s greatest star. One of many essential rivals of the Irish star’s profession, Nate Diaz, often is the second greatest.
The pair first met in March of 2016, when Diaz gave McGregor his first UFC defeat with a second-round submission. They clashed immediately rematch in August of the identical 12 months. McGregor received that combat by a powerful majority resolution.
A blockbuster trilogy contest between the 2 superstars has been an apparent selection ever since. To this point, the UFC has been content material to reserve it for a wet day. Nonetheless, Chail Sonnen not too long ago stated that point could also be working out for the trilogy, and he could also be proper.
McGregor is 33, and Diaz is 36. Man is neither previous nor younger. Each are additionally extraordinarily rich, and there seems to be little monetary incentive to combat. Each haven’t been in a position to win their final two matches, with McGregor shedding two-straight at light-weight to Dustin Poirier and Diaz stunning Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards at welterweight.
Certain, this trilogy may nonetheless do massive enterprise for a number of extra years, however we do not need it to show right into a better-than-never state of affairs. Higher hit the iron scorching properly and e-book it as quickly as potential.
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Jon Jones is arguably the perfect fighter in MMA historical past, nevertheless it’s straightforward to neglect.
The long-reigning gentle heavyweight champion abdicated the division’s throne in February 2020 following a break up resolution victory over Dominic Reyes. His plan on the time was to maneuver as much as heavyweight for a brand new belt, however he hasn’t fought since, partly as a consequence of authorized points exterior the cage, and partly due to a protracted contract dispute within the UFC. The perfect years of his profession are vanishing like sparks over the campfire and it is definitely a disgrace contemplating his potential.
Hopefully he’ll be again in 2022 to do what he does greatest. At this time limit, it does not matter who he fights. The vital factor is that he fights.