The UFC has no scarcity of fascinating main occasions for his or her remaining 2020 schedule. One in every of them, Kamaru Usman-Gilbert Burns’ welterweight title bout, was just lately postponed and the December 12th UFC 256 card wants a brand new main occasion.
Will the UFC flip to one in every of their most anticipated matchups – Stipe Miocic versus Francis Ngannou for the heavyweight crown – to run their last pay-per-view occasion of the 12 months?
Miocic scored a convincing, unanimous win over Ngannou in January 2018. But Ngannou, maybe the UFC’s most intimidating fighter, performed a task with 4 consecutive first-round outcomes.
Talking of potential fireworks, the principle UFC Combat Night time occasion on Saturday should not be missing in pleasure. The highest featherweight contenders, Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung – higher referred to as “The Korean Zombie” – compete in opposition to one another.
There’s unhealthy blood to this matchup, however there’s additionally a possible title shot for the winner. Jung has gained twice in a row, each within the first spherical. Ortega hasn’t fought in nearly two years since shedding a featherweight struggle to Max Holloway. Would it not be sufficient for Ortega to beat Jung to safe one other title win?
Tony Ferguson would little question love a title shot. He nearly had one, however his deliberate straightforward title struggle with Khabib Nurmagomedov failed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Ferguson as an alternative picked Justin Gaethje for the preliminary light-weight championship and misplaced by snapping his 12-fight profitable streak.
Ferguson will flip 37 in February regardless of being a good distance from getting over the hill. However would a change to welterweight assist him? He struggled early in his profession at 170 and shedding pounds would not be that drastic.
ESPN MMA specialists Ariel Helwani, Phil Murphy, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi, and Jeff Wagenheim check out what’s actual and what’s not.
Actual or not: With Kamaru Usman-Gilbert Burns, Stipe Miocic versus Francis Ngannou 2 is the most effective substitute headlining match for UFC 256
Helwani: It will actually be a superb choice, and it is one which the UFC has been contemplating regardless of being informed the date would not work for heavyweight champion Miocic. Another choice that they’ve been exploring is Jorge Masvidal versus Colby Covington, however they’re removed from one another in that regard.
Here is what I’d do: I’d postpone Valentina Shevchenko’s flyweight title bout in opposition to Jennifer Maia, scheduled for UFC 255 on November 21, to UFC 256 on December 12. It is solely a few weeks later. No huge deal. As we all know, Amanda Nunes is already on the December 12th card in opposition to Megan Anderson, and I actually like the thought of the 2 finest fighters within the UFC – and I could say the world – Nunes and Shevchenko. struggle on the identical map. I’d then e-book Conor McGregor versus Dustin Poirier on the November 21 card and maintain Deiveson Figueiredo’s flyweight title bout in opposition to Alex Perez on the 255 card. Do McGregor vs. Poirier on the five-round most important occasion, with the flyweights benefiting from being on the identical map within the co-main. Et voila! Everybody wins.
The UFC is in an amazing place. It is had a extremely nice pay-per-view run because the pandemic and there is a variety of huge fights within the oven (do not forget Israel Adesanya, who informed me two weeks in the past he’d like to struggle in December). , however I like this state of affairs finest.
Anderson Silva discusses his struggle in opposition to Uriah Corridor and says it could possibly be the final of his profession.
Wagenheim: Silva was as soon as the best fighter on this planet and essentially the most exhilarating one to see. However he is 45 years outdated now and he is misplaced a step. He is additionally misplaced his final two fights – and 6 of his final eight. He’s in the course of a bleak, uninspiring run wherein he has solely had one win in his seven journeys within the Octagon since 2012.
And but I am not able to declare that Corridor is an excessive amount of for even this humble model of Silva to deal with.
Silva was already over the hill and one step again when he confronted Michael Bisping in 2016, and later that 12 months he wasn’t a part of Daniel Cormier, who was the sunshine heavyweight champion on the time. Silva should not have been fed to Israel Adesanya, who was 14 years youthful and in his prime after they met final February. He was overwhelmed even in his final struggle, a TKO loss to Jared Cannonier within the first spherical in Could 2019.
However Corridor? He has gained his final two fights and has all the time been filled with potential – and he might see that potential in spectacularly violent methods on October 31st. However on no account is he a disparity for Silva. Contemplating Corridor’s eye-catching stand-up fashion, this could possibly be the proper pairing that might revive the outdated Silva glitz another time.
Dana White has stated that this would be the final time we’ll see Silva within the octagon and as UFC President he can have his say on the matter. However Silva deserves a swan track showcase in opposition to one other legend of an identical 12 months. How about Mauricio Rua? “Shogun” is simply 38 years outdated, however he is in the identical place in his vaunted profession as Silva is in his. As quickly because the pandemic subsides, we hope the UFC will face its Brazilian followers with a struggle of the greats.
Actual or not, Brian Ortega is able to crack the title once more if he beats Chan Sung Jung
Brian Ortega describes the timeline when he began wanting extra from his coaching camp and in the end why he determined to make a change.
Okamoto: Actual, which is fairly wild contemplating Ortega hasn’t gained a struggle in over two years and the final time we noticed him he was totally outdone by then champion Max Holloway. And what makes it even wilder is the 145 pound division is sweet. Actually good. There are numerous contenders right here. How would Ortega be worthy of a title shot? For my part, nearly as good as this division is, nobody has turned out to be number one prior to now 12 months. Zabit Magomedsharipov was not significantly lively. The identical goes for Yair Rodriguez. Calvin Kattar was nice however he misplaced to Magomedsharipov final 12 months. Josh Emmett is coping with an damage. Ortega and Zombie are clearly the highest contenders outdoors of Holloway (who’s in an odd location after a controversial second loss to Alex Volkanovski) proper now, battling it out in a five-round most important occasion. I am fairly assured that the winner of this struggle will face Volkanovski subsequent, particularly since he’s not persistent and doesn’t intend to struggle Holloway once more straight away.
Actual or not, Tony Ferguson ought to severely think about shifting to welterweight
Tony Ferguson talks to Ariel Helwani about why he would not struggle Dustin Poirier or Michael Chandler at UFC 254.
Raimondi: The concept is certainly price contemplating. One has to marvel how a lot the fixed chopping on light-weight put a pressure on Ferguson’s physique over time. He has by no means been in need of weight and is actually knowledgeable at chopping. However there are solely so many of those steep cuts you may make. Ferguson is 6 toes tall. He is working round far north of 155 kilos, in fact. Ferguson has generally stated he touched 200 kilos outdoors of coaching camp. This isn’t a bit man.
I do not suppose it is controversial to say that Ferguson did not seem like himself in opposition to Justin Gaethje in that Could loss at UFC 249. It is inconceivable to know if weight reduction performed a task, however Ferguson lowered the burden twice in three weeks of stretching. He wished to point out that he might attain the championship weight the day earlier than the initially deliberate straightforward title struggle with Khabib Nurmagomedov. That was unhealthy recommendation. Would it not have been vital once more within the Gaethje struggle if Ferguson hadn’t completed that? It’s inconceivable to know.
However welterweight may be a practical choice. Think about Ferguson in opposition to among the finest 170 pound fighters on this planet. Most of those fights will surely be aggressive. There are two guys who’ve been center class lightweights and have risen welterweight in recent times: Jorge Masvidal and Gilbert Burns. I’d say they did nicely with the heavier weight. Ferguson did equally – he had a a lot better light-weight run than both.
One final concept: how about Ferguson versus Nate Diaz? That may be very, very entertaining.
Actual or not, we’ll truly see Magomed Ankalaev v Ion Cutelaba this month
When Ion Cutelaba is launched, he goes to see Magomed Ankalaev and the 2 must be separated. For extra UFC, go surfing to ESPN +: http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Murphy: A legislation attributed to a distant relative of mine says, “Something that may go fallacious will go fallacious.” The direct query of whether or not the rematch between Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cuțelaba will lastly happen appears to tempt the MMA gods. We’re formally 0-Three between the postponement of UFC 249 and two optimistic COVID-19 assessments in August for Cuțelaba. There isn’t any motive – aside from believing within the energy of optimistic considering – that UFC 254 will show it really works. The sense of impending catastrophe solely rises after final weekend’s card with the most effective assortment of outcomes I can keep in mind. We’re due for unhealthy information.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson is the gold normal for cursed fights with 5 swing and misses. Compared, we noticed 38 seconds of motion in 4 reserving makes an attempt from Ankalaev-Cuțelaba, and this was interrupted by what might be the worst interruption of the 12 months. Even the unique overview, which lands for the primary time in UFC historical past on Leap Day, makes it more odd. I imagine Ankalaev and Cuțelaba will share the octagon at UFC 254 for a good, uninterrupted battle if the door closes behind them and Bruce Buffer steps out of the way in which. Till then, each ought to keep away from black cats, ladders, and mirrors which can be poorly secured. Do you keep in mind the creativity of the MMA gods in interrupting Khabib-Tony?