The upcoming fights we’re most excited about

White and Red Plastic Pipe

MMA fans are being spoiled in the final quarter of this year with several blockbuster fights from the UFC, Bellator, and PFL.

With so much on offer, it can be tricky to pick out the best of the bunch but there are some clear standouts that we’re most excited about.

On October 30, UFC 267 will take place with Jan Blachowicz defending his world light-heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira in the main event. It’s a solid enough fight, especially after Jan’s upset win over Israel Adesanya earlier in the year, but it’s not the most intriguing on that card.

The co-main was originally booked as a highly anticipated rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan for the bantamweight title, however, Sterling had to withdraw due to ongoing injuries.

In his place steps top contender Cory Sandhagen, who is coming off an extremely competitive loss to former champion TJ Dillashaw. Yan is a slight favorite with bookmakers, but the fight should be a fascinating clash of styles. If you are thinking of placing a few MMA bets, you can claim a promo from your chosen sportsbook with OLBG.

Further down that same card is another interesting clash; rising lightweight contender Islam Makhachev taking on the seasoned Dan Hooker. Makhachev was originally booked against Rafael Dos Anjos, who had to withdraw because of an injury.

Islam is considered by some to be the heir apparent to Khabib Nurmagomedov and has been dominant in all of his UFC performances to date. However, Hooker represents a marked step up in class for the Dagestani prodigy.

A week later, on November 5, Bellator are holding an impressive card of their own, topped by a lightweight title fight between Peter Queally and Patricky Freire. The pair faced each other earlier this year, with Queally prevailing after Freire was stopped on cuts.

The vacant title – which was given up by Freire’s brother, Patricio, who is pursuing revenge against featherweight champ AJ McKee – was a surprising addition to the fight but adds yet more intrigue to the bout.

Promising bantamweight James Gallagher features in the co-main against Patrick Mix in what some consider to be the Irishman’s toughest test to date and is certainly another fight we’re looking forward to.

The following night, on November 6, the UFC will hold the most stacked card of the year at Madison Square Garden in New York. The event will be headlined by the rematch between world welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and bitter rival Colby Covington.

In 2019, the two men were involved in one of the greatest fights in UFC history with Usman eventually stopping Covington in the fifth and final round. Despite both being exceptional wrestlers, neither fighter attempted a takedown, and both elected to compete on the feet.

Usman has established himself as the best fighter, pound-for-pound, in the UFC since then while Covington has not been as active, but did earn a dominant win over former champion Tyron Woodley.

The UFC 268 co-main event is also a can’t-miss fight. Women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas will defend the title she won from Zhang Weili in an immediate return of their explosive meeting earlier in the year.

‘Thug’ Rose, a former champion herself, stunned Weili with a head kick in round one, finishing her within minutes of the opening bell. Admittedly, most fans would have rather seen Rose fight Carla Esparza, who defeated her back in 2014 and is on a win-streak of her own.

However, the rematch with Weili is still an excellent fight. Prior to meeting Namajunas, Zhang looked imperious during her rapid rise to champion status and, if she can avoid getting caught again, is more than capable of giving Rose a hellish night.

Former lightweight title challengers Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler will also fight each other on the bill and are sure to produce fireworks. Both are aggressive, explosive fighters and neither knows how to take a backward step.

The UFC will follow that card with UFC 269 on December 11, which will finally see Dustin Poirier challenge for the lightweight title again when he faces current champion Charles Oliveira.

Poirier is, of course, coming off the back of two wins over UFC superstar Conor McGregor

and is regarded by many as the uncrowned king of the division, while Oliveira is enjoying an Indian summer to his storied UFC career.

Amanda Nunes, arguably the greatest female mixed-martial artist of all time, defends her bantamweight title against Julianna Pena on the same card, which also features a grudge match between welterweights Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal.

There are dozens of fights we’re excited for over the coming months, and these are just a few of the ones we think stand out the most. Titles could change hands and new stars could be born – there’s a lot to look forward to.


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