This Week In MMA – February, Week 3

MMA
Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy – USA TODAY Sports & Chris Unger – Zuffa LLC & Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC

Take a look back on a week in MMA where undisputed welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman continued his campaign for a rematch against Jorge Masvidal, Leon Edwards finally books an opponent for his March 13th. return — while a heavyweight mainstay turns the division on its head.

Announcing his retirement from professional mixed martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player, Stefan Struve confirmed he was hanging up his gloves for good. Dropping a knockout loss to Tai Tuivasa in his last outing last year, the Dutch submission ace detailed how he was dealing with an inner ear issue, which forced him to call time on his career.

Former middleweight title challenger, Paulo Costa is slated to headline a UFC Fight Night event on April 17th. against former titleholder, Robert Whittaker, however, he and his team have rejected the proposal to reschedule the matchup a week prior on April 10th. That event is currently slated to feature a middleweight main event between Darren Till and Marvin Vettori. 

Hoping to secure a full camp rematch against Masvidal despite his July win over the Floridian, Usman has claimed that he’d put the veteran in a coffin if pitted with him a second time. The two have been linked with roles as opposing coaches on the upcoming return of The Ultimate Fighter this summer. 

Another contender linked with a role as a coach on TUF, former interim welterweight titleholder, Colby Covington claimed that arch-rival and former American Top Team teammate, Masvidal rejected a “six-figure” payday from the UFC to serve as an opposing coach on the show, ahead of a pay-per-view event showdown in June.

Also claiming he wouldn’t be doing “charity” by accepting a short-notice matchup against the above mentioned, Edwards — Covington quipped that former-foe, Usman looked “primed” to get knocked out in his next Octagon outing. 

Targeted to matchup on the April 10th. Fight Night card, the polarizing, Mike Perry is set to draw Californian contender, Daniel Rodriguez — on the same showcase as his on-and-off friend, former welterweight title challenger, Till. 

Riding a six-fight winning run, recent victor, Beneil Dariush called for a rescheduled matchup against his fellow grappling standout, Charles Oliveira — claiming he plans to walk the Sao Paulo submission specialist down if paired with him again, following a shelved matchup back in October of last year. 

Earmarking an April return to the Octagon as well as putting flyweight plans on the back burner, former bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt received a response from former featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo — regarding his recent callout, The Manaus welcomed an April clash with the Ohio knockout ace, urging him to put pen to paper on a contract. 

A high-stakes flyweight matchup is also in the works for a May 15th. event — with one-time title chaser, Katlyn Chookagian lined up to clash with Brazilian standout, former Pancrase strawweight champion, Viviane Araujo

Following their Fight of the Year contender at UFC 256 in December, Deiveson Figuieredo and Brandon Moreno were expected to rematch and settle their majority draw differences at an event in April or May, however, the champion’s manager, Wallid Ismail has earmarked a June return for the incumbent instead

Again commenting on a potential rematch against Masvidal, recent Trevor Wittman student, Usman detailed how the Floridian knows deep down inside that he hasn’t got the tool to dethrone him — before claiming that “ten times out of ten” — he’d beat Masvidal “badly.

Nailing down an opponent which will see him remain on the March 13th. UFC Vegas 21 event, the aforenoted, Edwards has drawn recent UFC 258 winner, Belal Muhammad — who replaces the COVID-19 stricken Khamzat Chimaev who continues to deal with health issues amid a positive test result late last year.

Targeting a trip to Singapore for an April UFC 261 event — the organization have seen those plans scuppered after talks with the local government broke down. The event is now expected to take place in Las Vegas, with defending strawweight champion, Zhang Weili set to headline against either former champions, Rose Namajunas or Carla Esparza.

Five times paired with former interim lightweight champion, Tony Ferguson without ever standing opposite the Oxnard technician — current undisputed 155-pound best, Khabib Nurmagomedov has claimed he never viewed Ferguson as an “elite” lightweight, despite once labeling him “one of the best in the world“, as well as noting that his legacy wouldn’t be complete without beating Ferguson. 

Booked for a UFC Fight Night event on May 8th. — former division queen, Holly Holm makes her Octagon return as she plays host to the #5 ranked Ultimate Fighter 18 victor, Julianna Pena, in a bout that could realistically hold title-implications for the victor. 

Scoring his whopping twelfth Octagon knockout, separating him from the competition as the most prolific in UFC history, Derrick Lewis knocked back the #2 rated Curtis Blaydes in the main event of UFC Vegas 19 last night — sleeping the Illinois native with a frightening second round uppercut

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