This Week In MMA – February, Week 4

MMA
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC & Heidi Fang – Las Vegas Review Journal

Take a look back on a week in MMA where Bellator, ONE Championship, and the UFC all seal some really interesting matchups for the coming months, and the latter host UFC Vegas 20 with a pivotal heavyweight matchup taking headlining honours. 

Slated to feature on a UFC 252 slot in May, recent flyweight title challenger, Alex Perez returns as he draws the grappling standout, Matt Schnell in an exciting high-stakes pairing.

With Belal Muhammad drafting in for the COVID-19 stricken Khamzat Chimaev at UFC Vegas 21 in March against Leon Edwards, welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman claimed rival, Colby Covington made a huge mistake rejecting a matchup with Edwards if he wants to remain relevant at 170-pounds. 

Added to a UFC event on May 22nd. — most-recent featherweight title chaser, Felicia Spencer returns as she matches with recent Dana White’s Contender Series signing, former boxing champion, Danyelle Wolf — who makes her UFC debut at 1-0.

Hoping to make a return from a pair of unfortunate ACL tears in both legs following his March 2020 loss to Charles Oliveira, Kevin Lee has earmarked a summer comeback — and called for a rematch with former interim champion, Tony Ferguson

Making his first walk under the PFL (Professional Fighters League) banner, former WEC and UFC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis headlines the promotion’s return to schedule in a 155-pound outing against UFC alum, boxing ace, Clay Collard on April 23rd.

Ahead of his massive UFC 259 pairing with Aleksandar Rakic next weekend, former title challenger, Thiago Santos maintains the light heavyweight title is still his goal despite his recent skid. The American Top Team trainee also claimed if his body allowed him, he would fight beyond his forties.

Making his return at ONE on TNT IV — former UFC contender, Sage Northcutt draws veteran submission-specialist, Shinya Aoki on April 18th. The matchup will mark Northcutt’s first outing since a devastating one-punch knockout defeat to Cosmo Alexandre almost two-years ago — resulting in a slew of facial fractures.

Booked for UFC 261 in April — reigning flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko looks to lodge her fifth consecutive successful title defence as she tackles former strawweight best, Jessica Andrade in a highly-anticipated pairing.

Another flyweight title clash is also on deck — this time for a June 12th. event as Deiveson Figueiredo runs back in December Fight of the Year contender against challenger, Brandon Moreno.

Hoping to snap a two-fight skid for the first time in his career, the above mentioned, Ferguson is set to take his talents to Los Angeles, California at Wildcard Boxing — under the tutelage of renowned head coach, Freddie Roach

Former lightweight division mainstay and recent featherweight mover, Edson Barboza also put pen to paper on a new multi-fight deal with the UFC, as he attempts to make one final run at Octagon gold following his ‘Fight Island’ decision win over Makwan Amirkhani in October.

In some quite surprising news, former UFC heavyweight champion, Frank Mir is set to meet with Olympic gold medalist and former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, Antonio Tarver in a professional boxing match on the undercard of the upcoming Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren event, promoted by Triller.

Hoping to rebound from her first promotional blemish, recent UFC 257 feature, strawweight contender, Amanda Ribas has called for a rescheduled matchup with division staple, former Invicta FC atomweight best, Michelle Waterson

In an eye-catching booking, Bellator are set to field a potential bantamweight title-eliminator between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu standouts, recent title challenger, Patchy Mix and the brash contender, James Gallagher at Bellator 258 on May 7th. The matchup will feature beneath a bantamweight title headliner between Juan Archuleta and Sergio Pettis. 

Also expected to land at UFC 261 in April as part of a championship doubleheader, the UFC are pushing forward with plans for a strawweight title fight between incumbent, Zhang Weili and former champion, Rose Namajunas

Making his Octagon return on April 10th. at UFC Fight Night 188 — former two-weight KSW world champion, Mateusz ‘Gamer’ Gamrot draws lightweight division mainstay, veteran puncher, Scott ‘Hot Sauce’ Holtzman. Gamrot made his UFC bow at UFC Fight Island 6 in October — dropping a close, competitive split decision to Guram Kutateladze over three rounds.

Booked for a UFC Fight Night 192 event on May 22nd. — streaking Chinese contender, Yan Xiaonan looks to earn her first promotional title challenge as she draws inaugural UFC and Invicta FC titleholder, Carla Esparza in a potential title-eliminator at 115-pounds.

Headlining UFC Vegas 20 on Saturday night, French talent, Ciryl ‘Bon Gamin’ Gane retained his undefeated professional record and moved to 8-0 with a calculated, composed display against the always dangerous, Jairzinho ‘Bigi Boy’ Rozenstruik. 

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