This Week In MMA – March, Week 3

MMA
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari – Zuffa LLC & Chris Unger – Zuffa LLC

Take a look back on a week in MMA where the majority of the headlines were grabbed by the official confirmation of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement and his vacating of the lightweight championship. At UFC 262 on May 15th. in Houston, Texas — the #3 ranked Charles Oliveira will tackle the #4 rated, Michael Chandler for the vacant championship. Over the course of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, leading European promotion, Cage Warriors returned to action with their Trilogy event. And the UFC fielded it’s UFC Vegas 22 event on Saturday.

Returning to action at UFC 260 next weekend, polarizing bantamweight finisher, Sean O’Malley claimed he would be putting his “undefeated record” on the line opposite Muay Thai ace, Thomas Almeida despite dropping his first professional blemish in the co-main event of UFC 252 last August against Marlon Vera.

An interesting featherweight pairing was sealed for UFC 263 on June 12th. as former M-1 Global champion, Movsar Evloev welcomes Canadian standout, Hakeem Dawodu, as he puts his #15 rank in the official 145-pound rankings up for grabs.

Set for a return to Jacksonville, Florida with a 15,000 capacity live gate awaiting at the Vystar Veteran’s Memorial Arena, the UFC announced UFC 261 will take place from the ‘Sunshine State’ with a welterweight championship rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal taking main event honors.

Ruled from his UFC Fight Night headliner with former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker on April 17th. — most recent title challenger, Paulo Costa was forced to withdraw amid a “severe flu. In the Belo Horizonte native’s place on short-notice steps one-time interim title chaser, Kelvin Gastelum who sees a matchup with Whittaker booked for the second time.

Amid an apparent fallout last week between former UFC welterweight champion, Matt Serra and his student, current bantamweight titleholder, Aljamain Sterling, the pair seem to have made up, with Serra, Sterling’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach detailing how he’ll help Sterling prepare for an imminent rematch with Petr Yan.

Speaking following his UFC 259 loss to Jan Blachowicz, current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya claimed that if UFC on ABC 2 headliner, Darren Till could get past soon to be common-foe, Marvin Vettori on May 10th. — then he’s earned himself a shot at 185-pound gold.

New England Cartel leader, Tyson Chartier outlined a potential return for his product, Calvin Kattar in the coming fall, detailing how the team is taken a cautious approach with the Methuen native after his bludgeoning at the hands of former featherweight champion, Max Holloway at UFC on ABC 1 in January on ‘Fight Island’.

Booked for a massive UFC Fight Night headliner on May 22nd. — another product of the New England Cartel, the #3 ranked Rob Font returns in a pivotal matchup opposite former bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt.

Making his return following the completion of a two-year retroactive USADA suspension, former two-time bantamweight titleholder, T.J. Dillashaw headlines a UFC Fight Night event on May 8th. as he draws the streaking #2 ranked contender, Cory Sandhagen in a title-eliminator.

According to UFC president, Dana White, the above-mentioned, Khabib Nurmagomedov is 100% officially retired — with the Dagestani officially vacating the undisputed lightweight championship.

Making its return to the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, the UFC field a vacant lightweight championship clash between the streaking submission specialist, Charles Oliveira, and former three-time Bellator lightweight best, Michael Chandler.

On Thursday night at Cage Warriors 120, Irish featherweight standout, Paul Hughes improved to 7-1 with a hard-fought unanimous decision win over James Hendin in the co-main event slot, beneath Kent Kaupinnen’s unanimous judging victory over Jamie Richardson to kick-off the Trilogy for the Graham Boylan led banner.

Team KF standout, Ian Garry remained undefeated, improving to 7-0 with a highlight-reel high-kick knockout victory over UFC alum, Rostem Akman in the second round. Following numerous headbutts from Sylwester Miller, bantamweight champion, Jack Cartwright retained his title via disqualification. 

Remaining king of the lightweights via a split judging victory, Agy Sardari knocked back Donovan Desmae in the night’s main event tilt.

Rounding off the Trilogy before its late return in June, former featherweight champion, Paddy Pimblett seemed to finally stamp his ticket to the UFC via a first round rear-naked choke victory over Davide Martinez in the night’s penultimate matchup.

Attempting his first defence of the featherweight champion following a vacant title victory over Perry Andre Goodwin, Morgan Charriere dropped a close back-and-forth split decision defeat to challenger, Jordan Vucenic, who had bested the above mentioned, Paul Hughes to earn his shot against Charriere. 

Removed from a scheduled attempted defence of the UFC featherweight championship at UFC 260 next weekend, Alexander Volkanovski returned a positive COVID-19 test result — forcing the postponing of his clash with former title challenger, Brian Ortega.

Snapping the five-fight undefeated streak of the #10 ranked Kevin Holland in the main event of UFC Vegas 22 last night, Derek Brunson improved his winning spree to four consecutive fights, scoring six successful takedowns on route to a comfortable unanimous decision victory. 

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