MMA: Ranking The Best Upcoming Fights
Seven championship bouts are scheduled, with three of them taking place on the same night. Seven former champions are attempting to reclaim their titles. Legends from the past are still alive and well. There are new faces on the scene.
There are a number of must-see moments on the MMA calendar, and so many existing events on sports betting opportunities for sports enthusiasts, between now and the end of June. And you’re aware of how this sport works: More fight bookings are almost certain to follow, filling out the cards in the future. Perhaps a YouTuber would like to hop into someone’s cage?
Here’s a list of the top ten fights scheduled for the second quarter of the year, with a few bonus picks thrown in for good measure.
- Michael Chandler vs. Charles Oliveira
May 15 – Toyota Center in Houston
(UFC lightweight championship)
Charles Oliveira has won eight fights in a row, all but one going to the end. Chandler, a two-time Bellator champion, is another choice. He’s only fought in the UFC once, but what a debut it was, with a TKO of Dan Hooker in January. Unless there’s a draw or some other only-in-MMA twist, one of these men will emerge from the cage with a gleaming new belt symbolizing superiority in one of the UFC’s most prestigious weight classes.
The following are the reasons why this fight is rated as it is: It’s not every day that we get a title fight that almost certainly will crown a new champion, who will then have the opportunity to try to outdo Nurmagomedov’s reign.
- Zhang Weili vs. Rose Namajunas
April 24 – UFC Apex in Las Vegas
(UFC strawweight championship)
What a night the 24th of April promises to be. This is one of two big shots, champion vs. ex-champ, the other being women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko against former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade. Neither of these championship fights is even the main event. Kamaru Usman, ranked No. 2 in ESPN’s pound-for-pound men’s rankings, defends his welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal for the second time.
- Cory Sandhagen vs. TJ Dillashaw
May 8 – UFC Apex in Las Vegas
(UFC men’s bantamweight title)
Dillashaw hasn’t fought since Jan. 19, 2019, a bad night for him all around. Henry Cejudo knocked him out in 32 seconds, ending Dillashaw’s bid to add the men’s flyweight title to the bantamweight title he already had. Things only got worse when drug testing confirmed the existence of erythropoietin, a controlled substance (EPO). Dillashaw’s 135-pound belt was stripped and he was suspended for two years as a result. Now he’s back and try to repair a shattered legacy by taking on the hottest bantamweight in the world. Dillashaw and Sandhagen both have a chance to make a move forward.
- Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
April 17 – UFC Apex in Las Vegas
Whittaker was hospitalized with a hernia and collapsed bowel, necessitating emergency surgery, and the fight was canceled on the morning of UFC 234 after Whittaker was hospitalized with a hernia and collapsed bowel, necessitating emergency surgery. Two months later, Gastelum fought Israel Adesanya for an interim title, losing in a back-and-forth fight. Adesanya then dethroned Whittaker six months later. Finally, we get the original matchup, with both men on the verge of a title shot, particularly Whittaker.