November looks to be an action-packed month in the world of mixed martial arts: UFC will present four events, Bellator will hold three, and various international MMA promotions will host events throughout the month. Here are ten fights to look forward to this month.
UFC Fight Night, November 7
Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira
UFC Fight Night’s main event on November 7 is a long-awaited battle between top contenders in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Santos and Teixeira had been previously scheduled to fight twice before, but the fight was pushed back twice after both men suffered from COVID. It is thought that this will be a title eliminator fight, with the winner potentially being next in line for new UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz. Santos is fighting for the first time since his title fight loss to Jon Jones at UFC 239 in July 2019. He suffered major knee and leg injuries in that fight, and underwent surgery and has been rehabbing for his return. Teixeira has shot his way back up the 205-pound rankings, as he’s won four straight fights and is looking to get a second crack at winning UFC gold.
Andrei Arlovski vs. Tanner Boser
A heavyweight battle is one of the big fights on the UFC’s November 7 card as the veteran Arlovski welcomes a new challenge in the form of rising contender Boser. Arlovski, a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, is a battle-tested fighter looking to score his second straight win. Boser has made a name for himself over the last few months for being a fighter who is always looking to fight, taking several short-notice fights and coming out on the right end of them. He’s won two straight by knockout and has a bit of popularity, and is looking to capitalize in his first fight against a former champion.
Bellator 252, November 12
Bellator Featherweight Championship- Patricio Freire (c) vs. Pedro Carvalho
The Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix will resume in November after being halted due to the pandemic earlier this year. That means two-division Bellator champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire will be back in action. Freire, who many regard as Bellator’s best fighter, is one of the more exciting fighters in the sport today, and he’s won five straight fights. This will be the fourth time he’s defended the Bellator Featherweight Championship. Carvalho is a winner of six straight fights, but has been out of action since September 2019. He comes from the SBG camp in Ireland, and there is plenty of bad blood between that camp and the Pitbull Bros. camp. This has some potential to be a fireworks fight.
UFC Fight Night, November 14
Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Islam Makhachev
The main event of the UFC’s event on November 14 is an interesting fight in what now looks to be a wide-open lightweight division. Former UFC Lightweight Champion Dos Anjos is making the move back down to 155 pounds after a 4-4 run at 170 pounds, and is looking for some consistency after losing four of his last five fights. Makhachev, a training partner of the now-retired Khabib Nurmagomedov, is riding a six-fight win streak and gets a long-awaited chance to headline a UFC card. Both men are strong wrestlers and while Dos Anjos is more well-versed on his feet, Makhachev has some dangerous power in his hands. This might be the most intriguing UFC fight in the month of November.
Bellator 253, November 19
Darrion Caldwell vs. A.J. McKee
The first semi-final fight of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix has some bad blood in it as Caldwell and McKee have been itching to fight each other for a while, and they do not like each other. Caldwell, a former Bellator Bantamweight Champion, has won two straight since moving up to featherweight to participate in the Grand Prix. McKee is a perfect 16–0 in his career and came into the Grand Prix as one of the favorites to win the entire thing. He’s only 25, so he hasn’t even hit the prime of his career, and 11 of his 16 wins have come by stoppage. This could be Bellator’s “Fight of the Year.”
UFC 255, November 21
UFC Flyweight Championship, Deiveson Figueiredo (c) vs. Alex Perez
It wasn’t the flyweight title fight many were expecting, but it turned out to be an intriguing title fight nonetheless. Figueiredo will be making his first defense of the UFC Flyweight Championship, which he won after defeating Joseph Benavidez on Fight Island in July. He was originally scheduled to make his first defense against Cody Garbrandt, but Garbrandt was forced out due to injury. In stepped Perez, a really high-level flyweight who has won six of his seven UFC bouts, including three straight. Both men have been on quite the roll during their recent fight history, and this has the makings of being a really great fight.
UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship, Valentina Shevchenko (c) vs. Jennifer Maia
The other flyweight title in the UFC, this one in the women’s division, is also on the line at UFC 255. It marks the first time that Shevchenko has been in action during the pandemic, as she took some time off to recover from some nagging injuries. Shevchenko is one of the best female fighters in the sport, a dangerous striker with a brutal ground game to go along with it. Maia is, well, she’s just the next in line. Maia gets the title shot off of defeating the previous top contender, Joanne Calderwood, but Maia is just 1–1 in her last two fights and has missed weight in two of her last three fights, so that is worth noting. Maia feels like a sacrificial lamb, but this has been the weirdest year ever, so never say never.
Brandon Moreno vs. Brandon Royval
The battle to find out which Brandon is better is one of the more interesting fights this month. Both are exciting flyweights who love to stand-and-trade, but both are also strong ground fighters. It is thought the winner of the fight could be next in line to challenge for the flyweight title, but they may have to wait until Cody Garbrandt gets his shot. Moreno is unbeaten in his last four fights, while Royval is on a four-fight win streak and is coming off a crazy fight with Kai Kara-France in September, which may have had the round of the year and is one of the best fights of the year. This has some sneaky potential to be just as good as that one.
UFC Fight Night, November 28
Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis
The main event of the UFC’s final November event is a pivotal one for the heavyweight division. With Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou not expected to fight until March, it was thought the winner of this would be next for the winner of that fight, but that was also before Jon Jones entered the picture. The winner here certainly would be deserving of a title fight as Blaydes has won four straight fights and Lewis has won his last three. With both men being so active, it is amazing that they have yet to fight, but the timing of this fight feels perfect as both are inside the top five of the division. It’ll come down to whether Lewis can keep the fight standing, because we know Blaydes is going to look for the takedown, and we also know Lewis is dangerous on his feet. This is one of the more interesting heavyweight bouts that could be put together.
Devin Clark vs. Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith is making another quick turnaround back to action inside the Octagon, and you have to wonder why. He took a beating in May, quickly came back in August, took another beating, and is now returning less than three months later. He gets a rising prospect in Devin Clark, who has won three of his past four fights. The amount of damage that Smith has taken has to be noted, but this is still an intriguing fight to find out where both men stand in the light heavyweight division. This could be a big coming out party for Clark, but could also be the rebound fight that Smith needs.