Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at all of the news of the past week in the world of MMA and look ahead to the upcoming week. Let’s get this thing going.
Looking Back At The Week That Was
- Rafael Dos Anjos’ return to lightweight couldn’t have gone better for him as he looked remarkable in his win over Paul Felder. His striking was good despite getting Felder looking better on the feet, but his grappling was fantastic and the difference-maker. He has to get credit for having to change his game plan for a new opponent on five days’ notice. His presence as a former champion at 155 pounds, with the division being wide open right now, is something to keep an eye on.
- Paul Felder. What else can be said. Felder was already a beloved fighter and commentator to most. However, he made himself into a bonafide star this week taking the fight against Dos Anjos on five days’ notice. He made the weight like a professional, cutting over 22 pounds in five days. He went the full 25 minutes against a tough Dos Anjos with no training in over four months. He passionately cut a promo on the multiple fighters who missed weight and then got sick trying to rehydrate due to botching their weight cuts. And, most importantly, for a guy who many thought might walk away, he said he isn’t done and it seems like the events surrounding taking this fight has reignited a passion in him.
- Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire may very well be the best featherweight in the world. He made his fight against Pedro Carvalho look as easy as could be, knocking Carvalho out in the first round. It is a shame that we won’t be able to see Freire take on the best the UFC has to offer, because there are a lot of intriguing match-ups. However, Freire’s biggest challenge could be in two fights if he is able to get past Emmanuel Sanchez in his next fight. He still has to win this upcoming weekend, but the prospect of Freire against A.J. McKee has to be something Bellator is salivating over.
- Khaos Williams’ knockout of Abdul Razak Alhassan was one of the more violent finishes of 2020, and Williams has quickly established himself as a dangerous foe, scoring his first two UFC wins by knockout in less than a minute overall. He is someone that future potential opponents might try to avoid.
- The UFC was hit with the weight cut bug this past weekend, as they had three fights cancelled due to bad weight cuts. The fighter in all of the cancellations I felt bad for most was Julian Marquez. His first fight against Saparbeg Safarov was cancelled on Friday. Marquez has been itching to get back to action after being out for over two years due to injury. He had been in a training camp for six months getting ready to return. I hope UFC is able to book him quickly on a card that is upcoming before the year is over.
- While it has yet to be officially announced by UFC, it looks like we are one step closer to the fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier being finalized. Poirier has signed his bout agreement. McGregor has yet to do so, but there aren’t expected to be any hold-ups there. It is just a matter of time before the official announcement is made.
- UFC 257 is currently expected to be held on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on January 23. While the Flash Forum has been the home of events on Fight Island, the new Etihad Arena on Yas Island is expected to be ready to hold the event, with fans potentially being in attendance for this one. Whether this will be a one-off event in Abu Dhabi or one of several weeks of events is still to be determined. UFC currently has events booked on every Saturday from January 16 through at least February 13.
- While the venue for the December UFC events have yet to be officially announced, the UFC APEX will host every UFC event for the rest of 2020.
Here are the fights I would make for some of the fighters who fought at UFC On ESPN+ 40 on Saturday:
- Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Dan Hooker
- Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta
- Khaos Williams vs. Miguel Baeza/Takashi Sato winner
- Sean Strickland vs. Krzysztof Jotko
- Cory McKenna vs. Mallory Martin
- Ashley Yoder vs. Kanako Murata
Here are some notable fight announcements from this past week:
- Benson Henderson vs. Jason Jackson — Bellator 253 — November 19
- Merab Dvalishvili vs. Raoni Barcelos — UFC Fight Night — December 5
- Cub Swanson vs. Daniel Pineda — UFC 256 — December 12
- Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown — UFC Fight Night — January 30
- Kelvin Gastelum vs. Ian Heinisch — UFC Fight Night — January 30
- Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov — UFC Fight Night (Main Event) — February 6
- Maycee Barber vs. Alexa Grasso — UFC 258 (tentatively) — February 13
- Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakic — UFC 259 (tentatively) — March 6
Coming Up This Week
Here are some notable events coming up this week:
- UFC 255 takes place on Saturday, November 21. It airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 PM ET, with prelims on ESPN2 at 6:30 PM ET. It is headlined by two title fights, with UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo defending against Alex Perez in the main event. I will have my Guide To UFC 255 coming up later in the week.
- Dana White’s Contender Series closes out its 2020 year on Tuesday, November 17. It airs on ESPN+ at 8 PM ET.
- CFFC has two events this week, with CFFC 88 on Wednesday, November 18, and CFFC 89 on Thursday, November 19. Both cards will air at 7 PM ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- Bellator 253 takes place on Thursday, November 19. The main card airs on CBS Sports Network at 7 PM ET. Darrion Caldwell and A.J. McKee meet in the main event, which is a Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix Semi-Final bout.
- Invicta FC 43 takes place on Friday, November 20. It airs on UFC Fight Pass at 8 PM ET.
- LFA 95 takes place on Friday, November 20. It airs on UFC Fight Pass at 9 PM ET.
- RIZIN 25 takes place on Saturday, November 21. It has an early start time of 1 AM ET.
- Titan FC 65 takes place on Sunday, November 22. It airs on UFC Fight Pass at 3 PM ET.
- Taura MMA 12 takes place on Sunday, November 22 at 6 PM ET. Former UFC Champion Renan Barao is in the main event, and long-time UFC veteran Gleison Tibau also competes on the card.
This Week In MMA History
November 19, 2011 is a night that lives in mixed martial arts infamy as arguably the greatest night of action in the history of the sport. On this night, both UFC and Bellator had arguably the greatest fight in the history of both promotions.
UFC 139 was taking place in San Jose, California, and was an action-packed event that was capped off by the all-time classic fight between Dan Henderson and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, which is in the argument for the greatest fight in UFC history. It was an incredible five-round fight that went back-and-forth won by Henderson via unanimous decision. It has already been inducted into the Fight Wing of the UFC Hall Of Fame and won the Fight Of The Year award in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards.
Meanwhile, in Florida at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Bellator had what many consider to be the greatest fight in the history of Bellator as Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler met for the first time in an all-time classic. It was a violent back-and-forth fight as well that saw Chandler submit Alvarez in the fourth round to become the new Bellator Lightweight Champion. It finished third in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards for Fight Of The Year.
You can watch UFC 139 on UFC Fight Pass here.
You can watch the Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler fight below: