Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at the week that was and look ahead to the week that is in the world of mixed martial arts. It was a very quiet week in the world of MMA, with pro wrestling taking over the past week, so this might be a little bit of a different column this week. Let’s dive right in to all of the happenings.
- UFC 275 was officially announced for Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore on June 11, with two title fights. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Glover Teixeira will defend against Jiri Prochazka in the main event, while UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko will defend against Taila Santos in the co-main event. A middleweight bout between Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori was also made official. It’s an interesting move in the sense that the event is being hosted with support from the Singapore Tourism Board, which means essentially the UFC gets a site fee and other perks for hosting the event there. ONE Championship has the majority of their events in Singapore, and they’ve never had any sort of the same kind of deal. It’s very similar to the deal UFC has with Abu Dhabi, and it’s a big piece of business when these types of deals happen.
- There were a pair of top-ten UFC middleweights who had to pull out of scheduled fights this week as Kelvin Gastelum pulled out of his fight against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 273 on April 9, while Uriah Hall pulled out of his fight against Andre Muniz at UFC Fight Night on April 16. It wouldn’t surprise me if Du Plessis and Muniz ended up fighting each other. Speaking of fighting each other, I think now might be a good time to possible do a rematch between Gastelum and Hall, as both are at a bit of a crossroads right now.
- After his war with Matt Brown last week and letting it be known that it was the last fight on his UFC contract, Bryan Barberena has verbally agreed to a new UFC contract after talking with Dana White this past week. He absolutely deserves to remain on the roster, not only for that fight last week, but because he’s consistently been in entertaining fights over the years.
- Jon Jones was asked about fighting this past week on social media, and he said that he hasn’t been offered a fight yet but his plan is to be in peak condition in either June or July. He has long been targeting July 2022 for his return after a little over two years out of action, and with an interim title at heavyweight looking likely, it seems to be just a matter of coming to an agreement before we see the return of one of the best fighters we’ve ever seen.
- There was one notable MMA event that took place this weekend featuring a lot of UFC veterans, and that was XMMA 4 in New Orleans. In the main event, former UFC title challenger John Dodson won a unanimous decision over Francisco Rivera. In other fights between UFC veterans, Jared Gordon scored a second-round knockout of Curtis Millender, Kyle Bochniak scored a split decision over Carlton Minus, and Kyle Stewart won a unanimous decision over Zak Ottow. UFC veteran Sasha Palatnikov also scored a win on the show.
Fights to watch in April
April is going to be a big month for MMA, with four UFC events, three Bellator events, two PFL events, plus countless others from various promotions. Here are my ten favorite fights to look forward to in the month of April:
- Alexander Volkanovski vs. Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273 on April 9
- AJ McKee vs. Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 277 on April 15
- Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan at UFC 273 on April 9
- Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273 on April 9
- Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad at UFC Fight Night on April 16
- Vadim Nemkov vs. Corey Anderson at Bellator 277 on April 15
- Rob Font vs. Marlon Vera at UFC Fight Night on April 30
- Juan Archuleta vs. Raufeon Stots at Bellator 279 on April 23
- Lando Vannata vs. Charles Jourdain at UFC Fight Night on April 23
- Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres at UFC 273 on April 9
Here are the fights that were announced over the past week:
- Aleksei Oleinik vs. Jared Vanderaa — UFC 273 — April 9
- Anthony Hernandez vs. Josh Fremd — UFC 273 — April 9
- Devin Clark vs. William Knight — UFC Fight Night — April 16
- Andre Fili vs. Joanderson Brito — UFC Fight Night — April 30
- Jake Hadley vs. Allan Nascimento — UFC Fight Night — May 14
- Joaquin Buckley vs. Abus Magomedov — UFC Fight Night — June 4
- Kyung Ho Kang vs. Saimon Oliveira — UFC 275 — June 11
- Julian Marquez vs. Wellington Turman — UFC Fight Night — June 18
- Phil Hawes vs. Deron Winn — UFC Fight Night — June 18
- Bellator Middleweight Champion Gegard Mousasi vs. Johnny Eblen — Bellator 282 — June 24 (MAIN EVENT)
- Josh Parisian vs. Alan Baudot — UFC Fight Night — June 25
Coming up this week
Here are the notable MMA events taking place this week:
- UFC 273 takes place on Saturday, April 9, from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The main card airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET. Prelims air on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET and early prelims air on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET. UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski defends against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in the main event.
- LFA 128 takes place on Friday, April 8, from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, airing at 9 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
This week in MMA history
On April 7, 2007, the Octagon visited the state of Texas for the very first time when UFC 69 took place from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. It took place in front of 15,269 fans for a gate of $2,817,200 and an additional 400,000 pay-per-view buys.
The main event saw one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, as season four winner of The Ultimate Fighter, which featured UFC veterans competing to earn a title shot, Matt Serra, cashed in on his opportunity to make history when he scored a first-round knockout of Georges St. Pierre to win the UFC Welterweight Championship. Serra was a struggling UFC veteran who went on TUF with a 4-4 UFC record, where he ended up defeating Chris Lytle to earn the title shot before scoring what remains one of the biggest upsets ever. It’s also notable as it ended up being the last time would ever lose, as he went on to avenge his loss to Serra and win back the welterweight championship, as well as winning the UFC Middleweight Championship, ending his career with 13 straight wins as he headed to the UFC Hall Of Fame.
Also on the main card, Josh Koscheck scored a decision over Diego Sanchez, Roger Huerta won a decision over Leonard Garcia, Yushin Okami won a decision over Mike Swick, and Kendall Grove submitted Alan Belcher in the second round. It was also the event where the signing of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to a UFC deal was announced, as well as a cageside fight between Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans.
You can watch UFC 69 on UFC Fight Pass here.
In The Clinch
This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will look ahead to a big UFC 273 event coming up this weekend, plus take a look at any of the happenings over the past week, including Paul’s trip to WrestleMania 38. You can listen to In The Clinch on The Fight Game Media Network, with all podcasts available free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and our Patreon page.