Tag Archives: Aljamain Sterling

UFC 280: Oliveira vs Makhachev – Main card predictions

The UFC returns with arguably the most stacked card of the year at UFC 280 on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.

The lightweight title will be on the line in the main event as Charles Oliveira puts his 11-fight win streak on the line against the man on a ten-fight win streak, Islam Makhachev.

In the co-main event we’ll see the bantamweight title on the line when Aljamain Sterling defends for the second time, taking on former two-time champion TJ Dillashaw in a five-round bout.

We’ll also see Petr Yan take on Sean O’Malley, Beneil Dariush fight Mateusz Gamrot, Belal Muhammad scrap with Sean Brady and many, many more top bouts.

Last time out at UFC Vegas 62 we went 8/11 with three perfect picks to move to 741/1154 (64.56%) with 313 perfect picks (42.01%). You can see our full pick history here.

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims, we moved on to the rest of the prelims of the card and now make our picks for the main card.


Katlyn Chookagian (18-4) vs Manon Fiorot (9-1) – (Flyweight/125lbs)
*Chookagian missed weight by 1.5lbs, fight will proceed as a catchweight bout*

A potential title eliminator in the flyweight division opens the main card here. Chookagian has won five of six since losing her title show to Valentina Shevchenko, winning four decisions in a row to see off Cynthia Calvillo (UFC 255), Viviane Araujo (UFC 262), Jennifer Maia and Amanda Ribas. Fiorot on the other hand in undefeated since losing her pro debut, going 4-0 in the UFC with an impressive win over Maia most recently.

Chookagian’s style is the same no matter the opponent and very few people have been able to do anything about it. She has a great karate style which sees her kick from a distance and use great footwork to get in, land shots, and get back out. Her takedown defence isn’t the best though and good wrestlers have had their way with her in the past. Fiorot is a world class kickboxer with incredible kicking abilities, but her wrestling has also been a big surprise as she’s been able to dominate everyone she’s come up against in the UFC so far.

This seems like a really tough fight for Chookagian to keep her momentum going. Fiorot is more than skilled enough to go toe-to-toe in a kickboxing fight with her at range, an her takedown offence should see her able to get in close too if necessary. Her greater power makes her a finishing threat too, so I think “The Beast” can secure a career-highlight win here.
PICK – Manon Fiorot via Decision

Beneil Dariush (21-4-1) vs Mateusz Gamrot (21-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Absolute banger in the lightweight division up next. Dariush was all set for a title eliminator before picking up an injury a year ago, but he’s still sitting on a seven-fight win streak that saw him dominate Tony Ferguson most recently at UFC 262. Gamrot on the other hand is on a four-fight win streak, KO’ing Scott Holtzman at UFC Vegas 23 before submitting Jeremy Stephens, KO’ing Diego Ferreira and then earning a super-close call against Arman Tsarukyan last time out.

Dariush is one of the best wrestlers and jiu-jitsu fighters in the lightweight division, probably only behind the two men in the main event in both areas. But his striking has significantly improved in recent years and he’s now a real threat on the feet too. Gamrot alternatively is a supreme striker on the feet with really good wrestling too, and has taken the division by storm recently. This is a huge step up in competition for him though, that is levelled out by how long Dariush has been out for.

“Gamer” will likely look to use his cardio as a weapon and step forward to force Dariush to engage with him, which could open up takedowns. But Dariush is experienced and I think he has the edge as the better wrestler so could welcome that. I expect a real chess match between these two, but Dariush should just edge it with more power on the feet and a better grappling game.
PICK – Beneil Dariush via Decision

Petr Yan (16-3) vs Sean O’Malley (15-1) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

A fight that is absolutely baffling, but must-watch television at the same time. Number one ranked Yan has lost two of his last three after losing his title to Aljamain Sterling via DQ at UFC 259, before winning the interim title against Cory Sandhagen via decision at UFC 267. He then lost the rematch via split decision to Sterling at UFC 273. O’Malley was on a three-fight win streak after KO’ing Thomas Almeida (UFC 260), Kris Moutinho (UFC 264) and Raulian Paiva (UFC 269) before a no contest against Pedro Munhoz at UFC 276 due to an accidental eye poke.

Yan is arguably the most well-rounded MMA fighter in the organisation pound-for-pound, with world class boxing and a sensational ground game with his wrestling too. O’Malley alternatively is one of the most entertaining fighters in the world with incredible striking and knockout power, as well as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt that he doesn’t need to use much because he puts people out on the feet. I love O’Malley and do think he could be a future champion, but there are levels to this right now.

On the feet Yan is better, and while O’Malley absolutely has the speed and power to hurt him, he has to hit him to do that. Mix in the fact that Yan has got excellent wrestling and a stifling gas tank to march forward constantly, and enough power to hurt O’Malley himself, I think the ‘Suga Show’ takes a hit to his reputation in this one.
PICK – Petr Yan via Decision



Aljamain Sterling (21-3) vs TJ Dillashaw (18-4) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Big time bantamweight title fight up next. Sterling is on a seven-fight win streak with an 88-second submission win over Cory Sandhagen at UFC 250 setting him up for his title fight wins over Yan. Dillashaw was stopped by Henry Cejudo before popping for injectable EPO and serving a two-year ban. He returned to beat Sandhagen controversially, but tore his ACL and fights for the first time in a 15 months.

Sterling is a lengthy grappler, with an excellent gas tank that he uses as a weapon but it’s his jiu-jitsu and control on the mat that set him apart from his foes. Dillashaw on the other hand is arguably the best 135-pounder of all-time with a perfectly rounded MMA game. His wrestling is excellent, he can grapple in submission situations but also has genuine KO power in his hands. This is a super fight.

Dillashaw has been out for a while, but he looked great against Sandhagen after two years out so I don’t see rust being an issue. I did think he lost that bout, but his ability to mix everything together is a problem for Sterling. On the feet he has a clear advantage and he’s arguably a better wrestler too. I think Sterling will want to grapple and control, but it’s nigh on impossible to do that to Dillashaw and I expect a new champion to be crowned in Abu Dhabi.
PICK – TJ Dillashaw via Knockout, Round 3

Charles Oliveira (33-8) vs Islam Makhachev (22-1) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Potentially the fight of the year in one of the most exciting divisions in the MMA world. Oliveira is on an 11-fight win streak including ten stoppages. People started taking notice when he submitted Kevin Lee, before he dominated Tony Ferguson at UFC 256. Since then he’s been on a killing streak, KO’ing Michael Chandler (UFC 262) and then submitting Dustin Poirier (UFC 269) and Justin Gaethje (UFC 274), although he missed weight in the latter bout and was stripped of the belt. Makhachev is on a ten-fight win streak, finishing Drew Dober (UFC 259), Thiago Moises, Dan Hooker (UFC 267) and Bobby Green in each of his last four fights.

Oliveira is the greatest submission artist in UFC history but has developed into one of the very best strikers in the company too, with his Muay-Thai style and power doing a lot of damage. Makhachev is the best wrestler in the division and potentially the company, with a suffocating style and solid submission game that comes from being in the Nurmagomedov camp for his entire career. This fight is absolutely wild and could go in any direction, it’s so hard to call.

With that said though, I see two potential outcomes. One is that Makhachev is able to use his wrestling early, control Oliveira on the ground and wear on him until getting a finish in the latter rounds with a dominant performance. The other is a wild start in which Oliveira marches forward just like he did against Chandler, Poirier and Gaethje and lands a huge shot to drop Makhachev and gets an early finish by taking his back or pounding him out. Both are as likely as the other, but after under-estimating Oliveira for so long I can’t do it anymore. “Do Bronx” is the best fighter Makhachev has ever fought by a distance and we don’t know if he can do it at this level. With the advantage on the feet and his amazing guard, I’ve got the Brazilian to get it done again.
PICK – Charles Oliveira via Knockout, Round 2

UFC 273: Volkanovski vs Korean Zombie – Main card predictions

The UFC returns after a two-week break with a huge pay-per-view card headlined by two massive title fights.

Alexander Volkanovski makes the third defence of his featherweight title when he takes on Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung, in the main event.

In the co-main event we get the long awaited rematch at the top of the bantamweight division as Aljamain Sterling makes his first defence of the belt against Petr Yan, a little over a year after he won it via disqualification.

We’ll also see an incredible welterweight fight between Gilbert Burns and the freight-train that is Khamzat Chimaev before that, to see just how real the hype is.

Last time at UFC Columbus we went 7/12 with four perfect picks, which moves us to 585/903 (64.78%) with 248 perfect picks (42.39%).

We’ll look to improve on that here and after starting with the early prelims picks and finishing off the rest of the prelims here, we move on to our main card picks here.


Vinc Pichel (14-2) vs Mark O Madsen (11-0) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

A really interesting lightweight fight opens up the main card here. Pichel has won seven of his last eight including his last three in a row against Roosevelt Roberts, Jim Miller and Austin Hubbard all via decision. Madsen is an undefeated fighter, going 3-0 in the UFC including a split decision win over Clay Guida last time out.

Pichel is a well-rounded fighter, with some crisp striking and good power that has earned him eight knockout wins in his career. Madsen is an Olympic wrestler, who tends to fight behind his jab and walk forward. While the takedown will be there all day for Madsen, Pichel is very good at getting up and tends to get stronger as the fight goes on.

Madsen has had a problem with his cardio in the past and if he tries to fight like he did against Guida here, it won’t be enough to earn a win because he has more power and a far better gas tank. Madsen will likely start well and could even win the first round, but eventually Pichel should be able to turn the tide and land enough on the feet while tiring Madsen out to earn a tight decision win.
PICK – Vinc Pichel via Decision

Mackenzie Dern (11-2) vs Tecia Torres (13-5) – (Strawweight/125lbs)

A really fun women’s strawweight fight up next. Dern was on a four-fight win streak before stepping into a main event against Marina Rodriguez, who out-struck her to earn a decision win. Torres on the other hand snapped a four-fight losing streak and is now on a run of three wins in a row, defeating Angela Hill at UFC 265 most recently.

Dern is one of the very best Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters on the planet, male or female, and looks to get fights down to the ground as quickly as possible to work that submission game. She does struggle with takedowns, but her striking has improved in recent fights too. Torres on the other hand is a bulldog who uses great forward pressure and boxing skills, while her defensive wrestling is pretty good too. This is a battle entirely about whether or not Dern can get the fight down, and her size advantage leans me to think she can.

Torres is only 5ft 1 tall and while Dern isn’t the biggest at 5ft 4, she’s got a two inch reach advantage. Dern will likely kick from distance and try to clinch to be able drag Torres down, who will need to get in and out with her boxing. I just can’t see her doing that for 15 minutes, so I expect Dern to be able to get her down, find her way to an arm or the back and sink in a submission to get back on the winning trail.
PICK – Mackenzie Dern via Submission, Round 2



Gilbert Burns (20-4) vs Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

One of the most highly anticipated fights of the year so far takes place in the welterweight division. Burns went on a huge six-fight win streak before falling to Kamaru Usman in a title fight at UFC 258 last year. He returned to the win column by dominating Stephen Thompson at UFC 264 in his last fight. Chimaev is the most exciting fighter in the UFC right now, winning all four of his bouts while absorbing a combined total of just one strike. His most recent win against Li Jingliang at UFC 267 saw him choke him unconscious in the first round while talking to Dana White.

Burns is a wrestle-boxer who has got legitimate world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills too, with good knockout power and some brilliant cardio too. Chimaev is an absolute man mountain, who either knocks your lights out early or just launches in for a takedown and dominates you until the referee pulls him off. This is such a hard fight to call, because it’s by far the toughest fight of Chimaev’s career but you cannot ignore what he’s done so far in the octagon.

It’s highly unlikely that Chimaev will dominate Burns in the same way he has won all his previous fights in the UFC, but I do think he will win. He has got a huge size advantage, having fought at middleweight in the past too and his wrestling was good enough to dominant Jack Hermansson in a wrestling match not too long ago. He has great power in his hands, amazing control and while Burns could definitely cause an upset, I can’t look past Chimaev to earn the victory.
PICK – Khamzat Chimaev via Decision

Aljamain Sterling (20-3) vs Petr Yan (16-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

The rematch we’ve all been waiting for, is finally upon us. Aljamain Sterling hasn’t fought since the first bout back at UFC 259, where Yan kneed him in the head illegally and was disqualified which put Sterling on a six-fight win streak. Yan bounced back from that disappointment to defeat Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 to become the interim champion and means he’s now won 11 of his last 12.

Sterling is a fantastic wrestler and jiu-jitsu fighter, with unorthodox striking on the feet and a very rangy style. Yan is the most well-rounded fighter in MMA right now, with no real weaknesses and some of the best boxing and defensive wrestling in the world. In the original fight I picked Sterling to score a submission win, but after watching the fight it’s pretty clear that Yan has his number.

The Russian was able to stuff takedowns regularly, box him up from the inside and outside and his cardio held up much better than Sterling’s too. With the added bad blood now involved, expect Yan to really turn it up in the later rounds and pour on the pressure to score a late finish and reclaim his championship.
PICK – Petr Yan via Knockout, Round 4

Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) vs Korean Zombie (17-6) – (Featherweight/145lbs)

The featherweight king returns against a new opponent and has a chance to further cement himself as the best in the world here. Volkanovski has won 20 fights in a row, including consecutive bouts over Max Holloway and then most recently Brian Ortega at UFC 266. Korean Zombie has won three of his last four, getting dominated by Ortega at UFC Fight Island 6 but bouncing back with a dominant win over Dan Ige at UFC Vegas 29 last time out. He gets this fight after Holloway withdrew due to injury.

Volkanovski runs Yan close for being the most complete fighter in the world right now. He has got unbelievable cardio, is an accomplished striker with good power and also some excellent wrestling skills to go with it. Zombie earned his nickname because of his ability to take damage and keep coming forward, but Ortega really showed the holes in his game in their fight.

The champion has got plenty of avenues to victory, because he has the edge everywhere. Jung definitely has the power to land clean and hurt Volkanovski, but I’ll be incredibly surprised if that happens. Volkanovski is cerebral enough to take a decision win if he needs too, but I expect him to lay claim to some big ground and pound after landing a takedown and earn his first finish since beating Chad Mendes back in 2018.
PICK – Alexander Volkanovski via Knockout, Round 3

Who will be a male UFC champion at the end of 2022?

The UFC returns to title fights this weekend at UFC 270 when the heavyweights and flyweight strap is on the line.

Both of those belts changed hands in 2021, as Francis Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 and Brandon Moreno submitted Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 263.

We also saw a new bantamweight, lightweight and light heavyweight champion crowned during the year, so how will 2022 pan out? Lets take a look.



Flyweight (125lbs) – Askar Askarov

Flyweight is one of the better divisions in the UFC right now and I think we’ll once again see a new champion crowned at some point in 2022.

Askar Askarov has been undefeated throughout his career with a 14-0-1 record, with the only draw coming in his UFC debut against… Brandon Moreno. Askarov will get his title shot by the end of the year, and his wrestling is too good for anyone to be able to navigate past him so I think he holds the belt come 2023.

Bantamweight (135lbs) – Petr Yan

The only reason Yan isn’t the champion right now is because he got over excited and threw a knee to a downed Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259. He was winning the first fight quite comfortably at the time, so the fight was re-made for later in the year.

Sterling was forced to withdraw and it’s now set for UFC 273 in April, which means Yan will head into the summer as champ. He’ll likely defend the strap at the end of the year against TJ Dillashaw in a brilliant fight, but I think he edges that and takes a huge boost in credibility this year.

Featherweight (145lbs) – Max Holloway

What a division, and what a title fight that awaits us later this year.

Alexander Volkanovski defended the belt successfully in 2021 with a dominant win over Brian Ortega at UFC 266 and was set to fight Max Holloway at UFC 272 until the Hawaiian got injured and saw it get cancelled.

If Volk can see off the Korean Zombie at UFC 273 now in the new bout, he will face off against Holloway at some point in 2022 and I think ‘Blessed’ finally gets his win over the Aussie to reclaim the title.

Lightweight (155lbs) – Islam Makhachev

Arguably the most exciting division in the company right now when it comes to the title picture, I’m predicting yet another new champion at lightweight.

Charles Oliveira claimed the crown at UFC 262 when he beat Michael Chandler, then defended it successfully when he submitted Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. He’ll now fight Justin Gaethje at some point in 2022, and the winner will fight the winner of Beneil Dariush vs Islam Makhachev at UFC Vegas 49 in February.

I think Makhachev gets the victory there, then gets the victory in the title fight too to fulfil Khabib Nurmagomedov’s prophecy that he will become champion and rule over the division for a long time to come.

Kamaru Usman of Nigeria reacts after his victory over Gilbert Burns of Brazil in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event...

Welterweight (170lbs) – Kamaru Usman

The best in the world right now pound-for-pound, and I don’t see that changing in 2022.

Usman went 3-0 in 2021 with wins over Gilbert Burns at UFC 258, Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 and Colby Covington at UFC 268 and is now not expected to return to the cage until the summer.

That means one or two fights at most this year, with Leon Edwards certainly one of them, and I don’t see him losing to anyone so soon so I think he holds onto the belt yet again.

Middleweight (185lbs) – Israel Adesanya

The best middleweight in the world and one of the best of all-time, Israel Adesanya will be the 185-pound champion when we enter 2023.

His biggest test will come in February when he faces Robert Whittaker in a rematch at UFC 271, which I think he’ll win again. With that said though, a loss will almost certainly result in a rematch later in the year with their personal series set at 1-1 and he’d then reclaim the belt there.

Either way, ‘The Last Stylebender’ will be the champ when 2022 closes.

Light Heavyweight (205lbs) – Jiri Prochazka

This division isn’t particularly stacked at the top end but one thing it does have is a pathway for the title picture.

Glover Teixeira dethroned Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 to finally claim the strap, but it feels short-lived because he’s due to take on the killing machine that is Jiri Prochazka next and that means he probably gets violently finished.

Aleksandar Rakic and Magomed Ankalaev are likely to find themselves in contention too by the end of the year, but stylistically none of them suit a fight with ‘Denisa’ and he holds the throne until 2023.

Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic poses on the scale during the UFC 267 official weigh-in at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island on October 29, 2021 in...

Heavyweight (265lbs) – Ciryl Gane

The big boys are in the best shape they’ve been in, maybe ever, in the UFC right now and it’s created arguably an amazing year in the division in 2022.

Ciryl Gane will take on Francis Ngannou this weekend and a fight with Jon Jones seemingly awaits the winner. Stipe Miocic is likely to return at some point this year too and head for the title once again.

With Miocic back as well as Jones and Ngannou’s contract situations there are plenty of routes to the title this year, but ultimately they all end with ‘Bon Gamin’ as the heavyweight champion of the world heading into 2023.

Major UFC 272 update, new non-title main event in works – report

The UFC is working on a brand-new non-title main event for UFC 272 between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.

The two welterweight superstars have been going back and forth on social media for a while after a public fall-out between Covington and the American Top Team gym they trained at together for years.

It now seems as though the two will meet in a huge pay-per-view main event on March 5th to settle their differences in the octagon.



The card has already seen changes to the main event, after it was announced that the card would play host to a double-header of title fights with Alexander Volkanovski fighting Max Holloway for the featherweight belt, and Aljamain Sterling fighting Petr Yan in the bantamweight division.

However just days after that announcement, Holloway was forced to withdraw from the fight after re-aggravating a previous injury in training.

All signs point to Chan Sung Jung (The Korean Zombie) stepping into the fight in his place, although this is yet to be confirmed.

It’s now been claimed by MMA Fighting journalist Ariel Helwani that those title fights are set to be moved to April at UFC 273 though, with TKZ recovering from an injury. There is some concern that Sterling would have issues getting cleared to compete in New York though, where UFC 273 is due to be held.

According to the highly reliable Helwani, the UFC 272 card is due to take place in Las Vegas and with the 3/5 date, the UFC have seen it as a marketing dream to have Masvidal fight on the card.

While nothing is confirmed yet and Helwani says “there are a lot of moving parts” he is usually right when it comes to these things.

Covington and Masvidal have both gone 1-2 in their last three fights, with all their defeats coming to champion Kamaru Usman in title fights.

Covington was stopped by Usman back in December 2019 at UFC 245 before being well beaten in a decision rematch at UFC 268 most recently. He beat Tyron Woodley via a fifth-round TKO when Woodley injured his rib at UFC Vegas 11 in between.

Masvidal smashed through Nate Diaz to become BMF champion at UFC 244, before consecutive losses to Usman at UFC 251 on short-notice and then at UFC 261 via second-round knockout – one of the best KO’s of the year.

UFC 272 is due to take place on March 5th 2022, while UFC 273 will take place on April 9th 2022.

Two title fights announced to headline UFC 272

The UFC has announced a double dose of title fights for UFC 272 in March to headline the event in Las Vegas.

Alexander Volkanovski will defend his featherweight championship for a third time when he takes on Max Holloway in their trilogy bout in the main event, in a highly anticipated 145-pound bout.

The co-main event will see the long awaited rematch between bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling as he takes on interim champ Petr Yan after their first bout in March 2021 at UFC 259.



The featherweight title fight will pit the two best 145-pounders in the world against each other for a third time in a little over two years.

Volkanovski won their first encounter via unanimous decision, using his wrestling to nullify Holloway’s excellent striking and claim a deserved victory. Their rematch at UFC 251 saw a much closer fight, with Volkanovski controversially being rewarded the split decision victory.

He has since defeated Brian Ortega via decision at UFC 266 after one of the best rounds of the year during their five-round main event. Holloway on the other hand has bounced back with two sensational performances against Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 7 and Yair Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 42 to earn another title shot.

Opponents Alexander Volkanovski of Australia and Max Holloway face off prior to their UFC featherweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event...

The co-main will see a highly anticipated rematch between champion Sterling and Yan, after the controversial ending to their bout at UFC 259.

Yan was comfortably winning the fight, before inexplicably landing an illegal knee to the head of Sterling which rendered him unable to continue. ‘Funkmaster’ was crowned the new champion via disqualification, the first instance of a title changing hands via DQ in the companies history.

They were supposed to meet against at UFC 267 in November, but Sterling wasn’t medically cleared following neck surgery and Yan instead fought Cory Sandhagen for the interim title.

Opponents Petr Yan of Russia and Aljamain Sterling face off prior to their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX...

In one of the fights of the year, Yan was able to come through with an excellent performance and claim the title and setup a rematch with his nemesis.

The card will take place on March 5th 2022 in Las Vegas. The fights were first reported by Brett Okamoto of ESPN following confirmation from UFC president Dana White.

Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen competing in the ‘real’ Bantamweight title fight

UFC 267 this weekend is set to be one of the biggest cards of the year, headlined by a double header of title fights at the top of the card.

One of those will be an interim title fight at bantamweight, arguably the most stacked division in the sport right now, between Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen in a fight the people have dubbed as the people’s title fight.

The two men will face off after Aljamain Sterling was ruled out of his first title defence in a rematch against Yan after the UFC doctors refused to clear him following neck surgery.



They were supposed to run it back from UFC 259 after Yan became the first fighter to lose their title via disqualification when he kneed Sterling in the head while he was down and rendered him unable to continue.

The way that fight was going, Yan was set to retain his title. He had denied Sterling’s attempts to take him down and began finding the mark with his excellent boxing, while the cardio was holding up for him and Sterling was faltering.

A win on that night would’ve set up a title shot against Sandhagen. However because of the way that fight ended, ‘Sandman’ was forced to decide between waiting it out or taking another fight.

Listening to the company, he opted to take a huge fight against the returning former champion TJ Dillashaw and suffered a defeat in a razor close five-round war that could easily have gone either way.

At that point, it seemed as though he had lost his opportunity at the next title shot and would have to earn another win somewhere to get back into contention.

But when Sterling withdrew and Dillashaw had undergone knee surgery following his bout against Sandhagen, the UFC remembered that he didn’t need to take the fight that cost him the title shot and rewarded him.

Now you have two of the best pure strikers in the division going head-to-head, with UFC gold on the line and both men having a point to prove.

It’s the fight many wanted anyway and fans will now get to see arguably the two best 135lbers in the world go at it with the ultimate stakes on the line.

It’s the people’s main event and two of the very best in the world and my pick for the fight of the night on a stacked card.

UFC 267 card announced with changes

The UFC have officially announced the card for UFC 267 at the end of the month and there are some changes to it.

In a stacked card that is to be headlined by Jan Blachowicz defending his light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira, there is now set to be an interim bantamweight title fight in the co-main event slot while another major fight has had a short-notice step in too.

Originally the card was set to see Aljamain Sterling make the first defence of his bantamweight crown in a highly anticipated rematch against Petr Yan, following their first bout at UFC 259 which ended in the title changing hands via disqualification.

After that fight, Sterling underwent neck surgery for an injury he has had since his high school days from his wrestling background.

It was expected that he would be fine to fight, hence the rematch being booked but according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto the UFC doctors would not clear Sterling to fight on October 30th as he hasn’t yet recovered fully from the surgery and therefore the fight was scrapped.

In it’s place however will be an interim title fight that will see Petr Yan look to get gold wrapped around his waist once more, when he takes on Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267.

Sandhagen had been hotly tipped to face the winner of Yan and Sterling’s first bout after knocking out Marlon Moraes at UFC Fight Island 5 and then Frankie Edgar at UFC Vegas 18. Because of the ending in that title fight however, Sandhagen opted to take a fight against former champion TJ Dillashaw rather than waiting around.

In what was a razor close fight, Dillashaw was able to earn the decision win in that one but he blew his knee out in the first round and was forced to undergo surgery meaning he is unavailable to fight. The UFC have now done the right thing and given Sandhagen the shot he had earned prior to his defeat.

Elsewhere on the card, Islam Makhachev was supposed to finally settle his beef with Rafael Dos Anjos in the lightweight division after months of back and forth on social media.

The Brazilian however was forced to undergo knee surgery in the last few weeks and the UFC have now confirmed he is out of that match up, and has been replaced by the recently victorious Dan Hooker.

Hooker fought just last week at UFC 266, battling against Nasrat Haqparast to a three-round decision win after a host of visa issues and problems trying to find an opponent for the card. But after getting back in the win column after two consecutive defeats, Hooker has jumped at the chance to fight a ranked opponent again.

Makhachev is currently on an eight-fight win streak in the UFC and has made waves in recent bouts, being cornered by Khabib Nurmagomedov and being tipped to become the next lightweight champion by ‘The Eagle’. He is currently ranked at number five at 155lbs and a win over Hooker will almost certainly put him into title contention for his next bout.

Full Card announced for UFC 267:

Jan Blachowicz vs Glover Teixeira – Light Heavyweight Title
Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen – Interim Bantamweight Title
Islam Makhachev vs Dan Hooker – Lightweight
Alexander Volkov vs Marcin Tybura – Heavyweight
Li Jingliang vs Khamzat Chimaev – Welterweight
Magomed Ankalaev vs Volkan Oezdemir – Light Heavyweight

Amanda Ribas vs Virna Jandiroba – Strawweight
Ricardo Ramos vs Zubaira Tukhugov – Featherweight
Albert Duraev vs Roman Kopylov – Middleweight
Shamil Gamzatov vs Michal Oleksiejczuk – Light Heavyweight
Makwan Amirkhani vs Lerone Murphy – Featherweight
Hu Yaozong vs Alen Amedovski – Middleweight
Magomed Mustafaev vs Damir Ismagulov – Lightweight
Tagir Ulanbekov vs Allan Nascimento – Flyweight

UFC 267 will take place live from Fight Island in Abu Dhabi on October 30th, with a prime-time European slot. The prelims are scheduled to begin at 4pm UK time, with the main card due to begin at 7pm UK time.

UFC announce change to UFC 265 co-main, UFC 267 card change and UFC 268 title fight

The UFC have announced some interesting changes to their upcoming cards.

UFC 265 is due to take place next weekend, headlined by Derrick Lewis taking on Ciryl Gane for the interim heavyweight title after the company grew frustrated with the availability of champion Francis Ngannou.

However the card was due to be co-headlined by ‘Lioness’ Amanda Nunes defending her bantamweight title against Julianna Pena. But the UFC have announced that the double champ and greatest women’s mixed martial artist ever has tested positive for COVID-19 and the fight has now been scrapped.

The UFC revealed that the plan is still for that fight to take place eventually once Nunes is fully healthy and capable, with a December defence now pencilled in instead.

Two months later will see UFC 267 take place, but it won’t be a pay-per-view card despite the fact it will host TWO title fights!

Jan Blachowicz will defend his light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira, in a bout that has been moved from it’s original date of September 4th to October 30th in Abu Dhabi on Fight Island.

The UFC moved the bout as they looked to host a card in London in September, however they have been unsuccessful in doing so and that card will now take place in Las Vegas at the Apex as originally planned.

UFC 267 will also see the highly anticipated rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan for the bantamweight title after their initial fight ended in disqualification and a new champion back at UFC 259.

According to Ariel Helwani however, this card won’t be a normal pay-per-view card despite it being a numbered event and will air for free on ESPN+ in the USA (BT Sport as usual in the UK).

The reason for this is because the following week on November 6th, UFC 268 will take place and will be headlined by welterweight champion Kamaru Usman defending his title against long-time rival Colby Covington in a rematch.

Usman defeated Covington back in December 2019 at UFC 245, securing a knockout win in the fifth round and breaking Covington’s jaw in the process in one of the greatest welterweight title fights in UFC history.

Covington bounced back from that loss with a win over Tyron Woodley at UFC Vegas 11, which was enough for Dana White to grant him a rematch. Usman on the other hand has successfully defended his title three more times since that fight, beating Jorge Masivdal at UFC 251 before knocking out Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 and then Masvidal again at UFC 261 earlier this year.

UFC 259 Fallout: Blachowicz proves size matters, Sterling rightful champ

So it turns out that size does matter in the UFC and that Jan Blachowicz is the real deal in the light heavyweight division, in case you weren’t sure.

The legendary Polish power wasn’t on show in the UFC 259 main event, but the light heavyweight champion successfully defended his crown against the middleweight superstar that is Israel Adesanya as he handed the 185lbs champion the first defeat of his career.

It was a relatively cautious display from both in the early rounds, as they exchanged leg kicks and jabs for the most part and you could’ve made an argument for them going either way. The championship rounds belonged to the 37-year-old though, as he finally used his wrestling and took Adesanya to the ground with relative ease before controlling from top position and landing ground and pound for the win.

While many expected Adesanya to become a double champion due to his stunning striking skills and superstardom, Blachowicz proved size matters – especially when there is a genuine weight discrepancy. In all the other two-weight title fights, the eventual double champ has gone up to their more “natural” division and they usually end up staying there.

For Adesanya, he’s already king at his natural weight class as evidenced by weighing at as low as 183lbs before. While he came in at 200.5lbs before this fight, that’s usually what we’d weigh on fight night in the middleweight division. He didn’t put on any weight whatsoever, while Blachowicz probably weighed around 230lbs in the cage.

It shows that the weight classes are in place for a reason and while Adesanya is a legit phenom when it comes to mixed-martial arts, talk of Blachowicz not being a true or deserving champion are firmly quashed.

UFC 259: Blachowicz v Adesanya : News Photo

Both men will go their separate ways now, with Adesanya returning to 185lbs and likely to face one of Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa, Darren Till or Marvin Vettori while Dana White confirmed that Blachowicz’s next title defence will come against veteran Glover Teixeira at some point this year.

In the other men’s co-main event, we saw a first as Aljamain Sterling was crowned the new bantamweight champion of the world after Petr Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee in the fourth round.

Yan was winning on two scorecards when he had Sterling knelt down on his knees and trying to control his posture. The Russian seemingly asked his corner if he could throw a strike and when his corner incorrectly replied with a yes, he threw a violent knee to Sterling’s face. The referee had already told him Sterling was a down opponent, making the strike illegal, an thus an intentional foul.

After consultation with the doctor and Sterling, the fight was waved off meaning Yan was disqualified and in turn loses the belt. Sterling threw the belt on the floor after the official decision was announced and cried in the octagon, before revealing in the post-fight interview that he didn’t want to win that way and they would run it back immediately.

UFC president Dana White confirmed that he wanted to make that happen, while Yan apologised on social media citing a mere miscalculation on his part saying he just assumed that Sterling’s knee wasn’t on the ground.

A rematch will go down well among fans, who had enjoyed a fantastic fight up to that point. Yan had begun to assert his dominance with Sterling’s pace beginning to fade after a promising start but they’ll have to do it all over again.

While many seem to be calling Sterling a “paper champ” in honour of what he called Yan in the build-up to their fight, he is the rightful champion. It isn’t his fault that Yan kneed him while he was downed and basically concussed him and he was clearly struggling afterwards with his eyes glazed over and staggering around.

Some suggested that the title shouldn’t change hands on a DQ, which is just baffling to me considering it would allow the champion a cheap way out of a fight if they were losing late on. But some also suggested that the rule about kneeing a downed opponent is a bad rule anyway.

Whether it is or isn’t is besides the point though, because the rule is in place right now and is known by everyone as an illegal strike. He gets the win due to not being able to continue and Yan won’t be overly punished and will get an immediate rematch so we can get a true finish to the fight.

UFC 259: Blachowicz vs Adesanya – Results (Highlights)

EARLY PRELIMS

Trevin Jones def Mario Bautista via Knockout, Round 2 (0:47)

Tentative start to the card as Bautista and Jones trade leg kicks and feints to feel each other out for the first minute or so of the bout. Bautista pushes forward with a flurry that Jones avoids and the two clinch up, with Jones controlling the underhooks and landing some nice knees to the thigh. Both fighters exchange body kicks, with Bautista landing a bit cleaner. Jones landing lots of leg kicks from the outside, as Bautista responds with some fast hands with a nice hook in particular. Jones lands a left hand and goes for a takedown as the round ends but Bautista fights it off well. 10-9 Bautista but not much in it.

Bautista comes out with some nice combos once again and Jones goes back to the leg kicks. Both exchange strikes and Jones slips a punch then throws a lead uppercut that drops Bautista! He follows up with some big ground and pound and the referee ends it early! Huge knockout win for Jones!

Uros Medic def Aalon Cruz via Knockout, Round 1 (1:40)

Fast start to the fight from Medic as he walks forward and clips Cruz with a big right hand quickly to the temple! Cruz looks for a takedown but Medic brushes him off and lands a big left hand too, then follows it up with a flying knee. Medic lands a barrage of strikes and the fight goes too long before the referee steps in and ends it! What a debut.

Amanda Lemos def Livinha Souza via Knockout, Round 1 (3:39)

Slow start to the bout as Lemos takes the centre of the cage and backs Souza up against the cage, landing jabs and hard leg kicks. Souza looks wary on the feet early on as Lemos lands a straight right hand that drops her! She goes for the ground and pound but Souza tries to grapple to survive and manages to tie her up. She goes for a heel hook but Lemos avoids it and starts landing huge strikes from the ground once again too. Lemos lands a stinging jab that drops Souza again and a few more strikes sees the referee step in and call it a night. What a performance from Lemos.

Sean Brady def Jake Matthews via Submission (Arm Triangle Choke), Round 3 (3:28)

Competitive start to the round with both guys standing in range of the other and exchanging small flurries of punches and leg kicks. Matthews using his range advantage well and throwing his jab nicely, but Brady avoiding it well and landing nice leg kicks. Matthews throws a big right hand that drops Brady but Brady doesn’t seem too hurt and manages to recover into top position after Matthews tried to grab the neck. Brady landing nice short shots from the top and trying to control the posture by holding the neck, but Matthews doing well to avoid too much damage in the final minute as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Matthews.

Brady opens up the round a bit more aggressive, taking the centre and being first with the jabs and short hooks. Matthews eventually takes control once again though and uses his length to start throwing some nice strikes. Brady shoots for the takedown and gets it first time and immediately takes the top position. He tries to work to the back but Matthews defends against the cage as Brady starts working for a guillotine. Good defence from Matthews as Brady continues to work the top mount and starts throwing nasty body strikes while wrapping up the neck. Matthews really struggling to do anything from his back as he gives up the position and Brady starts raining down punches as the round ends. Definite Brady round, 19-19 for me.

Matthews takes the centre early in the final round and tries to land a couple of flurries, but Brady trying to slow him down with some chopping leg kicks again. Brady lands a beautiful counter left hook that drops Matthews to one knee, but he stays patient and stays standing. He fakes a takedown but Matthews sprawls and it allows Brady to jump on his neck to threaten a guillotine. He moves to take the back and takes him against the cage to start throwing nice strikes on the ground and dominant once again. Brady continues to work the position and steps over into a head and arm choke to secure the tap out. Brilliant performance.

Kennedy Nzechukwu def Carlos Ulberg via Knockout, Round 2 (3:19)

Fast start from Ulberg as he hurts Nzechukwu! Ulberg on the back foot but threw some front kicks and a combination of strikes wobbles Nzechukwu but he keeps a high guard and survives the beating for now. Nzehukwu continues to walk forward but Ulberg stays patient and lands some nice leg kicks. Nzechukwu starting to come forward and land strikes of his own and a left hand wobbles Ulberg! Ulberg starts throwing some heavy body shots but Nzechukwu keeps coming forward and both men are trading in the centre now! Ulberg is very tired nowbut still landing the heavier shots as the round ends. 10-9 Ulberg. What a round!

A slower start to the round for Ulberg as he starts picking his shots more and landing jabs nicely. Nice on-two from Nzechukwu lands but both men landing heavy on each other. Big body kick from Ulberg followed with a one-two but there’s an accidental thumb in the eye that causes a short break in the action. Ulberg’s volume is higher but the power has diminished greatly from the opening exchanges and Nzechukwu’s cardio is carrying him through this bout right now. Nasty low kicks from Ulberg and a right hand lands then Nzechukwu lands a HUGE right hand!! Oh my god what a knockout!!! Kennedy Nzechukwu!

Tim Elliott def Jordan Espinosa via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-25)

Fast pace to start this fight with Espinosa flicking out jabs and kicks as Elliott walks him down and applies pressure. A clinch against the cage and Elliott lands some nice knees before they break and Espinosa lands a nice left hook before another clinch against the cage. They separate again and Espinosa throws a big head kick that misses by inches and Elliott is able to take him down and get on his back. Espinosa fighting the hands well as Elliott looks for a rear-naked choke but he gets his back to the cage and is able to avert that threat. Elliott controls the position for the rest of the round and should have that in the books. 10-9 Elliot.

Second round starts exactly as the first ended, with Espinosa throwing a head kick that Elliott ducks and gets the takedown but this time Espinosa is able to get back up to his feet quickly. Elliott pushes the pace and lands a second takedown quickly and stays in the half guard grinding away with short strikes. Elliott starting to suffocate Espinosa with pressure and a great wrestling game, riding the back and looking to sink in a rear-naked choke. Espinosa gets away from it but Elliott is smothering him and beating him up bad as he lands elbows and chokes him with his forearm until the round ends. That’s a 10-8 round, so 20-17 Elliott.

Espinosa opens the round with a flying knee but Elliott catches him with ease and takes the fight down to the ground immediately and starts throwing heavy strikes. Espinosa throwing some elbows from the bottom and cuts Elliott open badly, but he continues to be completely smothered by the top game. Elliott throwing heavy shots and some elbows of his own and then Espinosa throws up an armbar attempt that Elliott avoids and he controls from top position for the rest of the round. Great performance from Elliott.

PRELIMS

Kai Kara-France def Rogerio Bontorin via Knockout, Round 1 (4:55)

Good start to the round from Bontorin as he comes forward and strikes well, with a few leg kicks and some nice right hands. A right cross wobbles Kara-France and Bontorin goes in for a takedown and dumps him down with ease, then takes the back immediately. Bontorin threatening the rear-naked choke straight away and dominating on the back, flowing perfectly with a body triangle locked in but Kara-France is fighting the hands brilliantly to avoid the submission. He finally shakes Bontorin off and they get back to the feet with 30 seconds remaining. Bontorin looks tired but Kara-France comes forward and lands a three punch combo that puts Bontorin out!! Walk off KO!! Wow!!

Askar Askarov def Joseph Benavidez via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2. 30-26)

Good competitive start to the fight as Askarov throws some nice front kicks from the lead leg, while Benavidez looks to throw looping hooks. Askarov’s kicks doing damage early on to the mid-section, but Benavidez lands a nice one-two. Askarov keeps it coming and lands a big right hook, then a left hand behind it. Askarov eats a right hand from Benavidez then lands another right hand of his own, before he goes in for the takedown. He closes the distance, wins the scrambles and lifts before taking the back and threatening the submission before the round ends. 10-9 Askarov.

Benavidez comes out strong in the second round, looking to swarm him against the cage with his looping hooks but Askarov takes it and returns fire with his own. Askarov wobbles Benavidez with a right hand and goes right back to the takedown attempts, getting a lift and putting the fight on the ground immediately. Askarov dominating the grappling exchanges, landing short strikes on the ground while taking the back and threatening with choke positions too. Benavidez stays on the ground for the remainder of the round until with five seconds to go Askarov cracks him with a huge right hand on the feet. Huge round for Askarov again. 20-18.

Final round and Askarov staying very patient as Benavidez comes forward knowing he needs a finish. Lovely question mark kick lands flush on the chin of Benavidez but he eats it and comes forward again, moving forward with a head kick of his own that just misses. Right hook from Askarov lands and knocks Benavidez off balance but he gets back up quickly. Head kick again from Askarov is partially blocked by Benavidez but still lands enough to wobble him as we enter the final two minutes. Benavidez throws a big superman punch that lands clean but Askarov eats it and replies with a jab into the final minute. Lots of attempts from Benavidez for big strikes but he’s nowhere near Askarov and this should be a comfortable decision win. 30-27.

Kyler Phillips def Song Yadong via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Positive start for Phillips as he comes with a big right hand earlier then a spinning kick that just misses. Yadong eventually takes the centre and starts throwing some straights but Phillips throws a stunning head kick that lands flush but Yadong just eats it. Amazing. Phillips tries another spin but misses again as Yadong lands with a nice uppercut then misses with a spin kick of his own. Phillips landing first with his jabs and right straights so far but Yadong continues to move forward. Phillips changes levels and goes for a takedown but Yadong scrambles back up to his feet immediately and eats a one-two as the round ends with an exchange against the cage. 10-9 Phillips.

Yadong comes out strong in the second round but Phillips being first again. Phillips slowing down a little from the first round but still landing heavy and as they break from a clinch he throws a beautiful spinning back kick again. Song trying to close the distance and landing big hooks but Phillips doing well to be first and stay out of the way. Nice jab from Phillips knocks Yadong off balance on his way in, then after some back and forth on the feet Phillips slides in for a big takedown and gets it beautifully. Yadong scrambles his way back to the feet once again but he’s starting to look desperate. Big right hand lands from Yadong but the round ends with both men fresh. 20-18 Phillips.

Phillips looks calm as they enter the final round, with Yadong knowing he needs the finish. Phillips shoots for a takedown early but Yadong sprawls quickly and gets up to throw heat straight away. Nice flurry to the body ends with a left hook to the chin, but Phillips moves away and keeps his guard high. Both men exchange a straight right and Yadong is starting to close the distance a bit more and land better shots. Another exchange in the pocket that Yadong wins, but Phillips shoots in for a takedown and for the first time is able to keep him down. Phillips looks to take his back but Yadong reverses and ends up on top in the final minute. The round ends with Yadong on top and Phillips looking for a submission in what should be a Phillips decision win. 29-28.

Dominick Cruz def Casey Kenney via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Cruz starts with an immediate takedown attempt that is sprawled on by Kenney but breaks away from the front headlock position and starts landing some leg kicks. Kenney takes the centre and starts backing Cruz up against the cage with both guys exchanging low kicks. Big left hand lands from Cruz but Casey eats it and keeps walking forward, before Kenney throws another strong leg kick. Very back and forth round, I edge it 10-9 to Cruz.

Strong start to the round from Kenney as he lands a big leg kick that drops Cruz to one knee for a second. Cruz rallies with a nice one-two but Kenney starting to get the timing down a bit more and is landing cleaner shots now. Straight left from Kenney lands before two more leg kicks. Cruz lands a nice right hand to the body followed by a straight right to the face, but Kenney keeps coming forward and throws a body kick. Cruz avoids a right hand and charges forward with several clean shots to the face but Kenney takes them and lands two back of his own. Big right hand from Cruz lands but Kenney responds with another leg kick. Left hand from Kenney lands on the chin and then he grabs the neck for a guillotine attempt but Cruz is safe and the round ends. 19-19 but close yet again.

Cruz shoots in for a takedown early on then abandons it and lands a big left hook up top. Shoots back in for a takedown again against the cage, but Kenney looks to defend with a guillotine attempt although Cruz is on the right side to avoid the threat too much. Cruz takes half guard and starts landing some body shots but Kenney then gets up to his feet with ease and they go back to striking. Left hand from Kenney staggers Cruz who then is able to evade an attack and lands a counter right hand. Kenney lands a couple of big hooks but Cruz responds with three big punches of his own as we enter the final 90 seconds. Cruz denies another takedown attempt from Kenney and lands a big knee to the body, then follows up with a one two. Cruz then shoots for a takedown of his own and gets Kenney down and holds him down against the cage to see out the fight. 29-28 Cruz for me, but a great fight.

MAIN CARD

Aleksandar Rakic def Thiago Santos (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Tense opening to the fight as both men throw out feints and feelers but neither committing too much just yet. Santos charges forward with his left hand but Rakic steps back and lands a nice check right hook. A few leg kicks from each guy as Rakic takes the centre, but Santos staying patient on the outside. Big left hand from Santos but it’s blocked well from Rakic and they reset in the middle. Rakic fakes the right hand and Santos throws his left, which he slips and he throws a big head kick but Santos ducks under it. Nice jab from Rakic then a big body kick from Santos lands. 10-9 Rakic but not much action in that one.

Rakic takes the centre immediately as the round starts and lands a nice jab but both men being cautious once again. Rakic faking a level change and Santos threatens with a kick up the middle before trying to close the distance with his left hand but just missing. Rakic clinches up with Santos against the cage and both guys trade knees to the body and thighs. Another action-less round for the most part as we enter the final minute. Santos swings his left hand but misses and Rakic counters with a right hand and the round ends. 20-18 but not the most impressive performance so far.

Santos shoots for a takedown early on in the third round but Rakic is able to hold him off easily and turns the tables to put Santos against the cage. Huge body kick from Santos lands and Rakic tries to grab the leg but it looks like it hurt him a little. They trade leg kicks again before more feinting and missed hooks from both fighters. Rakic goes for a takedown but Santos defends well and starts landing some big elbows to the head. Rakic tries again but it’s defended well and Santos lands some nice knees in the clinch that follows as we enter the final minute. Not much happens in the final minute and it should be a win for Rakic on the scorecards. 30-27 or 29-28.

Islam Makhachev def Drew Dober via Submission (Arm Triangle Choke), Round 3 (1:37)

Good start from Dober as he fires in a low kick followed by a jab, before Makhahev shoots for a single leg takedown and gets the fight to the ground immediately. Makhachev in half guard but very heavy on top in a chest to chest position as he goes body head with strikes. Makhachev slides into mount momentarily but Dober gets it back to half guard before he passes into side control. Makhachev tries to slide onto the back of Dober but he manages to move away before Makhachev slides through quickly back into side control. He takes the back and then transitions to an armbar, but runs out of time and Dober survives. 10-9 Makhachev.

Second round once again and Makhachev avoids a big hook before another single leg takedown and trip gets the fight back to the ground. Makhachev is able to tie the legs of Dober up between his own and starts pressuring with his top game again with body strikes. Completely dominant so far from Makhachev in full guard, landing more and more ground and pound with a flush elbow to the face. Round ends with Makhacehv in control, 10-8 round. 20-17.

Dober throws a big left hand that Makhachev slips and then he goes for a bear hug like takedown and gets it. Dober attempts a kimura to defend but Makhachev is able to step over and defend it. As soon as Dober lets go Makhachev slides his shoulder under the chin of Dober and secures the submission out of nowhere! Super impressive performance from Makhachev.

Aljamain Sterling def Petr Yan via Disqualification (Illegal Knee), Round 4 (4:29)

Fast paced start to this fight from Sterling as he moves forward quickly and is right in the face of Yan applying lots of pressure. Constantly touching him and kicking his body and making it really uncomfortable. Body kick attempt from Sterling lands and gets caught by Yan who throws him to the ground. Sterling lands a flying knee and keeps coming forward then gets a takedown himself. Yan is able to get back to the feet then lands a big right hand that drops Sterling! Both fighters keep up the high pace for the rest of the round, super close. 10-9 Sterling but could go either way.

Sterling comes out fast again in the second round and goes for a takedown but Yan is able to defend it well and ends up standing with Sterling on the floor under him. The referee stands them up after some leg kicks from Yan and then Sterling goes in for the takedowns once again, but Yan defends well for the most part. Sterling goes for the takedown against the cage but Yan is defending well as we enter the final minute. Sterling steps away and tries to trip him but it fails and he continues to come forward. Yan ends up behind Sterling and takes him down for the final 15 seconds. 20-18 Sterling for me, but could be 19-19.

Third round and Yan is starting to go for the body a bit more as Sterling starts to slow down. Sterling still touching him with jabs but Yan is taking over now a bit more, landing more shots and seeing everything Sterling is doing. Sterling trying to throw more strikes but he’s considerably tired and the champ is opening up a bit more with some takedowns of his own as well as a few solid right hands. 29-28 either way.

Fourth round and Yan is taking over the fight now. Sterling is shooting in with lazy takedown attempts and Yan is dominating the striking exchanges and landing at will almost. Yan stuffing all the takedown attempts at chopping away at the legs and body of Sterling, controlling the entire pace of the fight. Yan holds Sterling down and throws an illegal knee to the head of Sterling! Oh my goodness. Sterling is out of it right now and the referee calls in the doctor and waves the fight off. Wow. New champion via DQ.

Amanda Nunes def Megan Anderson via Submission, Round 1 (2:03)

Anderson takes the centre of the cage and Nunes takes her time to step forward.. big overhand right lands from Nunes and rocks Anderson immediately. She steps forward and lands two more that drop Anderson. She lands some ground and pound then switches to an armbar and triangle at the same time to force the submission. The best ever.

Jan Blachowicz def Israel Adesanya via Unanimous Decision (49-45 x2, 49-46)

Composed start to the fight from both fighters as Adesanya looks to get his range with feints while Blachowicz takes his time coming forward. Adesanya throws a few head kicks that are blocked by Blachowicz, who throws a few leg kicks that land and some right hands that miss. A few more leg kicks from each fighter as the fight continues at a relatively slow pace. Adesanya lands a nice body kick but is forced backwards as Blachowicz comes forward with a left straight. Round comes to an end without much action but probably an Adesanya round for pressing the action.

Adesanya comes out with a bit more speed in this round and flicks out his leg kicks well, but Blachowicz starts checking them. Blachowicz fires back with a nice one-two that lands on Adesanya but doesn’t connect quite flush. Adesanya chopping away at the leg of Blachowicz who lands a nice jab to the body and closest the distance and tries to clinch, but Adesanya escapes quickly. Adesanya lands an inadvertant low blow that causes a very short break in the action before a second low blow moments later is also accidental and causes a break. Blachowicz comes forward with a flurry into a clinch pop Adesanya gets out and keeps landing jabs and low kicks. 20-18 Adesanya but not a lot of big moments so far.

Blachowicz comes out harder in the third round and starts blasting some punches that land, then shoots in for a takedown and gets it. He tries to take Adesanya’s back but Izzy slips away and counters with a big left hand that rocks Blachowicz! Adesanya lands a few jabs but stays relatively calm before Blachowicz clinches up with him again against the cage but Adesanya once again pulls away. Both fighters exchange jabs and then Blachowicz lands a nice stiff right straight. Adesanya goes for a body kick that gets caught but nothing comes from it and the round ends. 30-27 Izzy, but could be 29-28.

Fourth round and Adesanya is opening up a bit more now. Some nice jabs and leg kicks land as Blachowicz is still looking for the big hooks and straights. More of the same as the round progresses before Blachowicz shoots for a takedown and gets it. From there on, he controls from half guard and side control and drops big ground and pound strikes and just wears on Adesanya. Jan’s round without a doubt. 39-37 Izzy for me but could be 38-38.

Final round and Blachowicz is breathing very heavily, so Adesanya comes forward with a bit more pace. Lots of jabs and he tries to follow it up with a straight right hand but Blachowicz avoids. Not much urgency from either fighter just yet and Blachowicz blasts a takedown half way through the round. Blachowicz starts hammering away with ground and pound and moves into half guard. He continues to control the round and then moves into mount as it comes to an end to reign down punches. 3-2 either way.. good fight.