Tag Archives: Bantamweight

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.

Who will be a female UFC Champion at the end of 2022?

The UFC will see it’s first two title fights of 2022 this weekend at UFC 270 and while the women won’t be involved, it’s a huge year for them too.

Last year we saw two of the four belts change hands, with Rose Namajunas claiming the strawweight belt for a second time with a head-kick KO win over Weili Zhang at UFC 261, while Julianna Pena shocked the world at UFC 269 when she submitted Amanda Nunes.

During our picks for 2021 we predicted no changes, so obviously only got a 50% hit rate. Can we do better for 2022?



Strawweight (115lbs) – Rose Namajunas

‘Thug’ Rose made waves in 2021, returning to champion status with a win over Zhang and then winning their rematch at UFC 268 a few months later too.

With two wins over Zhang and already holding two wins over Joana Jedrzejczyzk from her previous title reign, that’s the other elite talents in the division dealt with.

Carla Esparza, who beat Namajunas in the TUF finale to win the inaugral belt for this division, is confirmed as her next challenger and if she can navigate that fight as expected then she is set for a long and successful reign as champion.

I think that carries over into 2023 and she claims G.O.A.T status among the strawweights.

Rose Namajunas reacts against Zhang Weili in their strawweight title bout during the UFC 268 event at Madison Square Garden on November 06, 2021 in...

Flyweight (125lbs) – Valentina Shevchenko

The pound-for-pound best female fighter on the planet, Valentina Shevchenko first won the belt in 2018 and she hasn’t looked back since.

She went 2-0 in 2021 with stoppage wins over Jessica Andrade at UFC 261 before another KO win over Lauren Murphy at UFC 266 to continue her dominant run as the queen of 125lbs.

There’s nobody close to her level at her weight class, so barring a crazy shock she will hold that belt until she retires probably.

Bantamweight (135lbs) – Amanda Nunes

The greatest female fighter of all-time saw her 12-fight winning streak snapped at UFC 269 at the end of the year by Julianna Pena but the world is ready for a rematch.

While Pena will likely be taken far more seriously by the fans in the build-up to that bout, it also means that she will likely be taken more seriously by the ‘Lioness’ and that screams ‘and new!’.

Nunes gets her win back at some point in the summer, then sees out the year as the champion yet again. Normality is restored in the women’s MMA world.

Amanda Nunes of Brazil and Julianna Pena meet during their UFC bantamweight championship bout during the UFC 269 on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas,...

Featherweight (145lbs) – Discontinued

A interesting one, but I can’t see how the featherweight division survives another calendar year.

Nunes has been the champion since knocking out Cris ‘Cyborg’ back in 2018 and has defended the belt successfully twice since then. But there are no contenders and the division barely exists.

Felicia Spencer was the obvious choice to challenge, but she had already lost to Nunes and has now retired from the sport. Kayla Harrison could come into the UFC for a mega fight, but the division would have the same problems and I think it gets shut down by the end of 2022.

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.

Fights to make in 2022 – Petr Yan vs TJ Dillashaw

After the absolutely incredible fight year that was 2021, 2022 is promising to be bigger, better and badder than ever before in the UFC.

There will be title fights, shocking upsets, incredible wars and new rivalries created throughout the year, but there are some that already spilling over from this year.

With that, we’re going to name you ten fights that the UFC should make in 2022 at some point to give the fans the ultimate fight experience.



The bantamweight division is without a doubt the best and most stacked weight class in the UFC right now so it’s no surprise one of the best fights the company could make is at 135 pounds.

Petr Yan had a rollercoaster of a 2021, losing the undisputed title to Aljamain Sterling via disqualification at UFC 259 following an illegal knee.

He bounced back with an amazing win in a fight of the year contender against Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 to win the interim title after Sterling wasn’t cleared to fight in their rematch due to a neck problem.

That fight came together in itself because despite Sandhagen’s brilliant win over Frankie Edgar at UFC Vegas 18, he was defeated by TJ Dillashaw in the former champion’s return bout following a two-year drug ban at UFC Vegas 32.

In that fight though, Dillashaw suffered a knee injury that required surgery and meant he was unavailable to step in for the title fight.

If Yan can get past Sterling in their unification bout early in 2022, then the obvious fight to make and the best fight in the division would undoubtedly be between Yan and Dillashaw.

Both are brilliant strikers, with Dustin Poirier even naming Yan as the best boxer in the company, while Dillashaw has made a career for himself with his wrestling skills and Yan has proved to have some of the best takedown defence ever.

Both fighters are in the prime of their careers and are incredibly well rounded with great cardio, grappling and striking as well as legitimate knockout power too.

It would be two of the most well-rounded fighters in the sport battling it out for the undisputed championship of the world in the best division in the sport.

Make it happen Uncle Dana!

Fights to make in 2022 – Sean O’Malley vs Song Yadong

After the absolutely incredible fight year that was 2021, 2022 is promising to be bigger, better and badder than ever before in the UFC.

There will be title fights, shocking upsets, incredible wars and new rivalries created throughout the year, but there are some that already spilling over from this year.

With that, we’re going to name you ten fights that the UFC should make in 2022 at some point to give the fans the ultimate fight experience.



2021 was the year of the ‘Suga Show’, as he went 3-0 with three knockouts and finally became ranked to win the Tap Ins & Tap Outs Breakthrough Fighter of the Year award.

Now that he’s ranked, O’Malley can start to fight ranked opponents on a more regular basis and that sets him up perfectly to fight one of the best young prospects in the UFC at any weight class – Song Yadong.

O’Malley started 2021 with a big knockout win against Thomas Almeida at UFC 260, before a dominant performance and knockout win against Kris Moutinho at UFC 264 and then ending the year by starching Raulian Paiva at UFC 269.

Yadong went 2-1 in 2021, suffering a defeat to Kyler Phillips at UFC 259 before earning a split decision win over Casey Kenney at UFC 265 and then knocking out Julio Arce at UFC Vegas 42.

Many would like to see ‘Suga’ shoot up the rankings quickly and start fighting elite guys, but there is no need to rush him. The UFC seem to be happy with a slow build too, and a win against an elite prospect would be big for him.

In the same way that it would help him, it would also help Yadong’s star to rise hugely if he was able to secure a victory against O’Malley.

Both fighters are primarily strikers but they have well-rounded ground games too and it would certainly set up an exciting fight between two excellent prospects that fans adore.

A win for either would set up a big future fight against someone ranked inside the top ten, with all eyes on them to potentially make a run towards the title for the end of the year.

Make it happen, Uncle Dana!

Fights to make in 2022 – Julianna Pena vs Amanda Nunes 2

After the absolutely incredible fight year that was 2021, 2022 is promising to be bigger, better and badder than ever before in the UFC.

There will be title fights, shocking upsets, incredible wars and new rivalries created throughout the year, but there are some that already spilling over from this year.

With that, we’re going to name you ten fights that the UFC should make in 2022 at some point to give the fans the ultimate fight experience.



The biggest upset of 2021, and potentially in the history of the sport, came just last month at UFC 269 when Amanda Nunes was submitted by Julianna Pena in the second round of their bantamweight title bout.

After 12 straight wins prior to that fight, including several stoppage wins against former champions, Nunes is considered the greatest female combat sports athlete of all-time.

That didn’t deter Pena from coming forward, applying pressure, breaking Nunes’ will and choking her out to take the title from her on the night.

As soon as the fight ended there was talk of a rematch, and it’s quite easily the biggest women’s fight the UFC could make right now heading into the new year.

A hungry ‘Lioness’ who wants her title and her status back, or a ‘Venezuelan Vixen’ who proves that she had the G.O.A.T’s number the whole time just like she said she did?

This fight will generate an incredible amount of hype and publicity and will surely have fans taking far more of an interest after seeing how the original played out when everyone wrote it off as feeding time for Nunes.

If Pena can defeat Nunes again, it opens up a whole new realm of opportunity for the women’s bantamweight division in the UFC. There are so many fresh match ups available for the UFC to make and Pena will be the undisputed top dog.

If Nunes reclaims her crown, it likely sets up a huge trilogy bout at some point down the line where the winner takes all the bragging rights.

It would likely be one of the most anticipated fights of the year, and that’s exactly why we have to see it made in 2022.

What’s next for Sean O’Malley after UFC 269 win?

The ‘Suga’ show once again delivered a spectacular performance in front of a sell-out crowd at UFC 269 as Sean O’Malley earned yet another highlight-reel victory against Raulian Paiva.

The two bantamweights went head-to-head in the main card opener at the T-Mobile arena, with O’Malley securing a third straight knockout victory when he launched a stunning combination at Paiva in the first round.

With 2022 just around the corner and ‘Suga’ almost certain to move into the rankings following this win, who should the UFC be looking at matching him up with going forward? Lets take a look at some options.



Pedro Munhoz

If the UFC fancy giving him a real push in 2022 as expected, then the veteran that is Pedro Munhoz would be a great option.

Both fought at UFC 269 and Munhoz found himself on the losing end of a decision against Dominick Cruz. He has never been finished in his professional MMA career and has excellent power in his hands and jiu-jitsu skills that would give O’Malley something to think about.

He currently sits in the top ten so it may be one too soon, but it’s surely a fight that would interest both guys.

Adrian Yanez

These two have been going back and forth on social media and are two of the very best prospects the UFC have to offer. The fact they compete in the same division makes it even more exciting.

Both of these two have made a real name for themselves by knocking their foes out in the UFC and both are looking to move into the ranked conversations next year and make a push to be a contender.

But with Yanez unranked, it would seem a backward step to pair them together now despite the fact they both want it. Maybe that’s one for 2023 if they keep winning..

Frankie Edgar

The veteran has found himself on a bad run over his last five fights. He was beaten handily by Max Holloway and Korean Zombie in 2019 before moving to bantamweight in 2020, earning a solitary yet controversial decision win over Munhoz.

Since then though he was KO’d violently by both Cory Sandhagen and Marlon Vera and has found himself on the edge of the rankings. A fight between himself and O’Malley would see if he can really still cut it, while also giving O’Malley a big name and a test against a ranked fighter.

This may be the most logical fight the UFC could make, although it’s probably not quite as exciting as some of the others mentioned.

Song Yadong

A super young prospect with plenty of experience, this fight would undoubtedly produce fireworks.

Both guys love to stand and strike, have genuine knockout power and have a super bright future if you ask anyone that knows the sport. The UFC could look to keep these two apart because of how popular they are, saving it for a future date instead with higher stakes.

If that isn’t part of their thinking though, this could be the best fight for the fans and for O’Malley too.

Amanda Nunes can retire happy with another win at UFC 269

At this point the conversation surrounding the women’s GOAT in mixed martial arts is a bit redundant.

Amanda Nunes is currently on a 12-fight win streak in the UFC having beaten every single former bantamweight or featherweight champion in the organisation’s history throughout her career.

Add to that two victories over Valentina Shevchenko too (regardless of how controversial you think they are), there isn’t really much of a debate to be had.



After a remarkable five bantamweight title defences since winning the belt from Miesha Tate at UFC 200, Nunes has cleared the division out.

Wins come easily now, and her domination of the featherweight division haven’t given her much of a tougher test either. Yet somehow, she has found motivation to continue in recent years despite the relative ease at which victories have come.

This weekend at UFC 269 however, Nunes has something to prove once again when she takes on Julianna Pena in the co-main event in her sixth 135lbs title defence.

Pena has been calling her out for years, to the point that a single fight win streak and two wins since 2017 have earned her that illustrious position of number one contender.

‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ has long been of the opinion that she has the tools to beat Nunes and shock the world, but she has never had the opportunity. That isn’t for any reason other than the last time Pena was on a win streak was the very same event Nunes won the belt.

That hasn’t stopped her from constantly calling for a fight with Nunes, and it was finally set to happen earlier this year at UFC 265. ‘The Lioness’ however tested positive for COVID-19 a little over a week before the bout and it was postponed.

Since then, Pena has been doing a press tour claiming that Nunes isn’t taking her seriously and that she faked the illness to get out of the fight. Pena is so sure that Nunes is ducking her, that she’s even convinced some fans that it’s the case.

Amanda Nunes of Brazil celebrates after her unanimous-decision victory over Felicia Spencer of Canada in their UFC featherweight championship bout...

So now, this title fight has got that little bit more personal than a standard fist fight would be.

Nunes must win or it makes Pena’s claims for all this time look more valid than ever. Should she win, it doesn’t do much for her legacy. At this point, it’s expected that she’s going to win every fight ever.But what it does do is mean that she can retire with zero question marks over her head.

There’ll be no debates over anyone she didn’t fight that she should have, no debates over any results and more importantly, no debates over who the greatest of all time is.

Sean O’Malley can kickstart huge 2022 early at UFC 269

Without a doubt one of the most popular athletes on the entire UFC roster, Sean O’Malley makes his return to the octagon on pay-per-view to close out 2021.

O’Malley is currently 2-0 in 2021, bouncing back from the first and only defeat of his career so far by adding Thomas Almeida and Kris Moutinho respectively to his highlight reel at UFC 260 and UFC 264 respectively.

Now he steps into the octagon to take on Raulian Paiva, another unranked but dangerous opponent that is part of the UFC’s stacked 135lbs roster.



O’Malley recently referred to himself as the ‘unranked champion’, pointing to the fact that ranked stars Pedro Munhoz and Dominick Cruz will be fighting on the prelims of the same card in the same division, such is the popularity of ‘The Suga Show’.

But at what point does O’Malley step up in competition and start really making a name for himself in the octagon rather than outside of it?

O’Malley first came onto fan’s radars back in 2017 with a KO win on Dana White’s Contender Series. Issues with injuries and USADA since have seen him compete just seven times since then and never against a ranked opponent.

This is a fighter that the company are keen to push to the moon, with the similarities to the rise of Conor McGregor way back when hard to ignore. But part of McGregor’s rise was the fact he moved up the rankings with relative ease before eventually winning the title in a stacked weight class.

O’Malley has mentioned previously that the fact he’s on an old contract means he wants to hold out fighting big names until he earns more money for it, but if legacy is his main aim he needs to make that move now.

A win over Paiva at UFC 269 will almost certainly see him enter the rankings finally, which means 2022 will see some big fights lined up for him.

Sean O'Malley prepares to fight Kris Moutinho in their bantamweight fight during the UFC 264 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 10, 2021 in Las Vegas,...

Those big fights will only lead to bigger fights with victories, and O’Malley is someone who tends to try and compete fairly regularly which could see a bit of a surge up the rankings.

Add to that his popularity and the fact the UFC loves a needle-mover more than anything else, don’t be surprised to see a win at UFC 269 for O’Malley kickstart the rest of his career for 2022 and beyond.