The UFC has announced a light heavyweight title fight as their main event for UFC 274 in May.
Champion Glover Teixeira will make the first defence of his title just six months after winning the belt, when he takes on number one contender Jiri Prochazka in the main event.
The card is scheduled to be held on May 7th, although there is currently no official location for the event.
Teixeira was crowned UFC champion for the first time in his career at the age of 42 back in October at UFC 267, when he submitted Jan Blachowicz in the second round of their bout.
He is currently on a six-fight win streak which includes stoppage wins over Anthony Smith and Thiago Santos at UFC Vegas 13 too.
Prochazka on the other hand came to the UFC as a former RIZIN champion and had a point to prove.
He has gone 2-0 in the UFC with vicious knockout wins over Volkan Oezdemir in his debut at UFC 251, before smashing Dominick Reyes with a knockout of the year contender at UFC Vegas 25 in May last year.
Overall he is on a 12-fight winning streak, with 11 of those fights ending via knockout. He has 25 of 28 wins career victories via knockout and has an overall record of 28-3-1.
Teixeira is currently the oldest first-time champion in UFC history and is looking to hold on to the belt for long enough to eventually surpass Randy Couture’s record of being the oldest champion in history.
To do that he will need to defeat one of the most dangerous 205-pounders in recent memory, with a vicious streak and incredible pace-setting ability.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 very different for these two fighters, but that could potentially put them both on a war path towards each other.
Jiri Prochazka’s only fight last year came in May against the former title challenger Dominick Reyes at UFC Vegas 25, where a spinning elbow knockout in the second round earned him an emphatic victory and a title shot in 2022 – as well as knockout of the year.
On the other hand, Paulo Costa’s only bout of the year came with plenty of controversy and ended in defeat against Marvin Vettori and now seemingly a new weight class for the new year.
Despite agreeing to fight at 185-pounds, the Brazilian basically refused to cut weight and forced the fight to be re-agreed for the light heavyweight division during fight week.
But with his star power undeniable and the 205-pound division needing big names to power it through a damp patch, he’s only a couple of wins away from potentially getting a title shot.
With Prochazka getting the next fight against champion Glover Teixeira at some point, you can see exactly where their paths could cross and it would make for a stunning bout.
Prochazka and Costa are both machines, with sensational cardio ability and extraordinary knockout power in their hands.
Between them they have earned 35 knockout wins from 42 professional career victories and strike fear into their opponents with constant pressure and legitimate one shot, fight-ending power.
It would certainly be one of the most exciting fights stylistically that can be made in the division and while a few things would need to happen first, this is a fight I would love to see in 2022 and is very possible.
It was one hell of a night in the UFC Apex in Las Vegas at UFC Vegas 44 as 13 fights all delivered in a big way in the penultimate Fight Night card of the year.
In the main event it was ‘King of Rio’ Jose Aldo who came out on top in the battle between two top five bantamweight contenders, as he earned a unanimous decision win over Rob Font.
Font started the fight at a frenetic pace, but Aldo’s power and better placement of his shots saw him steal the first round for many as he scored a knockdown in the final seconds of the round.
From that point on, Aldo seemingly found the recipe to victory as he stayed long at range and landed his powerful one-two cleanly. Every time he did, Font was clearly hurt and when he began to mix in his legendary calf kicks and even his grappling skills, it turned in to a relatively comfortable victory for the former two-time featherweight champion.
Now 35, Aldo is clearly past his prime years and best version of himself. However what the Brazilian has managed to do by reinventing himself down a weight class and overcoming some heartbreaking defeats, to turn himself back into a contender at his age is truly remarkable.
With Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling set to meet early in 2022 to unify the division in a title fight, Aldo is once again calling for a bout with TJ Dillashaw.
The former champion is recovering from knee surgery currently but once ready to compete, the likelihood is that he’ll need another victory to claim a title shot against the winner of that unification bout so why not take on the legendary Aldo to get it done?
For now, Aldo continues to build his legacy and cement himself as one of the very best of all time.
Up at light heavyweight, we may have seen the start of the Jamahal Hill appreciation era after his stunning first-round KO victory of Jimmy Crute.
Crute was the favourite heading into the bout but Hall quickly established himself as the top prospect at 205lbs with a brutal knockout after just 48 seconds.
After the bout he was quick to call out Paulo Costa, who has been linked with a move up to light heavyweight, as well as Johnny Walker for a bout that would no doubt be packed with fireworks.
He will move up the rankings after this win and now look to break into the top ten, meaning 2022 could be the start of something special for ‘Sweet Dreams’.
The UFC light heavyweight division has got a huge main event set for 2022 after former champion Jan Blachowicz was matched up with Aleksandar Rakic.
Blachowicz was the champion until his most recent bout, where he was submitted in the second-round by Glover Teixeira at UFC 267. He will look to bounce back immediately against the number three ranked Rakic, who is currently on a two-fight win streak.
The two have agreed to a main event bout on March 26th 2022, in a location yet to be determined.
Blachowicz will be looking to get back to winning ways after seeing his title reign and five-fight win streak snapped in October.
He had beaten top contenders Luke Rockhold, Jacare Souza, Corey Anderson, Dominick Reyes to win the title at UFC 253 and then Israel Adesanya in his only successful title defence before the defeat at UFC 259.
Rakic on the other hand has won 14 of his last 15 bouts, with the only blemish in that run coming in a split decision defeat to Volkan Oezdemir. Most recently he has seen off the threat of Anthony Smith at UFC Vegas 8 and Thiago Santos at UFC 259.
He was scheduled to face Smith in a rematch at UFC 269 this month, but Smith was forced to withdraw with an injury.
Ariel Helwani was the first to report the bout agreement.
The bout will take place as a five-round main event bout on a Fight Night card. Those events have taken place exclusively at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas since the beginning of the pandemic, but it’s possible that could change between now and the fight happening in March 2022.
It’s been a while since the UFC had it’s weight classes as stacked as they currently are across the landscape of the organisation.
With the way MMA is evolving currently, we’re seeing more and more fighters who can do everything to a super high level and that means that amazing fights can show up anywhere on the card, at any time!
But which divisions are the ones to really look out for and which are looking a little slim right now? I’ve ranked them from worst to best.
A division that has just crowned a new champion is usually hard to say that it’s lacking depth, however 205lbs is in the worst state that it’s been for a while.
Teixeira is 42 years old and holds the belt, but beyond Jiri Prochazka, Magomed Ankalaev and Aleksandar Rakic there aren’t many guys in the division who you can see being among the top guys in a few years time.
Unless there’s an influx of talent out of nowhere, then it’s hard to imagine this division attracting many eyes going forward.
The top five in this division is stacked and in Israel Adesanya they have one of the most popular fighters in the world as their champion. But outside of that, the division looks a little stale.
The top five can all fight each other and have mixed results for the most part, but Adesanya has largely cleaned up by beating four of them convincingly so it’s hard to look beyond him as being a level above the rest.
That makes the division a little less appealing and therefore sits low down on this list.
Flyweight never die! A super exciting division because of the speed of the guys in the division, but outside the top four or five there aren’t many guys that you can consider as contenders.
Moreno looks set to reign for a while after dispatching of Deiveson Figueiredo relatively easily so their rematch at UFC 270 is unlikely to be as eventful as their first two bouts. There are a few contenders beyond that but the lack of finishes in the division doesn’t really help either unfortunately and it’s unlikely you’ll see this division headlining a card on its own any time soon.
The big boys tend to fight at a slow pace and historically don’t make for the most exciting fights, but this new wave of heavyweights is the best in a long time.
The top of the division is full of exciting match ups, with the prospect of anyone ending a bout in the blink of an eye adding to the excitement. But on top of that, there are several young prospects coming through such as Tom Aspinall and Chris Daukaus while Ciryl Gane looks formidable too despite his lack of experience.
Don’t forget Francis Ngannou is the champion and could probably KO a horse, while Jon Jones is still waiting in the shadows to debut among the giants too.
This division would likely be even higher up in this list if it wasn’t for the fact that Kamaru Usman is just a level ahead of everyone. He’s beaten everyone there is to beat in his weight class, but the rest of the division is still absolutely stacked.
Covington would be champion in any other era, Leon Edwards has entered new territory with his abilities, Jorge Masvidal is a superstar that has transcended the sport, Gilbert Burns and ‘Wonderboy’ are in the conversation and Sean Brady is climbing his way up the ranks.
Don’t forget Khamzat Chimaev fights in this division too, so that’s always exciting.
Beyond them this division is home to the likes of Brian Ortega, Yair Rodriguez, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Korean Zombie, Calvin Kattar and now Dan Hooker too.
There a string of exciting fights plus prospects such as Arnold Allen, Giga Chikhadze and veteran Edson Barboza competing at this weight it’s always got fireworks waiting to go off.
This has been considered one of the best divisions in the organisation for a long time and it’s still as stacked as ever.
Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier, Islam Makhachev, Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler, Conor McGregor, Rafael Dos Anjos, Beneil Dariush, Tony Ferguson, Brad Riddell, Rafael Fiziev, Joel Alvarez – the list goes on.
It’s almost impossible to make a bad fight at lightweight right now and they all have huge implications in some way or another. What a division.
Without a doubt in my mind, bantamweight is the place for you to place your attention if you want guaranteed entertainment in the UFC.
Aljamain Sterling is the champion and Petr Yan is interim champ, but the division also possesses the likes of Cory Sandhagen, TJ Dillashaw, Merab Dvalishvili, Rob Font, Jose Aldo in title contention. Then there are veterans like Frankie Edgar, Pedro Munhoz and Dominick Cruz looking to get back into contention.
Then beyond that you have the likes of Marlon Vera, Sean O’Malley, Adrian Yanez, Randy Costa and Song Yadong in the division you could quite easily create a top 30 rather than a top 15. It’s got everything and is comfortably the best division in the UFC right now.
The UFC have announced a light heavyweight title contention bout for the first quarter of 2022 as Thiago Santos takes on Magomed Ankalaev in a five-round main event.
The 205lbs division recently crowned a new champion after Glover Teixeira defeat Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 last month, and the next contender seems to be settled at Jiri Prochazka.
But beyond that, the top of the division is wide open and these two top six fighters will now be looking to enter their name into the conversation for the belt.
Santos previously had a title shot back at UFC 239 where he lost a split decision to Jon Jones, before two more back-to-back defeats against Glover Teixeira at UFC Vegas 13 and then Aleksandar Rakic at UFC 259.
He got back to winning ways in his most recent bout though against Johnny Walker in a unanimous decision win at UFC Vegas 38.
Ankalaev currently holds a 16-1 record, with his only defeat coming against submission specialist Paul Craig via triangle in the final second of their three-round bout.
He has since won seven-in-a-row, including KO wins over Ion Cutelaba twice, Nikita Krylov at UFC Vegas 20 and then most recently against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC 267.
It’s set to be the toughest challenge of Ankalaev’s career, but the Russian fighter is tipped as one of the best prospects in the division and many believe that his brilliant striking skills could see him become a future champion in the UFC.
Santos will be keen to build momentum once again with another big name win to get himself back in contention to take on potentially get one final title shot to round off his career.
The fight will take place on March 12th 2022 on a Fight Night event, but the location and start time is yet to be confirmed by the organisation.
The UFC’s return to Fight Island at the weekend was a rousing success as UFC 267 provided some incredibly memorable moments in Abu Dhabi.
A super-stacked card saw a new champion crowned as Glover Teixeira finally reached the top of the mountain by submitting Jan Blachowicz in the second-round, while Petr Yan reclaimed his title with a brilliant decision win over Cory Sandhagen.
On top of that however, we found out the hype behind Khamzat Chimaev is very real as he dominated against Li Jingliang to a first-round submission win.
After over a year out of the cage and a long, hard battle with COVID-19 the question marks around Chimaev were genuine. When he struggled to make weight before the bout too, eyebrows were raised even more.
But once he stepped into the octagon all those doubts were washed away within seconds. Chimaev ducked under a punch and immediately secured a takedown, lifting Li up and walking him across the octagon while shouting at Dana White for looking at his phone during the fight.
He then put him down, landed some strikes and worked for a submission, securing a rear-naked choke that put Li to sleep in just 196 seconds.
It means Chimaev has absorbed just two strikes in his entire UFC run to date, which stretches to four wins and four finishes now, a stunning record.
He will now break into the top ten in the rankings this week and with only big names ahead of him and a championship fight in his division this weekend, 2022 could be a huge year for the Swedish fighter.
In the title picture up a couple of weights, Teixeira was finally able to reach the top of the mountain aged 42 thanks to a big win.
It was the second time lucky for the Brazilian as he finally claimed the light heavyweight championship, but the future doesn’t look much easier for him.
Jiri Prochazka weighed-in as the back-up to the title fight and has been confirmed as the next contender for the belt, meaning Teixeira will need to defeat an absolute demon in the striking world who is in the peak of his career.
With 25 knockout wins from 28 career victories, Prochazka offers a completely different threat with his incredibly unorthodox striking and Teixeira will need to use his grappling and jiu-jitsu as best as possible to stand any chance of win on the night.
Petr Yan also claimed another title win with an excellent win over Cory Sandhagen, growing stronger and stronger as the fight went on to continue to prove himself as the best 135lbs fighter in the world currently.
He proved to everyone that he is comfortably the best striker in the division but also that his wrestling is still among the best around, making a rematch with Aljamain Sterling seem even more like a foregone conclusion.
He called for a fight against TJ Dillashaw next instead of Sterling, despite winning the interim title, in a fight that would pit two of the world’s best against each other once more in the most stacked division around.
With UFC 268 coming up this weekend, the title pictures in the UFC could be about to change drastically once more but UFC 267 was a truly excellent card.
It’s been over a year since Jan Blachowicz laid claim to the throne in the light heavyweight division and took over from Jon Jones as champion.
An excellent performance against Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 saw him earn the knockout victory and end the long road to a title that he had been pushing for, for years.
It was his 15th fight with the organisation, which started with four defeats in his first six bouts between 2014 and 2017.
Following a defeat to Patrick Cummins at UFC 210, Blachowicz went to the well and honed his craft.
Six months later he returned to the cage in his homeland of Poland to submit Devin Clark, before a decision win over now middleweight contender Jared Cannonier meant he ended the year with some momentum.
He then avenged his loss to Jimi Manuwa the following year and then stopped Nikita Krylov via submission to make it three post-fight bonuses in four fights. He had arrived.
A knockout defeat to Thiago Santos followed, as the Brazilian made his own ascent towards a title challenge. But Blachowicz refused to lie down and built back up once again.
He starched Luke Rockhold at UFC 239 with a stunning knockout, before a split decision win over Jacare Souza in Brazil. He followed that up with a knockout win over current Bellator contender Corey Anderson to make it two more performance bonuses in three fights before the title fight with Reyes.
After dominating Reyes in that fight, his first defence came against middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who was moving up as an undefeated fighter to try and become a double champ.
But despite dominant displays in his two title fights, there are still question marks over his reign.
He never beat the long-time champion to win the belt, and his first defence came against an under-sized opponent who he didn’t even finish. At UFC 267 though, he will take on the official number one contender and experienced Glover Teixeira.
It’s a fight that is hard to believe has never happened before, but these two experienced giants are without a doubt two of the very best in the world in their division.
Teixeira is a super talented boxer on the feet, with one of the nastiest ground games in all of the UFC. This is a genuine test for Blachowicz, who is taking the bout seriously and readying himself for war.
But while question marks remain over his reign, there will be none should he leave UFC 267 victorious on Saturday night. He will be the undisputed best light heavyweight in the world, and his belt will prove it.
After a week full of drama and surprises, Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori delivered a brilliant main event at UFC Vegas 41.
The two were scheduled to face off in a middleweight main event bout in the Las Vegas Apex, only for Costa to reveal during fight week media obligations that he wouldn’t be able to make the weight.
Vettori and Costa then verbally agreed to a 195lbs catchweight bout, before the fight finally got moved again to 205lbs the day before weigh-ins.
With Vettori now a fan favourite for refusing to let the fight get scrapped and wanting a war with one of the best strikers in the UFC, the two met an entire weight class above their usual division.
What followed was a brilliant fight in which Vettori showed his incredible granite chin to take the power shots of a humongous Costa in the cage, while also showing his cardio is among the best in the world with a 25-minute performance in which he earned a unanimous 48-46 decision across the scorecards.
Following the fight, in which Costa didn’t disgrace himself by any means, ‘Borrachina’ revealed a bicep injury was the reason he was unable to cut weight during fight week and said he hoped to return to 185lbs for his next fight.
UFC president Dana White had other ideas though seemingly, stating that Costa would be competing at 205lbs going forward. Speaking in the post-fight press conference, White said;
“Yeah, we absolutely tell you where to fight when this happens. Yeah, he’s gonna have to fight at 205.
He’s a light heavyweight. I mean, you guys saw him tonight. He’s massive. And the thing that stood out the most for me: as big as he is, look at the cardio that he had tonight. That was a fuckin’ dog fight. That was a war between two guys who both really wanted to win.”