Dana White said last night that the UFC was already into February in terms of putting fights together. He also said that the promotion has ideas for March and April as they start to stack the deck for a big start to 2024. Overnight, we learned of a massive featherweight bout that’s heading for the first PPV of 2024.
Red Fury MMA was the first to report that top featherweight contenders will battle at UFC 297 as Arnold Allen (19-2) returns against the unbeaten Movsar Evloev (17-0). Currently, there’s not a finalized date or location for the event, however, rumor has it that the event will take place in Toronto.
For Evloev, this is by far his biggest test inside the octagon. Back in May, he was supposed to take on Bryce Mitchell at UFC 288, but Mitchell had to pull out due to an injury. Diego Lopes stepped in on short notice and gave Evloev the fight of his life. Evloev still won a decision and held onto his perfect record.
Thus far, Evloev is 7-0 inside the octagon with his biggest win coming against Dan Ige. He’s been booked against the likes of Mitchell and Ilia Topuria, but all of those fights fell through. To really show he’s ready to take on the elites of the UFC’s featherweight division, he needs this fight to stay together and he needs a win over Arnold Allen.
Arnold Allen came into 2023 with a 10-0 record in the UFC. He had defeated the likes of Sodiq Yusuff, Dan Hooker, and Calvin Kattar on his way to headlining UFC Kansas City back in April against former champion Max Holloway. Holloway won the decision, but Allen proved that he belongs with the elites at 145 in that fight.
Now, Allen will be looking to bounce back after his first loss inside the octagon. Given the way things are at 145, Allen is only a solid win or two away from a title shot. Ilia Topuria is likely next for Alexander Volkanovski, but given the fact that Holloway has fought and lost to Volkanovski three times, the champion is constantly looking for fresh challengers.
Arnold Allen would be a fresh challenger for the champion. First things first, he needs to get this win at UFC 297 and then he likely needs one more big win to potentially earn himself a shot at the title before the end of 2024.